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CORDIS - EU research results

platform-enabled KITs of arTificial intelligence FOR an easy uptake by SMEs

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - KITT4SME (platform-enabled KITs of arTificial intelligence FOR an easy uptake by SMEs)

Reporting period: 2021-10-01 to 2022-09-30

SMEs are among the companies which could benefit the most from the opportunities brought by artificial intelligence solutions while, at the same time, being the ones with the least capabilities and resources to embrace them. Only one of five is highly digitized and only 20% offer ICT training to their employee. AI-based implementations need to work on well-prepared data from credible sources, which the SMEs usually lack of. SMEs and mid-caps in the manufacturing sector need support in the use of secure digital technologies in their production processes, products and business models to enable personalised products and to facilitate cost-effective small-scale production.

KITT4SME specifically targets European SMEs and mid-caps to provide them with scope-tailored and industry-ready hardware, software and organisational kits, delivered as a modularly customisable digital platform, that seamlessly introduce artificial intelligence in their production systems.

1- To make available to SMEs ready-to-use customised digital packages for embracing AI opportunities at affordable prices and proper scale
2- To seamlessly fuse AI and human problem-solving expertise into a single digital brain with unprecedented shop floor orchestration capabilities
3- To build a competence development centre that advances European workforce in line with digital skills trends and workers’ aspirations
4- To extend the offer of local ecosystem so that players with different competencies can thrive while collaborating in the creation of customisable AI kits
5- To support standardisation in the fields of sovereign data economy and characterisation of workers skills and training experiences.
WP1 - The stakeholders of the project and their needs have been identified in detail and the requirements that an AI solution should satisfy are determined. The overall structure of the pilot experiments, the validation framework and the user journey has been designed. The necessary security and privacy requirements for the platform have been listed.

WP2 - The activities were focused on the definition of the architecture, on security analysis and data modelling and implementation of KITT4SME cloud infrastructure. Two foundational layers that support KITT4SME workflow and the operation of AI services have been developed: Mesh infrastructure and Platform infrastructure services. In parallel, security risks and requirements were analysed and approaches and methods to support the creation of channels for traceability and monitoring of transactions were introduced.

WP3 - The results obtained supported the DIAGNOSE phase with the release of a first prototype of the configurator for SMEs-oriented platform and a methodology aimed at supporting, encouraging and motivating the users in their journey of digital transformation. In parallel, it supported the COMPOSE phase with the development of open source software focused on supporting a flexible and dynamic provision of AI components and services to be installed both in the physical shop floor and the cloud environment.

WP4 - The activities mainly focused on SENSE and COMPOSE phases of the project have completed. First, the “Human-aware digital shop floor data model” has been defined and the model that describe the state-of –the –art of shop floor physical elements and worker’s well-being has been developed. Next, the AI based components that will be made available by means of the functional models catalogue integrated within KITT4SME platform have been released: AIQuS, FaMS, IM, VIQE, SADS, IG and MPMS.

WP5 - This WP contributes to the EVOLVE pillar by providing the functionalities for skills gap assessment of the workers and the characterization of skills and capabilities demand of the factory based on a list of key AI technologies, skills and archetypes. As a result, the Worker Profiler and Production System Profiler tools have been developed as well as a Catalogue of Qualified Training Experience.

WP6 - All the involved partners, starting from the results carried out in the T1.3 collaborated in defining a common demonstration methodology to be followed in the coming months, shedding light on BPMN, requirements, risks, KPIs, control procedures and expected results.

WP7 - All the work necessary to prepare and launch both rounds, Type-A and Type-B, of the open calls was carried out. This resulted in with the presentation of, respectively, 49 and 23 proposals. Type-A open call evaluation process has been completed and led to the awarding of 10 proposals and the corresponding actions entered the execution phase. For Type-B open call the evaluation process started.

WP8 - The baseline of the methodology and the strategy for creating a DIH-centred ecosystem has been identified and a CRM system, for creating and tracking the ecosystem, has been created. During the last year, the Ecosystem Management Body has been outlined, a programme for early adopters has been developed and the strategy to leverage the network effects has been drafted.

WP9 - The visual identity of the project, the promotional materials and the templates for both internal and external communication have been created and the online tools are activated in accordance with the communication and dissemination strategy and plan. The expected targets have been fulfilled and are considerate to be appropriate also for the next period.

WP10 - The practical information for the use of the partners including the quality assurance and risk management procedures has been identified. The internal collaboration platform for enabling the collaborative work of the partners has been commissioned and the issues regarding the data management and legal issues have been defined.
KITT4SME aims at facilitating the uptake of AI solutions by European SMEs exploiting a platform-ecosystem to lower AI adoption barriers and to get the most out of the data coming from the production systems. This is done by contributing to establish a European-wide ecosystem exploiting a leverage effect brought by the collaboration with existing initiatives and the launch of several open-call’ experiments. SMEs are thus guided in their digitalisation journey; their human competences are kept aligned with the technological progress and digital gaps preventing them to keep pace with the big organizations are reduced.

Digital Platforms and AI marketplaces:
KITT4SME tackles the current barriers preventing the widespread use of these B2B platforms acting at both technical and collaboration level: (i) a trustable and interoperable platform is developed by implementing a Powered by FIWARE Middleware for AI, (ii) to overcome the problem of fragmentation and vendor lock-in, Model-Driven Methodology for Modules Composability, and (iii) concrete programmes to achieve a critical mass of platform users are developed relying on the establishment of close collaboration with existing European DIHs. These achievements have not yet realized in the first period of the project.

AI for process optimization, quality improvement and reconfigurability:
KITT4SME goes beyond AI techniques inspection and improvement (e.g: computer vision), to build an AI model that identifies configuration issues in real-time to becomes aware of potential inconsistencies and errors earlier in time.