AI marketplace of it's OWL is promoted

24.09.2019

The excellence cluster it's OWL has won the competition "Artificial Intelligence (AI) as Driver for Ecosystems" of the Federal Ministry of Economics (BMWi) with the concept AI Marketplace. 20 research institutions and companies will develop a digital platform for artificial intelligence in product development, on which providers, users and experts can network and develop solutions. The BMWi is providing 11 million euros in funding for this, the partners are investing an additional 5 million euros. More than 130 consortia took part in the competition, ten of which were recommended for funding.

The AI Marketplace concept was developed jointly by the Fraunhofer Institute for Design Technology Mechatronics IEM and the Heinz Nixdorf Institute of the University of Paderborn in cooperation with it's OWL. Prof. Dr. Roman Dumitrescu (Managing Director of it's OWL, Director of Fraunhofer IEM and Executive Director Heinz Nixdorf Institute) explains: "The award is a great success and shows that the research institutions and companies from the it's OWL top cluster are important drivers for artificial intelligence in medium-sized companies. With the AI marketplace, we will create a unique offer nationwide, with which small and medium-sized companies in particular can tap the potential of artificial intelligence in product development. We are thus making an important contribution to making production in OstWestfalenLippe and throughout Germany competitive."

AI Marketplace successfulThe following have contributed significantly to the application and are now delighted to receive the award (from left to right): Prof. Dr. Roman Dumitrescu (Managing Director it's OWL, Director Fraunhofer IEM and CEO Heinz Nixdorf Institute), Prof. Dr. Jürgen Gausemeier (Chairman Clusterboard it's OWL), Dr. Stefan Breit (Head of Technology Miele Group and acting Chairman Clusterboard it's OWL), Prof. Dr. Ingeborg Schramm-Wölk (President FH Bielefeld), Günter Korder (Managing Director it's OWL), Brigitt Riegraf (President University of Paderborn) and Roland Bent (Managing Director Phoenix Contact and Chairman Clusterboard). Photo: it's OWL

Many applications for industry - Extensive knowledge in research

Stefan Breit, Managing Director of Miele and Deputy Chairman of it's OWL Clusterboard, underlines the importance for the economy: "AI approaches are essential innovation drivers for tomorrow's products. This is not just about improving the functionality of products or production facilities. Product development can also become more efficient and of higher quality. There are already a large number of applications and research results. With the AI marketplace, we create the basis for companies to find the right offers and experts. This enables them to increase their innovation performance, avoid mistakes, reduce development times and increase their development capacities. This is a great added value for the industry and strengthens the innovative capacity of the companies".

The application possibilities of AI are manifold. For example, manufacturing companies can summarize the information of existing products and research results and virtually play through hundreds of product variants before the optimal product is manufactured. This enables them to deliver individual products to customers within a short period of time.

A central success factor for the AI marketplace is to make the results of research usable for industry. "The universities and research institutions in OWL have built up extensive knowledge in the field of artificial intelligence through the CITEC excellence cluster, special research areas and numerous research projects. With the AI Marketplace, we will develop needs-based offers for small and medium-sized enterprises in cooperation with companies. At the same time, the platform promotes the exchange of experience with industry and AI experts. This creates new approaches for our research," explains Prof. Dr. Gerhard Sagerer, Rector of Bielefeld University.

Partner mediation, data room and construction kit for AI solutions

In the AI Marketplace project, an innovation ecosystem is being created around a digital platform that brings together AI experts, solution providers and manufacturing companies. This digital platform will be successively expanded with functionalities that enable the joint development of AI solutions for product creation and provision. First offers are an intelligent partner switching for use cases and a data room for the product emergence. In addition, AI applications already available today will be made available via the marketplace. On this basis, a construction kit with tools for AI development will be developed. The AI marketplace relies on a trust-based concept with a corresponding IT architecture that enables data sovereignty and fair transaction mechanisms.

Lars Nagel, Managing Director of the International Data Spaces Association (IDSA), sees excellent opportunities for the development of a sustainable business concept: "The project partners are well connected and have more than 3,000 contacts.” The IDSA is an association for the development of a standard for secure data rooms in which companies can work together, with over 100 members from 20 countries. The open source platform for digitalization FIWARE has over 250 partners in 25 countries. And the platform operator inno-focus contributes contacts to over 2,500 companies.

The project is expected to start in January 2020 and will run for three years. Research partners are the Heinz Nixdorf Institute of the University of Paderborn, the Fraunhofer Institutes IEM, IOSB-INA and IPK, the Cluster of Excellence Cognitive Interaction Technology CITEC of the University of Bielefeld and the Institute for Industrial Information Technology inIT of TH OWL. Other project partners include the International Data Spaces Association, prostep ivip, the FIWARE Foundation and the companies Claas, Diebold Nixdorf, Düspohl, Hella Gutmann, ubermetrics, Unity and Westaflex.

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