Strategy 2018 to 2022

The future lines of attack are as follows: more intelligence in machines and systems, thus unlocking business potential for companies.

Intelligent Technical Systems

The it’s OWL strategy is focused on developing solutions for intelligent products and production methods: Intelligent Technical Systems. They are created due to interaction between engineering sciences and IT, and are characterised by the following features:

  • They interact with their environment and adapt to it autonomously (adaptive);
  • in a dynamic environment, they even cope with unexpected situations that were not considered by the developer (robust);
  • they use knowledge gained through experience to anticipate the effects of different factors (predictive);
  • they take different users’ behaviour into account (user-friendly).

New challenges

Since it’s OWL started, the technological environment and client requirements have changed. This presents new challenges to businesses.

Autonomy: autonomous machines and systems can even tackle complex tasks independently without human intervention. How can these systems be developed and how can technical challenges, as well as new legal and ethical issues, be addressed in a holistic manner?

Dynamic networking: Complex system networks are being creating to due to the increasing level of networking between machines and systems. What demands are put on technical systems that interact with one another?

Sociotechnical interaction: The increasing complexity of technical systems must not lead to increasing complexity in operation. What requirements are becoming apparent in terms of intuitive machine and system operation, and how are the needs of users being taken into account?

Interlinking product and service: Market services and business models are changing in the context of digitisation. How are products changing and what additional services will clients expect in the future? What changes are emerging for existing business models, and how can they be extended to additional offerings?

Innovation platform for new technologies

In order to prove and maintain technology leadership and competitiveness, companies have to improve the intelligence of their products and production methods, and unlock the potential benefits.

To this end, new fields of technology are being developed in the technology network. This includes machine intelligence, designing sociotechnical systems, digital infrastructure, safety and security, value-added networks and advanced Systems Engineering. Basic technologies, solution models and software libraries are being developed in these areas, and being made available to businesses in an innovation platform.

The basis for this is innovation projects from businesses and research institutes, in which solutions are being developed for the challenges mentioned above (autonomy, dynamic networking, sociotechnical interaction, and interlinking product and service.  For instance, this involves exploiting the potential success of digital platforms and methods of artificial intelligence, or setting up a technical infrastructure for digital twinning.

Technology transfer, entrepreneurship and Work 4.0

A crucial focus is technology transfer for SMEs. Together with a research institute, small and medium-sized companies are able to resolve specific challenges of digital transformation in transfer projects. Furthermore, they can share ideas with other companies in specialist groups. Digitalisation checks are used to determine the optimisation potential for businesses and to identify appropriate measures. Demonstration centres allow you to experience new technology applications.

This also involves identifying new business ideas in the intelligent manufacturing sector, and developing them into promising business concepts. Start-ups are being supported, and collaboration with businesses is being enhanced. The OWL technology fund enables access to growth capital.

Furthermore, by involving employees, practical solutions are being developed for the working world of the future to optimise working conditions and train employees. Topics in this regard are learning platforms, cognitive assistance systems, participatory technology design, as well as agile leadership and staff development.

Partnerships are also being sought after with international partners in all four programme areas. In this regard, the focus is on China, Finland, India, Japan, Canada, and the USA.