White paper published by Spanish National Initiative on AI and Big Data


In recent years, Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies have aroused great interest around the world. The use of Artificial intelligence techniques as well as the analysis of massive amounts of data in real time offer wide application opportunitie...

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In recent years, Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies have aroused great interest around the world. The use of Artificial intelligence techniques as well as the analysis of massive amounts of data in real time offer wide application opportunities. In Europe, the year 2018 marks an important milestone, due to the inclusion of Big Data and AI in foresight studies, technology agendas and the creation of the European AI Strategy. Since its publication, there are many initiatives that have been implemented at European level, and in which different Spanish entities are involved: The European AI Alliance (promoting ethical guidelines for reliable AI), the PPP in AI (with the aim of defining R&D priorities) or the AI ​​DIH Network (with the participation of 3 selected Spanish nodes in 2019). 

Thus, Spain has been very present in the development and application of AI and Big Data technologies in different industrial sectors. The agents with skills and interests related to Big Data and AI are diverse and heterogeneous, However, a large part of them are grouped under some Spanish technological platforms. In this context, a key player for the development of AI in Spain is PLANETIC, technological platform that aims to offer a global vision of ICT sector and to answer digital demand of different economic sectors (represented by other platforms). Currently, it already has a consolidated network of agents around these disciplines and with representation throughout the complete value chain.

 In this way, the Big Data and AI Inter-platform initiative, promoted and coordinated by PLANETIC, has been created to provide an answer to the increasing demand around the data and its processing. In addition to PLANETIC, other technological platforms are part of the initiative, covering the main Spanish industrial sectors (water, health, tourism, mobility and logistics, and advanced manufacturing), some organizations involved in the Big Data domain (National Supercomputing Network, CDTI, UNE), ministries that support the initiative (Science, Economy, Industry, Agriculture). The initiative is currently open to the participation of more agents that agglutinate the interest of a sector and that want to contribute to the initiative.

 The Inter-platforms group has generated a whitepaper to describe the current state of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence in the Spanish scenario, with the aim to identify strengths and areas for improvement. This document presents the European strategy in AI and the main actions undertaken where, for example, the prominence given to DIHs as a means for AI adoption in the industry stands out. Relevant initiatives are included in the whitepaper, such as: BDVA and its i-Spaces, Humane AI, AI4EU, CLAIRE, ELLIS, EurAI, among others. Likewise, the paper highlights, in the case of Spain, for example, the availability of 40 Digital Innovation Hubs (DIHs) registered in the DIHs catalogue of the European Commission, the IDSA Spanish Hub, , ACTIVA Industry 4.0 program, and some regional initiatives like Catalan Water Partnership or TECH4CV (now INNdromeda) in the Valencia Region and also initiatives promoted by companies like Movistar Living Apps or Mobility advisor.

Spain is in the 4th position of most important countries in AI in Europe and has 235 entities developing AI technologies or services, of which 49% are companies, 19.5% are universities, 15.7% technology centres and foundations, and 15.7% public organizations (17 of these entities participate as coordinators in clusters or DIHs in AI). About investment in R&D focused on AI and Big Data technologies, between 2016 and 2018 were raised around €134 million from European funds (18% of the total of EU countries) and €157 million from National funds. In terms of business creation, the country has two AI Startup centres in Madrid and Barcelona, ​​which are 4th and 9th at the European level, although investments only represent 3% of the total amount invested in start-up companies in the EU (compared to 55% in the United Kingdom or 14% in Germany). These facts reflect the potential and capabilities of Spanish universities and technology centres, as well as the opportunities of technology transfer to the industrial and business sector.

 This whitepaper describes the Spanish positioning in AI regarding the European strategy, presenting the national and regional strategies that have been developed. Furthermore, an analysis of supply and demand for AI and Big data technologies for each of the sectors represented in the inter-platform initiative. This document also includes a review of the current poles of innovation in AI and Big Data, a sector analysis for their applications, opportunities, evolution and growth for Water, Tourism, Health and Manufacturing sectors.

 Finally, it also includes a summary of the relevant application projects in which the members of the Inter-platform group participate. For example, the Water sector includes projects that try to provide platforms to monitor and manage the water cycle to guarantee its quality; the Health sector involves some applications for the collection and analysis of medical data for health R&D and identification of appropriate treatments; the Mobility and logistic sector presents projects that support the transformation of logistics processes and the transformation of European ports; the Tourism sector has projects to promote competitiveness, personalization and optimization of resources; and the Advanced manufacturing sector related to intelligent decision support systems, customized manufacturing, human-machine collaboration.