AI for SMEs: Plattform Lernende Systeme delivers guidelines
Munich, 24 September 2020
The digital age is changing production processes and value chains worldwide – and thus poses major challenges for companies. In a networked economy, those who fail to recognize the opportunities offered by the intelligent use of data will be left behind in the global race in the medium term. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in particular are often unaware of what data treasures they have at their disposal in their operations – and how these can be harnessed using methods of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning. Plattform Lernende Systeme, initiated by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), shows small and medium-sized enterprises with, how they can benefit from the use of Artificial Intelligence and where they can find information, public funding and practical support.
Artificial intelligence (AI) heralds a new stage of digitization and is considered by experts to be a key technology of the future. It refers to computer systems that are capable of learning, which independently process and solve abstractly described tasks and problems without human intervention. By intelligently linking data, AI systems make it possible to gain new insights that can be used to optimize existing processes or develop new business models.
German medium-sized companies are still reluctant to use AI systems, according to a study published in 2019 by Saarland University, for which 200 large medium-sized companies (annual sales between 10 and 50 million euros) were surveyed throughout Europe. According to the study, only one third of the companies are concerned with Artificial Intelligence, and only 13 percent have advanced knowledge of the subject according to their own estimates. The level of knowledge among smaller medium-sized companies is probably lower.
Yet Artificial Intelligence is by no means just a technology for large companies. AI-based systems also promise enormous potential along the entire value-added chain for medium-sized companies. The fields of application range from AI-supported simulation in product development to automated warehousing, AI-supported robot assistants in production and intelligent chatbots in customer service.
Practical web offer for medium-sized businesses
On its website www.ki-und-kmu.de (in German) Plattform Lernende Systeme presents exemplary applications from the medium-sized practice: A self-learning computer system that supports bakeries in their daily sales planning. A software that uses machine learning methods to ensure the production quality of high-precision components. Or an intelligent price search engine that helps dealers to determine the best market price for their products sold online.
With its website, the platform wants to offer small and medium-sized companies a point of contact to find out about the importance of Artificial Intelligence for tomorrow’s economy and their own business. Based on the expertise of its members from business, science and society, Plattform Lernende Systeme shows what is important when introducing AI in a company and which classic mistakes can be avoided. Using case studies, it outlines the importance of so-called value-added networks, in which companies, customers and technology providers collaborate and share data in order to develop new business models based on these.
Dealing with the information jungle: guides, workshops, support programs
On its website the Plattform Lernende Systeme also bundles nationwide and regional events, workshops and transfer centers, where SMEs can obtain information on the topic of AI free of charge. Also important for SMEs: a compilation of current funding programs with which the federal and state governments promote the use of Artificial Intelligence in SMEs. Guides and publications on the topic complement the continuously updated website.
The AI map shows where AI-based applications are already in use in Germany across all company sizes. The more than 800 application examples currently listed there are also constantly being expanded.