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Smart eating bot for regional food products

Smart eating bot for regional food productsSmart eating bot for regional food products

In the project "SMAEG bot – smart eating bot for regional food products", the Chair of Data Science, the junior research group CAROLL and the CENTOURIS Institute at the University of Passau are working together with Regiothek GmbH to render the market for regional food products more transparent and reduce the amount of effort and expense involved in marketing for the individual operators.

Whilst the demand for regionally produced groceries continues to rise, it is often quite a challenge for family and small-scale enterprises from agriculture, processing and retail to keep up with consumers' communication habits, which have been undergoing considerable change. Often enough, alongside their work-intensive core business, for example, they can only invest a limited amount of time and money in professional on-line marketing, although a large number of their customers already obtain their information on-line. 

That is exactly where the on-line platform of the Passau start-up Regiothek GmbH comes in. It makes a valuable contribution by creating simple options for producers and providers of regional food products to present themselves and network with one another digitally. Thanks to Regiothek, they get an on-line presence which is technologically up to date at all times, with which they can also offer their products without any IT skills and provide valuable information about suppliers and sales outlets.

The aim of the interdisciplinary project SMAEG bot is to further develop and optimise the applications, functions and usability of this platform. With the aid of AI, at the Chair of Data Science headed by Professor Michael Granitzer in collaboration with the junior research group CAROLL led by Dr. Jelena Mitrovic, new IT solutions are being developed and implemented which are intended to simplify communication among the individual protagonists on the basis of their information requirements.

'Chat bots based on neural language models make it easy to access the platform and thus enable Regiothek to accommodate the large number of small producers easily in the digital world of marketing', explains Professor Granitzer. 'It is becoming more and more important to think about the development of neural language models for specific domains and for languages other than English – in this case we will be working on German language models and the domain of food products', his colleague Dr. Mitrovic adds.

In the project, the CENTOURIS Institute is investigating the respective user preferences which will serve as the basis for the planned IT developments. Moreover, the user-friendly application and everyday simplicity of use of the new functions on the platform will be assured by usability research which is being conducted parallel to the development. 'It is essential to examine the user perspective of these technological innovations and incorporate it in the ongoing development process. In doing so, we consider both the views of the producers and those of the end consumers', says Dr. Stefan Mang, managing director of CENTOURIS.

In the SMAEG bot project, Regiothek GmbH is making its platform available and revealing current information gaps and individual use cases of communication on the regional food production market. By pursuing the further development of the platform in the context of this project, the aim is to continue to optimise the project and achieve a high degree of user-friendliness. 'With highly qualified project partners, we are looking forward very much to elevating the Regiothek platform to a new technological level over the next three years. When all is said and done, this will also increase the marketing potential of the many different products of our customers. We're looking forward to some exciting cooperation and rewarding results!' adds Alexander Treml, founder and managing director of Regiothek GmbH. 

Caption: Looking forward to the cooperation in the SMAEG bot (left to right): Bastian Kühnel, Britta Biskup and Alexander Treml of Regiothek, Franziska Kellerer, Dr. Stefan Mang and Judith von Minden of CENTOURIS, Mehdi Ben Amor, Dr. Jelena Mitrovic and Prof. Michael Granitzer from the University of Passau. (Photo: University of Passau / Studio Weichselbaumer)

Project period 11.03.2021 - 10.03.2024
Source of funding
BLE - Bundesanstalt für Landwirtschaft und Ernährung
Funding notice

The project is supported by funds of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) based on a decision of the Parliament of the Federal Republic of Germany. The Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE) provides coordinating support for artificial intelligence (AI) in agriculture as funding organisation, grant number 2820KI013.

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