In 2016, Teamnet Group celebrates 15 years of activity in a very challenging industry. What is the key of success for Teamnet that makes the difference for this company to keep its awareness in a very competitive market?
There are many reasons. We are close to the clients, as the IT industry is such a big part of our work at personal level, as well as professionally. We work hard to make our projects succeed and our clients successfull. We all are connected to gadgets, smartphones and other intelligent accessories. At the same time, public and private organizations started depending more and more of an IT and communications infrastructure. If until a few years ago, you could simply make business on paper, things are more complex now and the dynamics of life has increased tremendously. So, to be competitive, an organization has to solve things in due time and needs an infrastructure. This also means that companies like Teamnet need to implement and extend the understanding and interaction with various professions and types of people. There are not many organizations that have a maturity in using IT infrastructure.
Teamnet implements systems for all categories of people, depending on their types of activities. This is one challenge. The second one is to actively take part in transforming the work style of a client and the organizational structure. Our clients usually change after implementing such a system and so we do, after this experience. We take part in the transformation of our clients’ organizations.
An additional differentiatior for Teamnet on the market is that we embrace constantly advanced technologies. We are constantly researching, so we know for sure that every system is based on the latest technologies. Looking at a system life cycle, conceiving and implementing large projects takes years. If we wouldn’t use advanced technologies from the beginning, in 2-3 years, they would be already outdated and this would challenge the users in maintaining and extending the system.
Things are changing in a fast pace, therefore, companies which invest in new technologies and in research & development will stay competitive. The latest forecasts predict that over 40% companies from Fortune 500 will be replaced in the next 10 years.
In its history, Teamnet has imposed itself as one of the main system integrators in the region. How would you define Teamnet’s identity in this very changing technology environment of today?
Teamnet is a pioneer company, which aims to create value. We go into markets where we can generate a valuable impact and where our technological and consultancy competences can change the world into better. This is how Teamnet’s spin offs started. The first was on Cloud, then Engineering, where we bring value in waste water treatment, among others, and UAV and GIS, that in the near future will improve our lives.
How much does Teamnet invest in its innovative ideas in order to stay on the top?
Every year we invest in R&D. In 2016, we planned to invest 10 mil. EUR in innovative projects.
At Teamnet, innovation is an attitude and a constant preoccupation of the entire team. It is like a spark that we had from the beginning of our company since 2001. And we still have it and we are constantly looking for people that match this personality profile in all the markets that we operate. Not only we get involved in R&D projects, but we also search for talents in the universities. Teamnet supports students’ Masters and PhD thesis and work on themes that we develop further together with them.
It’s a challenging context in R&D. I hope we settle as a country and enter a more productive working phase. On my opinion, universities need to research on topics that the industry would produce further and make those results of good value for the society. We see a lack of potential in terms of cooperation, however, I am glad we succeeded to strenghten the cooperation with Politechnica University of Bucharest in fields of Aerospace, Electronics and Computer Science.
Teamnet is already a pioneer in designing and supplying UAV innovative technology and expertise for the Romanian, regional and European relevant market. What are the prospects of development in this field and what’s your company’s strategy to increase its presence on the regional market?
UAVs and drones, generally, are at their peak of expectations and it is a highly covered topic by the media. After this enthusiasm, that helps the UAV sector grow, the industry will stabilize, some fields will benefit from UAVs, and others will directly use drones. For this last category, the unmanned aircrafts will be the new way through which these industries will implement their day to day activities. Just like we use now the smartphone to read our Gmail.
Teamnet looks for new fields that will benefit the most from Enterprise drones and, at the same time, we adapt the products to the needs of the market. For instance, I believe cadaster activities will have a specific unmanned aircraft, especially created for this sector. It will benefit from specific sensors, as a change of paradigm.
We are at a moment in our lives when aeronautics use various sensors. Soon, these sensors will be so intelligent that they will serve cadaster, agriculture, transportation, border surveillance and many other industries. Teamnet has the capacity to engineer customized products. We don’t stand for drones, but for solutions that offer accurate and fast data to support an industry.
In agriculture, for example, if you are interested in certain characteristics of the crops, you might have to schedule flights in certain periods of the year or in times of vegetation development. For this reason, usually, drones being built as small devices, they don’t have flexibility in attaching heavy sensors. I believe sensors will define in the future the design of drones, as sensors will fly. That is why Teamnet focuses on developing and integrating Enterprise systems, with a wide variety of sensors and flying platforms, while developing the know how to create dedicated solutions for industries.
What is the added value that the UAV technologies can bring in the next years? Can you give a few examples of its applicability?
Small drones will be used pretty much in agriculture, geodesy, Earth observation, environment, but also for border surveillance and protection and in key economical sea areas. This will make our world safer.
Bigger drones will revolutionize transportation, as a mix between unmanned aircrafts and shipping normal airplanes.
Enterprise drones represent an important pillar on the UAV market and will become one of its main drivers in the following years. This type of unmanned vehicles offer extended autonomy, cover larger surfaces and offer superior flexibility in operations. Their applicability covers from search and rescue missions, border and coastal surveillance to precision agriculture, cadaster or urban development. While technology is ready for all these applications, we still need a regulatory framework to support the adoption of Enterprise UAVs. We appreciate the efforts done so far by the authorities and companies at regional level, in this respect.
You mentioned cadaster, a topic of national interest these days. Do you see it as a sector with high potential related to UAVs?
In Romania, systematic cadaster is a field that can be supported with images and maps obtained from Enterprise drones, like Hirrus. Cadaster activities require long time due to the difficulty to measure the parcels and this is still a pain point for Romania, threatening to delay projects or subsidies. Using drones and developing high precision maps will allow much faster land measurements, as well as knowing in detail the properties with tremendous benefits, like reducing post-measurements litigations or transparency in court of law.
Enterprise drones will speed up the cadaster, because measurements will be done from the office, without sending many experts onsite. Thus, the high resolution maps obtained from the UAV could enter in the archive of the village and be easily compared over the years and see how the property evolved. This is an example of value we could all benefit from.
For instance, an average rural area of 8000 ha can be covered with photos, maps and digitized in a GIS system in less than two weeks. The result is an Ortophoto plan, with resolution between 2 and 5 cm, which allows very precise measurements, much better than satelite products. Then, the geodesy engineers can work mainly from the office, thus reducing the time spent in the field. This map could also be used to check the quality of the cadaster measurements, reducing the load on the specialists in this area.
The high-resolution images obtained from an Enterprise drone can be used further in the urban development planning. The City Halls and the people living there will have the same understanding regarding the way their village will develop, where can they build depending on the landscape, as well as the potential threats. This type of photos and 3D models of the Earth can be helpful in the 5 years strategy of the village.
If we would rise today 50 Enterprise drones in the air, we will be able to have a high resolution map of all the farms and, by 2020, the agricultural cadaster will be a done deal for Romania.
What are the company’s plans regarding implementation of new projects and partnerships, as well as for international expansion?
We have two types of partnerships. The industrial ones, that bring us complementary technology, integrated with our solutions, such as Microsoft, Oracle, NEC, Airbus and others. The second category is represented by partners that we work with on new markets. Products need to be adapted to the requirements of a country and the way a project is implemented is linked to the culture of that country. For understanding this, we need to work with local partners.
On Enterprise UAV, we look for partners that can offer services in other countries or to sell further our solutions.
Our current business focus is on international development and on the successful replication of the projects that we have delivered in Romania. We have such projects in countries like Serbia, Macedonia, Croatia or Turkey. Last but not least, we work for one of the biggest transformation projects of NATO, called Logistic Functional Services where Teamnet delivers, as part of the consortium, the Medical system and the Movement and Transportation component.
Over the next five years, we expect more than 50% of the revenue will come from international business. In countries where we operate, we will be implementing multiple solutions from our portfolio, such as Unmanned Aerial Systems, Cloud, e-Government solutions or Smart Cities.
Where do you see Romania over the next 15 years from a technological perspective?
From a technological perspective, many things will change in the next 15 years. We will be more globalized, having more multinational companies, but, the development pace will be slower. We will witness a mix between the human being and digitalization, changes that are unimaginable at this moment. For strategic areas, I believe it’s important to create and adopt innovation in our own country, not to go after it abroad.
And, not least, I hope to see Romania again at UEFA European Championship.
What do you consider as necessary steps in order to have a digitally transformed country?
To turn Romania into a digitally transformed country, the challenge is to motivate young and brilliant people to continue living in this country. In technology, I think those passionate about the field, can be motivated by engaging them in extensive research projects, in partnership with international research institutes. A specific direction toward this motivation could be for Romanian universities, government and private organizations to develop strong and long term partnerships. In the US, take for example, Stanford Research Institute, one of the most prestigious organizations in the world, which among several innovative technologies, it also gave Siri to Apple.
What will an ordinary working day look like after 15 years?
The idea of working in an office might disappear, being replaced by the already adopted concept in the US of working from home, having virtual meetings or operating in small local expertise and competences centers. In the next 15 years, I will be implementing research and development projects in Teamnet, regarding biomechatronics and space.