RMIT University developing artificial intelligence for industry applications

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Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will benefit from the development of a framework that uses artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics to measure the trustworthiness of a business or organisation.

Australia’s Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University has been working on the project, which includes the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) trust research team and industry partner, United States-based eNotus.

The project will make it simpler for small and large businesses to connect and establish trust globally and has attracted the world’s leading SME bodies. It follows intensive interest generated by the Turkish Government, which seeks to make SMEs a priority during its G20 Presidency.

RMIT University computer scientist Andy Song is currently looking at how AI and data analytics can transform business and industry now and in the future.

He is assisting research into matters related to the G20 agenda in 2015/2016 with particular reference to the Artificial Intelligence for Industry Applications in the fields of trust and the digital platform economy.

The RMIT University team has built a prototype and is in the process of rolling it out with business organisations to multiple cities.

Dr Song has already used advanced AI techniques for other industry projects such as warehouse optimisation and road safety.

The Smart Picker warehouse management system allows an app to be installed on a smartphone to guide warehouse “pickers’’ to fulfil customer orders.

The road safety project is designed to analyse a driver’s behaviour through smartphone signals to evaluate the individual risk factor of drivers and the roads.

The trust project proposes a new and essential platform with the inbuilt processes necessary for the measurement of trustworthiness and transparency in trade and commercial activity that will impact economic growth in a positive way.

“SMEs are the major economic force, but are often disadvantaged in terms of access to the global value chain, finance and so on as they are perceived as less trustworthy in comparison with large corporations,’’ Dr Song said.

The project, which started from a request by the International Chamber of Commerce, aimed to encourage cross-border collaboration between companies from different countries.

“There will be a database of members under the business associations including their profile, possibly their internal information, public images and their network,’’ he said. “Then based on that, there will be an evaluation about their trust. They will have a numerical score.’’

Dr Song said the project’s research and development would be undertaken in Victoria, Australia, with the business operation most likely to be in the United States.

“The prototype is evaluating a company’s profile and the connections between companies, also looking at the compatibility,’’ he said.

Dr Song said the platform would give greater confidence to a company to deal with an extended network of business partners, which was important when encouraging SMEs to better participate in the Global Value Chains.

“When companies get into completely different environments, there will be this tool to help them to determine the likelihood of having a successful relationship with a different partner.’’

It will also assist SMEs in their funding requirements by the provision of relevant information.