potential for SMEs in
Ministry of Economy, Transport, Agriculture and Viticulture Rhineland-Palatinate
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a key 21st-century technology that will change current value chains in many sectors. AI is already a major driver of innovation and growth, both for large technology-oriented companies as well as small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). In order to support SMEs in the application of AI specifically, the Rhineland-Palatinate Ministry of Economy, Transport, Agriculture and Viticulture commissioned Prognos to prepare a study examining the challenges and opportunities.
Firstly, in order to create a common understanding, a working definition of AI was developed based on the diversity of scientific literature. From this definition a broad operationalisation of AI was derived for a comprehensive screening of the AI landscape in Rhineland-Palatinate. Using this search grid, a rich data basis of company websites, corporate databases, and patent and publication databases was examined and the breadth of AI competencies in the state was shown. Correspondingly, case studies were used to illuminate the application of AI in individual Rhineland-Palatinate companies.
In the second step, the challenges and opportunities for the use of AI for SMEs in the state were identified. For this purpose, a value-added-specific seven-part workshop series was conducted with Rhineland-Palatinate AI players.
Rhineland-Palatinate is home to more than 280 companies that develop and use AI methods or are preparing to do so. These include major international companies such as BASF, John Deere, and Boehringer Ingelheim, as well as SMEs such as Braun Maschinenbau or Zahnen Technik. The research landscape also boasts a variety of actors with AI competence. With its centres in Kaiserslautern, Mainz, Koblenz and Trier, Rhineland-Palatinate is home to world-renowned AI science institutions such as the Technical University of Kaiserslautern, the Johannes Gutenberg University, the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence, or the Fraunhofer Institutes ITWM and IESE. A dense grid of clusters, networks, and transfer actors deal with the transfer of AI competence into the economy.
Key findings from the workshop series show: SMEs in Rhineland-Palatinate need orientation to help them uncover the potential applications of AI and connect with suitable contact persons for their innovation process. Equally, many SMEs lack the knowledge, and research and development capacity to make AI usable for their business processes. Last but not least, the availability of AI-capable data in SMEs and the further networking of AI players can be expanded.
Rhineland-Palatinate has a good basis for the further promotion of AI use. The central ways to further support AI efforts in the state are demonstrated by the establishment of a central and attractive range of information and the increased visibility of existing AI offers. In addition, the expansion of AI-related advisory and support services could empower SMEs in forging their own innovation paths. For an even more AI-friendly economy, it is also important to look at incentives for greater data availability and the provision of additional national data.
For more information, visit the ministry website (mwvlw.rlp.de):
Go to study (PDF, in German)
Read the study in the web magazine
Project team: Dr Georg Klose, Johanna Thierstein, Jonathan-Aton Talamo, Dr Jonathan Eberle, Holger Bornemann
Principal, Head of Digital Development
The Rhineland-Palatinate Innovation Agency was co-developed by Prognos in 2022. Prognos has continued to support the innovation agency throughout the start of its operational work.
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