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We’re inclined to collaboration and associations like Inside are an important catalyst of this

As a European Technology Platform for R&D&I, Inside (formerly known as ARTEMIS) aims to take Intelligent Digital Systems to the next level – something which would be impossible without our network of over 200 OEMs, SMEs, universities and research institutes across Europe. But what does membership of this community really mean? Dr Wouter Leibbrandt of ESI shares his thoughts on what’s Inside.

A message to Europe

When asked about the main benefit of joining Inside, Wouter doesn’t beat around the bush. “It’s about being part of this family of industries that have to deliver a message to Europe together. It’s about being able to work with industries across different domain boundaries. It’s a place where we build trust between those industries because we get to know each other in different ways through workshops, meeting face to face and working together in projects. It’s about cutting down boundaries. A good thing in Europe in general is that we’re inclined to collaboration, and associations like Inside are an important catalyst of this.”

The numbers speak for themselves. Since Inside’s inception as an industry association in2007, 12 calls have generated 134 projects with over 2447 million euros in funding. Strong links with other networks and ecosystems also help to expand collaboration in new directions: ESI has recently come together with other Inside partners for the ASIMOV ITEA 4 project, which focuses on training artificial intelligence to optimise machinery. “The question is, can I also train AI using a digital twin?” Wouter asks. “We’re doing this with Thermo Fisher Scientific, looking at how you optimise an electron microscope to get the sharpest image, and are working with German and Finnish companies to realise similar use cases in the automotive industry and in process control. It’s in this cross-fertilisation that we hope to learn a lot.”

Setting the course

In addition to these opportunities for companies and individuals, Inside plays a guiding role in the future of Intelligent Digital Systems as one of the three industry associations that contributes to the ECS Strategic Research Agenda. “We create this on a yearly basis and it’s used to set the course within Europe,” explains Wouter. “Without this community, I would have missed out on the possibility to influence and co-write that, but also to be inspired by what others bring to it – I would never have met a number of really great minds who I’ve come to appreciate very much on a personal level.”

In this future, the traditional divisions within a product’s lifecycle are becoming blurred as software and connectivity enable new approaches to manufacturing, sales and delivery. “In the past, you bought a product and it was degrading from that moment,” says Wouter. “Nowadays, the product is upgrading – sometimes just a patch but often adding functionality. This changes the dynamic enormously. The holy grail is that by adding intelligence, these systems will be able to learn and create a kind of self-awareness such that they request updates and maybe interact with each other. They may even be self-repairing. How do we do this meaningfully and without the whole system going haywire? Continuous upgrades, continuous lifecycle maintenance, built-in intelligence to regulate this – we will see more projects in these areas.” And wherever these new innovations take us, Inside intends to lead the way.


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