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ICIC 2017: Technology Scouting: Decision Support in Strategic Analyses for Technology-driven Companies – Artificial Intelligence in Action


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Stefan Geißler (Expert System Deutschland, Germany)
Tim Schloen (Fraunhofer IAO Stuttgart, Germany)
Trying to keep up to date with developments, trends and opportunities even in narrow domains involves digesting and considering large amounts of textual information and often is beyond the reading capabilities of human experts. Large organisations may be able to cope with this challenge with dedicated analysis teams, but SMEs are overcharge with this information load.

Under the label „Technology Scouting“ we present an approach to employ modern semantic technologies and artificial intelligence to (semi) automate the collection, analysis and reporting of large document collections in a way that allows to derive important insights for technology-driven companies: Which technologies and markets are emerging or moving, how do my clients, partners and competitors operate?

After an introduction to the technological and methodological basis, we present experiences from past industry engagements where this aproach has be applied in production.

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ICIC 2017: Technology Scouting: Decision Support in Strategic Analyses for Technology-driven Companies – Artificial Intelligence in Action

  1. 1. Expert System @ ICIC 2017: Technology Scouting Semantic technologies supporting decision making in technology companies Stefan Geißler, Expert System / Tim Schloen, Fraunhofer IAO 24.10.2017
  2. 2. ▪ Expert System is the largest European vendor of cognitive computing software for the analysis of textual content ▪ Listed at the Milan stock exchange (EXSY) with offices in Italy, France, Germany, UK, Spain and USA ▪ Proprietory, patent protected technology: Cogito! ▪ The Cognitive Computing solution of choice for many different clients in many different industry sectors Introducing Expert System
  3. 3. Topic of today Using semantic technologies to support strategic decision making processes for technology companies : „Technology Scouting“
  4. 4. Expert System: ▪ Software vendor: ▪ Information Extraction Server: Cogito ▪ Dokument Analysis-Application: Cogito Intelligence Plattform ▪ Supporting Fraunhofer on advanced adaptations and extensions of the basic technologies Fraunhofer IAO: ▪ NLP Foundations: Make or buy? Buy! ▪ Expertise around „Technology Scouting“: ▪ Sources? ▪ Abstract Forms of Technology Assessment ▪ Consulting projects for technology companies Expert System and Fraunhofer as Partners
  5. 5. ▪ Document Categorisation and Information Extraction Server ▪ Multi lingual, Scalable ▪ Rich language and development tools for the definition of new annotation components: „Cogito Studio“ ▪ Web-based environment for analysis, storage and reporting („CIP – Cogito Intelligence Platform“) ▪ For an overview about Cogito as NLP analysis software: cf. Software Foundations: Cogito
  6. 6. • Core questions and processes Technology Scouting • Screenshots: Example 3D printing
  7. 7. Fraunhofer-IAO  Founded: 1981  Department Head:  Prof. Dr.-Ing. Prof. e. h.Wilhelm Bauer Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dieter Spath  Financials:  38,5 Mio €/year*,  34,3% from industry contracts  Staff:  Approx 650
  8. 8. Fraunhofer-IAO: Business activities Business development and labor organisation Services and human resources management Information and communication technology Human machine interaction Technology and innovation management Mobility and Urban information systems foster innovation develop technology scenarios optimize R&D
  9. 9. Question we want to address with Technology Scouting • Benefit: Fast and comprehesive evaluation of text documents  Identification of experts and contact persons  Identification of core relevant information • Problem  Size/volumes of the Information to consider  Topics, Vocabularies  Content (Scientific literature, Patents, Press, Internet)  often no structured, replicable and efficient process available • Solution  Support by semantic software • Question: Which Technologies, Competitors, Trends and Customer Requirements may turn into an opportunity or a threat in the coming years ?
  10. 10. Main areas of evaluation: ▪ Weak signal detection of technological trends  Identify new technologies  Identify new markets and customer segments ▪ Analysis: Structured approach to finding  Research activities / technical solutions  Competitors  Trends  Networks: who is working with whom where on what ▪ Monitoring  Get an overview on relevant topics  Offer a continuous technology analysis portal  Enbed the analysis into a company‘s technology development process
  11. 11. Detail analyses Annotation Analysis Training Core process Vocabulary analysis Content sources Result t1 Result t2…x Monitoring Feedback- loops
  12. 12. Thesaurus
  13. 13. Software-supported Thesaurus creation with Cogito Studio Express
  14. 14. Content sources ▪ Special interest databases - Partner: WTI-Frankfurt, 4.8 Mio. abstracts from international STM publishers - Thesaurus of 70.000 terms (german/englisch) - Scientific Publications: Elsevier, ThomsonReuters, … - Further sources can be integrated - provided licenses exist ▪ Patents - Connector to the European Patent Office - Integration with PatBase ▪ RSS-Feeds, specific portals, Internet, Social Media ▪ … generally all sources with text content can be added
  15. 15. Overview : Cogito Intelligence Platform CIP welcome page
  16. 16. Overview : Navigation elements 1 2 3
  17. 17. Sample Search
  18. 18. Document view
  19. 19. Technology scouting: Technology fact sheet
  20. 20. Analyses • Which companies work with a given Technology? • Which research institutions are active with this technology? • Which experts can we address? • Are there networks or clusters of experts? • What is the temporal evolution of a given technology?
  21. 21. Analyses
  22. 22. Analyses
  23. 23. Monitoring: Alerts
  24. 24. Monitoring/Storing: Personal Cases
  25. 25. Project options SmartScouting TecScout Basic TecScout Prof • Topic: - 3D-Druck • Content - WTI - Press - Patents Projects • Individual Topics • Assessment through the client • Content - WTI/Elsevier/Thomson - Press - Patents - General internet • Individual topics • Technology fact sheets • Reports • Roadmaps/ Scenarios • Indvidual topics • Creating and granting access to personal cases: • Monitoring: Regular update with new content
  26. 26. Case Study: Identification of new Markets Questions: Find new markets for very fast actuators (< 1ms)  Result: A list of 50 new potential applications  Collision protection  Protection of the human body (press, saws, airbags)  Protection from overcharge  Lasershutter  Separation technologies (good products / rejects)  Stud welding  Kabuki-Systeme  Security in e-mobility, i.e. disconnecting batteries  Analyse of ca. 10.000 Documents  Effort ~ 3 days
  27. 27. Some past projects Current assembly trechnologies Lightweight construction OLED: Technologies and Applicationa Protocols/Standardisation in IT around Industry 4.0 Products for the In-Situ water analytics Innovative Cleaning technologies Welding Polymers Smart-Grid-Technologies Automomous driving Drive train technologies IT Security Innovative Concrete materials High speed jets Methods in Technology- and Innovation management Topic monitoring:  Automotive (FutureCar-Nework)  New materials  Industry 4.0  3D printing (FhG-Analysis) Markets for  Thermoforming technologies  visible light communication (VLC)  Polymer foils  Infrared spektroskopy  Markets for glass ceramics Competitive analyses
  28. 28. Summary • Systematic, replicable identification of new technologies, customers, trends and competitors • Software-supported analysis of voluminous text collections from DBs, patents, and the general internet • Simple software-supported creation of domain vocabularies and content sources • Customizing through the customer is possible • Collaboration: Extensive options to share the workload, share the results • Build up a centralised platform for domain-specific information: A dynamic innovation & scouting infrastructure
  29. 29. Contact Tim Schloen Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO Nobelstr. 12 70569 Stuttgart Tel.: +49 (0)711 970 2078
  30. 30. @stefangeissler Vielen Dank! Contacts