Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Internet of Things and Agriculture: AIOTI Working Group 06

The Alliance for Internet of Things Innovation (AIOTI) was initiated by the European Commission in 2015, with the aim to strengthen the dialogue and interaction among Internet of Things (IoT) players in Europe, and to contribute to the creation of a dynamic European IoT ecosystem to speed up the take up of IoT. It involves a high number of organizations from the public and private sector that join forces towards a common goal.

AIOTI is organized in 13 Working Groups that cover different areas of IoT applications; NEUROPUBLIC is a member of AIOTI and one of the contributors to its WG 06: Smart Farming and Food Security. We gladly accepted Gradiant's invitation (the organization leading the specific WG) and so I found myself in Brussels on Sunday afternoon, getting ready to represent NEUROPUBLIC in the meeting which was hosted by the Spanish Office of Science and Technology (or Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas in Spanish).

I was excited to be on the same table with people from organizations such as Bayer Crop ScienceIBMSiemensCEMA (the voice of the EU agricultural machinery producers), COPA-COGECA (the voice of EU farmers and farmers' cooperatives) and Intracom Telecom, to name a few, and have the opportunity to discuss about the current status of implementation of new technologies and the IoT ecosystem in the agricultural context. I was also glad to meet old friend Christopher Brewster from TNO after quite a long time.
During the meeting, GAIA Epicheirein was mentioned as one good use case of application of new technologies in agriculture; I was happy to provide some insights on how GAIA Epicheirein was established and the work done in the context of NEUROPUBLIC's smart farming project that takes place all over Greece. Our new H2020 project DataBio was also mentioned quite a few times during the meeting, as one of the projects that may help push things forward in the specific context (see e.g. the smart farming pilots that NEUROPUBLIC will be responsible for).

The Smart AKIS H2020 project was also presented during the meeting by Ivo Hostens from CEMA, as a project that could be of interest to the scope of the group; more specifically, the marketplace that the project aims to build could be adapted by the WG.

The next steps of the Working Group were discussed during the meeting and there are still points to be addressed but this first face to face meeting of the Working Group gave a boost into the right direction (and also allowed the participants / members of the WG to get to know each other). I have the feeling that NEUROPUBLIC will be one of the important members of the group, due to its unique combination of technology/infrastructure, access to farmers (through GAIA Epicheirein) and application of its smart farming services under real conditions. :-)

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Overview of my 2016

2016 reached its end and it was full of hard work, achievements and an important decision. I still cannot comment on that but it was one of the hardest decisions I ever made... but let's see some more details on the main points of my 2016:

  • By April 2016: I worked with IFOAM EU on... I am sorry but I cannot reveal any details on that, due to confidentialy aspects of the contract; it was something interesting that had to do with knowledge (and information) management and mostly organization of existing resources. It was a great experience and also provided me with the opportunity to visit IFOAM EU's premises in Brussels and get to meet lovely and experienced people like Laura Ullmann.
  • By May 2016: I worked on a contract with UN FAO on the mapping of the legal interoperability status of the major data sources in the aquaculture and fisheries sectors. It was a great collaborative work between FAO staff and consultants that was published as the deliverable D2.6 Report on data sharing policies and legal framework in fishery and marine sciences data sector of the EGI-Engage project. In the context of this collaboration I had the opportunity to make a short trip to UN FAO's premises at Rome and participate in a related meeting.
  • March 2016: I was honored to be invited as a member of the Programme Committee of the AgroSEM 16 Special Track of the MTSR 2016 Conference. AgroSEM is a great Workshop that engages interesting participation from the agrifood and environment sector regarding work with information & knowledge management, semantics etc. My first involvement in the Workshop was back in 2011, in the context of the VOA3R project.
  • April-May 2016: I had the opportunity to work on the FOODAKAI deliverable, which aimed to provide the current status of the food safety data ecosystem, including data sources, licensing schemes, interoperability options, existing mobile apps etc. It was the last deliverable I work on for Agroknow...
  • May 2016: I made one of the most difficult decisions of my life and left Agroknow on May 6th. I can talk for hours & write pages and pages about this decision and the reasons behind it but I will not. I worked with Agroknow since the end of 2010 and was among the first ones to set foot in the new offices in January 2011, helping set everything up (from desks and chairs to projects and contracts). I learned a lot of new things, I was offered many opportunities that helped me build my profile and be good at what I am now and at the same time, I spent countless hours in the office, traveled all over the world representing the company, wrote numerous pages of project deliverables and worked on a number of contracts with high-profile customers. I only wish that we will have the opportunity to work again in the future, under different circumstances. Period.
  • May 2016: On May 9th I started working for NEUROPUBLIC, a Greek SME with about 100 employees. A much different corporate environment, with different structure, needs and requirements. It was (and still is) a big challenge for me to apply my experience and knowledge in a new context, as the company's main activity is Information Systems in various contexts but my work is focused on Smart Farming (so there is a great connection with my previous experience). I am currently serving NEUROPUBLIC as the Outreach & Networking Manager, being responsible (among others) for the design and implementation of its online presence strategy (including social media and other forms of digital content), representation in events and work with the existing and potential future networks of NEUROPUBLIC.
  • July 2016: Participated in MEDHACKATHON 2016 with a presentation on using open data for smart farming services - presenting the use case of NEUROPUBLIC.
  • October 2016: I authored my first newspaper article on the Smart Farming work of NEUROPUBLIC (digital version here - initially published in the printed version of the newspaper); it was a collaborative work and more articles followed in the next months, describing the smart farming pilots of the company.
  • Autumn/Winter 2016: I represented NEUROPUBLIC in a number of events, including the COPA-COGECA Congress of European Farmers 2016 and the collocated GAIA EPICHEIREIN Congress in October, Corallia's si-Cluster partners' meeting, the WE MED Conference of the ENI CBC MED Programme exploring collaboration opportunities with Mediterranean countries etc.
This is more or less how things moved on 2016 for me; major changes, major events and lots of work. Of course there were many-many other things that I did in 2016 but the list would grow more than I would like... In any case, I am really curious to see how the list will evolve in 2017, that's for sure!