Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Presenting the benefits of smart farming for the olive sector at Copa Cogeca

I was excited.

I was invited to the meeting of Copa Cogeca's Working Party on Olive Oil and Table Olives, to make a presentation on how smart farming can benefit the olive sector. It was a great opportunity for me to present the work that we are doing with NEUROPUBLIC's gaiasense smart farming system. A Facebook reminder (the "On this day" feature) informed me that it was only a couple of years and two days ago when I first attended a Copa Cogeca event (the annual Farmers Congress, that was collocated with the GAIA Congress in Athens, Greece).

I was stressed.

The meeting would take place on the day that we were submitting a pretty important proposal for a project to take place in the Region of Western Greece. I was responsible for the communication with the partners of the proposal, the collection of all necessary documentation and certificates from their side (both in digital and printed version) - and since we are talking about Greece, you can only imagine the amount of paperwork required...

I was also responsible for uploading all necessary information on the web-based proposal submission platform - for all partners - and in general for the successful submission of the proposal, in full and on time. On top of all that, I needed to find time for preparing my slides for the Copa Cogeca meeting.

Both were equally important; I needed to find time for both.

What I did was to work on the submission until Friday, ensuring that everything would be ready for its submission on Monday, leaving only minor parts to be completed by my (always willing to help) colleagues. Then I could allocate time over the weekend for my slides; a challenging task, considering that weekends are usually full of errands and time with the family.

Being at Copa Cogeca's premises is a privilege!
On Thursday and Friday, I made use of my commute time to work (a good 2-hours daily) for building the structure of my presentation. I also filled parts of it with existing material, carefully crafted by me or my colleagues. I knew I had limited time to prepare my presentation and therefore I needed to get the most out of existing resources, making sure that they would be a perfect fit for the specific purpose.
Over the weekend, I made good use of my free time and materialized what I had planned in paper during the previous days. And it worked. I soon had a presentation consisting of more than 20 slides, telling the story I wanted to tell. I reviewed it a couple of times, made some revisions and I was ready to go. The (relatively) long travel time also allowed me to go through it and make sure that I would deliver it in a decent way :-)

When I finally reached the Copa Cogeca headquarters at the center of Brussels, I felt confident; I had gone through the slides several times, I had my story ready and some additional points to mention without additional slides. Meeting my colleagues from Greece right before the meeting helped me relax and feel more comfortable.

The presentation went pretty well, with an audience of about 20 people - mostly representatives of olive cooperatives and organizations from Mediterranean countries (Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal), as well as Croatia. It took me about 20 minutes to make my presentation and to provide some additional information during the interactive session right after; the parallel translation in the languages spoken within the Party helped things a lot. It was a great experience for me and therefore I would like to thank the Chair of Copa Cogeca's Working Party on Olive Oil and Table Olives and the rest of the Working Part for the kind invitation.

Some interesting info on the trip itself

It was a one-day trip to Brussels, and since it was booked on the last minute, I didn't have the luxury of many options - and none of the available options was a direct flight. Instead of taking the 1-stop flight at 06.00, I opted for the 2-stop flight with Swiss Air at 06.30, which allowed me to rest for 30 precious minutes more in the morning. However, this would be tricky, as I heavily depended on the accuracy of the flights (and my latest experiences were not exactly positive). I arrived at 12.45 in Brussels and at about 13.45 at the Copa Cogeca premises, early enough to catch up with the meeting starting at 14.30.

The flight back home was easier, with just one stop in Zurich. I am glad that everything went well travel-wise, so I was able to reach my destination on time.

I finished my day having taken 5 flights, 1 bus (to the Copa Cogeca premises), 1 train (to Brussels airport) and a short drive to and from Athens airport; on top of that I walked more than 5 km in total in between my destinations, according to my smartwatch :-)

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Another formatting issue in a project deliverable: Heading numbers blacked out

I have been working with project deliverables since I started working with projects (which is back to 2009, if I recall well) and since then I have authored and contributed to dozens of them; not only I was usually the one to transform ideas and bullets into text (I love writing texts anyway!), but I was also one of those paying attention to the details, and when it comes to document formatting, this is something that can make the difference. The latter made me one of the frequent deliverable reviewers, too :-)

Why am I writing this? I recently received yet another project deliverable (a dissemination one) for comments and contributions - on top of that, I noticed an annoying issue in the numbering of Level 3 and Level 4 headings, which caused the corresponding heading numbers to black out.

Image source:

My first move was to inspect the formatting of the specific headings (right click on the Heading 3 -> Modify); however, I could not find anything strange there. Then, I just Googled it: It seems that it is a pretty common issue, caused by a corrupt template. The proposed solution was the following:
  1. Put your cursor on the heading just right of the black box
  2. Use the left arrow key on your keyboard to move left until the black box turns grey
  3. Use the keyboard combination ctrl+shift+s, the dialog "Apply Styles" should appear
  4. In this box, click "reapply"
I did that, but I had to do it for any Level 3 and Level 4 heading, which was time consuming; then I saw a user proposing another step:

5. Go to a fixed issue, then right-click on the corresponding Heading button on the top menu of MS Word and click on "Update Heading 3 to match selection"

That was quick! I felt pretty good about the solution, saved my document and exited. However, when I opened it again just to make sure, the issue was still there, with the bad formatting still around! No matter how many times I tried, the issue would re-appear each time I opened the document. 

And then, I thought I should try something (not suggested by any user):

I fixed the issues, saved the document as .doc (not .docx, as the original) and check. Indeed, the issue was gone (along with some details of the tracking changes but not the tracking changes itself; however, this was pretty minor, as the revisions were still marked and plus I was informed about that before I saved the document in .doc). The only thing I had to do was to save the document as .docx again and check it for the last time - and it was ok!

I was just pissed off, because it was a pretty busy day and I had to spend time on this workaround... :-X

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Participation in the RDA Interest Group on Agricultural Data (IGAD) Pre-Plenary Meeting 11

The meeting of Research Data Alliance's Interest Group on Agricultural Data (IGAD) took place between 19-20 of March 2018 in Berlin. I was excited to be able to join the meeting - my first RDA meeting after quite a long time - and see how things are moving in the IGAD, a group that I have spent quite a long time working with; both the Interest Group and its Working Groups.

The first day of the meeting was dedicated to the theme “The FAIR principles to all elements of the research process in agricultural sciences and related disciplines”. I represented NEUROPUBLIC and presented the way in which our H2020 Big Data Lighthouse project DataBio project takes into consideration the FAIR Principles in its data management workflows and more specifically, in the case of the smart farming pilots that NEUROPUBLIC is coordinating. Apart from that, I had the opportunity to see the approach of other organizations in adopting the FAIR Principle in their cases, which was extremely interesting.

(the slides are also available through the GODAN Gateway of F1000 Research)

During the second day of the meeting, parallel sessions took place, focusing on different aspects of the IGAD main themes - most of them being the ongoing work of its Working Groups. I started by attending the first part of the AgriSemantics discussion but was curious to see the work of other groups so I also participated to the discussions of the Capacity Development for Agriculture (which blends my interest in Open Data with training activities) and the On-Farm Data Sharing (which I found really interesting and close to NEUROPUBLIC's work with smart farming) Working Groups.

Now, I guess that what I have to do is to align the work that I am doing with NEUROPUBLIC with all these advances taking places at a global level - and this might be a challenging task but it will worth the effort.

All in all, I felt like being home meeting all this long-time friends and collaborators from global organizations like UN FAO (Imma, Caterina and Karna), CGIAR and its research centers (Richard from CIMMYT), GFAR (Valeria), Wageningen UR (Hugo Besemer), INRA (Odile, Esther and Sophie), GODAN (Martin and Suchith), Johannes Keizer and Armando Stellato (I hope I am not forgetting anyone) and get to meet people passionate about their work in agricultural information and knowledge management like Ilkay (FAO - she did a wonderful job regarding the documentation of the meeting!), Chipo (CTA), Diane (GODAN) and Cynthia (USDA) - they were too many to name them all. It was great discussing with these passionate people about how access to open data in agriculture can be improved, how we can better organize all this wealth of information, knowledge and data and how we can build meaningful data-powered solutions for agriculture at a global level.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Attending the Smart AKIS 3rd Innovation Workshop

Earlier today I had the opportunity to be among the selected audience of the Smart AKIS 3rd Innovation Workshop in Greece, which took place at the premises of the Agricultural University of Athens. Among the participants of the Workshop there were academia (researchers working with smart farming and/or precision agriculture), representatives from farmers' associations and private companies, students etc.

The event aimed at providing an overview of various aspects of smart farming in Greece and was well-structured: Starting with a presentation of the Smart AKIS project and its platform, it moved to various funding opportunities available to smart farming stakeholders and then to pitching of innovative ideas based on smart farming that were discussed in the previous Smart AKIS workshop and implemented in the meantime. Since the implementation involved (in most cases) both research organizations and private companies (along with farmers of course!), this brought the EIP-AGRI's Operational Groups in my mind.

This feeling was further enhanced by the discussions that followed and concluded the event; the audience was split in three groups and discussed about the previously described ideas that would address real issues that farmers face. The fact that each group included at least one representative of a farmers' association was critical; I was lucky to be in the same group with Mark Legas from 7Grapes/Pegasus cooperative and he was a real source of inspiration, matching existing issues with potential solutions on the fly. The most prominent solutions will be presented and discussed during a Pan-European workshop of the project, to take place in the near future.

There was a common understanding (and agreement) among the participants that we need to (and can) produce more with less, that technology alone cannot provide the solutions for the existing food production issues and that research is a vital part of the solution, along with technology and data. Farmers understand that they do not have full control of the way they apply inputs in their fields and admit that they would appreciate support in the form of advice in their decision-making processes that affect their production. Researchers know how their scientific knowledge can contribute and companies have the expertise to implement this by transforming it into advice and apply it through innovative technologies.

Overall, it was a great event (congratulations to the organizers!), engaging various actors of the agrifood chain, and I was glad to be a part of it.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Participation in the Agrotica 2018 International Fair

I recently had the opportunity to participate in the 27th International Fair for Agricultural Machinery, Equipment & Supplies Agrotica 2018, as a member of the NEUROPUBLIC team working with the gaiasense smart farming system. We are talking about a huge exhibition focused on agriculture, with thousands of visitors of all kinds - from farmers looking for the new machinery to meet their needs to hi-tech company representatives looking for collaboration opportunities with other companies. I participated in the four days of the event (Thessaloniki, between 1-4/2/2018), along with colleagues from NEUROPUBLIC.

This year, NEUROPUBLIC worked jointly with GAIA EPICHEIREIN towards a joint booth for gaiasense, and the result was outstanding; it was a huge booth, consisting of an informational desk, several tables with chairs for discussions with potential customers, two screens with video playback at the sides and a main video wall for the gaiasense (and other) presentations taking place during Agrotica 2018. On top of that, gaiasense had a 4-hour dedicated informational event on Friday 2/2/2018, for selected potential partners (mostly agricultural advisors, researchers and farmers), which attracted more than 160 people.

Full house at the gaiasense information event at Agrotica 2018

The gaiasense informational event had me multitask between preparing & sending tweets with photos (for once more using by Logitech K480 keyboard with two smartphones and one tablet!), jotting down notes, talking to contacts that made it to the event, meeting new people and addressing their questions and taking some photos, too (see below).

From my side, I had an active role in the preparation of all this - mostly in the selection of the invitations' list, the promotion of the event through social media and contacting some key persons for attending the event or visiting our booth. During Agrotica 2018, I was one of the "booth team", providing information about gaiasense to anyone interested in it (and there were dozens of them). I was also responsible for sharing updates through social media (a challenging task, taking into consideration the almost non-functional wireless connection of the event) and also taking some photos (a "backup photographer, as there was a professional one around most of the time - this allowed me to dig out my Olympus EPM-1 camera and take some nice shots).

At the booth I had the opportunity to meet old friends (mostly from university days) and colleagues, collaborators in projects etc. I also met some interesting people, passionate about their work and eager to learn more on how to apply gaiasense in their cases. These are the early adopters that an innovative system like gaiasense needs in order to get a boost at its first steps :-)

Overall, the experience was pretty challenging, including long hours at the booth, addressing various unexpected issues on the spot, having an irregular daily schedule with few snacks, lots of coffee and lots of laughs with colleagues and friends! The most important outcome of these days though, was the fact that we came to actually meet many different potential customers / users of gaiasense, hear what they need and see if (and how) gaiasense can help them address their needs. It helped us (and me personally) better understand how we can reach these people by better understanding their needs.

Back to work now :-)

Monday, January 15, 2018

Our gaisense system gets social!

During his latest interview, NEUROPUBLIC's President mentioned that 2018 will be the year of gaiasense; gaiasense being the smart farming system that NEUROPUBLIC develops along with GAIA EPICHEIREIN. This means that apart from the actual work (referring to the expansion of the gaiasense network in terms of land coverage and support for new crops) we also need to spread the word about gaiasense and make its target audience familiar with it.

The first step was accomplished; it was the development of the gaiasense website. This is the point of reference for the system, where all available information (at least the public parts) is included. It is important that the website is bilingual (Greek and English), so that it can be used as a reference when contacting our foreign partners and collaborators, too.
The next step is to help potential users and collaborators (mostly farmers, agricultural advisors and researchers) find this point of reference. And this is where social media come in the picture.

So far, we used mostly NEUROPUBLIC's social media (Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn page) for sharing news about gaiasense. But now is the time for gaiasense to have its own, customized voice through dedicated social media channels. We decided to go with the same channels that NEUROPUBLIC also uses:
  1. Facebook: We created a Facebook product page for gaiasense. Thanks to the flexibility of Facebook, I believe that this will be the most attractive channel. In fact, the page managed to attract more than 100 followers in just three days - an impressive number, taking into consideration the fact that the audience of gaiasense is pretty limited. A promoted post surely helped towards this direction,
  2. Twitter: We setup a Twitter account for gaiasense so that we can reach a different audience. This channel will be mostly used for promoting content already published elsewhere and reaching out to related stakeholders. We started following related accounts (e.g. agricultural cooperatives, agricultural advisors, agricultural media etc.).
  3. LinkedIn: We created a showcase page for gaiasense, as one of NEUROPUBLIC's products. Taking into consideration that LinkedIn is mostly used in English (and is pretty limited in terms of flexibility), this is expected to be the most challenging channel.


Making the most out of social media is not easy, when it comes to Greek products aimed at Greek users (at least for the time being). The main challenges that we face are the following:
  • Language: Channels like Twitter and (mostly) L are not easy to use in a language other than English. For Twitter, using hashtags in Greek does not seem to be successful. LinkedIn does not play well with Greek, neither. I have tried using #ΕυφυήςΓεωργία, the Greek term for #SmartFarming, and I was surprised to see that we were probably the first ones to use it! As for the content language, we started posting in Greek (our target audience are Greek and some of them are not fluent in English) but I believe that they would benefit from some content in English, as well. It is about balancing between the targeting audience and raising awareness about the product in general.
  • Low use of social media: Farmers do not tend to use social media; they may have (personal) Facebook profiles but using Twitter or LinkedIn? The same goes more or less for agricultural cooperatives, while researchers and agricultural advisors are usually more active on social media (depending mostly on their age). If they do not use social media, then we cannot reach them...
  • Account names: This does not have to do with the language, but is was yet another issue. The account names @gaiasense were already taken both on Facebook and Twitter. In both cases, we considered a couple of alternatives, and the winner was @gaiasenseGR. I have numerous examples of cases where various organizations (and their products) had their account names taken but still they managed to successfully overcome this. So why couldn't we do he same?
All in all, this is a work in progress. The social media channels of gaiasense will be our tools for reaching out to more potential customers and collaborators and we will put effort in addressing the aforementioned challenges. I am sure that the results will be positive, to the extend possible of course.

So, gaiasense is now available through Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, It is up to us to make these channels successful and up to you to learn more about gaiasense :-)

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Overview of my 2017

(I realized that I keep discovering new points to add every now and then so I consider this to be sort of a "living document")

2017 has been another busy year, with important contributions and participation to events, co-authoring documents (reports and articles) with impact and many-many minor tasks (which build up and contributed to the bigger picture). I tried to compile a list of the most important ones:


1. AIOTI Working Group 06 Meeting (Brussels, 30/1/2017): This was the first face to face meeting of AIOTI's WG06 "Smart Farming and Food Security". The meeting was organized by Gradiant (Spain) and was attended by several members of the WG. My participation allowed me to have a better view of the ecosystem and more importantly the people active in this area.

2. Presentation in the KATANA Roadshow Athens (Athens, 2/2/2017): This was one of a series of meetings organized by the KATANA H2020 project which acts as an innovative business accelerator in the agrifood sector. I was invited to present an overview of the smart farming ecosystem in Greece; something that proved to be more challenging than I thought, mostly due to lack of sufficient information. 

3. si-Cluster meeting with Minister of Digital Policy, Telecommunications and Media (Athens, 7/2/2017): I had the opportunity to actively participate in this important meeting of si-Cluster with the Minister and other officials of the Ministry, which provided the opportunity to companies to present the way in which they use satellite and earth observation technologies and data for building added value services. We presented our gaiasense smart farming system and the presentation drew the attention of the participants thanks to its simplicity, low cost and effectiveness.

4. Joining the list of revieewers of the Knowledge and Performance Management Journal (May 2017): I was invited to join the list of reviewers of the aforementioned open access journal and it was something that I found interesting, so I gladly accepted the invitation. It seems like a promising journal with great potential (thanks to the constantly increased importance of knowledge management).

5. Presentation in the Money Show 2017 Conference (Thessaloniki, 30/5/2017): It was an interesting event, as the session that I participated in aimed to show how an early harvest extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) can be used for medical purposes, contributing to the treatment of Altzheimer disease patients as a part of a healthy diet. My presentation focused on how the adoption of smart farming in a selected olive grove - Yanni's Olive Grove, one of the first adopters of NEUROPUBLIC's gaiasense smart farming system - can contribute to the production of olive oil with high levels of antioxidants (polyphenols). Other presentations showed how this olive oil is used experimentally for clinical trials (the aforementioned medical purposes).

6. Participation in the EIP-AGRI Seminar "Digital Innovation Hubs: mainstreaming digital agriculture"  (Kilkenny, 1-2/6/2017): This was quite an experience...I had the opportunity to collaborate with experts from different fields from all over Europe and contribute to the shaping of the design and implementation of Digital Innovation Hubs in Agriculture - I believe that this will be one of the hot topics in the near future. Excellent organization by EIP-AGRI, inspiring participants, interesting outcomes. Reports and other material from the meeting are available online.

7. AIOTI 2nd General Assembly & 2017-2021 Strategy (Brussels, 30/6/2017): I had the privilege to represent NEUROPUBLIC in the 2nd General Assembly of AIOTI, which consisted of two parts: an open and a restricted to AIOTI members. It was a unique experience for me to be a part of such a heterogeneous group of people which focus on the adoption of IoT technologies in many different aspects of our lives. During the public part, there were so many interesting discussions on how things are moving on in terms of Internet of Things and how major companies (along with smaller ones) are leading the way towards new developments and implementation in the sector.

. Contribution to the e-Forum on ICTs and Open Data in Agriculture and Nutrition (June 2017): I was invited to participate as one of the subject matter experts to this online e-Forum and it was a great experience - thanks to the scope of the discussions but mostly thanks to the participation of a wide variety of stakeholders (focusing on the end users, who highlighted the role of open data in improving their agricultural activities).

9. Presentation in the 4th Panhellenic Congress for the Development of Greek Agriculture (Thessaloniki, 9-10/11/2017): I was invited to talk about the role of open data in improving agricultural production. My presentation consisted of an introductory part with the basics of open data in agriculture and presented the use case of NEUROPUBLIC as an SME building services and applications on open data (like the Copernicus ones). It was a great Congress with high participation and discussions had impact among the participants.

During a coffee break at the EIP-AGRI Seminar for Digital Innovation Hubs in Agriculture. Kilkenny, Ireland.


1. Digital Innovation Hubs: Democratising digital technologies in agriculture (October 2017): I was one of the three authors of this report, for which I am really proud. It was a great collaborative work, which took place remotely (with frequent Skype calls), making use of all existing information about Digital Innovation Hubs in Agriculture and how they could be materialized for the benefit of various stakeholders of the ecosystem. The report was well-accepted by EC officials and you can find more information here.

2. Developing data interoperability using standards: A wheat community use case (October 2017). I was happy to be involved as one of the authors in this publication, which is one of the outcomes of the Wheat Data Interoperability Working Group of the Research Data Alliance. It was a long time since I last worked on a research publication so this one gave me the opportunity to contribute to the extent possible to the description of the work that the WG has made over the last years in terms of improving the use of standards in the case of wheat research. The article is included in the Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) gateway of F1000 Research.

3. Encyclopedia of olive (November 2017): The Encyclopedia of Olive includes different chapters that focus on different aspects of olive trees' cultivation, olive oil production etc. NEUROPUBLIC was invited to contribute with a chapter on the role of modern approaches like smart farming in the improvement of olive (and consequently olive oil) production. It was a challenging task, as we had to squeeze lots of information into a few pages but it seems that  the outcome was pretty good. 

4. Special issue article: A use case of smart farming application in Greek vineyards (September 2017): I contributed to an article (Greek only) on how smart farming can improve the production of table grapes, presenting our experience with the Pegasus/7Grapes cooperative. The article was included in the special issue on wine & viticulture of the Ypaithros Chora newspaper.

5.  Article on smart irrigation in EPI GIS (November 2017): We were invited to contribute with an article on smart irrigation in this awarded publication Piraeus Bank, the major financial organization activated in the Greek agricultural sector. For once more I was involved in the authoring of the article, which was well-received by those who read it (and thanks for the numerous comments on this one!) :-)

That's me at the AIOTI WG06 booth during the AIOTI General Assembly in Brussels.


1. Contribution to the content of the gaiasense website (Autumn 2017): This was another challenging task, as we needed to shape the content for the website of gaiasense, NEUROPUBLIC's smart farming system, in a pretty short time. We had various pieces of text ready here and there but we had to collect them, evaluate their value for the website and then repurpose them from generic text to eye-catching content. Various pieces of text were build from scratch, ideas for the structure of the website and related visuals were discussed and everything was ready on time.

2. Participation in Technical Meetings about the "Collaboration" action of the Greek Rural Development Programme (Autumn 2017): I had the opportunity to participate in two of the Technical Meetings organized for briefing various beneficiaries of the specific action - one in Heraclion, Crete in September and another in Lamia (Central Greece) in December. Officials presented the current status of the framework for the call and participants were invited to contribute their ideas, concerns and experiences. It is a really interesting call based on the concept of Operational Groups concept highlighted by EIP-AGRI, including the role of innovation brokers but focusing on the collaboration between farmers and agricultural cooperatives with companies aiming at improving agricultural production in an environmentally friendly way. The call is expected in the near future and we are already working on that.

Well, these seem to be the highlights of my 2017; I also have some stuff about the work on social media but I guess they'll take up another post. I can only wish for an equally interesting (and successful) 2018 :-)

Saturday, December 16, 2017

How we documented the GAIA Congress 2017 using Twitter

I was involved in yet another Conference (4th GAIA Panhellenic Congress 2017) in terms of organizing the use of social media and I believe that it was a successful one in this sense.

To make a long story short, the challenging fact was that the audience of the Conference was highly heterogeneous, ranging from farmers and representatives of agricultural cooperatives to agricultural advisors, SMEs, various actors of the agrifood chain, members of EU projects related to agriculture and policy makers, to name a few. This heterogeneity reflected the differences in using and making use of social media during the Conference. It was obvious that we needed to prepare things in a way that would allow us to provide a feed of the Conference's outcomes adapted to the needs of different audiences with different needs and characteristics. But we were up to the challenge :-)


First we had to select the most appropriate channel for sharing the news; Twitter was the winner, thanks to its nature which favors sharing short news items constantly, including media (e.g. photos, videos and even slides). On top of that, Twitter has a proven successful history of being used for the same purpose in numerous Conferences. On the other hand, using other media like Facebook (or even worse LinkedIn) for such purpose, creates an overload of information on channels that are used more 

After selecting the medium, we spent time on organizing our resources: There were different organizations behind the Conference, each one with its own audience and each one had to share the outcomes of the Conference instantly, using the appropriate language. So we had the Twitter accounts of GAIA Epiheirein, GAIA's EU Office located in Brussels (@GAIA Epicherein EU), NEUROPUBLIC, along with our personal Twitter accounts. We also had people managing these accounts so that we could tweet individually.

We started with the definition of the hashtag for the Conference (#GAIACongress17), which we arranged to be displayed on the video wall of the conference even before it started, so that participants would know which hashtag to use when tweeting.

Then, we built a list of the Twitter account of the speakers and lists of hashtags which were of relevance to the Congress, so that we would maximize the impact of our tweets. This alone takes a lot of time and effort, since we need to be accurate - I still remember seeing tweets mentioning a totally different person than the one intended or a hashtag that is frequently used in other contexts (e.g. gaming).

Last but not least, we split the responsibilities among the different Twitter accounts; for example, sessions of interest only to Greek farmers would mostly be covered by the GAIA Epicherein account in Greek, sessions of interest (and with foreign speakers) to EU farmers would mostly be covered by the GAIA Brussels account in English while sessions and presentations/talks related to smart farming and technology in general would be covered by the NEUROPUBLIC account (also in English).


Despite the fact that we had carefully organized things, it was obvious that one should be able to cover for the others; in several cases, we had our main Twitter managers running up and down for setting things up, moderating panels of the Conference and making last minute arrangements with panelists and participants. In this sense, we succeeded in using different accounts so that we would not leave any part of the Conference unreferenced.

The use (and display) of the Conference's hashtag allowed others to make use of it and be involved in the conversation, which was one of the most important aspects. We kept mentioning participants and their organizations in our tweets, so that they would also be engaged (and they did). We also mentioned non-participating organizations when tweeting something of interest to them, so that they would also keep an eye on the updates.

This resulted in various Twitter accounts being involved in the Conference's discussions which allowed us to spread the progress and outcomes of the Conference at a wider audience - much wider than the one consisting of only the participants. Apart from that, the intensive use of Twitter allowed us to create a simple documentation of the event for future reference, including quotes, images and other media.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

[Publication] Article on smart irrigation in EPI GIS

"ΕΠΙ ΓΗΣ" (roughly translated as "On Earth") is an awarded quarterly publication of Piraeus Bank (one of the largest - if not the largest - banks in Greece and the one most involved in the agricultural sector), which presents selected articles related to the agricultural production and the agrifood sector in general, focusing on innovation and funding options.

Its current issue is dedicated to topics in water management in agriculture, includes an article that we prepared about the optimization of irrigation for vineyards through the exploitation of data and scientific knowledge - something that NEUROPUBLIC already applies in the context of its smart farming project in selected areas of Greece, in collaboration with GAIA EPICHEREIN and distinct Greek researchers.

ΕΠΙ ΓΗΣ is available in its printed form through the branches of Piraeus Bank and in its digital form at (available in Greek only).

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The gaiasense website is launched

This is what I gave a hint on some time ago and the news can now be shared: The website of NEUROPUBLIC's gaiasense smart farming system is now publicly available!

We started with the Greek version a couple of days before GAIA EPICHEREIN's 4th Congress (keep in mind that our customers are Greek) and the English one followed some days later. The English version is mostly aimed to our partners abroad, so that our work is communicated in the best possible way to them - and I should be the one to blame for most parts of the translation from Greek to English :-) 

There is a lot of useful information about the concept of gaiasense and how it appeals to different types of potential users, news items related to gaiasense etc. However, most part of the content focuses on the four dimensions of gaiasense, as shown in the figure above. At the same time, we are working on updating and enriching the content on a regular basis.

They say that a picture equals a thousand words, so I would skip more (boring) descriptions for the time being and invite you to visit the gaiasense website at