Centurion is one of the leading examples of a successful European Earth Observation consortium, using space data to solve real world challenges. Two of its ten consortium partners are Dutch, including space data AI specialist OPT/NET.
We present an interview with Mohan Rao, OPT/NET B.V. Marketing Director, who answeres questions about the project, its benefits, and gives tips for the Horizon Europe participants.
1. How do you use Copernicus and how does it benefit European society?
EO satellites provide enormous amounts of 2D and 3D time series describing atmospheric and surface conditions over land and sea on a continuous basis, but only less than 5% of collected data is analyzed by human analysts today and this fraction is shrinking. The CENTURION conceptual approach is to integrate two accepted key enabler technologies, datacubes, and AI – a development we have coined ‘AI Cubes’ – to achieve the next step of EO data exploitability.
CENTURION will mobilize its own thematic data sets together with the complete Copernicus SAR and Multispectral data offerings of several DIASs, contributing satellite missions, climate variables, plus a series of further thematic data and EO assets for direct mix and match as desired in customer-driven use cases. CENTURION scales processing capabilities to new heights makes expert work more efficient, guides non-experts to semantically correct data use, and enables reliable automatic, unsupervised processing chains.
CENTURION will directly support the European space policy goal to help Society to Observe, Understand and Decide from Earth Observation data. The CENTURION platform constitutes a unique business enabler for European industry and beyond, given its
- Novel AI/datacube service quality;
- Flexibility of “any query, any time” allowing to quickly respond to new customer requirements;
- Ease of use allowing to concentrate staff resources on the company’s core business. Furthermore, through CENTURION’s strict commitment to open standards the platform’s uptake and interoperability are fostered, also reducing concerns about vendor lock-in.
2. Do your activities contribute to UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?
CENTURION will focus on maximizing the value of Copernicus EOD for European society and industry while producing long-lasting effects and benefits for Earth and human society more broadly. Under conditions of the circular economy where resources and energy are limited, the accelerated dissemination of expert knowledge, in particular, is expected to constantly create new potential growth opportunities. In this spirit, CENTURION will accelerate Copernicus knowledge creation and sharing, thereby enabling new business models for its platform users, linked with related opportunity creation efforts like H2020 PARSEC which supports 100 SMEs.
AI Cubes actually are more than a particular application of EO data, they represent a horizontal enabling platform paradigm (in particular when coupled with further Earth data, such as climate and weather data). The AI Cube federation established in CENTURION will unleash Copernicus, and general EO, data for a (well-known) spectrum of stakeholder groups, including those contributing to the GEO/GEOSS Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as renewable energy, agriculture and protected areas, and to the Societal Benefit Areas: Biodiversity and Ecosystem Sustainability, Disaster Resilience, Energy and Mineral Resources Management, Food Security and Sustainable Agriculture, Infrastructure and Transport Management, Public Health Surveillance, Sustainable Urban Development, and Water Resources Management.
3. What is your story of taking part in Horizon Europe, and what advice you can give to newcomers on how to make a successful proposal?
We have always kept an eye on Horizon, as we firmly believe in having a mission that involves tackling global challenges while boosting the EU’s overall competitiveness. As such, we see the public-private partnerships as being more than just beneficial, but truly a necessary interaction for long-term business and societal success.
In terms of tips for any team looking to build a successful proposal and/or consortium, we would summarise the following:
- Do your research! Understand the specific challenge and motives behind it;
- Apply with a technologically and commercially viable business idea;
- Link your pitch to key global societal issues/trends;
- Present your idea with a logical structure (team, problem/solution, timeline, etc.);
- Show feasibility of your idea in any way possible to reduce the perceived riskiness (use references, use statistics, back-up your claims);
- Be bold, and be creative!
About the Centurion Horizon 2020 project
Dutch-based OPT/NET B.V. together with other European partners formed a consortium of SMEs, RTOs, universities, and large enterprises to join their efforts in the CENTURION project. Now, they are participants of the H2020-SPACE-2018-2020 call with the topic “Big data technologies and AI for Copernicus”, having a total budget of 4.1million euro CENTURION combines Datacubes and AI Knowledge Packs into a seamless novel technology stack constituting a truly innovative game changer in Copernicus, and Earth data exploration in general.