The Data Cycle Hub

Photo Credits: The Data Cycle Hub

The Data Cycle Hub is one of the four finalists of the 2020 DIH Champions Challenge and the previous 2019 edition. This Digital Innovation Hub promotes data, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity in the Valencia Region, Spain.

We spoke with Daniel Sáez Domingo, Strategic Intelligence & Technology Transfer Director at The Data Cycle Hub, to know more about how the DIH has evolved during this year.

Watch the short interview with Daniel and keep reading for a more in-depth interview!

Tell us a bit about the hub and how it started

ITI was created in 1994 by the regional public agency of innovation, a group of ICT companies and the Technic University of Valencia, Spain, with the mission of improving the competitiveness of companies by means of advanced digital technologies. This mission is quite similar to the one defined in the concept of DIH appeared just some years ago.
So, the synergies between ITI and DIHs were clear. ITI relationship with the DIH concept started in 2015, when we were actively involved into the I4MS Phase 2 initiative within the BEinCPPS project, a network of DIHs around Cyber Physical Systems in manufacturing. Some months later, we decided to officially constitute the ITI Data Cycle Hub and put it in the catalogue, with a global strategy on data and on the collaboration with all the stakeholders in our ecosystem.

Could you describe your DIH ecosystem and its development policy?

The ecosystem in the Data Cycle Hub is composed by all the relevant players in the region: Industry, Regional Agencies, Technology Centres, Universities, Accelerators and Chamber of Commerce. These players connect with industrial companies and also technological companies, which are the real beneficiaries of the services we provide in the DIH.
All our stakeholders are convinced of the added-value that a DIH can bring as a single entry point for any company or any professional looking for solutions. One good example of this interest for collaborative work is the organisation of a common annual training program on ICT, which allows to get critical mass and provide unique and complete training proposition at the regional level for covering all the needs in digital technologies for Valencia region Companies.

What specific services does your DIH offer?

We have all the services listed on our website. Among them, the most popular ones are:

  • Access to infrastructures, data & platforms
  • Access to funding
  • Feasibility analysis for Data Exploitation
  • Specific & pre-competitive R&D
  • Brokerage & Innovation scouting
  • Digital Maturity Assessment
  • Digital concept validation and software prototyping of data-driven solutions
  • Training and skills development

Have you notice any impact of being one of the finalists of the first edition of the DIH Champions Challenge?

We have had more visibility among other DIHs, among the community. Having the opportunity to pitch in the Stakeholder forum positioned us in front of the EC.

Since November 2019, when you were finalists of the 2019 DIH Champions Challenge edition, how has the DIH developed in the last year and a half? What would be your highlight?

We have been focused on consolidating our position in the Big Data and Artificial Intelligence arena, at regional, national and European level, improving our 2 main facilities, the Data Innovation Space for experimenting with Data technologies, and the DataRoom, for demonstrating how to manage Data in Industry. We have also increased our staff to support all the needs of the companies in digitalization. We can say we are now a key player in the Data Economy in our region and in Europe.

Can you provide a practical example of a case of a company you have supported in the last year?

We have kept working hard in the test before invest area of our DIH, connecting the offer and the demand in our facilities to deploy experiments. COVID-19 has influenced all our lives and our work as well. So, several experiments have been developed with companies and research centres regarding predictive models for the disease evolution, or with waste water management companies to detect and anticipate the appearance of new waves.

Have you received any EU funds?

ITI Data Cycle Hub is the coordinator of EUHubs4Data H2020 project, the federation of Big Data Innovation Hubs in Europe. ITI DCH is also one of the key DIHs in REACH project, focused on the incubation of data driven companies. These two projects, specially EuHubs4Data, are key projects for the creatin of the European Common Data Spaces, and ITI is in the core of them.

Has COVID-19 pandemic changed the way you work?

COVID-19 made all us to work at home for more than a year. This was not a problem for developing our work and keep establishing connections with companies. Our team has increased significatively in this period, due to the interest of medium and large companies in digital technologies. We had to make a bigger effort to integrate all these new colleagues into our team with no physical contact, which broke a bit our enthusiastic work environment, and this creates less engagement. We hope we can recover the physical meetings and work very soon.

Are you planning to apply for an EDIH?

Not exactly with ITI Data Cycle Hub, which will continue working as DIH, but yes, ITI is coordinating Inndromeda Digital, the EDIH candidate in the Valencia region. Inndromeda Digital in the main initiative in the region, bringing together all the actors which were working in most of the DIHs in the region: ITI DCH, Hub4Manuval, Innsomnia and Espaitec.

Inndromeda Digital will be part of the network of EDIHs, and this will allow establishing corridors and strong agreements with other EDIHs and DIHs in Europe to provide a holistic answer to all companies and sectors in our region.

EDIH will make that sectors that are not on the wave of digitalization can start working on that way, benefiting the technological sector that will have more potential customers.