Since relocating to Prague, the European GNSS Agency (GSA) has worked to engage the business community with the many opportunities offered by the EU’s space programmes. On 27 March the GSA’s HQ hosted a very successful workshop for Czech SMEs and other business organisations and individuals to present the potential of this major growth area.
The workshop, organised by GSA in collaboration with the Czech Ministry of Transport, attracted more than 90 organisations to listen to experts from the GSA and other European organisations outlining the possibilities for business activities in the satellite navigation sector.
Participants represented the business community, research institutes and universities and were informed about the support available under the various instruments of the European Commission’s research and development framework programmes.
“I highly appreciate that the European GNSS Agency is working to engage Czech businessmen in the EU’s space programmes. The workshop is an important part of this effort,” commented Deputy Minister of Transport Jiří Žák.
Since April 2011 the Czech Ministry of Transport has been responsible for the coordination of all space activities in the Czech Republic. The ministry is also the Czech point of contact for Galileo and promotion of GNSS applications is one of its priorities.
Opening the workshop Carlo des Dorides, GSA Executive Director, outlined the core opportunity saying: “The development of the downstream market for GNSS applications is crucial. The GNSS core markets (road, location-based services, agriculture, surveying, aviation and maritime) will continue to grow rapidly for the next ten years.”
At the workshop industry representatives also presented examples of successful engagement by SMEs in the current EU Framework programme, FP7, including the results of a number of specific projects.
Former Czech Transport Minister Pavel Dobeš is now director of the GNSS Centre of Excellence in the Czech Republic. He presented the results of cooperation between major transport organizations (air, railway, road etc) and industry partners to promote the development of GNSS applications in the country and to accelerate the development and deployment of applications based on EGNOS and GALILEO.
Mr. des Dorides emphasized the tremendous progress made in the Galileo programme in recent months. “On 13th March engineers have been able to determine a position relying only on the signals emitted from the four Galileo satellites,” he said. “This achievement is a milestone towards offering initial satellite navigation services from 2014 onwards.”
Preparation for the commercialisation of European GNSS services is a strategic priority for the GSA. One of the key areas is the development of the downstream market where the main economic benefit from Galileo and EGNOS will be brought through the new innovative applications, services and business that these systems will enable.
“Through a wide range of activities, including our support of this successful initiative, the GSA is actively promoting the development of downstream applications that create demand for EGNOS and Galileo and provide economic and social benefits for Europe,” concluded Mr. des Dorides.
The Prague event also included the opening ceremony of the Czech round of the European Satellite Navigation Competition 2013 (ESNC 2013). This prestigious competition is open to companies, research institutes, universities and individuals and focuses on innovative projects (services, products or business innovations) that use satellite navigation in everyday life.
The main regional partner of this competition is BIC - R&D, s.r.o with the company sponsoring the Czech Republic's regional prizes, providing consulting services to the region's winners, and promoting the competition at regional level.
The Ministry of Transport has supported Czech involvement in ESNC since 2005 and the number of participants is increasing with 15 regional projects submitted to the 2012 competition.
“We are looking forward to more innovative ideas to be submitted in 2013 and hopefully the overall winner will be from region of the Czech Republic,” commented Mr. Žák.
Submission of projects to ESNC 2013 is possible from 1 April to 30 June 2013 through the competition website, where more details on the competition are also available.
Presentations of the EU GNSS Opportunities workshop
GINA - Geographic Information Assistant
Galileo and EGNOS - Opportunities for European Industry
Media note: This feature can be republished without charge provided the European GNSS Agency (GSA) is acknowledged as the source at the top or the bottom of the story. You must request permission before you use any of the photographs on the site. If you republish, we would be grateful if you could link back to the GSA website.