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mirKUL: knowledge transfer in small and medium-sized enterprises

Strengthening the innovation potential for the economy through knowledge transfer. Since September of this year, academics from the University of Passau have been working on a multidisciplinary project – mirKUL – centring on the creation of a multimedia system which provides mobile, interactive multimedia applications to support working and learning processes in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

"The mirKUL research project is about the use of interactive multimedia technology on mobile devices as a means for disseminating knowledge within companies," explains Michael Granitzer, professor for Media Computer Science and speaker for the consortium. "Our research will enable small and medium-sized enterprises to create multimedia descriptions of complex technological processes at relatively low cost. Interactive instruction manuals on mobile devices will substantially improve the transfer of knowledge within and between companies. If successful, the project will pave the way for new services and software products, permanently boosting the efficiency of knowledge transfer processes in SMEs while allowing for flexible adaptation to the various types of business processes."

The project receives funding from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research under the Validierung des Innovationspotenzials wissenschaftlicher Forschung (‘Validation of the Innovative Potential of Academic Research’) programme, or VIP for short, initially for a  funding period of three years. As a multi-disciplinary research project, mirKUL involves professors from the IT, Law, Communication Studies and Business Administration disciplines. It builds on recent basic research from the University of Passau, where a multimedia-based knowledge management system was developed to observe and manage interactive instructional videos. mirKUL will help users to carry out technical procedures swiftly and error-free as an integral component of the relevant working processes. "As this involves mobile devices, employees will be able to look up existing solutions to problems as they encounter them, ask their colleagues for suggested workaround solutions, and of course send error reports while working on the relevant processes, which will often be away from their computers. It will also allow users to continue developing and adapting the informational content of the system," explains Harald Kosch, professor for Distributed Information Systems.

The University of Passau collaborates with a number of business partners to determine the potential for innovation and marketability of the system. "Companies deploying the system will benefit from improvements in their internal processes, which should significantly boost their competitiveness," adds Franz Lehner, professor for Business Computing. The technological aspect aside, any system used in a business context has to fit in with a strict set of laws and regulations. As Gerrit Hornung, professor for Public Law, IT Law and Legal Informatics points out: "For obvious reasons, the systems must comply with both data protection and labour law requirements. Legal compliance is a major challenge when it comes to deploying new technologies in today's information society."

The following chairs are involved in the research project:
Chair of Computer-Mediated Communication, Faculty of Arts and Humanities
Chair of Distributed Information Systems, Faculty of Computer Science and Mathematics
Chair of Public Law, IT Law and Legal Informatics, Faculty of Law
Chair of Information Systems II, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics
Professorship for Media Computer Science, Faculty of Computer Science and Mathematics

Examples of interactive videos: http://siva.uni-passau.de/?q=node/72

Katrina Jordan | 15.10.2013

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