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18.07.2017

Evonik on the path to digitalisation

The specialty chemicals company Evonik aims to invest €100 million in digitalisation. The company will use the artificial intelligence capacities of IBM's supercomputer „Watson“.

Der Roboter von IBM-Watson war ein Besuchermagnet auf der Hannovermesse. Auch Evonik setzt künftig auf die Hilfe der künstlichen Intelligenz.
Evonik cooperates with IBM to further develop the supercomputer and cognitive assistant "Watson".
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BIOCOM AG

In 1997 the IBM-computer “Deep Blue” defeated former world chess champion Garry Kasparov. In 2011 the IBM-computer software “Watson” beat its human counterpart during a US- game show. By now the former pioneer of artificial intelligence broadened his abilities even further and is being used by companies worldwide. Especially the healthcare sector and the insurance industry appreciate the unprecedented potential of “Watson” to collect, analyse, and interpret mostly unstructured information and be able to make predictions based on them. By means of the so-called cognitive assistant “Watson” Evonik aims to push the digitalisation forward. “For us as a specialty chemicals company, digitalization brings with it a world of possibilities. Now it’s about identifying them, testing them out, and being able to put them to good use“, explains Christian Kullmann, chairman of the Executive Board of Evonik Industries AG.

€100 million for innovative ideas

By founding their own digital company in February, Evonik paved their digital way. In addition to the space for creative thinking, the employees of the newly founded Evonik Digital GmbH are now also receiving the appropriate financial resources. According to the company, they aim to invest €100 million into the development and testing of digital technologies and the development of digital skills. “It’s not just about data and technology, but especially about new business models, solutions, services for customers, and training qualified staff”, says Henrik Hahn, who coordinates digitalization activities for the Group in his role as chief digital officer (CDO).

Watson: clever usage of available knowledge

Due to the cooperation with IBM, Evonik will be able to profit off of the newest technologies and projects of the company – such as the computer software “Watson”. In July 2017 the first pilot project will start with Evonik and IBM set to co-develop a Cognitive Evonik-specific Chemical and Life Science Knowledge Corpus based on data analysed by IBM Watson Explorer and Watson Knowledge Studio. Watson Explorer is IBM’s cognitive search and content analysis platform; Watson Knowledge Studio is the company’s cloud-based app that enables developers to identify relationships in unstructured data and can be used in Watson Explorer. The resulting insights from this solution will be made available as a Digital Advisory Service, but also to be used for efficiency improvements.

Martina Koederitz, General Manager at IBM Germany, Austria and Switzerland, said: “With Watson, IBM is creating the foundation for companies to make wise use of existing knowledge and to further develop it in the spirit of a learning organization. We are very pleased to partner with Evonik and bring our most advanced Cognitive and Cloud technologies and our newest research findings combined with our deep expertise, to support Evonik stand out and taking a pioneering role in the chemical industry in digital transformation.”

Moreover, Evonik is cooperating with the University Duisburg-Essen (UDE) in order to develop and establish for instance interactive knowledge dissemination and individual programs for schools.

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