The Kistler Innovation Lab as a powerful Digitization Booster

On February 4, 2021, the expert group Smart Services got together online for another successful event in the series “Service Lunch”. Dr. Nikola Pascher from Kistler Instrumente AG presented the the Kistler Innovation Lab as a powerful Digitization Booster. The talk was accompanied by lively discussions among the more than 50 participants. Please find a summary of the talk here:

Kistler is the global leader for providing modular solutions in dynamic measurement technology for pressure, force, torque and acceleration measurements. The company looks back on a continuously growing business, selling hardware and system solutions in various markets. Headquartered in Winterthur, Switzerland, and with various locations worldwide, Kistler’s next step is a digital transformation to maintain steady growth within the digital age. This involves the creation of the Kistler Innovation Lab as a powerful digitization booster.

The Innovation Lab follows the general vision “Turning data into value”. This means, that we build on the vast amounts of data created with Kistler’s sensor technology and create value by using digital methods, rooted in data science, mathematics and signal processing. Digital initiatives are pursued in a protected framework at a higher speed than possible in the general corporate context. To accomplish this, the Innovation Lab stands on three pillars: With the co-creation platform, we connect different fields of expertise, share knowledge and data and provide digital know-how. The digital technology incubator is a professional framework for quick experiments and ideas with the ultimate goal to pursue proof of concept projects for digital services and solutions based on Kistler sensor data. With the digital training center, we want to empower the Kistler team and our partners to identify digital business opportunities.

In the first part of this talk, we report on the general digital transformation mechanism at Kistler with a focus on the ramp-up of the Innovation Lab within the corporate context. Despite the challenges, which are imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Innovation Lab turned out to be a powerful tool, delivering first proof of Kistler’s data-based capabilities and strengthening the credibility towards our team, customers and partners.

In the second part of the talk, we focus on technical aspects of data-based services and solutions. All initiatives build on a powerful and scalable technology stack, which allows the quick set-up and deployment of cloud-based APIs. We report on first projects within the co-creation platform and the digital technology incubator. These projects aim at the fast creation of data-based services and solutions. In a co-creation project with our in-house sensor production, we aimed at optimizing a metal machining process inside a turning lathe. Together with the Kistler-internal machine shop, we made an important step towards a predictive maintenance and quality forecasting service. In a second project, we analyzed data from our weigh in motion (WIM) systems and realized, that roughly 30% of all trucks are driving empty. With the help of a machine learning model, we can forecast the flows of empty and full trucks with high accuracy.

Interview with Kitro SA

Can you shortly tell us what Kitro does and who you are?

Kitro aims to reduce food waste in the hospitality industry. We do this by analysing the food that’s being thrown away in large kitchens. Our solution is a fully automated IoT devise that consists of two parts, it’s a hardware with a scale and a camera. The scale automatically detects when something is added to the bin and this triggers the camera. The captured image is uploaded to the cloud where it is analysed. The results of the analysis are uploaded to an online dashboard where our customers have access to it 24/7. Based on this, our customers can decide how to reduce their waste. Our customer service can also help to understand the dashboard and the data in order to make better decisions. 

We are currently developing our “best practices” page to serve as an inspiration for our customers. The idea of the “best practices” page is to have a collection of options on ways to reduce food waste.

What is Kitro’s background story?

The company was founded by Naomi MacKenzie and Anastasia Hofmann. They studied at the École hôtelière de Lausanne. During their education they gained work experience in kitchens and services, where they saw how much food was thrown away all the time. They wanted to tackle this issue and came up with the idea for Kitro. Kitro was founded in 2017.  As neither Naomi and Anastasia had a tech background, they got out outside talent to develop the product and are themselves managing the business side.

Why is it important that Kitro exists?

Globally, along the supply chain, one third of all food is wasted. In the food and beverage industry, two thirds of all the food that is thrown away is a waste that could be avoided; it’s still edible but is still being disposed. This has a large environmental impact and is also a big cost for the restaurants. With our product we hope to help restaurants reduce food waste and consequently reduce the environmental impact and save money.

Who can profit from your product?

We mainly work with larger schools, hospitals and canteens. We also work with restaurants and hotels, but they have to be of a certain size for it to be advantageous for them to use our product. We offer a subscription and the idea is that they save more than they invest.

For now, our product is not useful for individual persons who want to reduce their food waste – but that would be a cool idea! 

Can you give some examples of your success stories?

From a tech perspective we have built a huge data set with all the data that we collected. We were able to train machine learning models based on this data that helped with the analysis and made the process more efficient and reduced costs.

We have also had customers from really early on in the project; the product has already been tested with customers for three years.

A big milestone is also that we grew the team to 12 people.

How do the customers find you?

In the beginning we took part in many competitions, such as start-up competitions, which gave us visibility. This helped the customers find us. We also went to conferences. Now we have also started to approach potential customers through cold calls and the like.

What are your biggest challenges?

From a tech perspective it’s challenging to automate the processes. We want to basically reduce or remove the human from the labelling in order to reduce costs and make the company profitable.

It has also been a challenge to create a clean data set that can be used for machine learning. This is still an ongoing process – it takes a lot of work. These are the biggest challenges.

How do you see the future of Kitro and what is your long-term goal?

The data that we collect could be interesting also for the government, not only for restaurants and food services. It could be interesting for them to get a better picture of the amount and kind of food that is thrown away, and to set up some kind of rules or guidelines in the future.

Food waste is also a problem in retail and on farms, not only in commercial kitchens and that is an area where we could make an impact.

In the future we also want to support our customers more with the decision making – with our “best practices” website and with predictive measures – based on the data collected. A first version is already online, but currently it is only visible to our customers on their dashboard.

Service Excellence Sommer Olympiade

And The Winner is…

Am ersten Juli 2020 fiel der Start zur Sommerolympiade service excellence for you. Am Jahresanlass des Schweizer Service Verband SKDV wurden die Teilnehmer dazu eingeladen, sich folgender Frage zu stellen:

«Welches Unternehmen hat den Besten Kundendienst, sind sie bereit für die Herausforderung?»

Kurt Ulmann (Vize-Präsident SKDV) hatte die Idee, über den Verband die Prägung zum Thema Service Excellence in den Unternehmen zu testen und zugleich das Wissen bei den Mitarbeitenden zu vertiefen. Gemeinsam mit der Lern/Game Plattform von Quizmax und dem Know-How von der Service Manufacture entstand das Quiz service excellence for you, welches Themen wie:

  • Begeisterte Kommunikation
  • Excellence @ work
  • Mindset für Service Excellence
  • Service Excellence Wissen
  • Excellenter Auftritt

spielerisch abfragt.

«Nur wer selbst brennt, kann Feuer in anderen entfachen» Augustinus Hippo

Das Game kann via APP auf dem Handy sowie auf dem Desktop gespielt werden. Die Spieler quizzen in den Unternehmen gegeneinander, oder gegen den Computer. Dabei sehen sie ihren Wissenstand und können verschiedene Wissensstufen erreichen. Ausgewertet wird am Ende der durchschnittliche Erfolg, welcher mit den anderen Unternehmen verglichen wird. Daraus entsteht eine dynamische Rangliste der mitspielenden Firmen.

Das Game ist auch ohne Olympiade jederzeit verfügbar:

Der SKDV stellt das service excellence for you quiz seinen Mitgliedern sowie den Mitgliedern der Technischen Kundendienst Kammer TKK kostenfrei zur Verfügung

Jedes Unternehmen, das seine Mitarbeiter im technischen Kundendienst weiterentwickeln möchte, kann sich für einen eigenen Zugang registrieren.

Mehrere Unternehmen rangen um den Sieg und den begehrten Titel «Bestes Serviceunternehmen 2020»

And The Winner is:

Hörmann Schweiz AG, unter der Leitung von Patrik Hostettler, Leiter Technischer Kundendienst.

Gemäss Herrn Hostettler wird das Thema Kundenbegeisterung bei Hörmann grossgeschrieben, was der Gewinn an dieser Olympiade unterstreicht. Er werde im Frühjahr einen Mitarbeiteranlass organisieren und den Gewinn, «Ambassador Kart» eine begeisterte Fahrt mit dem  Elektrokart von der Firma Service Manufacture, einlösen. Dabei wird er seine Servicehelden gebührend feiern.

Übergabe des Gewinner-Zertifikats

Links: Patrik Hostettler, Leiter Kundendienst, Hörmann CH
Rechts: Thomas Seiler, Vorstandsmitglied SKDV

Der SKDV gratuliert dem Hörmann-Team zu diesem Erfolg!

Interview with Data Ahead Analytics

Could you shortly tell who Data Ahead Analytics is and what you do?

Data Ahead Analytics is a Zurich based tech company. We enable our customers to get the carbon footprints of their value chains at a very granular level. We help them calculate the impacts and seize opportunities in their journey towards decarbonization.

What is Data Ahead Analytics background story?

Christian Spindler, CEO of Data Ahead Analytics, has a passion for bringing long-term sustainability dimensions to the business side of companies.

“When you look back at how sustainability was originally defined, there was a balance between the ecological, social and economic aspects of well-being: one aspect should not compromise the other aspects. In order to ensure overall sustainability, we should bring all these three elements together, in order to have thriving businesses that are ecologically and socially sustainable.”

Christian has a background in physics and was engaging in data science, already before the word “data science” had been coined. During his PhD he started to combine climate research with data-driven modelling. He specifically worked on the statistical analysis of aerosol measurements, one of the contributors to climate change that still has many open questions. He enjoyed bringing together data science on the one side and sustainability measures on the other. Christian then developed his professional career in large corporations, such as ABB and in the large consultancies Deloitte and PwC. At the end of 2018 he decided to engage full-time in the environmental fintech start-up, Data Ahead Analytics.

Dr. Christian Spindler

The idea of Data Ahead Analytics started back in 2015 around the COP21 (Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)) that took place in Paris in November 2015. The conference achieved a breakthrough in international climate negotiations and, consequently, in international climate economics. All the participating nations committed to intensifying their actions and investments to achieve a sustainable, low carbon future. Still five years later, the Paris agreement is considered very successful, because it was the very first time that all nations agreed to undertake such ambitious efforts to combat climate change. The idea of Data Ahead Analytics was developed around this momentum.  We thought that when something with this magnitude happens, the entire accounting system and the way we measure sustainability impacts and sustainability related risks, will have to change – over the globe and for every company. We saw this as our opportunity to make a difference. We wanted to bring the carbon disclosure and the carbon risk measurements that were then used to a much deeper and more detailed level. This proved to be very valuable, because there are many companies that want to become carbon neutral by 2030 but lack the means to achieve it. We help them on their journey by providing the means to count in detail, where in their processes carbon is emitted and navigate them through the current uncertainty of the decarbonization ahead. And, of course, identifying business opportunities found in decarbonization of a company is very exiting!

Now Data Ahead Analytics is run by three co-founders working with four students. We are also looking for more software developers.

Why is it important that Data Ahead Analytics exists?

It is important because on the long term we will be forced to build up the same kinds of accounting mechanisms for carbon neutralization that we currently have in the financial world, for example the IFRS standards (International Financial Reporting Standards). In the future, we will also have to take other externalized impacts into account, such as biodiversity degradation, waste, or air-pollution. But for now, we focus on carbon. This means that we hope to see a world where we count each and every molecule of carbon in the same way we count every dollar and cent in the financial books of organizations. We are on the forefront in shaping holistic carbon accounting. We also work on incorporating all the mechanisms available in the financial industry, for example risk analysis, into the world of sustainability.

Who can profit from your services?

We have two major customer segments that profit from our services: financial services and non-financial companies. On the financial side, we are screening climate risks for both real-estate investors, and for corporate loan books of banks. On the non-financial side, we provide dynamic product carbon footprints that go deep down to a single process level and analyse granular emissions at each step in a certain process path, identify decarbonization potential and map emissions to future financial costs from a sustainability perspective. Our customers are individual businesses with all the services and products they offer.

It is exciting to see the different fields enforcing each other: pressure from the financial sector on corporates forces the companies to evaluate their sustainability processes. Then the large companies will push this need up their value chains, and this way sustainability accounting expands to smaller companies, who may not necessarily have as much knowledge of or experience in ESG.

How do your customers find you?

Through feedback from our previous or current customers. Our customers specifically appreciate the collaborative philosophy of our work. And the field of sustainability analytics is still young and not very standardized, so many customers need upskilling and are happy if we can help bringing them to the next level in this exciting field.

Can you give some concrete examples?

An example from the finance field is a real-estate investment firm, who are looking into sustainability risks in objects on the market. We are developing an API (Application Programming Interface) based solution, where few basic input data points of properties are sufficient for a thorough analysis of the sustainability risks, particularly climate risks, of a specific asset.

On the corporate side we recently concluded a very innovative project with the multinational company Siemens in Germany, where we went down to the granular production processes of a single product. We designed and implemented carbon foot printing for each individual product that run through the line. We are currently industrializing the solution to deliver continuous, automated, and verifiable product carbon footprints. This demonstrates that we can go to new levels of depths with our technology.

What are your biggest challenges?

Our biggest challenge is that we have more possibilities to add value than we can thoroughly deliver. This is why it is especially important to focus on the relevant issues that we know we can deliver well. But this is not always easy, with all the different areas that simultaneously move forward fast today. We are unfortunately often forced to say “No” in order to keep on the relevant track in serving our customers.

How do you see the future of Data Ahead Analytics and what is your long-term goal?

Our vision is to run companies with a fully developed sustainability accounting system – catering the same kind of regulations and following the same kind of standardization that we currently have in financial accounting. Today we are in a situation where we can build sustainability accounting from the green field software development – doing things the right way digitally, end to end.

For businesses we are developing a Software as a Service product that allows companies from the financial and non-financial sector to acquire ESG data and run impact, risk, and opportunity analyses.

We want to keep being an innovative leader in this young field.

Is there anything else that you want to add?

We are looking out for software developers, please feel free to drop Christian a note if you are interested to learn more!

Code of Ethics: a comprehensive guideline for responsible action

Since December 2018, the Expert Group for Data Ethics within the Swiss Alliance for Data-Intensive Services has been working hard to create a comprehensive Code of Ethics for data-based businesses. Now the long work has borne fruit and on 10. December 2020 the Code of Ethics was published and presented at an online press conference.  The Code is a tangible contribution from our Alliance to help companies make data-based business compatible with the core values of our society, and in avoiding damage to reputation. It is a contribution to ensure the social acceptance and sustainability of data-based value creation in our country.

In recent years the availability of data has increased enormously which has led to a profound economic change. In many sectors, SMEs and large companies are considering how to develop new products and services by collecting, buying, storing and analysing data. This process of data-based value creation is accompanied by regular reports on unethical behaviour such as the violation of customer privacy, the use of “unfair” algorithms or unintended social effects of new data services. These incidents undermine consumer confidence and are partly responsible for the fact that even carefully designed apps such as the SwissCovid app are met with scepticism by quite a few people.

Trust in data-based value creation does not only depend on compliance with data protection law. In contrast to various comparable documents, the code addresses concrete problems of data management in a practice-oriented manner. It not only explains the basic ethical issues, but also provides concrete recommendations. Furthermore, it addresses the question of how the code of ethics can be integrated into the concrete business processes of companies. The code is therefore a comprehensive guideline for responsible action. The code is intended to help companies and institutions to boost the confidence of consumers and politicians in the value-added use of data.

The code of ethics comprehensively addresses all relevant issues related to the data lifecycle and aims to help both SMEs and large companies to achieve ethical data value creation. 

It consists of the following documents: 1) Overview 2) Basics 3) Recommendations 4) Implementation 5) Context. 

The code was developed by experts from the Swiss Alliance for Data-Intensive Services. In particular, representatives of the “Digital Ethics Lab” of the Digital Society Initiative of the University of Zurich, technical experts from Zurich and Valais Universities of Applied Sciences and representatives of companies were involved. 

The Code of Ethics is available on the Alliance’s website in German, English, French and Italian. 

Interview with Sedimentum

Could you shortly tell us what Sedimentum does?

Sedimentum is a healthcare and technology start-up that has developed a technological protection tool that ensures the physical safety of, for example, people in nursing homes, when they are on their own. This solution aims to support and relieve the burden of nursing staff in psychiatric clinics and in nursing homes for the elderly, as well as for relatives of the elderly. The caregivers are informed in real time about any unusual occurrences (e.g. falls), enabling them to take the necessary measures to protect the people living alone in a timely manner.

We develop the first contactless solution for fall and emergency detection in healthcare without compromising privacy.

What is Sedimentum’s background story?

Before co-founding Sedimentum, Sandro Cilurzo, CEO, worked in a Swiss psychiatric clinic as an information security officer. He was also a member of a think tank for management members and experts from medical and nursing fields. There he was responsible for contributing technological expertise. The representatives from the medical and nursing sector discussed problems and challenges in their day to day work and he proposed new technological solutions to these “real-world” problems. It was precisely after a meeting with the think tank that he had a sudden insight. Sedimentum is the outcome of this eureka moment:

One of the main challenges of any psychiatric institution is to ensure the physical safety of their patients 24/7. There are always periods of time when the patients are on their own, but especially at night they must get along without any caregiver for an exceptionally long time. During the night shift the available nursing staff is very limited – often there is just one single caregiver. Therefore, it is impossible for the nursing staff on duty always to be in the right place at the right time.

Additionally, the privacy and data protection requirements are extremely high in the healthcare sector. Camera-, and microphone-based systems are an absolute no-go. Besides that, already existing solutions such as wearables and watches, don’t work well enough in “real world” conditions. This is why Sedimentum developed the first contactless fall and emergency detection solution in healthcare, which processes fully anonymized data whilst protecting privacy.

Sandro Cilurzo, CEO

Why is it important that Sedimentum exists?

In Switzerland alone, 80,000 elderly people fall in their homes every year. Around 1400 of those affected die as a result of the fall. It is not only the people over 80 who are considered particularly at risk of falling. People with epilepsy, patients in stationary or ambulatory psychiatric clinics, younger seniors or even small children are affected. Many people are in need of protection, but as of yet no smart solutions exist to fulfil that need. Seamless support from third parties is resource-intensive and therefore costly, and in most cases not possible. The physical safety of vulnerable people who live alone cannot be guaranteed 24 hours per day. This problem exists in private homes and retirement homes, nursing and care institutions, psychiatric institutions and other healthcare organizations alike.

Sedimentum technological solution will make the lives of thousands of people safer and more independent in the future – and all of this in a completely automated way.

Who can profit from your services?

Initially, we focus on business customers. Our primary target groups are psychiatric clinics, nursing homes, ambulatory care organizations and institutions for assisted living.

You recently announced and exciting partnership with HOPR (a blockchain based data protection start-up), could you tell us more about this and how it came about?

The HOPR protocol ensures that everyone in a communications network has control over their privacy. HOPR and Sedimentum share the same values and we have been in contact with the HOPR team from the beginning. HOPR has developed a groundbreaking open source technology to be used by privacy-aware developers all over the world. Their protocol is integrated in our cutting-edge privacy-preserving technology to save lives without compromising privacy.

Can you give some further examples of your success stories?

We are a fast-growing startup with 7 full-time employees and are constantly pushing technological boundaries. In January this year (2020), we successfully closed a pre-seed financing round that enabled us to reach our set milestones. One of the most important milestones so far was to launch a proof-of-concept with a leading Swiss psychiatric clinic. Also, other proof-of-concepts with nursing homes and ambulatory care units are starting this fall and winter.

On the first of November 2020 Sandro Cilurzo got listed in the Forbes 30 under 30 list. We are very proud and happy for this recognition!

Also, in November we got the “Zuger JungUnternehmer Preis 2020 “, (the Zuger price for a young company).

What are your biggest challenges?

High regulatory requirements and different technical uncertainties. Our amazing and competent team finds solutions to these technical difficulties. We have massively improved our solution over the last couple of months. All this added value highly improves the customer experience.

The regulatory requirements have been challenging as well. We had to put a lot of effort into solving them. Meanwhile we have developed a mature regulatory strategy that is appropriate to our needs. Our main learning is: question everything (even experts) and above all, remain calm – there is always a solution!

How do you see the future of Sedimentum and what is your long-term goal?

We will officially enter the DACH market next spring. Our vision is to make living safe, especially for vulnerable people. We want to become the leading contactless and privacy preserving fall and emergency detection provider for healthcare worldwide.

First Event: Match-Making in Big Data with Academia and Industry 10.11.2020

The National Research Program, NRP embraces research projects that contribute to solving key issues of today. The Federal Council makes the final selection of topics, which it then refers to the Swiss National Science Foundation, SNSF, to address within the scope of an NRP. NFP 75 provides foundations for the effective and appropriate use of big data. The projects focus on computing and information technology but also deal with the effects on society as well as on big data applications in various areas of society.

In its aim to help companies develop new products and services the Swiss Alliance for Data-Intensive Services is also looking for joint workshops and conferences with partners who are active in similar areas. This is how the collaboration with the National Research Programme NRP 75 “Big Data” came about.

On 10 November 2020 a first match-making event took place. Short pitches of ten projects in two blocks focused on technology transfer and were followed by breakout sessions to answer questions, make contacts, and exchange ideas. Originally planned as physical events at three different locations in Switzerland, the series had to be moved into a virtual space due to the current Covid-19 situation. 

Beatrice Huber, head of knowledge and technology transfer at NRP 75, opened the event: “We believe that we are doing excellent research in our NRP. But that is not enough. Research must also be useful for the society, for the industry. That is why technology transfer is important and that is why NRP 75 looked for partners to promote it. Swiss Alliance for Data-Intensive Services was the ideal partner to this end.”

Gundula Heinatz, Managing Director of the alliance then welcomed the participants and speakers and introduced the alliance “We are an innovation network with members from Academia and Industry. Our mission is to provide a significant contribution for data-driven value creation. With events like these we create an inspiring ecosystem, even during special times like today. It is a pleasure to know that some of our academic members are presenters and some industrial members are participants today. Take this opportunity to exchange and discuss collaborations”.

Cedric Huwyler from FHNW held the first talk “Automatic analysis of solar eruptions” about the impact of solar flares and the huge amount of data that it produces when it’s being recorded. 

Then Antoinette Weibel, from the University of St Gallen, talked about “Big Brother in Swiss companies? Trust, data and personal privacy of employees”. More and more spying software is bought by companies. Weibel talked about the ethical handling of this and how the software is used in Switzerland.

Michael Lechner, from the University of St Gallen, talked about the “Causal Analysis with Big data.” 

Kristen Schmidt, Attorney-at-Law, talked about “Who owns data”. Personal data is key since it is useful for personalisation in sales.

Joseph Molloy from ETH talked about “Using data traces to improve transport systems”. He talked about mobility behaviour on the large scale for tourism, retail, marketing and public health (covid). For example, to understand travel patterns during the lockdown.

Thomas Brunschwiler, IBM Research,  talked about “ICU cockpit: computer assistance for intensive and emergency medicine”. There are a lot of alerts in the ICU that are sent from many different devices. They want to use all the signals and sources of data to reduce the amounts of false alerts.

David Bresch, from ETH, talked about “Combining theory with big data? The case of uncertainty in prediction of trends in extreme weather and impacts.”

Helmut Harbrecht, University of Basel, talked about “Big data for computational chemistry: Unified machine learning and sparse grid combination technique for quantum based molecular design.”

Then Mira Burri, from the University of Luzern talked about “The Governance of Big Data in Trade Agreements”. She talked about the largely ignored link between international trade law and the regulation of data.

Finally Zalan Borsos, ETH, talked about “Scaling Up by Scaling Down: Big ML via Small Core sets”.

The event on 10 November was only the first of three match-making events as NRP 75 has many more projects. Two more events will therefore take place: one on Thursday 19 November and the other one on Tuesday 24 November.

More information regarding the participating projects:

Active Activities with Autonomous Robots

What are the likes and dislikes of robots and what makes them act? On October 15, 2020 F&P Robotics, together with the Swiss Alliance for Data Intensive Services, organized an interactive Robotics workshop. F&P Robotics introduced their products and solutions in the field of professional personal robotics. Their applications can be used in healthcare; for example mobile assistants for elderly care, persons with disabilities and for people in rehabilitation centers. They also create gastronomy robots, i.e bar robotics 

The workshop was made up of four interactive talks, where the participants got to know the robots on a first-name basis. We made our acquaintance with the autonomous assistant robot, Lio, and shook hands with his collaborative robot arm, P-Rob. At the end of the day Barney, the robot bar, made us some drinks. 

Dr. Hansruedi Früh, Managing Director of F&P Robotics, opened the workshop and gave an introduction to cooperative and care robotics. The Care Robot Lio is not a medical device but aims at helping people with special needs while at the same time leaving space for autonomy. Its collaborative robot arm P-Rob can be used for a variety of tasks, for example in the kitchen: you teach him by moving him in accordance to your needs.

After our first introduction to Lio and his P-Rob arm, Rastislav Marko, working with Software and Lio System Development at F&P Robotics, introduced us to the integrated Python scripting language and we got to do some programming exercises via myPⓇ’s browser interface: a web interface that controls Lio. Like all of us, Lio has a calendar when he works, to remind himself of his daily tasks. Lio can recognize people and has a good memory, this means that he can remember that he has seen someone and report this. Lio then proudly demonstrated his skills, singing a song and giving us a quote of the week.

But can a Robot choose how to act? Frederik Zwilling, working with Software Development and Lio Project Management at F&P Robotics, told us about the principles of autonomous behaviour in a robot. They are programmed to make decisions through logical reasoning of knowledge-based systems and common-sense rules. For example, a robot knows that at night you should be silent and let us, the non-robots, sleep.

Dr. Justinas Miseikis, Head of AI at F&P Robotics, told us about the learning principles for voice and face detection. Robots detect faces, usually through pre trained neural networks that are then optimized further, if they are not performing well enough. Although Lio has some trouble understanding people with their face masks – Robots have their own challenges with covid-19!

At the end of the day we got to see demos of the robots. To round off the day, we moved to Baronics AG to have a drink at the Barney Robot Bar where we continued the discussions.

The Workshop was highly interactive and interesting, the participants got to try the coding and communicate with the robots, something most of us don’t get to do everyday. We got an understanding about how robots move and work and exist in the world. The participants agreed that it was a very exceptional opportunity.

AI Use-Case Talk Series, 02.11.2020

At our latest online edition of the Use-Case Talks, held on November 2, 2020, industry, academic and individual members of the Swiss Alliance for Data-Intensive Services  joined us to  discuss data-driven innovation, confidential computing, and natural language  processing for analytics.  

The first speaker of the evening, Dr. David Sturzenegger, Head of Product at Decentriq, talked about how to enable secure data ecosystems with confidential  computing. David explained how Decentriq’s cloud-based platform always protects data during the process. 

Then our second speaker, João Pedro Monteiro, Co-Founder and CTO of Veezoo, gave his talk with the intriguing title “From Questions to Answers”. João Pedro gave an introduction to  Veezoo, that uses the natural language of analytics and how it works. 

These two interesting Use-Case talks sparked a lively and interesting discussion, where the participants could ask their questions and give their points of view.  In the  Q&A session we exchanged ideas, challenges and information among the industry and academic experts.  

This was the second online Use-Case Talk this year – special times call for creative measures –  however, we hope that we in the next ones again will be able to meet in person at Aspaara’s venue in Technopark Zurich, to have fruitful  and to have a fruitful in person networking session.  

The Use-Case Talks are part of a series organized three times a year. If you are  interested in sharing your AI stories and discussing them with other industry members, you  are warmly welcome to join us for our next Use-Case Talks taking place on March 15, 2021.  If you are interested in presenting a Use-Case, please contact us by e-mail ( 

About the Use-Case Talks 

The Use-Case Talk Series allows participants to enjoy in-depth technical discussions and  exchange information about interesting technical challenges amongst experts. Two to three  industry experts and numerous participants takes part in the Use-Case Talk to share stories  and insights about frameworks, best practices and tools in data science.  

The Use-Case Talk Series are organized by Aspaara Algorithmic Solutions AG on behalf of  Swiss Alliance for Data-Intensive Services. 

We look forward to seeing you soon!

Service Lunch “Transformation Journey to Smart Products” 22.9.2020

About 20 guests attended the online Service Lunch organized by the Smart Services Expert Group on September 22, 2020. Fabien Olivier (KWe Consulting GmbH) presented key success factors for a transformation journey to smart products.

Here are some highlights from Fabian’s presentation:

What are the challenges?

Market prices are going down as a result of product commoditization and a lack of differentiation. How do we gain market shares and how do we grow revenues in a highly competitive and saturated market?

Solution: create differentiation and a sustainable competitive advantage through technological innovation.

How to use IOT as a key differentiator? With the illustration of a real case study from “Transformation Journey to Smart Products” that shows:

  • Which data to collect
  • Who is responsible for data management
  • How to be compliant to the data privacy regulations
  • Who to partner with
  • How to translate data into information: the role of a dashboard
  • What is the business case
  • What is the best approach to build a business case
  • A new revenue opportunity: pay per use
  • How to move from a product to a knowledge organization
  • How to build a digital DNA

With which Service-oriented Approach did we Solve it?

The real case study explains how the IOT value proposition has evolved over time through the transformation journey to become a key Value-Added Service to improve profitability (internal transparency), customer satisfaction (external transparency) and cross-selling.

What are the learnings?

  • Digital Transformation is a journey that requires exploring the digital opportunity on a trial and error basis with a good dose of faith and perseverance.
  • Digital Transformation is Change Management.

If you have any questions concerning this event, please contact Jürg Meierhofer or Rainer Fuchs.

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