With the first six months of the EU-funded TechLog project finishing, the technical aspects of the premise of the project take a more central stage. Orlando Reveco, from the Escola Europea, helps us understand what Technology Transfer Initiatives and Living Labss are in an in-depth interview about these innovative characteristics of research and education.
Q:Can you please tell me a little bit about your background, and how you will be involved in the TechLog project over the next few years?
A: I have had the opportunity of being closely linked to the technological world for many years in which I worked in companies that focus on finding technological solutions for all kinds of issues. Across the development of my professional career, I have also had the opportunity to cooperate in various educational projects. I have seen first-hand how such a cooperation between the use of technology in training activities yields better results and becomes a powerful force that can accelerate economic growth.
TechLog presents an opportunity to expand my knowledge and use my experience to benefit a project oriented in the exchange of technology for the development of an area that is increasingly important. Being part of a team that will help prepare professionals capable of facing the challenges of the coming years and establish a permanent cross-border EU-Med area where organisations and port authorities co-create and share new technology transfers initiatives, is a great personal motivation for me.
Q: Could you explain what Technology Transfer Initiatives and Living Labs are for the “uninitiated”?
A: Technology transfer initiatives are processes that help disseminate technology from the individual or organisation that owns or holds it to another individual or organisation, therewith helping transform inventions and scientific outcomes into new products and services that benefit society at large.
They represent an invaluable opportunity where knowledge and practice exchanges in professional environments, designed by organisations with a lot of educational experience and logistics operators, will take place and will allow all parties to be part of a project without borders in which they will be able to establish a network and share practical experiences, therewith increasing their chances of success in the future.
A living lab on the other hand is a research concept, which may be defined as a user-centred, open-innovation ecosystem that integrates contemporaneous research and innovation processes within a public-private-people partnership.
There are no limitations to the advantages that these types of initiative can provide, especially in regional exchange scenarios where the personal development of its participants will inevitably become the success of the objectives proposed by the international project.
Q: The Escola Europea has begun developing the Port Virtual Lab platform over the past two years. How can this platform help TechLog achieve its goals?
A: Port Virtual Lab is a very complete project that offers technological educational development tools. Initially, we talked about a platform that was to be used as a meeting point for all those who have knowledge and professional development needs in the international transportation and logistics environment – and now it has morphed into a teaching tool that is used to replicate real-life port and logistics operations in the Escola’s courses.
It is for this reason that PortVirtual Lab and TechLog will have no problem working together, as both of them are fundamentally complete tools and platforms that work towards the development of advanced academic content, and which are endorsed by organisations with long and recognised records.
Q: How effective do you think are virtual simulators in imitating reality, especially when it comes to training?
Virtual simulators not only capture the interest of the person who uses them, but in my opinion they can represent a new way of turning hours of theoretical and practical experiences in the classroom into fun experiences – all of which encourage immersive learning.
Carrying out training for future logistics operators in innovative virtual reality systems allows them to get to know the environment where they will carry out their activities and experience situations that they may probably find but that are difficult to replicate in a real environment – and it does so safely without peril to real-life clients and supply chain operations.
Q: How common would you say is it currently in Mediterranean countries to use simulation practices in the field of transport? What do you think is(are) contributing factors to this?
I am completely sure that it will be an increasingly recurrent practice. The demand for services in the logistics and transport sector in the Mediterranean increases every year and this can only mean that every day more and better-trained personnel will be needed to meet the ever-changing requirements and reach geographical and environmental goals and standards.
Training must be accompanied by a methodology that allows us to focus on the necessary procedures and can be adapted to the work schemes of each port community; it is a flexibility that only the use of systems with these characteristics can offer.
This is a way to achieve common work operations processes where all Mediterranean members have an equal footing.