ICT and emerging technologies for competitiveness, sustainability and social impact of NWFP

An online 4-day seminar explored how new technologies can support traditional forest products.

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resin
Resin-tapping. Photo: Cesefor.

idiForest, the third cross-cutting seminar of the INCREDIBLE project, brought participants from across Europe and globally to share knowledge and new ideas on the use of emerging technologies for non-wood forest products, to improve productivity, sustainability, supply capacity, benefits and social impact.

The aim of this event, organised by the project partner Cesefor Foundation, was to promote the competitiveness, sustainability and social impact of non-wood forest products through the use of ICT and emerging technologies. This intriguing theme was of interest to over 160 people who registered to attend the event. Participants represented 9 different countries (Spain, Portugal, Mexico, Peru, Italy, Turkey, Belgium, Brazil and Croatia), demonstrating the noteworthy global reach of this topic.

idiForest was held online on 6, 7, 8 and 9 October. Although the difficulties arising from the situation at COVID-19 led us to this online format, it was a major enabler for worldwide participation in the event. The organisers strengthened opportunities for participation through online tools to make the seminar more dynamic and constructive

The overall objective of the seminar was to work through a combination of 3 thematic blocks, each consisting of individual conferences and workshops:

  1. Conferences to stimulate the transfer and exchange of knowledge on the use of emerging technologies that can radically improve productivity, sustainability, supply capacity, benefits and social impact;
  2. Conferences promoted by the Institute of Business Competitiveness (ICE), the Regional Government of Castilla y León and the Science Park of the University of Valladolid, to create effective links between NTFP entrepreneurs, technologists and potential investors; and
  3. Workshops on the acceleration of innovation and entrepreneurship in non-wood forest products, with special mention of resin exploitation.

The first block was a clear and significant exercise to show how the use of new technologies is increasing and entering into agroforestry sector. The first day featured conferences demonstrating how the Internet of Things (IoT) can be applied to the agricultural sector, how the development of sensor technology is relevant to the mycological sector, or how the processes of traceability and transparence could apply to the hunting market: highlighting the possibilities of these technologies in both the present and future. The second day featured a presentation of how the Artificial Intelligence (AI) is focused on the forestry sector, the possibilities of monitoring production of products such as chestnuts or resin, or how the ICTS are applied to the food security field.

Photo: Cesefor.

In the second block, different entrepreneurs and startups presented their projects. Among the most noteworthy was Easy Q, a company which uses its extensive experience in the food safety sector and broad technological knowledge to develop a software that facilitates and speeds up food safety and quality work of various companies in the food sector. Another project, M2Sensors, was also presented, which provides consulting services related to sensor networks for environmental, structural and energy efficiency monitoring. Other business initiatives presented at this cross-cutting seminar were Blockimpulse, a company that offers consultancy and personalised development based on Blockchain + IoT for companies during their digital transformation, and AGM Global, which offers innovative solutions for irrigation techniques, allowing control over the consumption of water and energy resources through precision agricultural technologies.

During the third block, we focused on work teams through a series of workshops. We learned methodologies of prototyping and development of business models to be able to launch and test the viability of different ideas and how to make these ideas or projects visible. This whole process was instructed by a team of mentors, professionals with experience in the forestry sector and entrepreneurship who helped participants to focus on what is truly important for ideas and projects to be viable.

During the third block, we focused on work teams through a series of workshops. We learned methodologies of prototyping and development of business models to be able to launch and test the viability of different ideas and how to make these ideas or projects visible. This whole process was instructed by a team of mentors, professionals with experience in the forestry sector and entrepreneurship who helped participants to focus on what is truly important for ideas and projects to be viable.

Five ideas were selected to be developed:

  1. RESINexperience, a tech-based solution for rural tourism based on traditional tapping rural areas;
  2. Turpentine hydrogenation, an application of turpentine in the fuel sector;
  3. Trace-me.org, an application of traceability of forest products;
  4. Tresseiscinco, a business model oriented to the multifunctionality of forest products; and
  5. Repetest, a resin purity detector.

idiForest was developed as a transversal initiative that combines knowledge exchange on the latest research, development and innovation in emerging technologies for non-wood forest products with a dynamic approach for promoting innovation projects through the advice of experts.

For more information about the INCREDIBLE project, visit the website.