Google Cover

Google Arts & Culture Homepage

Like all those who love culture, I like to travel and visit historical sites, castles, and museums. To support my passion, I gathered in time an entire library of guides, atlases, albums and catalogs for all the places I love and that I like to visit them occasionally. A few years ago I was particularly pleased when I discovered a Website that allowed me not only to meet again places and famous galleries but also to explore museums beauties where I’m not sure I can get. At the time, the Google Cultural Institute’s site was called Google Arts Project, providing access to over 100 museums, collections, attractions and famous places around the world. And this was amazing.

On June 19th this year, Google Cultural Institute just announced the new Google Arts & Culture website and app. Available on iOS and Android, the new app helps us explore the digital heritage of the World. Like the well know search engine, Googles’ new art & culture portal let us explore anything from the cats in art since 200 BCE to how is used red color in Expressionism or learn about Monet’s 50 shades of gray. And this is wonderful.

A project history

Google Trike

Google Street Camera visiting special places

5 years ago, Google Cultural Institute announced Arts Project, a Website collection which lets users browse most famous collections with thousands of works of art, available online in extraordinary detail. Using existing solutions like Picasa and App Engine, a Google enthusiastic team managed by Amit Sood developed a new virtual museum walking indoor technology based on Google Street View.  The project is one of the amazing results of “20-percent time”, an internal initiative released by Google by which employees were encouraged to spend 20% of their time working on an innovative project of large interest.

In 2011, the releasing moment,  the Arts Project Website offered virtual walking access inside 17 of the world’s famous art museums, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art and MoMA in New York, The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Tate Britain & The National Gallery in LondonMuseo Reina Sofia in Madrid, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence and Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.

Google Amit Sood

Amit Sood, director of Google Cultural Institute and initiator of Google Arts Project

The difference between Google Arts Project and many other Website art collections is described in an interview by Amit Sood, initiator and manager of Arts Project, and director of Google Cultural Institute from 2013: “The difference between this and a lot of other websites is that every single image is in extremely high resolution, as well as enriched with a whole host of tools and metadata. For example, you look at a museum’s Vermeer, zoom into it, compare it with another one, and then take a virtual walk through the museum by using our street view technology.”

How technologies develop digital culture

With new clothes, the popular site of Google Cultural Institute is already known by art lovers. But fewer knows are the technologies that facilitate our virtual walk through the galleries of the most famous museums in the world.

Between first innovations adopted by Google Arts Project was the indoor version of Google Street View camera. This 360-degree system was essential to capture gallery images by pushing the camera ‘trolley’ through a museum. Street View was also integrated with GPS location capture, and with Picasa, to enable a seamless transition from gallery view to microscope view. To take high-resolution photos of the artworks within a gallery were also used professional panoramic heads Clauss Rodeon VR Head HD and Clauss VR Head ST. Finally, the Art Project has been integrated with Google’s social media platform (Google+) to enable users to share their personal collections with their networks.

A series of new technologies was introduced in the last period to enhance the cultural experience of the digital visitors. Google Cardboard is already a popular virtual reality application based on the same name viewer. Few people know this quite simple device was created by David Coz and Damien Henry from Google Cultural Institute in Paris, as part of the same “20 percent time” initiative with the aim of inspiring a more low-cost model for VR development. Cardboard tours are available at this moment for 20 locations, including the Valley of Temples.

Worldwide digital heritage images capture and storage are possible due to a special Art Camera system developed by Google to capture the finest details of museums and collections artworks. The Art Camera is a robotic camera, custom-built to create gigapixel images faster and more easily. A robotic system steers the camera automatically from detail to detail, taking hundreds of high-resolution close-ups of the painting. A laser and a high precision distance sonar system are used to make sure the focus is right on each brush stroke. A software application brings thousands of close-up shots into one single gigapixel image.

Using Art Camera system, Google Cultural Institute added in a very short time more than 1,000 ultra-high-resolution images of classic paintings and other artwork by Monet, Van Gogh and many others. Previously, Google’s collection included only about 200 digitizations, realized in five years of photo capture efforts.

Google Art 3

Google Art Recognizer

Another digital facility introduced by Google Cultural Institute is the Art Recognizer, an experimental new feature that helps visitors learn more about the art they’re looking.  Recognizer app works by pointing the phone’s camera on any art object. Google’s software recognizes the work and provides to user phone encyclopedic multimedia information about the artist and his masterpiece. The major distinction between Art Recognizer and other audio tours is that it doesn’t require visitors to follow a prescribed path through the museum. The Beta version of Art Recognizer is now available at London’s Dulwich Picture Gallery, Sydney’s Art Gallery of New South Wales and the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC.

A tip for those who love Loire Valley

If you like to travel in France and if you love the Valley of the Kings, here is a link where you precisely will enjoy…

The Loire Castles selection proposed by Google Arts & Culture let us explore in online exhibits, virtual tours, videos and thousands of high-quality images all the historical places between Sully-sus-Loire and ancient fortress from Angers, including the royal Loire’s jewels from Amboise, Blois, Chambord, and Chenonceau.

Enjoy all of these!



Digital Transformation as natural selection: you become Digital or disappear…

Digital transformation natural process

Organisations that engage in the digital transformation must know that this is not about a simple IT project. There is not a simple process of awarding procurement and implementation as in any project of computerization. It is a natural business selection.

Digital transformation strategy is not simply a budgetary balance relaxation by migrating infrastructure expenditure to OpEx. Is not an easy BYOD project. Is not a simple alignment with the new methodology. Is not a Cloud migration project just for the reason to have a less expensive “fashionable” solution. Is not a social media campaign to raise awareness of the ecosystem of partners and customers.

Digital transformation is primarily a comprehensive business process. Is a process of natural selection. Either adopt digital technologies or disappear… It is a radical change of old processes and business models. It is a cultural change acceleration of digital skills that have become inherent in the business. It is a conscious assimilation and coordinated innovation, without which things cannot work on.

Collaborative economy coverA recent IDC study shows that 35% of the lines of business (LOB) in Central and Eastern Europe turn to providers of IT solutions as the first step in the process of assimilating technological innovation, while 28% of them are calling the very beginning of the process buying. In fact, only 27% of IT projects are funded from departmental IT budgets.

What will follow after the current wave of innovation, assuming that nearly all organisations will become digital? Certainly, a new disturbing wave will occur…

IDC believes that soon we’ll talk all about convergence … IT industry, which in the first trench of the digital transformation process has reached certain limits. It reached an ecosystem boundaries differences between traditional hardware providers, software developers, IT service providers and telecommunications disappeared. Technology providers combine different IT components in packages of services that is charged per-use. Many players in the IT industry were released in non-IT businesses. Mobile payments, technology Near Field Communication (NFC), friend-to-friend payment solutions or exchange P2P are examples of areas where high-tech companies have begun to expand in a market controlled until now only by players from the financial industry.

An Accenture study in North America showed that 72% of people born after 2000 is more accustomed to generating financial transactions from a communications operator, a store high-tech or a post office, but at the headquarters of a bank.

Convergence resulting from the wave of digital transformation will gradually affect other sectors and organisations. As businesses become more digital, traditional boundaries between industries will fade.

Transformarea digitală este o selecție naturală, nu un simplu proiect IT

Digital transformation natural process

Organizațiile care se angrenează în procesul de transformare digitală trebuie să știe că aici nu este vorba despre un simplu proiect IT. Nu este un simplu proces de atribuire, achiziții și implementare ca în orice proiect de informatizare. Este o selecție naturală. Ori te transformi, ori dispari…

Transformarea digitală nu este o simplă strategie de relaxare a balanței bugetare prin migrarea cheltuielilor de infrastructură către OpEx. Nu este un simplu proiect BYOD de implementare a unui sistem pentru controlul echipamentelor mobile folosite de angajați în relațiile de business. Nu este o simplă aliniere cu cele mai noi metodologii. Nu este un proiect de migrare în Cloud, doar de dragul de a avea soluții moderne, puțin costisitoare. Nu este o campanie social-media de sensibilizare a ecosistemului de parteneri sau de clienți.

Transformarea digitală este în primul rând un amplu proces de business. Într-un fel, este un proces de selecție naturală. Ori adopți tehnologiile digitale, ori dispari… Este o schimbare radicală a unor vechi procese și modele de afaceri. Este o schimbare culturală de accelerare a unor deprinderi digitale care au devenit inerente pentru afaceri. Este vorba de o asimilare conștientă și coordonată a inovației, fără de care lucrurile nu pot să funcționeze mai departe.

În programul cadru Digital Transformation MaturityScape IDC sugerează că proiectele de transformare digitală necesită o abordare multilaterală care acoperă cinci domenii critice:

  • transformarea leadership-ului;
  • transformarea experienței;
  • transformarea valorii informației;
  • transformarea modelului de operare
  • transformarea forței de muncă.

Prin acest program IDC ajută organizațiile să își dezvolte maturitatea digitală, printr-o trecere gradată de la un stadiu de “dizidenți digitali” care folosesc inovațiile numai pentru a contracara amenințările, la cel de “perturbatori digitali”, care își asumă rolul de pionieri ai industriei digitale pentru a reface modelele de business și piețele existente. Sau chiar pentru a crea altele noi.

Un recent studiu IDC arată că 35% din liniile de business (LOB) din Europa Centrală și de Est apelează la furnizorii de soluții IT ca prim pas în procesul de asimilare a inovației tehnologice, iar 28% dintre acestea le apelează chiar de la începutul procesului de cumpărare. De fapt, doar 27% dintre proiectele IT sunt finanțate din bugetele IT departamentale.

Ce va urma după actualul val de inovație, presupunând că aproape toate organizațiile se vor transforma digital? Cu siguranță o să apară un nou val disturbator…

IDC crede că în curând  vom vorbi cu toții despre Convergență… Industria IT, aflată în primele tranșee ale procesului de transformarea digitală, a ajuns la anumite limite. A atins granițele unui ecosistem în care diferențele dintre furnizorii tradiționali de hardware, dezvoltatorii de software, furnizorii de servicii IT și telecomunicații au dispărut. Furnizorii de tehnologie combină diferite componente IT în pachete de servicii în care se plătește per-utilizare. Mulți jucători din industria IT s-au lansat în afacerile non-IT. Plățile mobile, tehnologiile Near Field Communication (NFC), soluțiile de plată friend-to-friend sau schimbul valutar P2P sunt câteva exemple de domenii în care companiile high-tech au început să se extindă pe o piață controlată până acum doar de jucătorii din industria financiară. Un studiu realizat de Accenture în America de Nord a arătat că 72% din populația născută după anul 2000 e mult mai deprinsă să genereze tranzacțiile financiare de la un operator de comunicații, dintr-un magazin high-tech sau de la o unitate poștală, decât de la sediul unei bănci.

Convergența care rezultă din valul de transformare digitală va afecta treptat și organizațiile din alte sectoare. Cu cât companiile devin mai digitale, granițele dintre industriile tradiționale se vor estompa. Așa cum industria IT a reușit să integreze diverse componente complexe într-un singur serviciu de Cloud, ce ar împiedica băncile digitale să ofere servicii de ipotecare, asigurări, utilități, Internet, televiziune digitală și securitate odată cu finanțarea pentru o casă – adică tot ce ai nevoie pentru o nouă locuință – într-un pachet unic de servicii pay-per-use disponibil online? Dacă ne gândim bine, tehnologia și infrastructura pentru o astfel de convergență există deja …

logo_it_trendsO versiune a acestui articol a fost publicata și în revista IT Trends din luna iunie 2016 cu titlul ”Transformarea Digitală nu este un proiect IT”.

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Romanian Winners of EuroCloud Award 2016

EuroCloud Europe Award Banner 

EuroCloud Romania announced the winners of EuroCloud Award Romania 2016. Being at fourth edition, the national competition of EuroCloud Award aims to identify and promote the best practices and reference solutions from Romanian Cloud computing industry.

EuroCloud Award 2016 LogoEuroCloud permanently promotes performance in Cloud industry and encourages the maintenance of a competitive climate at regional and continental level. EuroCloud Award Romania is a national competition part of EuroCloud Award Europe which every year is recognizing the most innovative Cloud services and projects in Europe, selected from the winners from each member country.

The Romanian winners are competing with all others European solutions awarded at national level. The EuroCloud Europe Award 2016 winners established by an independent jury of international experts will be announced in a best of the best special gala organised during annual congress. The big surprise in this year is the festive Gala will take place during EuroCloud Europe Forum which will to be held in Bucharest on 5 – 6 October 2016.


Elena Zvarici, President EuroCloud Romania


“This year again we’re glad to see the commitment to quality and openness to international of the Romanian Cloud solutions providers. The Cloud removes geographical barriers and open new markets for Romanian providers,” said Elena Zvarici, President EuroCloud Romania. ”Also, we are glad Romanian providers are participating in all five categories of European competition, which will announce the winners during the EuroCloud Award 2016 Gala on October 5, in Bucharest”.


And the winners of EuroCloud Award Romnia 2016 are:

  • In the „Best Cloud Service for horizontal markets” category, the national prize is won by GTS Telecom with „GTS Cloud Suite” solution;
  • In the „Best Cloud Service for vertical markets” category, the winner is Star Storage with „Star Capture Mobile” solution;
  • In the Best Cloud Services provided by Start-Up CSP’scategory, the prize is won by Great People Inside company for GR8PI” solution;
  • In the Best Business Impact provided by Cloud Services category, the winner is Ymens, for the project „ICIPRO – Cloud Infrastructure for Public Institutions”.
  • In the „Best Cloud Migration Service” category, the prize is won by ZITEC with Cloud migration project „Studio Moderna”.

This year for the first time the Romanian jury decided to recognize with a special distinction „Excellence Award for Cloud Culture Promotion in Romania” the company YMENS, for whole activities related to Cloud models promotion on the national market.

For more details visit EuroCloud Award Europe

România nu a ieșit din Criza de Inovație

Innvation Cover

Iată un foarte interesant studiu făcut anual de Comisia Europeană în privința capacității de inovare a statelor membre. Rezumându-ne numai la rezultatele referitoare la România, concluzia generală este că suntem cam leneși… din punct de vedere inovativ.

Raportul CE ne ia mai cu binișorul: ”Romania is a Modest Innovator” Performanțele monitorizate în cadrul unui index de inovare arată o creștere gradată până în anul 2010, după care urmează declinul…  Capacitatea de inovare din 2015 este la un nivel semnificativ mai mic decât cea din 2008.

European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS)

EU Innovation Scoreboard

Sursa: European Innovation Scoreboard

Cunoscut anterior sub numele Innovation Union Scoreboard, European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS) este un instrument de monitorizare a nivelului de adoptare a inovației în toate statele UE. EIS oferă o analiză comparativă a performanței inovării în statele membre ale UE, dar și în alte țări europene sau la vecinii din regiune. EIS evaluează punctele forte și cele slabe ale sistemelor naționale de inovare și ajută țările să identifice zonele în care trebuie să acționeze.

Raportul realizat pentru European Innovation Scoreboard 2016 relevă o Europă preocupată să ajungă din urmă marii lideri ai inovării la nivel mondial. Dar rata de inovare este încă scăzută la nivelul UE din cauza volumului redus de investiții și a unor condiții restrictive care afectează în special IMM-urile.

Suedia este lider autoritar al inovării în UE urmată de Danemarca, Finlanda, Germania și Olanda. Cele mai rapide rate de creștere a inovației se pot observa în Letonia, Malta, Lituania, Olanda și Regatul Unit.

Mult sub media UE

Innovation Index

Sursa: European Innovation Scoreboard 2016

La fel ca pentru fiecare țară, UE a urmărit îndeaproape evoluția indicelui de inovare și pentru România. De-a lungul timpului, performanța relativă de inovare a României s-a depreciat de la 50% în 2008 la 34,4% în 2015 (procentele sunt în raport cu media europeană). România se poziționează cu mult sub media Uniunii Europene aproape la toate dimensiunile și toți indicatorii. Cele mai slabe performanțe sunt atribuite spiritului antreprenorial (din perspectiva dimensiunilor relative) și cererilor de brevete PCT (în termeni de indicatori).

România este apropiată totuși de media UE la un număr de indicatori, cu ar fi ponderea tineretului cu studii secundare de nivel superior, exporturile de produse high-tech sau ocuparea forței de muncă în firmele cu creștere rapidă în sectoare inovatoare.

Procentual, cele mai mari creșteri se observă pe dimensiunea resurselor umane (4,4%), iar ca indicatori la veniturile din licențe și venituri din străinătate (17%), proiecte și  modele comunitare (14%).

Cele mai puternice scăderi ale performanței sunt observate la investițiile de capital (-23%) – de ce oare?, la cota de vânzări a produselor noi din inovații (-21%), la cheltuielile de inovare non-R&D (-17%), la  IMM-urile inovatoare in-house (-17%), sau la IMM-urile cu inovații de produs sau de proces (-17%).

Ce concluzii putem trage de aici?

Iustin Capra

Marele inventator Iustin Capră

Ca nivel general de inovație suntem sub anul 2008, adică începutul marii crize… Criză care încă ne dă dureri de cap în destul de multe sectoare.

Leneși nu suntem, și nici proști. O serie întreagă de dovezi susțin acest lucru. Stăm destul de bine încă la resursele umane, la exportul de software și la nivelul de ocupare a forței de muncă din sectoarele cu putere mare de absorbție a inovației.

Cel mai prost stăm la investițiile de capital. Cam toți investitorii tradiționali și-au pierdut suflul și curajul. Prea mult au riscat. Prea mult au pierdut. O altă zonă nevralgică este incapacitatea noastră de a ne vinde inovația. Știm și vedem o serie întreagă de inventatori care mor de foame, în ciuda medaliilor cucerite la concursurile internaționale. Ar putea fi sursa unei campanii CSR: 2% pentru reabilitarea creierelor din România.

Ce au suedezii, danezii sau  finlandezii și noi nu avem? Ca să nu mai vorbim de nemți… Pe ei îi ajută vopseaua… În anii 90 se tot vorbea de modelul suedez. În timp s-a dovedit că nu e suficient numai modelul. E nevoie și de suedezii care să îl pună în aplicare…

Acum la modă e modelul portughez, urmat ce cel islandez. Două exemple clare și dure de pragmatism și răutate canalizată către un obiectiv. Obiectivele noastre care sunt? ”Răutatea” noastră unde e?

Astăzi, ”Cumințenia Pământului” a lui Brâncuși a reușit să polarizeze atenția societății. Când vom vedea un mare banner pe clădirea Guvernului: ”Inovațiile inventatorilor români sunt ale tale, așa cum și țara asta e a ta.” ?

Big Data-Analytics-Cloud: A Triad of Profitability

Big Data CoverThursday 30 June we have meet in Bucharest to discuss about Big Data, Analytics and Cloud. Trends, benefits, perspectives, disruptive effects, but more important we discussed about innovation and profitability. Conference was organized by iBusiness and Agora Group, the most important IT publishing and media groups, with more than 20 years tradition on the Romanian and international industry, with support of National Association for Information Systems Security.

The main discussion panel brought together a number of participants from the research, government organization, consultancy, and solutions providers represented by: Mrs. Doina Banciu – general manager ICI (National Institute for Research and Development in Informatics), Toma Campeanu – CEO ANSSI (National Association for Information Systems Security),  Constantin Ene – director ANCPI (National Agency for Cadastre and Land Registration), Marius Nicolae – Manager IT  Advisory Ernst & Young Romania, Radu Crahmaliuc, independent analyst & founder cloud☁mania, Razvan Ionescu – Account și Partner Development Manager SAS Romania, Maryo Fiscutean – Project Manager Infoworld, Petrica Barbieru – general manager ProSys, and Razvan Savu – Business Solutions Manager Ymens.

Together with Mihaela Gorodcov – general manager iBusiness Romania, I had the honor to moderate the main discussions panel.

Big Data is perhaps the most circulated technological concept nowadays. The amount of data that accumulates every day is impressive. Recently, the renowned supercomputer Watson began to “be fed” with more than 10 000 documents / month (in a huge project involving six universities in the US and Canada) in order to learn how to detect cyber threats of data structured. Also, Watson can process 500 gigabytes, the equivalent of a million books per second.

Thus, it is estimated that by 2020 the volume of data will be 25 zettabytes (10 to 21 power!) Which raises the technological challenges but also huge social and economic impact. 90% of the data that exist today were created in the last 2 years!

Big Data (BI + Analytics) – is a buzzword. A solution is not exactly cheap to install in a company. It is at the same time, IT concept already marks the present and will define the future, that reality translated into a phrase that is already beginning to distinguish between economic entities of success and those who find themselves ever more deeply steeped in difficulties due to mismanagement the large volume of data, be it areas such as agriculture, environment, transport or telecommunications, utilities, defense etc.

Some say Romania is not a market large enough for Big Data Analytics data volumes needed to achieve those results really relevant in terms of increasing the profitability of a company. Plus that the implementation of such a solution costs money and not a few. The main panel debate confirmed the reality is other..  Big Data is that IT concept of profitable growth from which everyone can benefit. This is because there alongside solutions, IT services. Those services that offer capabilities to anyone currently exploring the benefits of Big Data at much reduced costs. Those services are termed as analysts sounded another long term: Cloud Computing. The combination of Big Data and Cloud Computing can represent the companies in Romania, one of the most beneficial ways of shaping the future.

During cloud☁mania’s intervention, I presented two very actual and interesting example related to the Big Data Analytics applicability.

UEFA Euro 2016 – predicting the winner has always been an important issue especially during the popular football championships. One of this prediction issue was based on analytics function of popular research engine. Bing, uses a complicated algorithm that draws from social media, surges in searches on its platform and team performances in the past to make predictions about the winners of certain future competitions, tournaments or championships. Bing has been impressively accurate in the past, correctly predicting the outcome of the FIFA World Cup, Cricket World Cup, Oscars and even the Scottish referendum. Yahoo was also tasked with predicting the winner of Euro 16, drawing from Yahoo Sport and the multitude of activity on social media site Tumblr. But this year, nobody predicted early exit of Great Britain team, after the historical match with Iceland team… The big prediction was a great final between British and Spain teams…

Wimbledon 2016 – Statistics and analytics have been a big feature of grand slam tennis for some years now. But what’s new this year is Watson. IBM’s flagship AI-driven analytics platform has been tasked with crunching through the hundreds of thousands of social media and online posts which the event generates. According a Forbes article, it’s mission is to find the stories that fans are most engaged with, and drive creation of the sort of content that they most want to see. And crucially, for the first time this year thanks to Watson’s machine learning capabilities, this will be a predictive process, rather than an attempt to piggyback trends once they occur.

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