The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in small and medium-sized enterprises as well as in public administration is the goal of European, national and regional digitisation and innovation strategies. However, available data and experiences show that in the partner regions of this project (South Bohemia, Upper Austria and Vienna) the potential of AI is used much less than in other European and non-European countries, mainly in the field of R&D, only slightly in the context of large company processes. The territorial interconnection of the partner regions of the project reveals a number of existing economic and touristic, educational, social, ecological relations - also in public administration, but there are also a number of common obstacles for further development of the common territory, also in the case of introduction of new technologies and trends in the processes of SMEs and institutions operating in the border area. Artificial intelligence plays an important role in this context, as it is a megatrend in the field of digitisation and offers a number of new possibilities and opportunities, especially with regard to current global events. The aim of this project is to create a cross-border network of cooperating entities to:
(1) jointly identify opportunities for the practical use of AI,
(2) find a suitable and effective application of this technology to optimise organisational processes, and
(3) find ways to overcome existing obstacles to putting AI into practice.
The results of the project will be realised on the basis of the initial analytical work which will lead to a cross-border roll-out of the strategic agenda with the aim of mutually supporting and accelerating the cross-border implementation of AI into business and institutional practice. AI Social Design Thinking Labs will be established on both sides of the border to support the realisation of the strategic agenda. The lab methodology will also include a discussion among participants on the responsible implementation and use of AI. As an accompanying tool to the lab concept, introductory educational modules will be developed targeting diverse audiences. Project ATCZ271 AI SDT-LAB is supported by the Interreg Austria – Czech Republic Programme funded under the European Regional Development Fund.
10 project partners from Central Europe cooperate in the project ProsperAMnet – Progressing Service Performance and Export Results of Advanced Manufacturers Networks - with the aim to support Advanced Manufacturers (AMs) in becoming successful in their service business. The 3-year-project is supported by the Interreg CENTRAL EUROPE Programme funded under the European Regional Development Fund.
The main goal of ProsperAMnet is to develop and provide two innovative online-tools for AMs in order to improve the sale of industrial services and to identify services, which can be exported successfully. One tool is the so-called ‘service performance monitor’, which identifies a company’s internal leverages for improving the introduction, management and selling of existing and new product - or solution-related services. The second tool, the ‘service export radar’, collects and extracts data on export markets with the help of Artificial Intelligence. AMs receive recommendations regarding service export chances. In order to ensure the sustainability of the project, business support organizations are trained in order to support AMs in their service management and export activities. Policy makers receive strategic action plans and recommendations for future opportunities, e.g. which measures to take in the future.
Click here to arrive at the project website: https://www.interreg-central.eu/Content.Node/ProsperAMnet.html
Follow this link to find out how in the research project “ProsperAMnet” an artificially intelligent algorithm was trained in seven languages to find and evaluate clues and hints in order to assess what kind of industry-related services are promoted at webpages of advanced manufacturers: https://youtu.be/EeTxORJGY9Y
The goal of the project is to develop a long-term transborder cooperation between two universities, one in Vysočina and one in Upper Austria. This cooperation should lead to a systematic and long-term collaboration between institutions in the border region AT-CZ. The achievement of the project goal is based on the necessity that the participating universities collaborate, to use and share the common knowledge and experience in education, internationalisation, digitalisation, and the connection to practical experience. Within this newly created network of the two universities, intercultural training concepts are developed together. These training concepts are adapted towards four different target groups, which are universities, schools, vocational colleges, and companies. Based on the insights gained in the project, practice-oriented seminars concerned with the topic intercultural competence are developed, and then offered at different educational levels.
The Interreg CE project Boost4BSO is of great interest to Upper Austria, as it addresses the important trends of globalisation and digital transformation (Industry 4.0) and seeks solutions and support mechanisms for Upper Austrian industry, one of the central economic sectors in Upper Austria. These trends are also thematised in #upperVISION2030.
SMEs in particular face major challenges when they want to digitalise their production, for example. There is often a lack of expertise on how the transformation from traditional production to Industry 4.0 and advanced manufacturing can work. The task of our research group is, among other things, to develop a new type of "snowball mechanism" so that toolboxes for building up competences can be standardised, distributed quickly - like snowballs - and multiplied among business support organisations (BSOs). As a result of the project, BSOs should be better able to support SMEs in building transformation competences quickly and sustainably in order to identify their potential and develop new business strategies.
The Boost4BSO project builds on existing projects such as Interreg CE InnoPeer AVM, Interreg CE Things+ and Horizon2020 IoT4Industry, thus fulfilling the basic requirement of the Interreg CE Call 4.
For more information please click here.
|Survey: Export Resilience of Upper Austrian B2B companies
In times of crisis, a certain resilience is essential in order to get through this difficult phase and to survive as a business. The Covid-19 crisis has shown the relevance of this so-called "organizational resilience". This can be even more important in international trade. For this reason, it is Upper Austrian companies that are particularly challenged here, as 25.4% of total Austrian exports originate from Upper Austria. Towards the end of the Covid-19 crisis, a strong increase in exports is expected. Therefore, it is crucial to get out of the crisis as early and unharmed as possible in order to be able to make optimal use of this upswing.
Because of the importance of this current situation, the research area Global Business Management has conducted a survey in cooperation with the Exportcenter Upper Austria. This study deals with the behavior of Upper Austrian companies during the Covid crisis with regard to market decisions, sales and communication activities, business models and the use of various digitization options. 172 sales and export managers from a variety of industries were asked in an online questionnaire about the topics mentioned using closed and open questions about the situation in their businesses.
The findings were published in a report which can be downloaded here (available in German only): REPORT_EXPORT RESILIENCE.pdf
Additionally, in order to share the findings of the study with those interested, a webinar has been hosted. The recording of this webinar can be found here: https://youtu.be/jiiN9kXosKQ
The Industrial Service Excellence Monitor (ISEM) is an analytical tool for companies to continuously evaluate their Industrial Service Excellence. It is a useful tool to analyze the service business in product-oriented companies and gives suggestions how the service business can be improved. The user of the monitor should have intimate knowledge of the service business in his company to execute the analysis. The ISE-monitor is based on an analysis of scientific literature as well as the collaboration with companies that are successful in their service business.
You can find the ISEM Monitor under TOOLS in the navigation bar.
The University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria, the South Bohemian University of České Budějovice, Business Upper Austria, and the South Bohemian Science & Technology Park develop an online assessment tool enabling continuous service innovation process management for SMEs in Upper Austria and South Bohemia. The utilization of existing innovation impulses through cross-border cooperation is promoted and innovation-oriented SMEs obtain more methodological support for innovation management.
To be forwarded to the project website, please click here: https://www.sip-sme.org/
In the course of the FFG Idea Lab 4.0, the exploratory project KITKA was developed which involves the scientific partners Institute for Advanced Studies, University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria - Global Sales and Marketing and Center for Human-Computer Interaction (University of Salzburg) as well as the industry partner ONTEC AG.
Artificial intelligence (AI) systems have great potential for Austrian companies. However, many companies do not yet fully exploit this potential. A lack of trust in and knowledge about these systems are major barriers to their adequate use.
The overall goal of the project KITKA is therefore to increase the transparency of AI systems developed in Austria. In order to achieve this goal, the interdisciplinary project team will develop a catalogue of criteria and validate them with the help of other experts. These criteria will enable a holistic description and evaluation of AI systems. This means that besides a technical description of the systems, other perspectives (e.g. ethics, sociology, economy, psychology, data protection and HCI) will be considered. Within the one-year project, ten AI systems used or offered in Austria will be selected and described according to the catalogue of criteria. In addition, a platform will be conceptualized in order to present this information appropriately and to make it available to interested companies and the society in the future. The long-term vision of the KITKA team is to provide an open-access platform, which includes a large number of AI application examples from Austria.
Click here to be forwarded to the project's webpage.
Business succession is an important issue for companies and policy makers in CE since it entails economic and social impacts. Every year many well-functioning SME close due to the inability of finding successors able and/or willing to take over business leadership. Especially countries in Eastern Europe have limited or no experience with business ownership transfer.
Although Austria has a well established support scheme for business succession, an “innovation lag” during business transfer is a common problem which has to be overcome.
The goal of this project is to improve economic and social innovation in CE by creating an environment enabling business succession at national and transnational level.
A special focus of the project is on the internationalization of business transfers. Especially "merger and acquisition" is included in the research activities. A transnational transfer platform will be created. The "Enter- transfer" model will be developed to support entrepreneurs transferring their business within the family or to external investors.
Click here to go to the project's website.
The project ServTrain has been initiated due to numerous developments in services and their market potential. In the area of skill-intensive services, sales, cultural specific marketing, systematic management, the organizational integration of the services and the establishment of a service culture are often a major challenge for production companies in Upper Austria. Thus, the aim of this project was to improve the quality of industrial and industry related services as well as the on-site availability of services on the defined target markets of the project with trainings. Training concepts were created for the particular service elements of the prevailing companies and later tested. Possible adaptions were made, and have been finally implemented into the respective organization.
The project ServPrice has been induced due to numerous developments of service features and their market potential. In the area of skill-intensive services, sales, cultural specific marketing, systematic management, the organizational integration of services and the establishment of service-culture constitute a great challenge for production plants in Upper Austria. A lack of documentation leads to considerable difficulties in the fields of marketing and sales of services. Dubieties concerning the offered services from the sellers themselves, no consistent appearance of the marketing employees on the market plus no precise price calculations and lost profit potentials were main aspects. Especially the findings in the fields of pricing, importance of services, essential service parameters for spare parts and trainings, and service innovation will be of great importance for the project participants and the industry in general in the future.