Artificial intelligence offers great opportunities and challenges for SMEs

AI-based applications for future markets and competitiveness

In his keynote Jörg Bienert, chairman of the German Bundesverband KI introduced the topic. The term was already defined in 1956. It was only in 2012 – enabled by the development of neural networks and fast computer services – that the breakthrough of the technology took place. Today, AI systems are already integrated into speech recognition, translation programs, logistics optimization or to control the movement sequences of robots.

Axel Dittmann from Microsoft demonstrated that AI solutions are already available for companies, e.g. their own AI concepts within the cloud service AZURE. In cooperation with IT experts, even smaller companies can use AI solutions according to their needs. Dr. Felix Friemann from Logarithmo showed how artificial intelligence can detect anomalies and power bottlenecks and develop solutions using the example of power grids. AI can only be used effectively if sufficient data is available.

Gary Hilgemann from Raypack used the example of garbage trucks from Remondis to show how data can be collected by using existing infrastructure: detection of road signs and road conditions.

Great potential for health and legal systems

Especially the healthcare sector offers great potential for AI applications, for example through adaptive learning using personalized training software for medical specialists, as Dr. Claus Biermann, Area9 Lyceum, explained. Another applications might be the analysis of health data for an early detection of diseases, as Pinar Bisgin from Fraunhofer ISST showed. In these data-sensitive areas, however, the regulatory requirements are very high or not yet sufficiently clarified, as Thorsten Stumpf of Metecon added in his presentation.

The presentations of Gökhan Akkamis from Juracus on automated creation and examination of contracts and of Sascha Kamhuber, infoapps and Dr. Bernd Burchard from Elmos on the use of AI in the patent system showed that AI can not only be used for technical questions.

Partners of the event were the Digital.HUB, the ruhr:Hub and the KI-Bundesverband as well as the Dortmunder Roundtable Startup – Mittelstand. This roundtable brings together highly innovative young companies with established medium-sized businesses in order to lead the competencies of both groups to successful joint projects. In this context, four young companies presented their services in the areas of machine learning (Prof. Dirk Roos, Probaligence), predictive maintenance (Dr. Julian von der Ecken, Point8), production optimization (Sven Büscher, Deamos) and deep learning for text analysis (Milos Rusic, deepset).

Orientation and support for IVAM member companies

Some of the speakers showed live demonstrations, which were used for discussion during the breaks. The participants were very satisfied with the selection and presentation of the topics. Some co-operative talks already started during the event. In his conclusion, Dr. Thomas Dietrich, managing director of IVAM, underlines the relevance of the debate about AI issues as follows: „The event showed us two things: Firstly, artificial intelligence is increasingly being used in more and more areas of our daily lives. For this reason alone, it is important to address the topic in a timely manner. On the other hand, integration is no longer a „witchcraft“; AI can also make a contribution to optimizing production and services for SMEs. IVAM will pursue the topic within the framework of the member focus group on innovation management.“

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