North German states planning artificial intelligence consulting centre

"Regional Future Centre North" to become first point of contact for SMEs on AI
03 September 2021
Artificial Intelligence

The states of Hamburg, Lower Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein and Bremen have announced plans to launch the so-called Regional Future Centre North (RZZ Nord) to advise SMEs about the use of human-centred AI and new training schemes, according to Hamburg's Senate Chancellery. The German government is putting EUR 5.5 million towards the project which runs through late 2022 initially. The development of the consulting services will begin immediately.

RZZ Nord to help firms use AI

AI is steadily driving digital transformation and plays an increasingly important role for SMEs, according to the Senate Chancellery. "The project can and will provide impetus and drive for Hamburg's companies," said Michael Westhagemann, Senator for Economics. " AI consulting is a helpful tool especially for technological transformation. As AI systems differ from conventional IT solutions, they require an analysis of their impact on the entire company." Therefore, it is important to involve all those affected and to use AI responsibly, he said. RZZ Nord will serve as a competent partner for companies and their employees.

Free consulting services

The north German states will develop the RZZ Nord's offers with the Bildungswerk der Niedersächsischen Wirtschaft (BNW) and the consortium's 12 partners. "We are concerned with an effective offer for SMEs and employees. We want to give northern Germany a competitive advantage and ensure international connectivity," said Tobias Lohmann, a spokesperson for BNW. All SMEs in the north will have free access to advice on all aspects of digitization and AI as well as five days of expert advice. RZZ Nord will also identify support needs in the various regions and industries and offer teaching and learning schemes. RZZ Nord's overarching goal is the sustainable development of a "Community of Practice" in which AI experts from companies, research, political institutions and other initiatives are brought together and benefit from the mutual exchange of knowledge. The "Future Centres (AI)" scheme is funded through the German government's "Artificial Intelligence" strategy (AI strategy) and additional federal funds.