Artificial intelligence has become the protagonist of the year. Organizations are increasingly promoting AI processes that allow them to increase their productivity. We spoke with Valero Marín, president of IndesIA, an association for companies and SMEs in the Spanish industry to promote the use of data and artificial intelligence.
Interview with Valero Marín, president of IndesIA
What is India?IndesIA is an association created to promote the use of data and artificial intelligence in the Spanish industry, promoted by Repsol, Gestamp, Navantia, Técnicas Reunidas, Telefónica, Microsoft, Airbus, Ferrovial and Inditex and of which large companies and industrial SMEs are part. In addition, we have the support of the Basque Artificial Intelligence Center (BAIC), Accenture and FIG Group. Academic institutions and technology providers also collaborate with us, thanks to all of them we intend to achieve our objective, which is to position Spain as a benchmark in the use of data and artificial intelligence in the industrial field and promote the development of the country’s economy.What projects is IndesIA currently involved in?Since we created the association, just over a year ago, we have not stopped launching projects that we are continuing and with which we intend to facilitate the adoption of AI in companies, especially in SMEs. That is why we have created an AI use case guide, our own data space platform and have developed our own use case, on the value of data analytics and AI to detect anomalies in industrial equipment. We have also recently released a guide for companies to apply artificial intelligence responsibly. And we are doing all this while we launch our datathons, an initiative aimed especially at SMEs to speed up digital cases, of which we are about to celebrate its second edition, in which we found a solution to a business problem thanks to to data and AI.Several of the main Spanish companies are part of the association. What do they contribute to IndesIA and what do they contribute to the Association?The companies that have promoted IndesIA are leaders in their respective fields, all of them highly relevant industrial sectors and have been using data and artificial intelligence for years. This has allowed us to benefit from their extensive knowledge and experience in these areas and now we want to share it with the companies that are part of our value chain. We feel committed to acting as movers and shakers, helping other organizations reap the benefits of using data and AI. Our objective is to help these companies advance and become more efficient, promoting a modern and competitive business activity. We firmly believe that this not only benefits large companies, but also contributes to the progress of the entire society in general.In recent months, AI has gained special prominence due to the irruption of ChatGPT. Do you think that companies really know what AI brings them? How does IndesIA help them to know what AI can really bring to their business?We are at a time when generative Artificial Intelligence is arousing great interest, but artificial intelligence dates back many years. Now the opportunities that it represents for companies are being seen, but there is still a long way to go and we must continue advancing in its implementation and use in SMEs. And that is our main objective. We work to demonstrate what AI can bring to any business and we do so by explaining use cases and how this technology can be applied in various ways. For this we carry out reports and studies and to get closer to SMEs, we hold our own datathons, in which we help industrial SMEs find solutions to their real business challenges thanks to algorithms that are based on AI. In fact, a few days ago we celebrated the second edition of the IndesIA Datathon in which one of our associates, the company Cosentino, was the winner.One of the main problems for companies is the lack of ICT talent. Is there a lack of knowledge in Spain about AI? How do you help alleviate this talent crisis?The lack of expert professionals in matters related to big data and artificial intelligence is one of the great difficulties we face. In our association, thanks to the work that we carry out hand in hand with the main Spanish industrial companies, we know which professional profiles will be the most in demand in the sector in the short and medium term. Thus, one of the first actions we carried out was to prepare a Training Profile Plan in which we identified which professions will be most needed in the coming years and what their skills and abilities should be. On the other hand, together with Talent Hackers, a specialized company In the search for and selection of technological talent, we have also prepared the report “Talent Diagnosis in Data and Artificial Intelligence in Spain”, a study to find out the state of the Spanish labor market in relation to these technologies and which reflects that the gap between the job offers and the number of professionals who are experts in big data and artificial intelligence increased by around 27% and 32%, respectively, between 2021 and 2022. Apart from this type of study, which is a good way for us to find out what is the state of the situation, we consider that we must contribute something more. That is why we are also committed to training people. That is why we are making agreements with numerous educational institutions, both public and private, with the aim of defining training itineraries with which to cover both the general knowledge that employees in the industrial sector must have, as well as those more specific ones that are necessary for develop a professional career in this field. Thus, we have incorporated universities, business schools, such as the EOI, and the FP centers integrated into FPEempresa into our association as collaborators.Do you have agreements signed with Universities to promote knowledge of AI? What are those agreements?Yes, we have signed agreements with various university centers such as the University of Navarra, A Coruña and Santiago de Compostela. With them we will promote training in new technologies, through various training activities such as courses, seminars or educational programs and the creation of Chairs in artificial intelligence. In addition, the companies associated with IndesIA are collaborating to carry out and present use cases in studies related to big data and AI. All these studies have also been certified with the “IndesIA seal”. We also participate in the curricula of master’s degrees and specific subjects and we are part of joint research activities and projects. In this sense, the students of these centers will be able to benefit from the tutoring of end-of-degree projects and master’s degrees and the realization of professional practices in the companies that are part of IndesIA.What goals has IndesIA set for the medium-long term?We want to bet on our industry, because it is what generates a modern economic and social fabric, what drives innovation and competitiveness and therefore social welfare. And in this commitment we have the challenge of attracting SMEs. Our goal is to add more companies from the industrial fabric every day, because if we want to promote a change, an evolution, we must count on them. The use of artificial intelligence has become popular in the last year, but the data suggests that its implementation in SMEs is still not enough if we want an efficient and modern industry.