Hot off the press: POINT OF NO RETURN: TURNING DATA INTO VALUE

INAUGURAL EDITION
of the
JOURNAL OF AI, ROBOTICS and WORKPLACE AUTOMATION

It was indeed a great pleasure contributing in co-authorship Dr. Johannes Winter & Jochen Werne to the Henry Stewart Publications and we are pleased to present the article:

POINT OF NO RETURN:
TURNING DATA INTO VALUE

The Cambridge Dictionary defines the point of no return as the stage at which it is no longer possible to stop what you are doing, and when its effects cannot now be avoided or prevented. Exponential advances in technology have led to a global race for dominance in politically, militarily and economically strategic technologies such as 5G, artificial intelligence (AI) and digital platforms. A reversal of this status quo is hardly conceivable. Based on this assumption, this paper looks to the future, adding the lessons of recent years — the years when the point of no return was passed. In addition, the paper uses practical examples from different industries to show how digital transformation can be successfully undergone and provides six key questions that every company should ask itself in the digital age.

The article includes key learnings and/or best practise examples from e.g.
acatech – Deutsche Akademie der Technikwissenschaften
Plattform Lernende Systeme – Germany’s AI Platform
Prosegur
Tesla
Waymo
Google
Amazon
relayr
Ada Health
Fiege Logistik
Westphalia DataLab
Satya Nadella
Microsoft
TikTok
Facebook

Jochen Werne - acatech Webtalk Clean-up batter comments

Clean-up Batter Comments from the acatech Webtalk „WAYS OUT OF THE CRISIS“

It has been a great pleasure being the clean-up batter for moderator Michael Dowling (University Regensburg) in the Webtalk hosted by Dr. Johannes Winter and the prestigious National Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech). The esteemed experts Olga Mordvinova, CEO of incontext.technology; Franz Gruber, founder of Forcam, Kai-Uwe Weiß, Manager at Leser and Wolfgang Faisst, founder of value.works.ai discussed about how digital transformation and artificial intelligence helps SME‘s to find a positive way out of the crisis, about GAIA-X, digital twins and best-practice experiences. It was an honour rounding-up the event together with Prof. Dowling.

Follow the Clean-up Batter comments in this summary

acatech Webtalk – Wege aus der Krise

Details from the webtalk in German HERE . Translation below made with DeepL.com

Munich, March 9, 2021

Digital technologies have proven their worth, especially in the Corona pandemic: Thanks to them, companies were and are more adaptable during the crisis and can respond more quickly to customer requirements. But what role do digital technologies now play in finding a way out of the crisis? And what framework conditions need to be created so that SMEs in particular give up their reluctance to digitize? Experts from business and research discussed this at an acatech Webtalk on March 5.

Many globally operating, medium-sized companies in Germany had a problem during the Corona pandemic: Since business trips were not possible, customers could not take delivery of an ordered product on site at the plant. However, digital technologies provided a remedy: the safety valve manufacturer Leser GmbH, for example, as Leser manager Kai-Uwe Weiß reported in his presentation, offers customers the service of a “remote inspection”, in which customers are guided through the plant via a virtual reality application and can thus carry out the acceptance.

Earlier, Wolfgang Faisst, a member of the Learning Systems Platform and founder of value.works.ai, had already recommended a “Digital Business Framework” to medium-sized companies in his introductory impulse in order to emerge better from the Corona crisis. For this, technological and organizational requirements would have to be optimally harmonized with digital ambitions (e.g. reconfiguration of business processes or digital refinement of products). Wolfgang Faisst referred to the offerings of the Learning Systems Platform, which provides target images, implementation examples and roadmaps for AI introduction and application.

The panel discussion following the presentations, moderated by acatech member Michael Dowling (University of Regensburg), emphasized that the success of Industrie 4.0 must be measured in terms of entrepreneurial results and the customer benefits generated. Olga Mordvinova, member of the Learning Systems Platform and CEO of incontext.technology GmbH, emphasized that Germany has an excellent position both on the technology provider side and in the area of domain knowledge. However, in order for the potential of digitization to be better exploited – especially in SMEs – a secure and sovereign digital infrastructure is needed in Germany and Europe, said Franz Gruber, founder and advisory board member of Forcam GmbH. Only then would companies abandon their reluctance, which is due in part to their dependence on large platform companies. Jochen Werne, member of the Learning Systems Platform and board member of Prosegur Germany, agreed: Fundamental for the near future and the time after Corona is a clear European vision and implementation strategy for digital transformation.

Find the full acatech webtalk here

Cicero published: Europe at a crossroads

by JOHANNES WINTER and JOCHEN WERNE

23 August 2020

Original in German published online in the Cicero – Magazine for political education. Please click here

Translation made by DeepL.com

In the first half of digitisation, the USA and China have mercilessly left Europe behind. But nothing is lost yet: a plea for sovereign data infrastructures and a transformation to service-oriented value creation.

Europe is at a crossroads – once again. This time it is about nothing less than the preservation of the continent’s sovereignty, at least in technological and economic terms. It is therefore not surprising that “Digital Sovereignty” is a focus topic of the German EU Council Presidency. Europe’s largest economy exemplifies the current challenges in the midst of a global trade conflict and quasi-monopolies of American and Asian platform companies: because Germany’s strength as the world’s equipment supplier is under scrutiny.

Since the 1970s, the first wave of digitalization has been underway, characterized by the use of electronics and IT as well as the automation and standardization of business processes. It has been driven by exponential growth in performance parameters such as communication networks, memories and processors, which is typical for the IT industry. As a manufacturer of machines, plants, vehicles or process technology, Germany has benefited considerably from this. “Made in Germany” is a worldwide promise of quality. But for how much longer? Or to put it another way: How can we transfer this promise into the digital age?

The real and virtual worlds are merging, an Internet of things, data and services is emerging in all areas of work and life. Automated systems driven by artificial intelligence learn during operation and increasingly act autonomously, as collaborative manufacturing robots, robo-advisors or intelligent harvesters.

Europe is falling behind
Consumer platforms such as Amazon, Alibaba and Facebook have dominated the first half of digitisation. With the exception of the streaming service Spotify, Europe is hardly present in the B2C platform markets. The second half includes the industrial sector, both the digitisation and networking of production (Industry 4.0) and the expansion of products and services to include personalised, digital services (digital business models).

So far the stocktaking – what is still outstanding, however, is the comprehensive implementation, without which Europe will fall further behind in the global race. What levers are there for Europe to score points in the second half and thus maintain competitiveness and self-determination? Two aspects seem particularly important:

Without a sovereign data infrastructure
Once developed, software platforms have process costs that approach zero. This makes it easy to aggregate huge amounts of data, learn from data with Artificial Intelligence and use it to develop digital business models that can be scaled exponentially across countries and industries. Google’s search engine with a 95 percent EU market share is an example of both innovation leadership and quasi-monopoly. In order to gain sovereignty over data and data infrastructures, digital sovereignty is needed: from hardware and software components to communication networks, cloud infrastructures, data rooms and platforms.

European efforts such as the policy- and business-driven project “GAIA-X” deserve broad support, even if success is by no means certain. Self-determination does not mean self-sufficiency or the exclusion of dominant competitors. On the contrary: Europe’s path must be determined by diversity, openness and decentralization, not by isolation. A glance at the regional distribution of medium-sized world market leaders is enough to understand that Europe’s technological and entrepreneurial pound is not in the hands of a few large companies.

Germany has domain expertise
Appropriately, Europe should focus on building open digital ecosystems based on a common reference architecture and defined standards, enabling technological interoperability, providing distributed cloud and edge services and relying on European values such as trustworthiness, security, privacy and fairness. In the industrial sector, the race is still open, since production-strong and product-centric countries like Germany have domain expertise and industrial data such as machine, process, user and product data to which hyperscalers like Google and Amazon have so far had only limited access.

But to achieve sovereignty, Europe needs access to the cloud and data infrastructures, whether in the mechanical engineering or mobility sector. And it needs European regulation as well as state and companies as active consumers of European technology and business offerings. To do so, they must be secure, high-performance, cost-effective and competitive. A high standard! However, if Europe chooses the passive path, this endangers economic competitiveness, entrepreneurial freedom and, in the medium term, our prosperity.

Value creation shifts in favour of the platform operators
We know from the consumer world that investor-financed technology start-ups attack established business models in all domains, act as a platform operator between supplier and customer, define rules, standards and interfaces and benefit from network and economies of scale. As a result, value creation shifts in favour of the platform operators, traditional providers of products and services are degraded to suppliers. Operating and controlling platforms and marketing digital products and services on them is therefore a core prerequisite for Europe’s survival in a digital economy.

Since no single company in the industrial environment has the know-how and data to be successful in the digital age, digital value-added networks are the solution. The “Learning Systems” platform, led by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and acatech, recently highlighted a dozen success stories of digital ecosystems in Germany. One example shows how resilient manufacturing is created when machine builders can minimize production stops with the help of IoT and AI service providers by means of data-based prediction.

Process optimization is scalable
If the machine nevertheless comes to a standstill, a contingency insurance policy is taken out. In an Industry 4.0 logic, this creates a flexible production line that almost never stops and is therefore even more profitable. And: This process optimization including the digital business model is scalable and does not remain an isolated solution. Another example shows how agricultural APPs and IoT platforms enable cross-manufacturer data exchange with agricultural machinery, even if farmers and contractors use machines from different manufacturers.

The entire vehicle fleet can thus be optimized via one platform. This reduces complexity and enables medium-sized technology leaders for sensor systems, seeds or harvesting machines to scale in a trustworthy platform environment without having to take a greater entrepreneurial risk in building their own platforms.

Europe must speak with one voice

Many more such examples are needed – and they are also emerging in federal Europe. The realization is there, after all. But: In order to play an important role in the world, Europe should not only become faster, but should also speak with one voice, whether in enforcing a level playing field or in international standardization.

Completing the digital single market is also important to enable what China and the US have ahead of us: huge consumer markets in which domestic providers can scale. Europe is at a digital crossroads. Let us take the fork in the road to self-determination!

Handelsblatt Guest Column: Europe is more.

Preparing for the second half of digitisation.

A plea from Johannes Winter & Jochen Werne

1st published in the German newspaper Handelsblatt on January 8, 2020 – translated by DeepL.com. Photos: Pixabay

Looking at the world sometimes gives the impression that things seem to be much better outside Europe. Examples? The world’s largest airport, Beijing-Daxing, goes into operation after four years of construction, while at BER, construction continues after 13 years. The coffee house chain Luckin Coffee, valued at $4.5 billion, will replace Starbucks as No. 1 in the Chinese market by the end of the year, two years after its foundation. Digital platform companies such as Apple, Amazon, Alphabet, Tencent & Co. have left the traditional commodity and industrial groups behind in terms of value.

What made these American and Asian companies so big? Absolute willingness to implement at high speed, massive state and private investments, sometimes industrial policy intervention, huge, scalable domestic markets and a just-do-it mentality favour economic and technological development alongside a number of other factors.

Is Europe, on the other hand, in a downward spiral? Is the continent now losing the much-discussed second half of digitisation, which is mainly about the digitisation of industry, now that the B2C race seems to be lost?

The recent history can also be told in a different way. The financial crisis of 2008/2009 has shown how valuable Europe’s and especially Germany’s strong industrial core is. A highly specialised, excellent SME sector and the leading groups from mechanical, plant and vehicle engineering to the pharmaceutical and chemical industries are anchors of stability. With Industry 4.0, the vision for the future of value creation comes from Germany, and there is a worldwide competition for its widespread introduction.

The strength lies in product innovation, especially in complex products such as machine tools, medical devices, vehicles or building services engineering. Germany also has world market leaders in engineering and in production and automation technology. Despite all the negative predictions, Germany has further expanded its strength in networked physical platforms with the integration of IoT, data and services in industrial environments and has secured a very good starting position. The German research landscape also holds an internationally good position in areas critical to success such as semantic technologies, machine learning and the digital modelling of products and users. And let’s not forget that the companies in the country have produced outstanding software products for the fast, reliable and scalable processing of big data and the integration of business processes.

While Germany wants to consolidate its pioneering position as the world’s supplier, the USA is relying on its expertise as a global networker and China is relying on short decision-making paths, capital intensity and a large domestic market in which it can scale quickly. In this situation, it is important that we concentrate on our strengths and resolutely tackle the digitization of industry and SMEs. However, this requires a much faster entry into the emerging B2B platform markets.

In Europe, we stand for a liberal value system, both economically and politically, which, as in the past, has proven to be the decisive differentiating factor in the medium and long term. The debate on the use of data is conducted in Europe in good tradition at an extremely high level and this in the good understanding that digitisation is not coming over us, but is made by people and is intended to serve them.

It is therefore the right moment to take a decisive step towards the future and to open up Europe’s path. To do this, we need a large, homogeneous domestic market that will make us almost competitive with the USA and China. We also need substantial investment in digital infrastructure and cybersecurity, as well as training and further education. Both competitive regions currently have the power to set standards in digitization as well. The goal of the European Union to create a single digital internal market is laudable, but final implementation is still pending. This implementation, however, is the important and very concrete next step in order to be able to achieve the competition-relevant scaling effects and to be able to play a competitive role in data-based business model innovations.

The second half is running and nothing is lost.

About the authors

Jochen Werne (48) is a member of the Executive Board and Chief Development Officer of Prosegur Cash Services GmbH, as well as a member of the Artificial Intelligence Learning Systems Platform and the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House.
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jochen-werne-2292507a/
Twitter: @WerneJochen
E-mail: jw@JochenWerne.com

Dr. Johannes Winter (42) heads the office of the Learning Systems Platform and the technology department at the German Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech).
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/johannes-winter-13048629/
Twitter: @jw4null
e-mail: winter@acatech.de

Digital Summit 2019

It’s a great pleasure supporting on October 28, this year’s DIGITAL SUMMIT together with other experts from the “Platform Learning Systems, the Platform for Artificial Intelligence” #DigitalGipfel19 #platformeconomy

The Digital Summit (previously the National IT Summit) and the work that takes place between the summit meetings form the central platform for cooperation between government, business, academia and society as we shape the digital transformation. We can make best use of the opportunities of digitisation for business and society if all the stakeholders work together on this.

The National IT Summit was renamed the Digital Summit in 2017. This was to take account of the fact that digitalisation comprises not only telecommunications technology, but the process of digital change in its entirety – from the cultural and creative industries to Industrie 4.0.

The Digital Summit aims to help Germany to take advantage of the great opportunities offered by artificial intelligence whilst correctly assessing the risks and helping to ensure that human beings stay at the heart of a technically and legally secure and ethically responsible use of AI

The Digital Summit looks at the key fields of action within the digital transformation across ten topic-based platforms. The platforms and their focus groups are made up of representatives from business, academia and society who, between summit meetings, work together to develop projects, events and initiatives designed to drive digitalisation in business and society forward. The Summit will serve to present the results of the work that has been done in the past, to highlight new trends and discuss digital challenges and policy approaches.

Looking forward moderating the Panel Discussion on “Digital Platforms for new AI-based Services”