Press Release

“AI navigation for retail” becomes new KI.NRW flagship project


Artificial intelligence: retail experts set up a central point of contact for retailers

As part of the new flagship of the KI.NRW competence platform “AI navigation for retail”, retail experts from NRW are identifying, testing and demonstrating customized AI applications and making them available as a “Navi”. Small and medium-sized retail companies in particular will benefit from this, as it will give them easy access to artificial intelligence. The state of North Rhine-Westphalia is funding the project with a total of around 2.2 million euros.

North Rhine-Westphalia is the number one retail location in Germany. More than one in five German retail companies is based here. Due to the technological shift towards digital value creation and in response to external factors such as supply chain transparency, a shortage of skilled labour and changing customer needs, this sector of the economy is undergoing radical change. Artificial intelligence is a suitable tool for recognizing such developments at an early stage and taking entrepreneurial measures.

The importance of AI in retail

AI is currently only used to a limited extent in the retail sector: This is set to change with the help of the new KI.NRW flagship project “AI navigation for retail”. The project consortium, consisting of gmvteam, NRW Trade Association and the European EPC Competence Centre (EECC), has set itself the task of making AI solutions usable for the retail sector in North Rhine-Westphalia and developing an AI navigation system for SMEs. The aim is to offer small and medium-sized retail companies in particular the opportunity to find out about suitable AI applications for their sector without barriers and to find suitable solutions.

This project is supported by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia: “The potential of artificial intelligence in the retail sector is enormous. Small and medium-sized enterprises can also benefit from this. We want to support retailers in North Rhine-Westphalia in realising this potential and thus ensuring their long-term competitiveness. The project gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to benefit directly from forward-looking, application-orientated results of AI research”, said Mona Neubaur, North Rhine-Westphalia’s Minister of Economic Affairs, at the presentation of the funding decision totalling around 2.2 million euros. The project will run for four years.

Important contribution to the future viability of the retail sector

The use cases developed and demonstrated in the project break down access barriers and make AI technologies easy to use. “An online portal will provide information via suitable dashboards that will support retailers in their decision-making. Time-consuming work and decision-making processes will be simplified or automated in the future. This not only creates a major cost advantage through greater process transparency, but also new scope for optimising the customer-centric business model,” says Frank Rehme from gmvteam GmbH, which is also the consortium leader for the project. The “AI Navigation for retail” will thus strengthen North Rhine-Westphalia as a retail location and contribute to taking on a pioneering role in the field of AI in retail throughout Germany and Europe.

AI project becomes part of the KI.NRW flagship initiative

As patron, the competence platform for artificial intelligence in North Rhine-Westphalia Westphalia is including the project in its flagship initiative. “Artificial intelligence can help to make the retail sector fit for the future, for example by optimising the product range with intelligent demand planning and specific marketing measures. This is where the ‘AI navigation for retail’ project comes in, helping to accelerate the transfer of AI applications into practice and making it easier for small and medium-sized retail companies in particular to access these technologies. It is important for the project participants to involve all employees with the help of educational and training programmes. In our view, this is crucial for the successful implementation and acceptance of artificial intelligence. We are therefore delighted to include the project in the KI.NRW flagship initiative,” says Dr Christian Temath, Managing Director of KI.NRW. Under the motto “Flagships powered by KI.NRW”, the competence platform supports the highly innovative and application-oriented AI projects with high social relevance funded by the state and helps to make groundbreaking pioneering projects visible beyond the state’s borders.

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