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ECOSIM Telematics Applications Project:
Deliverable D09.01

Exploitation Plan

Programme name Telematics Applications Programme
Sector Environment
Project Number EN1006
Project Acronym ECOSIM
Project title Ecological and environmental monitoring and simulation system for management decision support in urban areas
Deliverable number D09.01
Deliverable title ECOSIM Exploitation Plan
Workpackage contributing to Deliverable WP 9
Authors K. Fedra, ESS
Project Manager  
Name Dr. Kurt FEDRA
Organisation Environmental Software and Services GmbH
Address Kalkgewerk 1
Country-Code City A-2352 Gumpoldskirchen, AUSTRIA
Telephone +43 2253 633 050
Fax +43 2253 655 059
E-mail kurt@ess.co.at

Keywords:
Product development, markets and users, outsourcing, Internet services, internal use, modules, licensing, support and services.
Release 1.0, 10 December 1998
Author: Kurt Fedra

CONTENTS

  • Executive Summary
  • Market and Users
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Product and Services
  • Licensing and Support Options

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:

This document describes the ECOSIM Exploitation Plan.

The Exploitation Plan for ECOSIM is based on the following steps as described in the Project Programme:

  • The first activity is for an exploitation plan to be prepared (Deliverable D09.01, this document). This covers commercial exploitation from the perspective of supplier organisations within the consortium and similar (internal) exploitation from the user perspective.

  • Supply-side exploitation: This identifies the market segment(s) where exploitation is to be directed and the mechanisms by which this market will be penetrated. This will be linked to project phases.

  • Demand-side exploitation: Within their specification of requirements, user organisations should be able to identify key capabilities, results and associated environmental impacts and costs savings that the ECOSIM system should be able to provide in order for them to justify its continued use and sponsoring of further development. Quantitative data will be provided where possible (eg ECOSIM platform and software costs).

These factors will be integrated into a coherent plan which should serve the needs of all project participants. The plan will be up-dated after the first year and on conclusion of the project. The results of exploitation activities will be presented with overall project reports.

Some recent ideas on the exploitation phase are summarized in a separate paper, presented at the IST'98 Conference in Vienna.

Market and Users

ECOSIM aims to develop an innovative software product and related information services. In addition to the licensing, installation and maintenance of the software system for end user and user training, this includes data processing tasks, and the customization of applications.

In addition, running the more demanding models (eg., the 3D photochemical model) that require substantive computing resources over wide area networks (Internet) for end-users on demand is an attractive and innovative information service and business opportunity.

The regulatory framework of the system is defined by the new Air Quality Framework Directive (Community Directive on ambient air quality assessment and management (96/62/EC), the Directive on air Pollution by Ozone (92/72/EEC), the European Union Directive on environmental assessment (85/337) and its amendment (COM(93) 575), the Directive on vehicle emission, the Large Combustion Plant Directive (88/609/EEC), and its amendment COM(92) 563. Another important element is the Directive on Public Access to Environmental Information (90/313/EEC).

End users of the product and services offered include local and regional government regulatory and planning agencies responsible for air quality and emission control. In addition, major energy-intensive industries and the (thermal) power sector as well as traffic planners are all potential users. An extension of the system into industrial hazards (accidental spills, fires) can easily be envisioned.

The main advantage of the ECOSIM approach is that it offers an easily customized mix of in-house use and outsourcing solutions, using wide area networking and (dedicated or public) Internet/Intranet as the delivery vehicle.

This creates in Europe alone, a potential market of several thousand installations. In addition, Eastern and Central Europe, and in the long term, developing countries represent a very attractive emerging market for environmental management software and services.

With increasing environmental awareness world wide, and a number of emerging national and international regulatory activities (compare, for example, the new proposed air quality guidelines and limit values in COM(97)500, the demand for effective and cost-efficient planning and management tools is rapidly increasing. At the same time, environmental information needs to be made directly accessible to a growing group of users involved in environmental decision making processes, including the general public. Specific requirements in this direction are formulated in the EU Directive (90/313/EEC) on Public Access to Environmental Information. This calls for a new generation of public information services. This aspect is covered in the multi-media implementation with network wide access capabilities through low-cost terminal equipment (ie., PCs connected via ISDN phone lines).

In addition to the direct economic exploitation of ECOSIM, the partners will exploit the system through:

  • continued in-house use for the test user partners;
  • as the basis for further research and product development.

Technological Framework

ECOSIM addresses tough problems: they are complex; dynamic, and involve spatially distributed 3D phenomena and models. They also involve problems of communicating difficult technical concepts and data to a largely non-technical audience, and of assisting non-technical users with complex analytical tools.

ECOSIM spans a wide range of potential application domains. Despite these different application domains, different simulation models, and potentially quite different user group and their specific requirements, the system offers a common technological framework and architecture.

These elements include:

  • A flexible client-server implementation for distributed and decentralized use of information resources.

  • Communication architecture based on the http protocol which is used to integrate real-time data acquisition from monitoring sites, as well as optional high-performance computing resources such as supercomputers or workstation clusters; primary consideration here is the scalability of applications over a wide range of performance requirements.

  • Multi-media user interface design to support an intuitive understanding of results.

  • Integration of GIS with data bases, monitoring results, and spatially explicit simulation modeling.

  • Embedded rule-based expert systems for logical modeling and user support.

All these features are designed to address difficult analytical problems, and at the same time provide a convenient and easy to use intuitive user interface.

Marketing Strategy

The market for the environmental management and decision support systems described above includes both public institutions (such as larger cities subject to the Air Quality Framework Directive (96/62/EC), or the waste management and transportation sector.

The exploitation of the project results involves several steps: first, a marketable product version of the project results has to be developed. This requires additional investment, but is a necessary condition for marketing.

These developments include:

  • quality assurance, converting research prototype software into a commercial product;
  • professional documentation, development of user support material;
  • national adaptations for target markets;
  • porting to different hardware/software environments.

In an RDT project like ECOSIMis also the problem to adapt a high-tech product to a low-tech market. Since, however, the high-tech elements constitute the main innovation and the intrinsic value of the product this must be based on a flexible strategy of scalable implementation and a modular system with optional add-on components.

Scalability here refers to several related domains: systems must be available in a modular structure, with a low-cost entry level set of tools, that can be gradually expanded with optional components, e.g., starting with simple screening level models and moving (eventually) to full-featured 3D dynamic codes.

The same applies for hardware: offering low-cost entry level hardware configurations with smooth upgrade pathes for increasing computational performance that preserve customer investments is essential: this can be achieve through the use of cluster computing, where additional CPUs and thus computational resources can be integrated easily.

And finally, a low-cost entry level must also be available in terms of data requirements. In many situations, data availability is the most expensive constraint on the efficient use of information technology based solutions.

Clearly, these three aspects of scalability are tightly related.

In parallel to the final product development, first marketing efforts are being based on direct contacts with the existing customer base, starting with broad mailing campaigns based on the prototype; presentations at conferences and trade fairs; publications in the technical and professional literature.

The product derived from ECOSIM, bundles the software and related consultancy. This includes data acquisition and processing, installation, and training for the systems.

As a special element of related services, the client-server implementation also supports the possibility of outsourcing of the more demanding computational tasks. In particular where high-performance computing resources are required the possibility to offer these as a service, on a pay as you go basis, seems to be an attractive option for public institutions where investment in non-standard hardware or personnel for computer support are more difficult to include in shrinking budgets than external services.

Marketing Strategy: practical implementation

The concrete marketing strategy for ECOSIM rests on three main components:

  • Advertising through the Internet and electronic media (mailing lists, new groups); the primary vehicle here is the project web server at http://www.ess.co.at/ECOSIM

  • Advertising through conventional mailing lists and project folders, brochures, and more detailed technical material; the current ECOSIM mailing list includes 360 addresses across Europe.

  • Presentations at appropriate fora including specific information days; this includes scientific conferences, trade shows and exhibitions, as well as specific ECOSIM information days to be organized in Germany, Greece, and Poland by the respective local partners. These presentations will be targeted at well defined groups of potential users in the respective countries e.g., through professional and scientific organizations.

    Examples of ongoing dissemination activities are a number of presentations at scientific and professional meetings (see the Annual Review Report 1997 or at the one-day continuing education workshop: Integrated Methods for Air Quality Management March 6 1998, at the University of Geneva.

Since work on ECOSIM is still in progress, and even at the end of the project will lead to a re-competitive (non-commercial by the rules of the Commissions Telematics Applications Programme) result, additional development effort in the order of one to two years will be required by the partners to prepare marketable products on the basis of the ECOSIM results.

Initial exploitation activities will therefor seek primarily spin-off project opportunities that can support these further steps of development and commercialisation through additional fully funded applications and case studies that will help to mature the product.

The project partners will also seek opportunities for ongoing collaboration (horizontal and vertical integration) with related projects that share technological or application domain characteristics.

Product and Services

ECOSIM will be marketed by the project partners as a modular set of fully integrated but optional components/extensions and related services.

ECOSIM consists of:

  • The set of initial Simulation Models:
    • REGOZON   (multi-layer dynamic photochemical)
    • DYMOS   (3D dynamic photochemical)
    • MEMO   (meteorological forecasting)
    • MUSE   (multi-layer dynamic photochemical)
    • POM   (3D coastal flow and water quality)
    • HELP   (vertical landfill hydrology)
    • MODFLOW   (3D groundwater flow)
    • MTD-3   (groundwater quality)
  • The basic System Framework:
    • object data bases including time-series analysis and monitoring network integration;
    • graphical and menu driven user interface with hypertext help- and explain functions;
    • embedded GIS and spatial data analysis
    • model post-processing and analysis (e.g., for compliance)
    • embedded rule-based expert system
    • a set of simple air quality screening models.
  • Related Services and consultancy that can be provided on the basis of the software, including:
    • modeling services
    • data preparation
    • systems support and maintenance.

Licensing and Support Options

For a future commercial offering (please note that the results of the ECOSIM project are, according to the Commission requirements for shared-cost projects in the Telematics Applications Programme, at a pre-competitive stage) the model suppliers have to quote prices for:

  • The local integration (sale of an end-user license) of a model (applicable for the REGOZON forecasting model; may also be applicable for other models depending on performance on non-HPC computing equipment or the availability of local high-performance computers at an end-users site.) Please note that for public domain codes (applies to POM and also for the groundwater models) only added value (model extensions, the cgi integration) can be charged to an end user.

  • A price for the necessary consultancy to set up the model(s); (applicable for all models). This may be quoted in bulk or as a per-effort consultancy service.

  • A price for remotely running models as a service (outsourcing of modeling services), in combination with consultancy (applicable for all models).

For these service and outsourcing based components, attractive annual packages or volume discounts (in particular on model runs) should be defined.

An example is a first proposal for the MEMO/MUSE combination (AUT)

Local integration (binary, open ended non-transferable license for a single CPU, includes local installation and user training)
MEMO 9.0 kECU + necessary missions
MUSE 7.5 kECU + necessary missions
Consultancy to set up the model(s), includes problem analysis and data compilation and processing for all necessary input data:
MEMO 2.5 kECU
MUSE 4.5 kECU
Running the models as a remote service via the Internet or dedicated connection lines; include the maintenance of the required data sets and user support for the scenario definitions:
MEMO 1st run: 3.0 kECU
2nd-5th: 1.5 kECU each
6th : 1.0 kECU each
MUSE 1st run: 4.0 kECU
2nd-5th: 2.5 kECU each
6th : 1.5 kECU each

GMD components

  • Local integration (binary, open ended non-transferable license) includes local installation and user training)
    • REGOZON 9.0 kECU + necessary missions (sequential version)
    • DYMOS 8.0 kECU + necessary missions (parallel version)
  • Consultancy to set up the model(s), includes problem analysis and data compilation and processing for all necessary input data:
    • REGOZON 5.0 kECU
    • DYMOS 4.0 kECU
  • Running the models as a remote service; include the maintenance of the required data sets:
    • REGOZON 1st run: 5.5 kECU
      next runs: 1. kECU each
    • DYMOS (parallel): 5.5 kECU
      next runs: 2. kECU each

Framework System
An indicative end user license price for the framework system (GUI, GIS, data analysis, expert system, and embedded screening models) based on the ESS AirWare product, is 30 KECU; this includes local installation, help with general data integration, user training, and a one-year support and updates package. Annual user remote support and maintenance for the AirWare framework system is KECU 10. As a special offer a one-year test license is KECU 8 (credited in case of a full license purchase within a year).


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