New and small companies make-up the lifeblood of economies, particularly in times of recession and crisis. How then can we empower SMEs, often with very specialized skills, to collaborate quickly and effectively with other similar organizations to build software tools and services capable of competing in global markets? How can we shorten R+D business cycles and how can we build sustainable business models?
These questions are being addressed by the RAISME project sponsored in 7th Framework Program in Europe that is focused on supporting SMEs. In particular the Capacities Call 3 focused on the research for SMEs. The RAISME project, one of the successful proposals lead by DRTS LTD and where i2Cat participates among other experienced RTD institutions (INRIA, U.Sheffield ) and with two other high-tech SMEs (GAMCO and VISup), meets the brief for keeping the EU at the forefront of software and service development.
The RAISME project will enable SMEs with niche skills to rapidly build and scale innovative ICT applications through the collaborative use of advanced ‘mashup’ technology and cloud computing. The main objective of the project is the development of a software mash-up platform that will in the first case integrate the proprietary software tools of the project partners and but that will allow future integration of many other third party services and create entirely new business models.
The current tools for integration are currently used in different areas: information extraction from complex data sources, prediction of complex data systems, creation and optimization of models from datasets, graph visualization, WEB based visualization, etc. The integration of these services by end users, possible in many different combinations, will provide powerful bottom-up solutions for data analysis and for taking decision-making and strategy in areas like medicine, transport, finance, and engineering.
The most relevant research and innovation elements that RTD institutions will bring to this project are the following:
- The establishment of conceptual foundations about mashups and work-flow technology for the development of a platform that allow rapid integration of stakeholder tools into an overall tool.
- Use of monitoring, billing and security mechanisms.
- Data extraction and pre-processing in order to allow posterior data mining processes.
- Deployment of services offered by the tools to the Cloud.
- Integration of distributed services using REST technology.
- Use of ontologies and recommender systems that will help the user on the creation of its personal and individual solutions.
The RAISME platform will be an open source platform and form the basis of open-source community consisting of individuals, teams and organizations working to build a world-class and innovative open source mash-up platform that allow users to integrate services and built their desired work-flows with them. The RAISME WEB site offers several ways that allow visitors/users to get involved and contribute to the community. With this community, users are able to contribute to the improvement of RAISME platform by means of giving advice and technical support to other users, providing feedback, asking for new features, providing fixes for possible bugs, etc.
At the end of the project, the participating SMEs will own an integrated, innovative, scalable and low cost platform that will provide a range of new market opportunities. The SMEs will have improved their industrial competitiveness by leveraging the experience and knowledge of R&D participating entities.
Finally, the RAISME SMEs will be at the vanguard of a new business paradigm where the end-user becomes part of the product development life-cycle, thus accelerating it, and where importing innovations from the Internet allows exploiting knowledge faster and productivity increases.