I was lucky enough to visit Paris, just a few weeks before Christmas. After a long walk by the Seine, enjoying the bright lights of this big city, I sat at one of those typical bistros, by the river. As it happens many times, when I’m travelling alone, I thought back to my first trips to Europe, when I started working in EU research projects.
Although I originally got involved in research and development (R&D) projects back in 1999, my major work started about 7 years ago, with the first calls of the FP7 programme, so I cannot really claim decades of experience in the subject. Nevertheless, I had the privilege of working in a few quite big and significant projects with some of the best scientists and researchers in Europe.
Most of the times, when I try to explain what I do for a living, especially to people outside the business, I find it very difficult. So let’s just say that I work in the ICT sector, in a SW development company called DOTSOFT. (Yap, like Google, only 1 million times smaller and insignificant). Luckily for us at DOTSOFT, the financial crisis arrived in Greece about the same time we had our first notable success, in R&D projects and international tenders. And although we did suffer two harsh and difficult years, until we built up an adequate cash-flow, we are now quite optimistic about the future. But our course to these waters was far from trouble free. The road was not paved with roses. Operating from Greece, was never easy, and it certainly didn’t get any easier after the crisis. We had to persuade everyone, that despite the widespread belief and the gloom stories in the news, we were not (at least as a company) in danger of bankruptcy and that we are reliable and actually good at what we do.
And what we do is more or less solving problems. Well, definitely not alone, but I’d like to think that we contribute a significant part in most of the projects we participate. Before our work in research, as most of the companies in the ICT sector we were struggling to come up with a product to sell. We have successfully completed complex SW development and large ICT integration projects in areas from precision agriculture to environmental monitoring and data preservation. But although we developed a number of tools and solutions for each of this case, we never evolved them into a unified product. We left this task for other partners better positioned in the specific market.
Today we participate in about 10 research project (either directly or through outsourcing) and we have developed a quite diverse portfolio of tools and solutions that have every potential of finding their way to market. Not necessarily by us, but maybe by one of our partners. In all these projects we are collaborating with more than 70 partners, from almost 20 countries from academia, industry, public sector. Our strength lies in these numbers. Knowledge, diversification, networking, solutions. This is what we are looking for in Horizon 2020.
Here in the first days of 2014, I would like to thank the people I’ve worked with these last years. Both my team at DOTSOFT, our partners and our clients. DOTSOFT is not a big company. Its biggest strength and power are our people. Working together, we are going to continue our course into an even more successful year.PS: You can find DOTSOFT’s most important projects here.