Cognitus project presented at FORTH

Forthnet Innovation Day: Official first for the E.U. research program COGNITUS

Forthnet, the company that brought Internet and pay TV in Greece, organized an Innovation one-day conference on Friday the 13th of November, in Heraklion, Crete, in the auditorium of the Foundation for Research and Technology (FORTH) on the occasion of the official first presentation of the E.U. research program COGNITUS. The one-day conference started with the opening speeches of the Deputy Minister of Research and Innovation, Mr. Kostas Fotakis, the Director of the Computer Science Institute of FORTH, Mr. Konstantinos Stefanidis and the Chief Executive Officer of Forthnet, Mr. Panos Papadopoulos.

The first session of Forthnet Innovation Day focused on the common progress of FORTH and Forthnet in the field of innovation. After reviewing 20 years of Forthnet’s innovation, the latter showcased that by constantly investing in research and development, remains at a leading position in the market, bringing the future in communication and entertainment. Furthermore, the company presented its cooperation model with the academia and specifically with FORTH, including case studies for the development of innovative ideas and applications.

During the second session, the E.U. research program «COGNITUS», which is funded by the program of Research and Innovation “Horizon 2020” of the European Union and examines the possibility of convergence of TV broadcasts in Ultra HD, with User Generated Content was presented. COGNITUS vision is to deliver a compelling proof of concept for the validity, effectiveness and innovative power of this integrated approach, through live case studies in big events, such as a football match or a concert. As a consequence, over 36 months the project will demonstrate the ability to bring a new range of dedicated media services into the European broadcasting sector, adding critical value to both media and creativity sectors. The presentation of the program «Cognitus» was made by the entities involved in it, such as BBC, Forthnet, FORTH, Queen Mary University of London and Pace.

Opening Forthnet Innovation Day, the Deputy Minister of Research and Innovation, Mr. Kostas Fotakis, pointed out: «The case of Forthnet is an outstanding example of a start-up. I have witnessed the progress of the company from the beginning, since the first internet connection of FORTH with the University of Bologna, back in 1984. One could say that Forthnet’s success was a matter of luck, being in the right place, at FORTH, at the right time, when internet access market was opening in Greece. However, I personally believe that Forthnet succeeded because it relied to its people, their passion and their talent. In addition, on the occasion of “Forthnet Innovation Day” I would like to announce that beyond the E.U. research programs of Horizon 2020 and structural funds like NSRF, we prepare as a state, the creation of a third pillar for the funding of research. It is going to be a fund operating with a “mixture” of public and private resources, from the program of public investments and mainly with resources from the European Investment Bank, with independent governance. The fund’s goal will be to support the researchers (capacity building) and the research programs, and is scheduled to start operating in 2016-2017. This fund will also support business innovation, through form of grants to enterprises or low-interest loans. In this manner, it will contribute to the reduction of the funding cost that the enterprises pay today, making research feasible, Greek enterprises competitive and innovation the source of the creation of country’s wealth”.

 On behalf of FORTH, the Director of the Computer Science Institute, Mr. Konstantinos Stefanidis, stated: «We are very happy that Forthnet was born from FORTH and particularly from Computer Science Institute. Infrastructures will not make the difference. People will. That’s why we have to invest in maintaining our high level of scientific personnel, if we want Greece to return to growth. Today is a landmark, as through Forthnet’s example, which from a successful spin-off turned to an established large retail company, we can further exploit the opportunities rising when developing business innovation in cooperation with research academic centers, such as FORTH”.

The Chief Executive Officer of Forthnet, Mr. Panos Papadopoulos, focused mainly on business innovation, stating: «The last few years, the voices declaring the need to enhance European companies competiveness increase. That’s why we shall focus on business innovation and in the development of innovative services and products. Through business innovation we can achieve development of know-how, new services, new products, create new jobs, state revenues, new business sectors and all these will contribute on the improvement of life standards. Especially in our case, of a country struggling to find long-term solutions to recover the crisis, business innovation must play a crucial role in the country’s growth strategy. For Forthnet, a company born from an academic entity (FORTH), the main reason of our success lies in our ability to differentiate from our competitors, through innovative services that improve the quality of experience of our subscribers. We are very proud to be able to say that we are pioneers in bringing services to the Greek households that improve home entertainment and communication.”