The event aimed to address the question of how the application potential of AI can be made tangible for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). While Artificial Intelligence is a buzzword, it has not yet fully integrated into the general practices and work environments of SMEs in most cases. Conversations often reveal that the desire for optimized work processes through AI applications exists among SMEs, but it falters due to a lack of understanding of where suitable use cases for AI implementation can be found within their own companies.
"The goal is to make AI solutions visible and tangible." - Christoph Pflock, BMWK
To get closer to this goal, on the afternoon of July 11, 2023, the Forum Digital Technologies opened the doors of its new showroom to about 110 interested guests. The focus was on six selected research and development projects from the current technology programs of the BMWK. The wide spectrum of these projects includes innovations ranging from AI in engineering and applied production support to AI in control center management and quantum-supported artificial intelligence. Two projects with DFKI involvement, "Semantic Platform for Intelligent Decision and Deployment Support in Control Centers and Situation Management" (SPELL) and "Factory of the Future Operating System" (FabOS), were also featured.
Experiencing and Understanding Digital Technologies
The first project presented was SPELL, introduced by Dr. Eric Rietzke (DFKI) and Prof. Dr. Clemens Gause (Association for Safety Technology). They demonstrated a potential emergency call scenario in the connected control center of the future, showing how AI could assist emergency personnel optimally in crisis situations, both on-site and in the control center. In critical exceptional situations of any kind, measures for assistance or population protection could be implemented with AI's help.
"Thank you for the successful event. It was a pleasure to present our research results in the SPELL project to a broad audience and to engage in interesting discussions afterwards." - Dr. Eric Rietzke, DFKI
The DFKI-coordinated project FabOS, as well as the production support project IIP-Ecosphere, targeted the audience in industrial metalworking. Marco Kulig and Dr. Christian Weber (Trumpf Werkzeugmaschinen SE & Co. KG) demonstrated how AI-assisted automation of the removal of laser-cut components in companies can save valuable resources. The efficiency and precision of the process are sustainably optimized through AI's implementation.
Jonas Malte Becker (Leibniz University Hannover, IIP-Ecosphere) used the skiving cycle to vividly present how industrial processes can already be optimized by modern AI applications. The AI ecosystem for product engineering AI Marketplace was represented by Ruslan Bernijazov (University of Paderborn), who demonstrated an AI-based software for identical part management using a Lego tractor model.
With the Demo Day, two new demos also became part of the current permanent exhibition at the Forum Digital Technologies. For the Service Meister project, Dr. Robert Pesch (inovex GmbH) showed how Industry 4.0 companies can intelligently support professionals beyond their expertise context through a smart ticket system. The PlanQK project provided the Forum with its in-house quantum computer – a miniature Lego model, yet capable of showcasing various application areas of quantum computing, as presented by Matthias Kaiser (Anaqor) to the audience.
Taking AI to the Streets
Developers of value-adding AI solutions eventually have to address how to effectively convey and make these solutions marketable to user groups for profit. The panel discussion following the demonstrations focused on success stories, obstacles, and the lessons learned. A key insight was that for AI systems to be accepted by the market, the human factor must not be ignored. Gause explained that AI represents an opportunity for new job roles and certifications. Concerns that workers have regarding the impact of AI on their jobs can also obstruct the integration of AI solutions in operations, noted Nina Pillen (YOUSE GmbH), and thus should be accompanied by transparency, education, and training during the implementation process. Developing AI solutions closely aligned with the end-users and seeking feedback during the development process can make the difference, according to Pesch.
"When one gains knowledge about Artificial Intelligence and its consequences, it reduces fears." - Nina Pillen, GeMeKi
The impressions and thought-provoking insights from the demonstrations and the panel resonated in many lively conversations during the subsequent networking session. For those who want to be a part of the next Demo Day, or experience it again, mark November 24, 2023, on your calendar - as the Forum Digital Technologies will be back with the second round of the Demo Day, featuring new and exciting projects.
About the Forum Digital Technologies
The Forum Digital Technologies is a networking platform and exhibition area for selected research projects and innovations in the field of digital technologies from Germany.
The Forum provides exceptional research projects with a platform for greater visibility and promotes exchange and knowledge transfer at national and international levels. The events and demonstrators of the Forum focus on the technical interfaces and societal aspects of current technology trends: Internet of Things, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, and Security and Trust in the Digital Space. The Forum's showroom offers an exhibition space for projects from the technology programs of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action as well as other federal funding programs.