Interview with Raymond from R2M
R2M's role in the project is innovation management, responsible for exploitation activities, which means that they are helping the consortium to start thinking about their developments as a commercial service.
Raymond shares his insights on the technological advancements of the ECO-Qube project, past and future challenges, and what has been achieved so far.
You can watch the whole interview here, or you can read the transcript below.
Transcript of the interview
Okay, welcome to our next interview in our interview series on the ECO-Qube project. I'm interviewing Raymond from R2M - Research to Market. Raymond, I wonder if you could just start with who you are, who R2M is, and why you joined this project?
Yeah, sure thank you Mohan. I'm Raymond Sterling. I'm the director of the Spanish branch of R2M solution. R2M solution is an innovation consultancy company that really targets filling the gap between research and the market. This is what we do in our day to day life, we try to spot innovative products in all the services in all the elements that come out of research and try to channel them through the market. And that's actually one of the reasons why we entered into ECO-Qube. Also, because we are developing services and bringing products into the energy efficiency and building sectors and ECO-Qube, just targets one extra tick in the way of energy consuming building. So that's our story. Very quickly.
Cool. Maybe you can talk about the ECO-Qube project and what is revolutionary about this project, what is the game changing technologies or potential of this project?
Yeah, the game changing technology comes hand to hand with the game changing technology from the last decade, which is artificial intelligence. We're using the massive amount of data that has been produced by everything in this case, data centers, data cores, the servers, everything is producing a massive amount of data that normally is not being used for anything other than internal controls of the servers. What we want to do at ECO-Qube is to bring this data up, process it, use artificial intelligence, and then make the system more efficient by using that data. So that's the revolution. What also will help is that we are targeting edge data centers. Those are the ones that have to be super fast, super quick, and then deliver all the services for the explosion of IoT, and 5G. So I think it's going to be very exciting to see how this is deployed in all data centers around the world.
So it's a novel technology, AI, but also a novel application, specifically edge data centers, which everyone expects to be the new sort of building zone, the new industry that takes off.
Yeah, this is the next step. This is the next step of the information technology process. This is where we bring the processing power closer to the people, everyone is demanding lower latencies, everyone's demanding more immediacy, everyone's demand seems to be processed quicker, or even regionally. In this way, we are actually making these servers — that are normally not so efficient, in terms of energy from the beginning because they were not designed to be so — more and more efficient. That has an impact. We have to remember that these are data centers that are inside buildings, they're part of a building. There is really not a whole building just for the data center. Their part of the building has a huge impact on the energy consumption of the whole building. So if we want to be also more green and move towards a greener economy, we have to think about all the aspects that make energy efficient. We will have many data centers around the world and in our cities without us even noticing. So we go for it.
Awesome. And what is your role in the project? Or what is R2M’s role in the project?
Our role in the project is basically innovation management, and we take care of the exploitation activities. This means that we are helping the consortium and helping people to start thinking about their developments as a commercial protocol or commercial service. We also help with the intellectual property issues we have with the identification to export our resources and with guiding everyone into having a document that they can present in whatever form we may have and that they can bring that to the potential investor and say these are the technologies we have been thinking about. You have a good business model around and good business plan around it, and you're ready to commercialize it. So that's what we want from the project. That's all involved in the project.
Awesome. And we're about 1/3 of the way through the project. How's it going? What's been achieved so far?
From our side we are already identifying what can be exploitable. We are already talking with every partner making them think outside research, outside development and how they have to expoit what they're developing, we're starting to find new elements that partners haven't thought about that could be actually exploitable inside and outside of ECO-Qube because we what we want also is to boost the competitiveness of all the SMEs and the other big companies in the consortium. So we are well, in the path of a role, particularly as innovation managers in identifying all these potentially commercial products and services and making them think how they can exploit it. So we are about to finalize the submission of the deliverable that has to do with the first wave of the expoitable result, which is an initial analysis. And after that, we will just go refining these documents into really thinking and processing what can actually be exploited, what is what the market need, what can be a market changer, and what is then being used for further development etc. So that's where we are, and the progress so far has been great. The partners have been very collaborative, they're really enthusiastic about how we can support them, because many of the partners are small and medium enterprises that normally wouldn't necessarily have that in-house knowledge about how to exploit stuff, they know it innately, but they don't necessarily have a process for it. They have been really supportive in learning how the process goes.
Awesome. What are the main challenges that you guys have come across so far? Specifically, in work package seven.
The main challenge that is going to come later actually is that we require different partners for the exploitation. Now the main challenge is always going to have to draft these intellectual property rights agreements and the exploitation agreements, and when you have to bring people to agree on something. That is the biggest challenge. So far it has been a relatively smooth ride and has been a process of making partners aware of what we were doing and how we can help them. That was not really a challenge, it took some time and that’s normal. People are not normally used to thinking in these terms. And now we're actually looking forward to the next challenge which is to see who the big exploitator of ECO-Qube is going to be and what type of agreements need to be made for that to happen. So that will be very interesting to see.
So I wonder, how much information and opportunities do you take from this project and also combining them with other projects in the Horizon scheme? Is that common?
Yes. Our process is quite common to many Horizon Europe and Horizon 2020 projects. Of course, the application area changes and also the partners change. So when the partners change the strategy also changes, so we have to individualize a process to every one of them. But at the end of the day, one thing where we have a bit of an advantage, is that we are thinking about how to exploit stuff day in and day out. And that made us really sharp into asking questions and into guiding partners for the exploitation process into a different type of funnel. Some are more research oriented or more commercially oriented or more business oriented, so depending on the type of partner, we can guide them through the process and extract information that we need for the exploitation task. In the case of ECO-Qube it is how to pose the right question for them to see whether they are really developing something that can be standardized and exploited or if they are just having a lock-in effect, for example, by reinventing the wheel or doing something that won't be able to scale. Also we have this knowledge or awareness of what the market is asking for. We applied that also into the exploitation process.
Perfect. And then I only have one more question. Do you have anything else to share about the ECO-Qube project? Maybe your thoughts on the ECO-Qube project?
I think the ECO-Qube project is a very exciting project because we have helped from the beginning in the proposal writing stage. We have been very involved in the project. We're very excited about the technology and the way it can impact the green economy in general and how we can scale now together with the exploitation of IoT. And we actually like to invite everyone to read, to share, to actually follow us on social media and to see what we are doing because I think this will be very interesting not only for the project partners, but also for the larger data center community, as a way to understand from the start what we were doing.
Brilliant. Thank you Raymond. And thanks for joining us today for a nice interview update on the ECO-Qube project from the perspective of R2M.
Thank you, Mohan.