i2CAT, 10 years leading Internet Research in Catalonia

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  • It has developed more than 300 projects throughout this decade in areas ranging from telemedicine, smart cities, augmented reality or home automation, etc.
  • It is an international pioneer of the "open innovation", focused on the user, and the introduction of Living Labs
  • Jordi Puigneró: “From the Government and from i2CAT we want Catalonia becomes a smart region reference worldwide.”

The Palau de la Generalitat has been the scene for the 10th anniversary celebration of the Foundation i2CAT, a leader organization in R+D+i in the field of Internet and network technologies, both nationally and internationally.

A lot of personalities from the public and private sectors related to the Foundation, as well as internationally recognized faces of the sector as the "father of the Internet" and Google vice president, Vint Cerf, and the MIT founder, Ken Morse, wanted to be present at the event, which was a review of the history and future of the organization, of the meaning of i2CAT in R+D of Internet in Catalonia and of the need to invest in this research in our country.

According to data provided in the event, more than 300 projects have been developed by i2CAT throughout this decade, a decade marked by the evolution and revolution of the network in all areas of society, becoming the common denominator of many innovations and new services that have been carried out or are in the process of implementation, such as video conferencing, telemedicine, augmented reality, home automation, smart cities, etc.

All of these issues have been dealt by the Foundation with the main players in the sector and have led to successes like Teleictus with the Hospital Vall d'Hebron (implemented throughout the Catalan health network), the Industrial Ring (connecting various industrial sectors such as automotive, with users as Seat, Ficosa Gestamp, T-Systems, Atos Origin or Nissan) GIGANET (an Orange fiber optic service for large companies) or the creation of two spin-offs, Effilogics Technologies in the field of energy efficiency and IGLOR in the field of HD videoconferencing and telemedicine.

Created in 1999 initially as a project and established as a foundation in 2003, I2CAT has its origins in several research groups of the Technical University of Catalonia UPC), which saw the need for an organization that oversees the research and innovation in the field of Internet and new network technologies. Working with leading Internet research groups in the world, the Foundation has an international recognition, proven by over 35 international projects developed throughout the decade.

In recent years, more than 70% of the competitive funds obtained for developing research projects have been European, while the innovation projects have been focused on the needs and demands of companies, working together with renowned firms as Orange, ENDESA, Vodafone or Abertis, among others. During this time, i2CAT has worked with more than 150 institutions, companies and organizations, becoming a pioneer of the open innovation concept, user-centered innovation, and forming one of the first European Living Labs and the first in Spain.

Position and future of i2CAT

The closure has been in charge of the Minister for Business and Labour, Mr.Felip Puig, who remarked that "it is especially important for a small country like ours the significance and the role of i2CAT internationally in a field of future like the new Internet-based technologies that will involve an industrial revolution in all productive sectors”. In this regard, he ensured that the Foundation "helps many sectors, such as health, education, tourism and trade, and adds value to our country". "I congratulate and thank i2CAT for all the work done," he added.

Regarding the future of i2CAT for the next decade, its director, Sebastià Sallent, during the presentation brought up the horizon of Internet knowledge, positioning i2CAT as a leader in this field. "Throughout this decade, we have seen many of the proposals that we experimentally worked are already a reality," he said, adding that "once we have created an information and communication network, now we go into the stage of innovation and knowledge technologies".

Mr. Jordi Puigneró, President of i2CAT and Director of Telecommunications and Information Society of the Generalitat of Catalonia, added that this Internet knowledge is the basis for a strategy to become Catalonia in a smart region: "Now that everyone speaks about smart cities, from i2CAT and from the Government we consider that we must take a step forward because it no longer makes sense to speak of isolated smart cities, but we have to interrelate the whole region and make from Catalonia a smart region reference in the world”. Mr. Puigneró also highlighted of i2cat its distinctive feature of “combining research and innovation, unusual in others technology centers in the country, which, together with being one of the pioneering institutions of user-centered open innovation and focusing on specific objectives that have an impact on society, have made from i2CAT a benchmark throughout the world”.

Meanwhile, the i2CAT Managing Director, Mr. Joan Manel Martin has confirmed that "one of the challenges we face in this new phase is to increase the impact of the Internet research into the market and users, and we will do it our way, cooperatively and establishing strategic agreements with companies, organizations and users to design together new services and innovative products”. "i2CAT should play a key and accelerator role of all these initiatives and opportunities, focusing R+D especially in these areas: cities and regions (smart cities and smart regions), eHealth, Industry and advanced manufacture, culture and creativity (industries based on user experience)”, he also explained, saying that" if the motto of the Internet Society for the last decade was "Internet for everyone", "innovation comes from everywhere” could be i2CAT’s emblem to this new decade."

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