When thinking of innovation in not only our society but our economy too, it is important to remember that each day we rely more and more on technology. The ICT sector provides new, pioneering ways to become more efficient, mobile and able to communicate effectively. Today, ICT is hugely complex and rapidly evolving and although most people have a general understanding of it, there is a universal goal to increase knowledge all over the world. The assertion and subsequent adoption of Open Data and new technologies allows companies to reach maximum productivity and quick expansion, FIWARE and the Accelerator Programme being prominent contributors to their success.
The FIWARE ecosystem has been present in Pamplona this week. The Open Data for European Entrepreneurs event aimed to be a meeting point for around 150 European attendees. The hosts, FINODEX accelerator, outdid themselves and this FIWARE Roadshow stage congregated numerous entrepreneurs, investors, big companies and public administration representatives, gathering around the disruptive value of Open Data as a drive for innovation and economic growth.
The agenda included a first day at Zabala Innovation Consulting headquarters, full of training sessions and workshops. It gave the startups a great opportunity to share their projects and network between themselves. We had the chance to interview some of them and ask about how their projects are developing and about their use of Open Data and FIWARE technologies.
On day two, FIWARE –both the Technology and the Community-, was a central part of most of the open activities that took place at the Civican auditorium. The story of FINODEX was presented by its coordinator, Miguel Garcia. Two successive panels were assembled and their members shared their success stories as part of the FIWARE ecosystem. One comprised five SMEs -including Agora Voting and Nicetrails, accelerated by IMPACT and FABULOUS, respectively- presenting solutions based on Open Data for various sectors. The other was formed by CREATIFI, SOULFI, FABULOUS and FINODEX representatives, and each one described their experience as members of the FIWARE Accelerator Programme. Also, the recently launched FIWARE Foundation was introduced to the audience by Juanjo Hierro, Chief Architect at Telefónica.
During its activity within FIWARE Accelerate, FINODEX had chosen more than 100 proposals, with the final 3 selected at the last open call: Linknovate, Xpressomics and FruitWatcher. All of these proposals are expecting to make a huge contribution to improving and developing the ICT sector.
Linknovate, the startup who achieved the first prize, was founded in 2012 and has since been developing their product to benefit the ICT sector. It is effectively a “discovery engine” that helps companies to detect and understand emerging technologies and partners. By guiding partner identification, it helps to prevent companies from spending their resources on re-inventing what has already been done, and missing out on emerging technologies and suppliers. The current team of four engineers manages superior technology and partner scouting in 3 ways, a) unearthing data from scholarly sources and R&D, b) leveraging their own databases of start-ups and finally c) collecting the most recent data from key-players who are already in the field of interest and are willing to collaborate.
Linknovate turned to FIWARE not only for reasons around funding, but the Acceleration Programme has given them the opportunity to gain visibility within the EU, not only for the European Commission but for partners and prospective clients. By using FIWARE & FINODEX services, Linknovate as a project has improved and has gained a better understanding of open data and its challenges.
Xpressomics is a Google-like search engine which seeks genetic information aimed at the pharmaceutical industry and medical researchers. It analyses thousands of scientific experiments, listing the most relevant treatments related to the gene of interest. Having said this, it is possible that one experiment can return a few or even multiple profiles. The problem today is that it is difficult to find relevant information about genes from previous experiments, with large amounts of information hidden. Xpressomics aims to solve this problem by unlocking this hidden information and bringing the customer relevant data from various publicly available experimental data.
The main benefits associated with Xpressomics are that one can discover information about specific drugs, conditions or triggers related with the gene that is being studied. This can reduce the risk of failing in the following experiments as conditions can be compared and differentiated between. Most importantly, the product allows one to save time and resources by focusing on relevant information. By continuously adding new profiles, more and more information is added by the day.
The choice of FIWARE has supplied Xpressomics with great mentoring and guidance that has helped to develop the solution in a more efficient manner. By using the various FIWARE enablers, the project has expanded their technological capability as well as obtaining additional technical resources for the project.
FruitWatcher is a project that was founded in 2013 by Geezar. It monitors fruit and vegetable transport conditions from suppliers to distribution addressees in order to assess the entire lifecycle and detect possible unwanted events. It monitors the transportation vehicle, taking into account factors such as temperature, moisture levels and location to ensure that the fruit reaches the recipient in good condition. Currently, production is under strict control conditions and environments that are essential yet expensive to install. Not only this, but customers from far locations complain about the condition of the fruit on arrival, affirming that excessive ripeness took place along the transportation process, where the producer is unable to defend themselves from complaints.
By using the FruitWatcher device, the traceability of the fruit and vegetable can be monitored ensuring that the produce arrives in the best conditions possible. FruitWatcher uses its expertise in monitoring devices to assess the whole lifecycle control. The advantages are that the information is available in real time during the transport process and the producer is able to quickly address any problems, avoiding having arguments with the receiver of the goods regarding problems that could have occurred during the delivery process.
Within the market, such start-ups are keen to grow their team, increase their revenue and gain a prevalent position in the relevant market. It is undeniable that the power of economic competitiveness of a country or a city depends on the productivity of its ICT sector. If there is a sustainable technological improvement around innovation, the ICT sector can and should embrace it, and therefore continue to provide us with more efficient ways to advance. By embracing Open Data we are given the opportunity to build a future full of new knowledge, efficiency and innovation.