четверг, 13 августа 2015 г.

Success cases from Soul FI

1) CASE 1
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Interview with Mario Criado Briz, Project Manager at Globales Informática of Sergovia, SpainImagem 6
Globales is an SME that has been developing comprehensive solutions since 1999. Its key distinguishing features as a technology company are its products and services (software development, web pages, virtualization, networks and cloud services), as well its highly experienced professional team. In recent years, their work has focused on the development of a planning software, which integrates an intelligent engine to solve problems.
Q) How did you first hear about the SOUL-FI accelerator project?
MCB) We became aware of the SOUL-FI project thanks to the dissemination efforts of ADE Castilla & León, here in Spain. It was through its newsletter and a personal invitation by email.
Q) What is (in a nutshell) the USP of your idea?
MCB) PGPlanning Police is a cloud platform offering an automatic resolution of generic work-shift planning problems in police stations. It’s a new planning concept. We have made this specialized project part of our generic platform (www.pgplanning.es) adding new technologies like FIWARE.
Q) How crucial was Round A funding for jumpstarting your project and what did you learn in the process?
MCB) Round A funding was decisive for continuing with the project. We learned how to develop a realistic business plan and define a business model with Business Model Canvas. The training sessions were very useful for us, as was the mentoring.
Q) Which aspects of the SOUL-FI service package did you find particularly useful?
MCB) The key aspect has been the support and advice given for the development of the project. We were also very satisfied with the F6S platform which SOUL-FI uses for the proposal submission process. It is easy to use, flexible and we did not encounter any problems with it.
Q) What are the next steps in building a business from your app?
MCB) We are in touch regularly with a number of police stations; we are analyzing requirements and functionality as well as its integration with FIWARE technology. We are also working on adding more features such as the integration and visualization of schedules on mobile devices, features which have been requested by users.
Q) Would you say that the SOUL-FI label / European Commission funding has opened some doors for you in fast-tracking the development of your app?
MCB) Yes, of course; it is very important to support innovative ideas developed by entrepreneurial companies like ours (SME, entrepreneur). It also provides opportunities for establishing relationships with other companies so that we can enter the European market.

2) CASE 2
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Interview with Paulo Caridade, CEO of Primelayer in Coimbra, Portugal

For the past 9 years Primelayer has been developing educational, social and sports infrastructure GIS that has helped to reduce costs for municipalities. In recent years, collaboration with a mobile technology company has made it possible to develop applications for tourist itineraries and hardware for off-road buggy circuits through historical villages.

Q) How did you first hear about the SOUL-FI accelerator project?

PC) As Primelayer is incubated at the Instituto Pedro Nunes in Coimbra, and IPN is one of the SOUL-FI partners, we received first-hand information about the SOUL-FI accelerator programme. After attending a presentation about the programme it was clear that we had to apply for SOUL-FI funding since it fitted perfectly with our project

Q) What is (in a nutshell) the USP of your idea?

PC) The number of city dwellers with respiratory problems is doubling every year, with asthma the major consequence of industrialization and poor air quality. How can we improve the quality of life of these people, since most air-related respiratory diseases do not have a cure? The concept of Sensor Observation of Urban Life (SOUL) is to issue alerts by mobile and web platforms when there is a change in the air quality which can jeopardize people’s health.  The data required is supplied by sensor boxes which are installed on public transportation and which can map cities in a dynamic way. Scientific validation is carried out by allergists and spatial-time concentration evolution algorithms, based on specific health profiles, aim to minimize citizens’ risk of exposure.

Q) How crucial was Round A funding for jumpstarting your project and what did you learn in the process?

PC) Round A allowed us to develop the business plan and find technical solutions for our project. It helped with networking, mentoring and preliminary contacts with financial entities that boosted our project and helped us design (on both a financial and technical level) the Round B application (which has since been approved). We also learned that SOUL customers are really the success of the project and market analysis is a key element for making such connections. It offered us an important opportunity to bring together researchers from universities, trainees from polytechnic institutes and medical doctors to validate the concept.

Q) Which aspects of the SOUL-FI service package did you find particularly useful?

PC) The context awareness programming was really the key issue for our project. Since it requires time evolution storage and issuing alerts to users (mobile and web platform) when specific air quality parameters change, the adoption of FIWARE (now installed in a dedicated cloud facility of Primelayer) allowed us to develop the app requirements very quickly. Since it is an open-source platform it fitted perfectly with the software policy of Primelayer where all solutions are licence-fee free.

Q) What are the next steps in building a business from your app?

PC) Now that SOUL-FI Round B funding has been approved and we have a pretotype, we are going into pilot testing mode. Over the next 6 months, the SOUL concept will go live in the municipality of Coimbra, while other cities are already envisaged for protocol agreements. Funds are being sought to roll out the SOUL concept, in particular to implement it in the five European cities which belong to the SOUL-FI/FIWARE consortium.

Q) Would you say that the SOUL-FI label / European Commission funding has opened some doors for you in fast-tracking the development of your app?

PC) The SOUL-FI and EU label and funding have been essential for bringing the SOUL concept from the idea stage to the pilot stage. Belonging to the SOUl-FI/FIWARE accelerator programme with the approved label of SOUL-FI and the EU has boosted the development of the application, and in particular has helped us to find partners.
3) CASE 3
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Interview with Radoslaw Piesiewicz, Technology Entrepreneur at SIRC Sp. Z o.o. in Gdynia, PolandImagem 10

SIRC is a fabless design house focused on developing and prototyping silicon based integrated circuits for radar and communications applications in microwave, mm-wave and THz bands. In addition, it develops complete systems consisting of hardware and dedicated software for applications across different domains, in particular smart cities, agro-business and security.
Q) How did you first hear about the SOUL-FI accelerator project?
RP) We found information on the official website of the European Commission for the Future Internet programme. We got interested in the offer of the 16 accelerators selected in Phase 3.
Q) What is (in a nutshell) the USP of your idea?
RP) We offer miniaturized radar sensors based on our dedicated, in-house designed and developed silicon integrated circuit radar transceiver which consumes very little power, while delivering top quality sensing operation. This novel radar sensor will be mounted on buses and large vehicles to detect approaching bicycle riders and alert the driver. The system requirements have been defined by the end-user, i.e. the municipal transport company in Gdansk. In addition, the system will be equipped with a user-friendly app deployed on a smartphone or tablet.
Q) How crucial was Round A funding for jumpstarting your project and what did you learn in the process?
RP) It was very crucial. It allowed us to allocate resources to develop a business and technical plan and, most importantly, get in touch with the end-user.
Q) Which aspects of the SOUL-FI service package did you find particularly useful?
RP) The mentoring: we have had a number of very valuable tutoring sessions which allowed us to crystalize our business approach.
Q) What are the next steps in building a business from your app?
RP) In the next steps we develop a field version of the hardware-software prototype and will validate it extensively with the end-user in the city agglomeration of Gdansk.
Q) Would you say that the SOUL-FI label / European Commission funding has opened some doors for you in fast-tracking the development of your app?
RP) Definitely: the SOUL-FI label facilitated contact with the municipality of Gdansk and made it easier to approach and work closely with the end-user (municipal transport company).

4) CASE 4 (Round A1)
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Interview with Walter Nunziati, CEO of Magenta srl in Florence, ItalyImagem 12.jpg
Magenta provides software design and development services to private and public organizations in the areas of 1) processing and analysis of digital media such as image and video stream, 2) enterprise web-based management applications, and 3) mobile apps. It is also active in R&D, successfully conducting projects which are co-funded at regional and EU level. As part of these projects, the company has matured expertise in the “traffic analytics” domain on which the FLOUD idea is based.
Q) How did you first hear about the SOUL-FI accelerator project?
WN) We found out about the initiative from the periodic newsletter of POLIS, the Tuscan “Smart Cities” innovation cluster, in which we have been a partner since 2011.
Q) What is (in a nutshell) the USP of your idea?
WN) We provide a platform where stakeholders with an interest in urban data analytics can meet. People can use apps or a dedicated device to acquire analytics on vehicle traffic and contexts, while stakeholders can access the data directly via the platform. Another strong feature of FLOUD is the possibility to access aggregated data and analytics on complex features like pedestrian and vehicle flow inside a city.
Q) How crucial was Round A funding for jumpstarting your project and what did you learn in the process?
WN) Of the utmost importance; we learned a lot about great tools for business planning, such as the Business Model Canvas, and this helped us to refine the business part of our idea, thereby improving the first version.
Q) Which aspects of the SOUL-FI service package did you find particularly useful?
WN) The support of our tutors and mentors, either physically or online, through the use of the Fuente platform and the webinars. We also liked the two-step process to access the more competitive Round B, which, as a matter of fact, we won.
Q) What are the next steps in building a business from your app?
WN) We successfully applied for and received funding from Round B1, so we are now developing a fully working demonstrator/prototype. We will also roll out an initial pilot phase with a selected group of users in the metropolitan area of Florence.
Q) Would you say that the SOUL-FI label / European Commission funding has opened some doors for you in fast-tracking the development of your app?
WN) Definitely yes; we are looking to build a complete business out of the funded idea, and this could not have happened without the help provided by SOUL-FI.
5) CASE 5 (Round A1)
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Interview with Samir Bendida, Founder of Zaneris in Nijmegen, Netherland
Today, a growing number of European citizens are choosing to cycle to school, work and for shopping. This trend is great news for most of us aspiring to live in smarter and greener cities. Unfortunately, many neighborhoods are not safe and convenient for cycling. One of the problems with most biking directions applications is that you are never entirely sure how safe the biking route is before setting off. For instance, many of these applications usually suggest roads you would never consider cycling on and ignore far safer and quieter roads. We propose a solution to address this issue by allowing anyone to preview their cycling rides from the safety of their own home.
Cyclodeo is a dynamic website that synchronizes maps, GPS tracks and cycling videos in one page . When a ‘Cyclodeo ride’ is being replayed, a moving mark is highlighted on the map to indicate the current location of the viewed video. Since each section of the video is geo-coded, you can click anywhere on the cycling track to visualize a specific location from a cyclist’s perspective.  When a city is covered, it allows anyone to see exactly what street conditions they might encounter on a particular cycling ride
Q) How did you first hear about the SOUL-FI accelerator project?
SB) The project was introduced to me by Nuno Varandas of IPN (SOUL-FI coordinator) while attending the ICT 2014 event in Florence.

Q) What is (in a nutshell) the USP of your idea ?
SB) We bring the visual dimension to standard cycling route planners by synchronizing cycling videos, maps and tracks.

Q) How crucial was Round A funding for jumpstarting your project and what did you learn in the process?
SB) The funding climate for European startups is not great compared to the US. Even if our project was already running, the Round A allowed us to do much more. Namely it allowed us to attend several important events where we could meet and learn from potential customers.
Q) Which aspects of the SOUL-FI service package did you find particularly useful?
SB) Besides the funding part, the events suggestions shared by Nuno were particularly useful. I wish we could have an overview of all such events for the next 3 months to adapt our agenda accordingly.
Q) What are the next steps in building a business from your app?
SB) Our next step is to create a LOT of data in European capitals and even beyond. Securing and consolidating our head-start is crucial. Additionally, we will need to go into the field and talk to potential users and customers. This would help us adapt our features and use the technology accordingly.
Q) Would you say that the SOUL-FI label / European Commission funding has opened some doors for you in fast-tracking the development of your app?
SB) Definitely.

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