Fraunhofer SPEAKER project rewarded at AI innovation competition held by German government

Voice assistant “made in Germany” /

Erlangen/Sankt Augustin, GERMANY: The SPEAKER project for the development of a voice assistant platform “made in Germany” won an award at the “Artificial intelligence as a driver for economically relevant ecosystems” innovation competition run by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. This Fraunhofer project was one of 16 outstanding concepts that prevailed in a field of more than 130 submissions. The award ceremony took place on September 19, 2019, as part of the inauguration of the Digital Technology Forum in Berlin.

Auszeichnung SPEAKER-Projekt
© Fraunhofer
v.l.n.r. Prof. Dr. Jens Lehmann (Fraunhofer IAIS), Prof. Dr. Andreas Both (Datev eG), Dr. Bernhard Grill (Fraunhofer IIS), Dr. Joachim Köhler (Fraunhofer IAIS), Oliver Hellmuth (Fraunhofer IIS), Johannes Fischer (Fraunhofer IIS), David Laqua (Fraunhofer IAIS)

Demand for voice assistant technology in German industry and the German economy is enormous. So far, however, it has not been possible to implement European standards of data security with solutions from overseas. The Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems IAIS and the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS have teamed up to develop a leading voice assistant platform “made in Germany” for business-to-business applications, which makes it possible to ensure the data sovereignty of personal and company-relevant information. The idea is that companies will be able to use single modules of the technology and adapt them to their needs.

The planned SPEAKER platform is embedded in a comprehensive ecosystem consisting of large-scale industry, mid-sized companies, startups and research partners who ensure high innovative capability and the transfer from research into practice. Numerous big-name partners from industry and research joined the SPEAKER project already during the concept phase. For the planned implementation, further interested companies can join the consortium and bring their requirements to the project.

The collaboration between Fraunhofer IIS and Fraunhofer IAIS brings together experts from the fields of speech signal processing, natural language understanding, artificial intelligence and software engineering. Fraunhofer IIS already holds a world-leading position in the field of acoustic signal processing technology, which forms the basis for the high reliability and robustness of speech processing. Fraunhofer IAIS is one of the leading research institutes in the fields of artificial intelligence and machine learning, and offers robust, tried-and-tested solutions in the field of automatic speech recognition (audio mining) and automatic question answering, which are successfully in use at many companies and institutions.

More than 130 consortiums from the spheres of science and commerce submitted concepts for the AI innovation competition run by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. Subsequently, in the funded concept phase, the 35 best participants were invited to work out detailed roadmaps for the implementation of their project endeavors and to build powerful consortiums. The 16 most promising entries were rewarded at the end of the competition and will be sponsored to help realize their concepts during the upcoming three-year implementation period.

Through its AI innovation competition, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is promoting outstanding approaches for the application of artificial intelligence in important sectors of the German economy. While the SPEAKER concept entered the race in the “Trade” category, other submitted ideas originated in different business fields, such as mobility, health economics, industry, smart living, agriculture and building construction.

Further information

Consortium leaders
Fraunhofer IAIS
Fraunhofer IIS

Consortium partners
Comma Soft AG
Deutsche Bahn AG
Grundig Business Systems GmbH
iAV GmbH
Innovo Cloud GmbH
International Data Spaces Association
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Onsei GmbH
Retresco GmbH
Scopevisio AG
TU Braunschweig
Paderborn University