Newsletter 03/2022

Applying artificial intelligence (AI) is a fundamental part of digitalizing processes used in industry and society. The AI Application and Test Center, which is currently being established at Fraunhofer IIS/EAS in Dresden, will address the particular challenges facing SMEs. André Konstantin Kostov, Project Manager at Fraunhofer EAS/IIS, offers an overview of the new AI Center.

Edge-KI-Studie des Fraunhofer IIS/EAS und des INC Invention Centers
© Andrey -

What are the long-term goals of the AI Application and Test Center? 

Due to its many years of experience in methods of developing and applying AI, Fraunhofer IIS/EAS has a great deal of expertise to offer in applied research for customer-specific and field-proven AI solutions.

Our medium-term goal is to gradually establish a central venue at Fraunhofer IIS/EAS for the development and application of AI solutions by 2025. In the long term, we want this project to become a beacon, one that will play a major role in establishing AI methods in those sectors heavily populated by SMEs. The idea is to help them safeguard a competitive edge and overcome a host of challenges.

By making the transfer of methodical approaches and technologies into practice swift and needs-based, we aim to empower SMEs in particular to introduce AI methods for their processes and applications.


What kind of companies will the AI Center be trying to reach? Are there any specific requirements that companies will be expected to meet?

We generally don’t tailor our services exclusively to certain sectors, because many of the approaches can be applied anywhere. However, our AI Center is aimed primarily at two groups. First, there are the manufacturing companies, which ideally have embraced a certain degree of automation. But this isn’t essential as long as the companies have made digitalization a priority. Second, our many years of expertise in electronics points us toward manufacturers and users of sensor technology.

In both instances, there are companies that are interested in AI – even though it’s uncharted territory for them – and are keen to enter that world, for instance to discover how it could help them optimize their processes. Equally, there are other companies that already have some AI expertise as well as a clear idea of how they wish to use it in the future or how they want to go about testing a certain solution.

To satisfy these different requirements, we provide various tiers of offer.


What can Fraunhofer IIS/EAS offer companies interested in working with the AI Application and Test Center to meet each tier of their specific needs?

Wir entwickeln derzeit Angebote, die grundsätzlich die Einstiegshürden bei der KI-Nutzung in Unternehmen senken oder eine schnelle Umsetzung von Lösungen in der Praxis unterstützen sollen. Außerdem möchten wir gern eine Plattform für die Weitergabe von praktischen Erfahrungen etablieren.

We’re in the process of developing offers that essentially lower the barriers to AI use in companies, or that help them quickly implement solutions in practice. What’s more, we’d like to establish a platform through which to pass on practical experience.

We already offer basic training and free webinars on a variety of AI topics. Our experts will also be carrying out company-specific maturity assessments and hosting short workshops to evaluate the AI application areas companies are planning. We want to use these formats to clearly define potential action plans and timetables for those companies, without them having to go to a lot of trouble.

But of course that’s not all. We naturally also use our expertise and our experiment and test environments to support companies – either by helping them implement specific use cases, or by working with them as part of development projects. The development of joint business models is also on the table.


So have you already decided exactly what the AI Center will offer?

Our approach is based on developing offers tailored to the specific requirements of SMEs and the challenges they face. In fact, we’re already working with our first partners to sketch out a rough framework for our ideas. But other companies can share their own requirements profiles with the AI Application and Test Center – something we’d definitely welcome. That’s the only way we can develop offers that match their needs and build up our lab and testing facilities. We’re always keen to hear about specific tasks, needs and expectations that the Center should cover.

To enable the AI Center to evolve to where it acts like a beacon within Saxony’s AI landscape, we also want to establish a community platform for users and stakeholders. The aim of this platform should be to generate synergy effects, for instance through sharing information about successful use cases, methodologies and solutions.


What message would you like to give companies interested in working with the AI Center?

As both industry and society become more and more digital, AI will have a bigger and bigger role to play. In addition to raising effectiveness, AI can – if applied properly – help SMEs become more competitive in the long term as well as more resilient in a crisis. The sooner an SME seizes this opportunity, the more efficient and aligned to the needs of the market it will be in the future. Ultimately, we want to use our expertise and that of our partners in the AI Application and Test Center to build a bridge to industry in Saxony.