The present article is dedicated to IT Days, www.itdays.ro - representing the first part of the retrospective of the most important event organized by Today Software Magazine in its home town, Cluj-Napoca. Before giving you more or less detailed information about the event, I wish to thank those more than 170 people in the audience and the 10 companies that stood by us in this event: AROBS, Endava, Evoline, EBS, Gemini Solutions Foundry, Accesa, Yardi, Skobbler, 3Pillar Global and msg systems Romania. We would also like to thank our partners which supported us: Cluj-Napoca City Hall, it-events.ro, Cluj Hub and Microsoft Student Partners.
The event was an occasion to reunite almost all of those who are involved in developing the Cluj IT community: representatives of the local business, local startups, startup incubators, Cluj IT Cluster, researchers from the Technical University and the Science and Technology Institute and the local authorities, by the presence of Mr. Emil Boc. There were other two special guests from Europe: Tine Thygesen, CEO Everplaces and Eduardo Mendez Polo, head of IT Cloud, Telefonica Spain.
During the two days, Dan Suciu successfully accomplished his role as a host, managing to create a pleasant atmosphere, dominated by coherence and professionalism, a condition necessary to the unfolding of the event.
The first day started with a press conference, followed by the official opening, where we were honored by the presence of Mr. mayor Emil Boc. In his opening speech, he emphasized the major advantage that the IT community offers to Cluj, considering it "a voice capable of changing the destiny of Cluj": "It (the IT community) gains an institutional form, a visible form, an organizational form in the first instance which will give it consistence and a future, since working independently, in isolation, that"s one thing, but having a constitutional, materialized structure as you see today in IT Days, that"s another. For the first time I believe it represents a historical moment, a starting point, which will also mark the development of Cluj." Moreover, he pointed out the importance of TSM magazine in the coagulation of the Cluj IT community. Then, the discussion moved towards the development strategy for 2014- 2020, in which the IT component is a fundamental one, along with the university component. The latter offers us a competitive advantage versus other cities or regions of Romania. He also mentioned the collaboration with the Cluj IT Cluster, next to which the Cluj Innovation City project was proposed, project that will change the profile and life of our city. It will be built in the Lombului area, where they allotted over 100 hectares. The first steps are represented by the Business Development Center and the Creative Industry and IT Center, where at least 25 companies will be able to carry out their activity in this incubator. Regarding the smart city, the City Hall is already implementing a few solutions:
•online scheduling of marriages (laughter in the room),
•parking payment through SMS,
•small plates with a QR code on the historical monuments,
•transportation system using automatic machines for tickets, for the public transportation, which will be inaugurated in October 2014
•Cluj Bike Sharing - 500 bicycles which will be available in Cluj-Napoca.
Furthermore, a few challenges were launched for the local community:
•The Incident Management platform project, by which any citizen can take a picture or film a situation/ problem, send it to the City Hall, which through its specialized services will solve the problem and reply back to the respective citizen.
•Payment by phone/ SMS of the local taxes and contributions.
•E-governing by which each citizen or company can be identified by an electronic signature and can pay taxes for the state authorities.
•Bus tickets payment through SMS.
•The speech ended with the promise of a honest partnership in view of generating solutions to the service of the citizen.
In his presentation, Alexandru Tulai, president of Cluj IT Cluster, pointed out the impressive volume of work that can be required to the IT by the metropolitan area. In his opinion, the strategy of Cluj metropolitan development can be done through a close collaboration between the public administration, the university agent and the business agent. He also pointed out the fact that, since the IT industry gets its income from activities performed for abroad, we are cut-off from the contact with those who might be clients from the interior, meaning the state institutions. In addition, Alexandru Tulai mentioned the opportunity to turn to profit the eagerness manifested by Emil Boc to catch up with the technological advance. The collaboration between the public domain, the academic world and the business world appears to be a necessary condition to the implementation of some actions which might reduce the technological downshift. One materialization of this collaboration between the three domains will be attempted through the initiation of Cluj Innovation City project by IT Cluster. Referring to the remarkable results obtained by the universities in Cluj, among which the most recent being the fabrication of artificial blood, as a world premiere, Alexandru Tulai stressed the importance of turning the strictly academic ideas into products useful to the community. The concept of innovated research, which this project is designed upon, is based precisely on this turning of the scientific achievements to the benefit of the community. For the domains targeted by this project (bioeconomy, health, IT, green energy), specific research centers will be built. The success of the project will be given, however, by the manner in which the results of the research will be taken over by the developers and launched in Romania, or even exported.
Eduardo Mendez, head of IT Cloud, Telefonica Spain, delivered a presentation entitled What can we expect from the next Cloud services?, which offered an original view on the cloud services.
He pointed out the difficulty to integrate the cloud concept in a unique definition, since by the nature of its content, it predisposes to multiple interpretations. Everyone has an idea about cloud computing - in these simple terms, he summarized the general attitude towards this concept. But throughout the entire presentation, his approach pointed out obvious aspects of this concept, which do not favor subjective interpretations. Thus, he differentiates the concept between private cloud and public cloud, both of them forming the hybrid construction, Hybrid cloud. (see the picture below, which illustrates the deployment model from the presentation)
Beyond the concern to define this concept in as clear as possible terms, Eduardo Mendez also analyzed the nature of the implication of these services in the development of companies. The statistics reveal a problematic situation: in an organization, 75-80% of the resources are assigned to maintaining the existing structures and only 20-25% is assigned to new projects. The deploy time is approximately 2-3 months. It is known that, resorting to cloud services, this time will be reduced. Cloud adoption is not due to IT organizations, in exchange, it is sustained by programmers, startups, internal and business departments which are looking for faster solutions outside. They are those that are looking for fast and cheap deployments.
In the end, Eduardo"s prediction is that in a few years" time we will have free virtual machines, free memory and processors, but one will have to pay for the services received.
Maria Diaconu, CEO Mozaic Works, told us about the way to build innovative teams on a long term. We considered the following definition of innovation as very suggestive: Innovation is a way of doing the things that we know in a different manner, finding different solutions to existing problems. This definition of innovation is applied to the teams that wish to be innovative. The involvement in experiments which target the selection and refining of original ideas stands out, according to Maria Diaconu, as a necessary endeavour in constructing an innovative team. Steve Jobs was cited as an example, as he is apprehended in over appreciative terms for being the only creator of innovations, ignoring the fact that behind him there was an entire team. His greatest merit was that of being able to turn the team"s creativity to profit. That is why it is important to detect and stimulate the creative capacity and the original visions of a team. By obeying this guiding rule, we can ensure all the conditions for building an innovative team. Einstein"s definition of craziness - if we perform things in the same manner, but expect different results, then we have a problem - is very suggestively chosen to characterize the risks assumed by a company that endlessly postpones the implementation of innovative rules. From the end of the presentation, we also note the suggestion to renounce to the people within the organization who do not manage to learn from mistakes and to always demand consistency and excellence in project execution.
The first part of the day ended with the speech of Voicu Oprean, CEO Arobs.
The topic of his presentation was The transition from outsourcing to product, which was actually the successful story of Arobs. Obviously, Voicu Oprean focused his speech on the guiding rules that served him as a landmark and which brought him success. His "lessons" can, therefore, be very useful to those who wish to succeed.
Arobs went through this transition having 400 employees. The products they are selling locally and internationally have generated a turnover of 4 million euro. Moreover, they also got involved in the hardware area, by the navigation products and, more recently, in the domain of tablets, having their own brand: Smilo. Arobs started 15 years ago, taking their first step through outsourcing. This is actually the first lesson: take the first step. In 2002, it had to make a decision and, instead of firing people, it decided to reinvent itself. The second lesson: reinvent yourself. The first product was a SMS solution, which now is no longer available on the market. They continued by developing a solution for mobile terminals of Windows Mobile 1.0, which was later moved to Palm Treo. In such an approach, everyone has to assume certain risks. The third lesson is standing the risk. The fourth lesson is knowing when to stop. The last one is using the existing client data base.
An assumed target, especially in public, increases its chances of success. Support may come right from within the companies.
Gabriel Ciuloaica opened the series of technical presentations at noon, with the topic of reactive programming. In reactive programming, anytime there is an alteration in the model, it is reflected in the view. Until now, an application was specified by requests such as processing capacity of gigabytes of data, running on a few hundreds of servers or a short downtime period. Nowadays, these specifications are no longer valid. Now they all have to run on hundreds of machines, to be elastic, to process terabytes of data and to have no downtime periods. The new approach of specifications is, as a matter of fact, summed up in the Reactive Programming Manifesto. Its presentation emphasizes, in an eloquent manner, the advantages of implementing reactive programming.
In the following issues of the magazine, we will continue the series of IT Days accounts. The video recordings will be available on the Youtube TSM channel: www.youtube.com/todaysoftmag, and the slides of the presentations have been published on www.issuu.com/todaysoftmag. For updates, we invite you to access the page of the IT Days community: www.facebook.com/itdays.ro
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