Posts Tagged ‘Technoport 2014’

15Megan Jones

Megan JonesApril 22, 2014

Technoport 2014: Valentina D’Efilippo on the power of infographics

At the end of April innovators, entrepreneurs, business leaders and other technology pioneers will gather in Trondheim for Technoport 2014. In the run up to this exciting event, we are publishing a series of interviews with our speakers to learn more about how they are driving innovation. This week we hear from Valentina D’Efilippo, a multi-disciplinary designer and co-author of The Infographic History of the World.

Why do you think infographics have become so popular?
Beyond just data and words, infographics use images and graphical representations. These key elements – data, words and imagery – operate as a system for simplifying information, revealing new patterns, and producing new knowledge. Though they might not have always been called “infographics,” info/data-based visualizations have always been around. With rapid advances in both technology and the speed at which we consume information, infographics have become an effective way to grab audience attention and deliver complex information in digestible formats.

In 2013 you published The Infographic History of the World. How did you decide to make that book, and what do you hope it will achieve?
Craig Adams, the editor of the book, came up with the initial idea of narrating history through infographics. James Ball, data journalist for the Guardian, and I joined forces to bring Craig’s idea to life. The Infographic History of the World is our attempt to narrate history in an unconventional way. Rather than looking to define the world’s history, this book looks to leverage the power of infographics and refresh an age-old subject for the general public and the specialist alike.

Instead of simply celebrating infographics on a stand-alone basis, we hope to take our readers on a journey through history. If we convert our audience from passive readers of a single story into fellow travellers, they can explore data and use the visualizations as starting points for their own exploration and understanding.

How do you see visual media driving or supporting innovation – either today or historically?
Since our earliest times, humans have attempted to interpret and describe the world around us – past, present and future. Embracing the picture-worth-a-thousand-words perspective, people continue to use visual metaphors to share their ideas with others. Visual media have consistently played an important role in supporting, communicating and delivering innovation.

Visual media bear a responsibility to simplify complexity and record discoveries. Yet, they also have the potential to become the fabric by which we can discern new meaning and share new knowledge. In some cases, there are existing relationships that are only revealed once the raw data has taken a visual form.

How do you think the role of visual media will change with the rise of big data and increasing technology?
With the social data revolution and the rise of big data, we should expect to see increasing prevalence of data visualization through media. As growing amounts of data become increasingly available, there will be a need to understand what is being recorded. Visual media is a likely leader in making this information accessible in a swifter and smarter way.

While infographics have been around for ages, recent proliferation of free and easy-to-use tools makes visual media more accessible to a large segment of the population. Demand for the communication of data-based information is evolving in tandem with advances in technology. Visual media has the opportunity to communicate ideas quickly and effectively. With the increased use of interactive media and new technology platforms, I expect the use of visual media will increase across disciplines.


Want to hear more?

Valentina will speak at How Visual Media Helps Us Make Sense at Technoport 2014. She will elaborate on the topics explored in this interview as we shed light on the future of funding new ventures. Learn more about Technoport 2014.

Image credit: Valentina D’Efilippo

15Megan Jones

Megan JonesApril 9, 2014

Technoport 2014: Siri Skøien on entrepreneurial success

At the end of April innovators, entrepreneurs, business leaders and other technology pioneers will gather in Trondheim for Technoport 2014. In the run up to this exciting event, we will publish a series of interviews with our speakers to learn more about how they are driving innovation. This week we hear from Siri Skøien, an award-winning entrepreneur and founder of Comlight, a motion-sensing street light system to reduce energy use.

Where did you get the idea for Comlight from, and how did it start?
It really started as an idea – I had no engineering or technical experience, I come from a business background, but I knew that if I didn’t do this someone else would. So for the first year I was working alone, getting the marketing plan off the ground and starting the patenting process. And from there I worked on incorporating electrical engineering and so forth.

How did you find the process of looking for early stage funding?
It was very difficult – very difficult, even in Norway.  This was seven years ago, and I think there’s been some progress since then, but I spent a long time looking for funding. You know, I would keep calling people and I’d get 200 noes and eventually one yes, and that’s what you’re waiting for. One thing I did was I used the local press to get the word out, I tried to get coverage of all the new developments in the local press. And actually it ended up that our first investor contacted me! It may be that I got very lucky, but that’s how we started.

Since Comlight has been going for seven years, as you say, how has the product changed over time?
We’ve made some improvements to the radar detection, and recently to the backend so users like road authorities have a better computer programme to see all the lights individually and manage them. That’s been a big project.

With the radar system, the first generation of Comlight could only detect cars and trucks and other vehicles. It took two years of intensive research and development to create a system that could detect pedestrians, which is what we have now. We’re always working to incorporate market feedback to increase the functionality, and so customers can adapt the system to their needs.

So how would a pedestrian experience street lighting in a place where Comlight has been installed? I can imagine that people would be concerned about safety.
Yes. In fact, though, I often have people come to me and say, “Are you sure it’s working? I can’t see the lights turning off anywhere.” And I say, “That’s great!” That’s how it’s supposed to be. We wanted to create a product that is so effective you don’t notice that the lights are off in front of you or behind you. If you’re walking through a park you don’t want have that spotlight feeling of being lit up on a stage. This applies to cars as well. It’s about safety as well as energy savings – safety and security is a big priority. So the system is working and saving energy, but our eyes can’t detect it.

Where is Comlight going in the future?
We want to stay small and stay innovative – to always be one step ahead, because the customers are always asking for more things. We do have some work going on in Canada and the US, but for this year we are mostly focusing on Europe. Our target customers is big lighting companies like OSRAM and GE, because it’s very time-consuming to go after the end-customers ourselves. Companies like that want to offer smart lighting but they don’t have what Comlight has, so they buy our product and sell it on to road authorities, city agencies and so on.

In terms of developing the Comlight system, we’re looking to increase the functionality so it can do other things like monitor traffic, count vehicles or check speed. It’s possible to incorporate things that aren’t even connected to lighting and energy efficiency, and that’s where this technology is going.

Are you optimistic about the future of smart lighting?
Yes, I’m very optimistic. Smart cities as a concept is really taking off, and the market for smart lighting has grown a lot recently. Norway has fallen a bit behind, people tend to want to install the same systems as they always have, but still it’s increasing here too.

Smart cities are one of the biggest movements of our time, and this has really expanded even in just the last year. This is where the world is headed.

Want to hear more?

Siri will feature at our Venture Angels and Crowd Investors event at Technoport 2014. She will elaborate on the topics explored in this interview as we shed light on the future of funding new ventures. Learn more about Technoport 2014.

Image credit: Comlight AS

Crowdfunding interview
15Megan Jones

Megan JonesMarch 13, 2014

Technoport 2014: Liz Wald explains international crowdfunding

At the end of April innovators, entrepreneurs, business leaders and other technology pioneers will gather in Trondheim for Technoport 2014. In the run up to this exciting event, we will publish a series of interviews with our speakers to learn more about how they are driving innovation. This week we hear from Liz Wald, Head of International at crowdfunding website Indiegogo

How would you explain Indiegogo to someone not familiar with crowdfunding?

Crowdfunding is the process of raising money from a large number of people to fund the projects that matter to them, resulting in significantly more funds and awareness than would ever be possible through a single contribution. As with Indiegogo, this primarily happens online, where money is exchanged, often for an item called a “perk” in a way similar to other online marketplaces like eBay, Airbnb and others. 

There is no approval process for campaigns on Indiegogo (unlike other platforms, like Kickstarter). Why is that?
We welcome a diversity of campaigns spanning creative, cause-related and entrepreneurial projects. This gives campaign owners and contributors the chance to fund what they care about most, without restrictions.  We don’t think we should judge who should raise funds for their idea, but rather the crowd should choose to fund or not based on their interests.

In keeping with the company’s mission to democratize funding, it’s important for Indiegogo to remain an open platform. With no application process or waiting period associated with launching a campaign, individuals can start raising funds immediately, without delays or bottlenecks. Further, we do not curate, which means that we, as a third-party, don’t arbitrarily define the value of any campaign on behalf of the campaign owner.

What, in your view, are the hallmarks of a successful technology crowdfunding campaign? What are some examples of innovative projects?
Beyond raising money, crowdfunding provides several benefits for individuals and organizations. First, a crowdfunding campaign creates a unique opportunity for market validation and increased access to social networks, amplifying overall awareness as like-minded people continue to visit and share your campaign. Second, entrepreneurs can receive early customer feedback, giving them an advantage as they refine their service or product. Third, those who crowdfund gain access to emails and data analytics, providing crucial insights as they move forward once the campaign is over.  This is as true for a creative campaign as a tech-focused one.

One great example is the wireless activity tracker called Misfit Shine.  In addition to raising close to $850,000 from nearly 8,000 backers, they got invaluable feedback on their product design and as a result of the campaign launched both a necklace and a bracelet as well as their original clip-on product. This kind of customer feedback would be nearly impossible if just one or a handful of investors had backed the company.  Even better, they finished their campaign with a great database of users, plenty of funds to create their product, and the proof of concept needed to then take their idea to investors if they chose to do so.

There are campaigners and contributors from nearly 200 countries on Indiegogo. Do you find that certain types of projects are more popular in different countries or regions?
Indiegogo doesn’t focus on any particular category. Below are a few examples of categories of campaigns on the platform:
– Film
– Web/Video
– Music
– Gaming
– Design
– Small Business
– Community
– Health
– Education

Interestingly we’ve seen a pretty solid mix from all corners of the earth.  While hi-tech projects might be obvious in places like the US, Germany and Israel, we see them from less expected locations as well.  We also see amazing innovations from places like Rwanda where a solar phone charger is more a necessity than a novel idea.  The bottom line is that creativity and ingenuity exist everywhere.

Indiegogo currently accepts and disburses funds in USD, CAD, EUR, AUD, and GBP. Do you foresee it accepting Norwegian kroner anytime soon?  
We’re consistently improving our platform to better meet the needs of our international customers and will continue to offer more global payment options as we move forward.  Whether it’s the krone or yen that comes next, the important thing is that we continue to give people options both for raising funds and for making it easy for contributors to participate.

Want to hear more?

Liz will feature at our Venture Angels and Crowd Investors event at Technoport 2014. She will elaborate on the topics explored in this interview as we shed light on the future of funding new ventures. Learn more about Technoport 2014.

Technoport Share The Problem Statoil
4Gøril Forbord

Gøril ForbordFebruary 24, 2014

Share The Problem – From the CEO

My one and only assignment during Technoport’s very first Share the Problem event featuring Statoil was to take some notes. Unfortunately, I totally forgot!

I don’t think it happened because I am a forgetful person. I was simply too focused on Statoil’s problem! It was really complex, and not within any of my areas of expertise.

So here goes…

Statoil has a vision. Some time in the future they want to develop on-line monitoring of the environment they are operating in, and thereby be able to operate and take desicions that protects the environment before potential damage is done. An ocean observatory placed in Vesterålen is the first step towards this and they now need input on what sensors to use, how to analyse and use the huge amount of data collected and how to visualise the data from the ocean observatory.

No wonder I needed to focus!

After Statoil’s Innovation Director and Technoport board member, Per Sandberg, had told us about how Statoil is really enthusiastic about this new way of working with open innovation and outsourcing of their innovation challenges, it was the turn of Statoil Project Manager, Mona Låte.

She walked us through the problem, and then the 40 people in the room formed groups to discuss and understand the problem. There were six groups and we were six in my group. Two from start-up companies, one assosiate professor in instrumentation, two from Statoil, whereas one new a lot about the project, and my self. We asked the expert from Statoil many, many questions:

  • Why do you want to monitor the environment?
  • What are the most important metrics?
  • How do you analyze the data?
  • Why is it placed in Vesterålen where you have no operations?

These were all my questions, by the way. My fellow solvers asked some more intelligent questions!

We were then sorted into different groups, with different focus on sensors, visualisation and data analysis. We asked new questions, yet more questions, and then our final task was to give Statoil an advice. It was really interesting trying to come up with ideas, new angels and new questions. My group ended up advising Statoil to decide which are the most important paramenters and use an AUV to collect the data and use wireless transmition of them. So after three hours of constant questioning, some idea sharing, I think I sort of understood what it was really all about.

There is definitely is a business opportunity here, just waiting for the right solvers. If someone can provide Statoil with a simple device with wireless transmission of a few essential metrics, which transform the huge amount of data in a user friendly way into a environmental desition tool for operators, they could sell a lot of devices. Unfortunately for me, I am not that solver. But to be honest, I have done a lot of thinking about on-line environmental monitoring lately. Perhaps one of my fellow Share The Problem participants with greater solver potential than me also does on-line monitor thinking at this very moment!

As a pilot event, we weren’t sure how it would go and what direction it would take, but we were all very excited. A bit nervous in fact, even though there was really no pressure, I wondered what would be the outcome of the workshop, how would the participants react, how many would actually show up? on the outcome of the workshop, or on the number of participants?

A job well done!

14Hermann Ørn Vidarsson

Hermann Ørn VidarssonNovember 26, 2013

Three first speakers announced

We proudly present the first three speakers at our Main Event; Technoport 2014. The event will be in Trondheim on the 28th-30th of April 2014. Note them down in your calendar.

Registration will open in end of January so please subscribe to our newsletter or add us on facebook, Twitter or Linkedin for regulare updates.