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EUROMAP - Annual Report 2000

HOPE is a knowledge building and dissemination project whose main goal is to provide awareness, bridge-building and market-enabling services to boost opportunities for market take-up for the results of national and European HLT research. The key focus is on helping to accelerate the volume of HLT transfer from the research base to the market by creating communities of interest between the critical players in the development and value chain.

It provides targeted case studies to illustrate best practice in technology transfer and take-up. In the first period, February 2000 - February 2001, HOPE will build up communities and establish expertise at national level, and then in the second period extend its brief to cross-border activities throughout Europe, including accession countries.

HOPE is implemented by a team of 8 National Focal Points (NFPs) located in Austria, Belgium/Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Italy and Spain. The project has decided to use the name EUROMAP in all dealings with the public. Consequently, the name EUROMAP has been used in the rest of this report.

Summary of 2000 Activities

The project started in February 2000 and many of the activities have been aimed at setting everything in motion, including:

  • The creation of the central web site on Human Language Technologies, HLTCentral and the EUROMAP subsite providing news, call information and project related information on events, case studies etc.

  • Creation of the HLT contacts database containing contact details on players in the field of HLT.

  • Creation of three task forces: A Technology Transfer task force and two Sector task forces. The purpose of the task force on Technology Transfer is to provide the partners with methods and tools for the transfer of research results to prototypes or commercial products. The two Sector task forces concern the Tourism and eBusiness communities.

  • As a part of the community building, doing case studies on a number of successful HLT transfers are being made. Some were already made in 2000 and more are following next year.

  • Each partner has arranged a national seminar with the aim of presenting the HLT programme and stimulating interest, discussion and publicity for HLT in general.

Now that the resources, the processes and the infrastructure are in place, the project is in an excellent position to pursue its main goal of nurturing the communities created and extending these communities for cross-border actions. During the next year, the project will also extend its HLT awareness activities to the new accession countries and to EU countries not covered by the present project.

Details on main activities

Web sites
One of the most important ways us to convey its messages is via the web. We manage and maintain the HLTCentral web site in co-operation with the ELSNET project. To this end, the German partner has created a Technical Support Team for the two projects including a content management element based in Luxembourg. The HLTCentral web site encompasses three main types of content:

  • Commission information on HLT-related calls for proposals and programme information in general.
  • News covering world-wide technical and commercial developments in HLT-related areas and activities.
  • The principal repository of project descriptions for all EU-funded HLT-related projects, and similar projects in earlier Commission programmes.

Additionally, we manages and maintain this website with project specific and other information: events, news, services, task forces, success stories etc. This site is now gradually taking shape and filling out after an initial period where effort was focused on establishing the HLTCentral site.

The technical support team implemented a first design of the web pages in their newly acquired content management system and that design was subsequently revamped in a second version completed in October 2000. No major future redesign is foreseen but improvements and enhancements are constantly being made.

All new EC calls for proposals have been published with a number of features including: downloadable documentation (Official publication text in English, French, German, proposal guidelines, application forms, call detail descriptions); online pre-proposal facility; online registration facility for the Info-Days; presentation materials; FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section.

An event calendar has been established which contains details about events which are arranged by the NFPs or in which the NFPs participate. The site also contains an area dedicated to case studies of successful HLT transfers - currently 8 are available and more will be published next year.

The three task force sections of the site currently have good collections of links, and each section contains a short description of the task force goals. One of next year's main activities will be to build on these sections and further populate them as task force work plans are implemented.

A special 'members-only' repository directory has been created and contains a number of reference documents and administrative documents for project management purposes.

Help desk - National Seminar
At the beginning of the project each NFP established a help desk - a contact point which persons with an interest in HLT may address in order to obtain any information on HLT - existing products, research programmes, EC calls, etc. The help desk provides personal contact (telephone and email response) and a national web site. A national seminar with the aim of presenting the HLT programme and stimulating interest, discussion and publicity for HLT in general is arranged once a year by each NFP as part of the help desk function.

Community building - Sector Task Forces
In order to provide awareness, bridge-building and market-enabling services to boost opportunities for market take-up for the results of national and European HLT research, the NFPs are building up communities within special sectors - also called task forces. The two sectors chosen are Tourism and eBusiness and the aim of the community building is to identify:

  • researchers who have research results that may be implemented and integrated into software products and/or platforms that host information systems and services,
  • software suppliers, system integrators and other channel providers who are able to take the results and integrate them into a commercial product, system or service, and
  • users who have ideas or requirements for HLT or HLT-related tools and components which would add value to their systems, services or products.

After identifying suitable people and organisations from these three categories, the intention is to create an environment in which market take-up may/will happen within the Tourism and the e-Business sectors. NFPs have started to identify the players of their respective communities, and once this has been done several targeted topical seminars will be planned and set up. Anybody working on developments related to these sectors or interested in participating in any of the task force activities should check out the eBusiness and Tourism links.

Technology Transfer
The Technology Transfer group - led by the Italian partner, CPR, who has special skills and knowledge in the area - will not in itself build up communities. It provides information and resources for the rest of the consortium. Its tasks are to identify and develop methods and frameworks for how market take-up can take place, and to support the NFPs by providing information on e.g. property rights or financing issues, or preparation of material for the communities. A training course in technology transfer was given to all partners in June and an information package is being prepared.

Promotion and Awareness

The main goal of the EUROMAP project is in fact promotion and awareness. Some promotion and awareness activities have already been described above. In this section we concentrate on events. The project has participated in a number of international events in order to promote HLT:

6 - 9 May, 2000 - Second Balaton Summit, East-West Collaboration in the Development of Interactive Multimedia, Lake Balaton, Hungary

This conference brought together companies and organisations from Central and Eastern Europe and from the 15 member states of the EU with the purpose of describing the possibilities in the EC IST Key Action III programme, and creating a meeting point for potential partners for collaborative projects sponsored by the European Commission.

We led a business forum dedicated to language and speech as part of event. The objectives were to spread the word about the need for language technology elements in digital content projects, to inform people about funding possibilities for RTD in HLT under the IST programme, and to make new contacts. We held an 'HLT Clinic' to disseminate information about the HLT programme, to stimulate the exchange of ideas, and to facilitate contact making and networking.

EUROMAP had two major slots in the closing plenary, where the project co-ordinator Bente Maegaard gave this presentation outlining HLT opportunities in IST, and Andrew Joscelyne gave this presentation to show 'hot spot' areas where language technology fits into rich digital content projects.

25 - 26 September, 2000 - EC Open House, Luxembourg

The European Commission held an 'Open House' concertation event at its premises in Luxembourg. The event was an opportunity for interested parties to gain first hand knowledge of developments in Key Action III - Multimedia Contents and Tools of the IST programme. A presentation of EUROMAP was given and the project participated in a special meeting of the HLT support actions.

29 November - 1 December, 2000, LISA Forum - Annual Meeting, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

LISA's (Localisation Industry Standards Association) 10-year Anniversary forum - Restructuring the New Economy. After the presentation on the new eContent programme by Roberto Cencioni, EC: From Software to Content Localisation: The European Commission unveils a new market orientated European programme addressing the linguistic and cultural customisation of digital content and services, Andrew Joscelyne conducted a roundtable. Andrew Joscelyne also held a workshop: New Opportunities for eContent Localisation Projects in Europe. Both sessions were well attended.

EUROMAP 2000 Calendar of NFP Events

Event Type
Topical seminar/workshop
Communication supporting Tools for Handicapped People
Topical seminar
HLT and Tourism: Applications for the future
National seminar
Seminar on national technology programme USIX
Topical seminar
Topical seminar
National seminar
EU support for HLT in E-commerce and E-services
Awareness event
Language Technology Forum
National seminar
Infralympics 2000 Expo and Conference
National seminar
Multilingual Services in E-Commerce
National seminar
HLT in Call Centres
Topical seminar/workshop
Eurotourism 2000
National seminar
HLT-funding possibilities for 2001
National seminar
HLT: Research and applications

Future Work

As described above, the community building for the two sectors chosen, Tourism and eBusiness, plus sectors seen as particularly relevant for national communities, will be continued and the results will be made available on the web site. As an example of national interests, HLT support for the disabled is of particular relevance for the authorities in the BE/NL region, and a seminar on existing and emerging application in this area was already held in 2000.

The experience gained from the community building and technology transfer work will be gathered and presented in a 'path-to-market' whitepaper.

Another main task in the second year of the project is the gathering of information on Central and Eastern European countries. This information gathering will first of all describe the relevant players in the countries, in particular academia and business players. Possible 'focal points' for awareness actions will be identified, and awareness events may be organised where appropriate. The information gathering will build upon existing reports from e.g. TELRI and ELSNET projects.

The project has applied for an extension both in terms of duration and in terms of partners and tasks. Such an extension would probably be operational early or mid 2001.

Contact details and links to further information

Team Links and Sites
eBusiness Contact and Links
Technology Transfer Contact and Links
Tourism Contact and Links

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