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The story continues – in the BWMi AI Living Lab

For the second time, the AICommunityOWL called for the AI Challenge Days under the motto “Time2Innovate” last weekend. The still young community is a private, independent network of AI enthusiasts. Employees of Fraunhofer IOSB-INA, OWL University of Applied Sciences, CENTRUM INDUSTRIAL IT and Phoenix Contact founded it in 2020. Together, they believe in digital progress through the use of artificial intelligence (AI). “We want to create sustainable solutions for the challenges of the future: for industry, for mobility, for intelligent buildings and smart cities – and above all for people,” explains Thomas Bischoff, one of the initiators of the community.
The approximately 30 participants and attendees were welcomed virtually by the organizers on Friday evening in the online environment that had been set up, and Professor Andreas Welling from the Ostwestfalen-Lippe University of Applied Sciences and Dr. Michael Britzger, Senior Manager IIoT Engineering & Innovation at Emerson, got them in the mood for the coming 45 hours of hacker fun with their keynotes. The latter also provided real-world production data for the weekend. “Digitization is an immensely important ingredient for success, in fact, it’s the foundation. People’s mindset, in turn, forms the foundation for digitization, which then makes being successful possible. At Emerson, we have dealt with precisely this mindset and want to move forward innovatively. This is precisely why we decided to participate in the AI Challenge Days as a challenge donor and open up our mindset in even more directions,” describes Britzger. In his keynote, his follow-up speaker Professor Welling explored what Corona has taught us about Artificial Intelligence. “There are many points that Corona and AI have in common. For example, there are no boundaries for a virus or for data and AI. You can’t build a wall around them. Also, technology helps us in times like these, through home schooling or home offices, for example, to still keep our daily lives intact. One of the most important similarities: For both a virus and artificial intelligence, we need global collaboration,” Welling said.
Collaboration was also a keyword for the participating AI enthusiasts over the course of a weekend. Divided into three teams, they attempted to solve challenges set by Emerson. These challenges were still subject to strict secrecy up to this point. The AI Lviving Lab in Lemgo provided support in preparing the data and designing the tasks as part of the project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology. Companies like Emerson can continuously contribute their own challenges and data to the AI Living Lab and receive uncomplicated support from the connected community. The four tasks from the field of pneumatics, i.e. the use of compressed air, also built up in their level of difficulty from one to four, with the fourth task being more about concept creation. Then, on Sunday lunchtime, the three teams had 10 minutes to present their results. For each task the participants could collect points, the team with the most points became the new winner of the AI Challenge Days. In the end, the team “AIM” could celebrate the victory. They can now look forward to a joint implementation project at the SmartFactoryOWL in Lemgo under the sponsorship of the Emerson company.
Michael Britzger is enthusiastic about the dynamics that emerged during the weekend and is already looking to the future: “That was a terrific weekend! I would like to thank everyone who made these days possible and who participated. Truly remarkable results came out of it, and we now want to build on them. This is definitely not the end of the story.”