Virtualization as a new possibility of making service provision more flexible and scaling for small and medium-sized craft enterprises

Minerva Projektvorstellung

The aim of the research focus “Crafts 4.0: digital and innovative” is to advance the development and use of tailor-made, innovative, digital technologies in the craft sector so that craft companies can offer new or significantly improved craft services. With their direct participation, concrete solutions “from the craft sector for the craft sector” are to be developed and piloted into operational practice. This will secure jobs in German crafts in the long term and create new attractive jobs.

Digitalization in the craft sector has so far focused on background processes such as appointments, billing or order planning. A lot of potential lies in developing options for virtualizing the provision of craft services through technologies such as augmented reality (AR) and AI (e.g. chatbots). Virtual crafts seem paradoxical at first, as the craftsmanship seems to require the physical presence of skilled workers. However, services such as advising customers, remote support for simple tasks, instructions when solving problems and planning orders can be provided virtually and therefore much more flexibly than before.

In the project, the Interactive Systems working group supports collaboration between craftspeople and customers over distances (also referred to as "remote support") with augmented reality. For this purpose, tools are implemented using AR and AI (chatbots) to support the activities and together with the application partners. The aim is to ultimately derive recommendations for the design of tools to support virtualized craft services in order to be able to support co-creation, co-operation, and co-production between craftsmen or between craftsmen and customers in a targeted manner using augmented reality and AI.


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