The Technology Monitoring has turned into a key activity for organisations and professionals related with innovative projects management. In the current context and among others factors the market globalisation process and the irruption of the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), the bet for innovation is fundamental to survive and information management turns into a basic task of the innovation process.

Internet has contributed in a notorious way to increase the amount of information. Today we have enormous disperse and heterogeneous sources of information and it is possible to exchange it any time to global level. The advances of computing and telecommunications led us new tools and applications that facilitate filter, analyse and manage strategic information tasks in the innovation processes.

We spoke with the Department of Strategic and Competitive Intelligence (SCI) of the Technological Institute of Computing (ITI), through the Technology Observatory of the ICT sector. They created a system of Technology Monitoring and Competitive Intelligence that supports the strategic decisions of innovation of the Institute and also of ICT companies. The director of the Department, Daniel Sáez Sunday:

P: How did this project raised inside of the Technological Institute?

R: The Technological Observatory of the ICT sector was born in the late 2008 as an answer to a double need:

In one hand, we needed to strengthen and systematise the Technology Watch process for our own organisation, as a fundamental phase of our management R&D system.

On the other hand, the set up of the Observatory raised as a service to companies associated to ITI. The ITI, as a centre of ICT reference, can offer this Technology Watch service to small and medium enterprises that do not have material, human and economic resources to be able to take actions to boost the innovative processes by them selves.

P: Which are the mission and the aims of the Technological Observatory of the ICT sector?

R: From the Observatory, the mission is to attract and analyse Information and Communications Technologies trends and its evolution. To follow the agents and research strategies of national and international policies to orient the Institute and companies on new projects, products or processes that could be R&D opportunities for business.

These aims are achieved through a series of lines of activity, such as:

  • Technology Watch and strategic information
  • Detection of R&D national opportunities
  • Detection of R&D International opportunities
  • Competitive intelligence
  • Training
  • Implantation of model Transfer

P: Which professional tool is part of the Observatory?:

R: For the creation, set up and maintenance of the Observatory, the ITI bets for a multidisciplinary team ascribed to the Strategic and Competitive Intelligence Department (SCI).

P: Which characteristics of this multidisciplinary team would you stand out to recommend for other teams devoted to technology watch and competitive intelligence?

R: Combine strategic profiles, technicians and from diverse disciplines it is fundamental to improve the capacity of answer and quality of the works realised.

Regarding the strategic profiles, it is important to differentiate between the technicians, that are people commissioned to collect, select and disseminate information, and the people devoted to evaluation and analysis for decisions make. In our case, the team is formed by Graduates in Documentation and Telecommunication Engineers, two profiles that complement each other perfectly.

Regarding the technical profiles, there are web applications developers and management contents experts, that can follow the trends and detect opportunities in the open platforms.

P: Which thematic ICT areas do you usually work?

R: The Observatory covers the following thematic areas related with ICT value chain:

  • Quality of software.
  • Intelligent computation.
  • Communications and sensors.
  • Software Engineering
  • Multimedia and Leisure.
  • Artificial vision.
  • Computer security.
  • Geographic information Systems
  • Distributed Systems
  • Free software.
  • Language Technologies

To define the main thematic areas of the Observatory, we took into account several factors:

  • Specific weight of computer activities within the companies.
  • Main current technological trends.
  • R&D lines of the Technological Computing Institute, such as a reference ICT centre.

P: In relation to information sources, how do you develop the selection process?

R: From the Observatory we monitor a large number of information sources from different origin: web sites, databases, bulletins, etc., selected following strict quality criteria to cover distinct types of existent documents: news, events, patents, scientific articles, legislation, etc. Once the results are filtered and classified, one can disseminate the strategic information to the different users of the Observatory.

P: Which tools of technology watch and competitive intelligence conform the Technological Observatory of ICT sector?

R: The Observatory has a specific computer infrastructure that allows recompilation, selection, analysis, storage and dissemination of scientific and technical information.

This infrastructure is formed by a software of technology monitoring, that facilitates the compilation of structured information, as well as its classification and indexing. There is a content management system of own development, in which it is published and disseminated the recovered information, helping the access and query by means of the following tools:

  • Observatory Web Site (available in: https://observatorio.iti.upv.es), where we can find news, technology offers and requests, events and courses. Therefore, the site offers the possibility to show the information for a certain category, a certain type of resource or by means of crossing both (category-type). The information shown in the web site will depend on the permissions of the final user, that is why it was designed several levels of access:
    • Internal, exclusive for ITI staff.
    • Private, for internal staff and companies associated or subscribed to ITI.
    • Public, opened and available for all users.
  • Search engine: allows the research by free text, contents and labels assigned to each document. The research results are presented grouped by type of resource.
  • Contents Syndication. RSS contemplating global syndication (all resources), RSS syndication of a certain type of resource and RSS syndication of a specific category.
  • Sending electronic bulletins. Previous register and through e-mail, the user can receive periodically the most recent contents information from the Observatory. The bulletins will be able to be customised by the user, indicating the categories and type of resource of interest. They are sent weekly, with the summary of the most notable information of the week, alerts, offers and requests, patents and scientific articles.

P: In addition to these tools, what other services offer the Observatory?

R: The Strategic and Competitive Intelligence department, based in the Observatory information, offers a series of advanced technology watch services that can be requested under demand:

These are:

  • Reports of technology trends.
  • Technology Reports elaborated by ITI and R&D results projects.
  • Reports of technologies under demand.
  • Reports of bibliographic references.
  • Technology Watch consulting.

The last technology trends report published was The Smart Cities, intelligent cities of the future.

P: Who can use these tools and services?

R: As we are saying, the Observatory has a double slope always: the intern and the external.

To the internal level, the Observatory constitutes a tool of communication and access to information selected and classified for researchers and agents of the ITI, that can follow trends, detect opportunities and, orient their lines of research to focus innovations and companies needs.

To external level, the Observatory is headed to any company or consumer of the ICT sector, that do not have any technology watch service or want to complement it with any of the services offered from the Observatory.

Besides, the Observatory contains public access sections such as news, events, reports, etc., and others of greater value of private access, such as biddings, technology offers and request, etc., for which the user or company has to be registered; that is to say, be associated to the ITI or pay an annual fee. Also it is necessary to be subscribed to receive the periodic e-mail Technology Bulletins and/or Alerts with the last novelties incorporated to the system, as well as to have access to the reports of technology sectoral trends elaborated by the Institute.

This video it is an example of the research activities performed by the Institute.

P: How can a user subscribe to the Observatory?

R: The process is very simple, the user has to initiate the register process through the e-mail: observatorio@iti.upv.es or filling the contact form.

P: It seems that you are beginning to establish cooperation relationships with different countries of Latin America. In what consist the first performances?

R: We have initiated relations of cooperation with Latin American countries in several lines. In one hand, we have supported the creation of Observatories and Technology Watch services for R&D centres similar to ITI or clusters business.

On the other hand, they have established contacts for R&D projects or consulting where the Observatory has stood out profile such as reference information service.

Likewise, the ITI has realised technological missions to Latin America countries such as Brazil and Colombia, with the aim to detect project opportunities and R&D collaboration. As a result of these visits there has been establish different strategic alliances with organisms and technological centres of these countries.

P: Could you stand out an example of these initiatives?

R: Among them the ITI has collaborated with the Polo ICT of the Mendoza region in Argentina on the methodology to develop a Technology Observatory of the ICT sector.

P: To finish, which kind of potential development do you consider a technology watch has for Ibero-American countries?

R: The Technology monitoring has a big potential in the Ibero-American countries, specially for the emergent economies where companies need to take positions of leadership in the market. This competitive position is only possible if they detect threats, opportunities and new spaces or niches of market and make strategies of anticipation orientated to the sector evolution.

These anticipation strategies can only be realised with internal processes of Technology Monitoring in the companies.

More information: ITI

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