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AI in German small and medium-sized enterprises

Research project ANIMATE is presented at the “Scientific Specialisation Conference“

Daniel Kiefer from the research project ANIMATE talks about the cooperation with REIFF at the "Wissenschaftliche Vertiefungskonferenz" (Scientific Specialisation Conference)

By Katrin Reil

Is artificial intelligence (AI) a topic only for large and financially strong corporations? The research project ANIMATE at ESB Business School answered this question during the "Wissenschaftliche Vertiefungskonferenz" (Scientific Specialisation Conference) at Reutlingen University with a resounding “no”!  

At the annual conference organised by the Human Centered Computing master’s degree programme, the project team, consisting of Professor Dr Clemens van Dinther as well as the research assistants Daniel Kiefer and Annette Ulmer, presented the work carried out by ANIMATE and wrote a paper for the conference volume. 

Within the scope of the ANIMATE project researchers at ESB Business School cooperate, among other things, with the medium-sized company REIFF. At the technical dealer’s the team used AI algorithms to improve forecasting power in purchasing. “The initial results are very promising and show that the use of AI also makes sense for small and medium-sized companies. But at the same time there is need for further research in the transfer function in order to implement these techniques well”, says Daniel Kiefer.

The around one hundred conference participants followed the explanations provided by the project team from the research group “Digitisation and Management” at ESB Business School with great interest.  In the discussion that followed the question of how, among other things, workers react when they cooperate with AI algorithms and are supposed to follow their instructions. “The interviews we conducted show that the workers involved had no reservations about this. On the contrary, they even found this kind of support desirable“, says Daniel Kiefer.

The ANIMATE project will run until the middle of 2021. By the time the project is completed, the models developed should be further enhanced and external data (e.g. weather data or Google keywords) integrated. In addition, ANIMATE is currently developing and testing a procedure model whose implementation can serve at REIFF as a model for AI in German small and medium-sized companies and with whose help further determining factors can be identified.

ANIMATE’s paper in the conference volume of the Scientific Specialisation Conference is also available online.