AI guides FIT experts to the right knowledge faster
One of the Flanders Investment & Trade (FIT) agency’s main tasks is to conduct market research – for consultancy purposes and to identify global economic trends. It needs to be able to make this knowledge about Flanders and global markets available quickly and efficiently, and the agency is now using machine learning to facilitate this. AI company Arinti, which is part of De Cronos Groep, has developed FIT search – a search engine that doesn’t just search for specific terms but also understands additional, contextual information which it converts into new keywords. ‘The system has already evolved into a knowledge tool. Our initial aim was to refine our market research to make it faster and more efficient, and process commercial opportunities, but now the entire organisation benefits from having an intelligent knowledge database,’ says Peter Bulckaert, Head of the IT, Human Resources & Finance Department.
What are the key take-aways?
- FIT uses artificial intelligence to build smart search engine
- Tags and keywords are created automatically, including from photos and videos
- Experts can distil market research and process commercial opportunities faster
- 10.000: enquiries received from customers every year
- 15.000: documents searched by the new FIT search engine
- 5: strategic AI projects scheduled for 2020-2022
FIT supports Flemish export companies and facilitates investment projects in Flanders. It provides advice about commercial opportunities and performs market research on a daily basis, for example about our foods sector or the Flemish ecosystem of quantum computing, alongside many other topics. It should come as no surprise that the expertise at FIT is very widely distributed. It is written down to certain extent, but the FIT SharePoint archive already comprises 15,000 documents… and counting.
‘Structuring, categorising and archiving data is a very labour-intensive affair,’ says Yves Ruland, Data Project Manager at FIT. ‘We needed a way to access the right information and knowledge faster, which is why we developed a program together with Arinti – FIT Enterprise Search – to serve as a kind of smart search engine. We use the artificial intelligence from Microsoft Azure Cognitive Search, which the search engine is built with, to automatically extract keywords from documents so we can then use these tags for fine filtering. The smart tool can even recognise photos too, which is how AI creates extra metadata.’
“You don’t always need to make big financial investments to be innovative with machine learning. We’re really picking the low-hanging fruit here.”
“We use the artificial intelligence from Microsoft Azure Cognitive Search, which the search engine is built with, to automatically extract keywords from documents and then use these tags for fine filtering. The smart tool can even recognise locations and companies in documents and analyse content from images, which is how AI creates extra metadata.’” – Yves Ruland, Data Project Manager at FIT.