The Caged Tiger of Technology: Knowledge Based Systems and Technology Transfer in SMEs

Maurice Mulvenna, TM Scott, D Leahy, John Hughes, C Grant

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

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Knowledge-based Systems (KBS) are one of the most commercially exploited area of artificial intelligence today. Advances in this discipline mean that emerging technologies are in a mature state to be exploited by industry. In fact KBS applications have been described by the Japanese as the Caged Tiger of Technology meaning that the market is set to explode in the near future.This is a realisation that has been central to the success of the Northern Ireland Knowledge Engineering Laboratory (NIKEL). The Laboratory was established three years ago in collaboration with International Computers Limited, through initial assistance from the European Community. Today it is flourishing with a staff of 15 Researchers working on a wide range of KBS applications for industrial partners. KBS techniques are being applied to improve substantially business processes including contract tendering, factory scheduling, fault diagnosis and production-control in both small enterprises and multi-national corporations.Given that Northern Ireland has a population of 1.6 million and an economy heavily reliant on SMEs, the ability of NIKEL to deliver commercial results in a competitive business environment has been central to its success. This success has resulted in the emergence of an innovation culture among industrial partners which in turn has greatly contributed to their economic prosperity. Over the last two years the laboratory has extended its customer base beyond Northern Ireland to establish both research and commercial projects with companies and universities throughout Europe, the United States and China.This paper outlines the success achieved in utilising an approach that combines Business Process Re-engineering (BPR) with Knowledge Based Systems (KBS) development. A case study is presented which explains how this method has encouraged a local manufacturing company to embark on strategic research and development activities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnknown Host Publication
PublisherPublications Office of the European Union
Number of pages7
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 4 Jul 1996
EventTechnology Transfer & Innovation 96 - London
Duration: 4 Jul 1996 → …


ConferenceTechnology Transfer & Innovation 96
Period4/07/96 → …


  • Knowledge Based Systems
  • Technology Transfer
  • Innovation


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