“EMMA can have a real impact on the MICE and tourism sectors.” Alexandru Stan at IN2

Hello and welcome to EMMA! On a regularly basis we will publish interviews with the members of EMMA´s international project team to introduce the creative minds behind the project.
This is the first interview with Alexandru Stan from IN2. 

Please tell me something about yourself and your professional background. 

Alexandru Stan: Well, you could say that I am a geek with a knack for business and innovation. After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and having acquired a Master’s degree in Software Systems Engineering I joined the IN2 team, full-time working on a number of R&D (Research & Development) and commercial projects. I am now managing the innovation activities of this dynamic company. In this role I get to interact on a daily basis with our technical team, partners and customers.
I am also responsible for initiating new international collaborations, like the EMMA project, starting from defining the initial idea, developing  the concept, setting up the team, and finding suitable channels to bring the vision to fruition – in the case of EMMA by securing the support of the European Commission through the EU’s Horizon 2020 funding programme. 

What does the name “EMMA” stand for?

Alexandru Stan:  EMMA stands for “Enriching Market solutions for content Management and publishing with state-of-the-art multimedia analysis techniques”. It’s a very long name, so we really like the short form “EMMA”. 

Please tell me a bit about your workflow – what are your goals while developing the EMMA tool?

Alexandru Stan:  First of all, it should be stressed that EMMA represents a truly transdisciplinary collaboration between organisations with a user role – event organisers and destination managers – and innovation SMEs and an ICT research centre. The methodology of the project puts communication and collaboration between all of the partners at the centre, and nurtures experimentation and learning through continuous integration and testing of the developed application. We started off with an extensive analysis of CERTH, which is providing a very advanced technology for making sense of visual content in an automated way, and we are integrating this technology into the web-application that is to answer all of the user requirements.

The EMMA tool will be tested in two scenarios under conditions of increased complexity, from validations in controlled environments with internal stakeholders to evaluations under real-world conditions. We are planning to deploy the tool already in autumn: during the Unseen Festival in Amsterdam, the Internet Festival in Pisa, and the Frankfurter Buchmesse. We expect that this close interaction with the users and the outcomes of these very elaborate validation exercises will provide us with valuable feedback that can help us to ensure that the results have a good market fit. Being an SME our ultimate goal is to bring a successful new product to the market, and turn it into a “unicorn” that will take over the world. Well, maybe one step a time, but we really think we are onto something big that can have a real impact on the MICE (Meetings Incentives Conventions Exhibitions) and tourism sectors. 

Thanks for your time Alex!

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