Editorial – Michel Lemonier, Oséo – Industrial Strategic Innovation Program Director

18 months after the beginning of the 5-year program, QUAERO is going through its second progress review, with OSEO during the following weeks. This will enable the consortium members to evaluate the first results of the program since its start-up.

This is also an opportunity to recall the progress made since the setting up of this major initiative. The idea was of a large private-public French-German collaborative project, dealing with automatic processing of multimedia digital contents (voice, images, video, texts, music etc.) and multilingual contents. A better definition of the strategic main lines of the program was given during the preparation phase which followed. The topics cover automatic information retrieval, analysis, segmentation and classification of multimedia and multilingual content. Technologies and services resulting from QUAERO will provide useful, context aware information on any type of media (e-book, Internet, television, mobile, etc.) Beyond these targeted results, the aim is to increase in value every form of information -inexhaustible but eminently unstable as it is when improperly manipulated - used as basic raw material by a fast-growing new industry. 

Of course, all these research and innovation fields do not only apply to QUAERO, other interesting initiatives have emerged. The original part of the QUAERO program is the collaborative dimension of it as well as the large spectrum of its activities. Up to now, no other project has ever shared such an amount of skills, combined so many outlet opportunities. Naturally, in order to supervise the diversity of these ideas, the AII, followed by OSEO, were particularly careful about the suggested organization and the balance between public and private management in charge.

The construction was not easy and the encountered difficulties were as high as QUAERO’s ambition. First of all, the different partners had to agree on the details of the program without giving up their requirements and admit priority differences between them. Then, the financial partners had to be convinced of the quality of the project and its participants and obtain approval of the European Commission for this large-scale government aid, with the concern not to create competitive injustices beyond the positive effects for society.

Once the decision had been taken, the project had to be launched with rigor and method and the targets fixed for the first year. This was done on May 1st, 2008. The first progress review at the end of 2008, which marked the conclusion of the program start-up and the detailed technical targets of the first period, allowed to check that the program was on the way and the mission of everyone was precisely defined. The program also managed to adapt itself to welcome new partners and other promising development perspectives.

We are thus today in the middle of the action. QUAERO is not a 5-year "channel" program but a succession of 5 increasing cycles of 15 months (with a 3 month-overlap to match the annual periodicity) consisting of several parallel sub-projects sharing a variety of state of art technological researches . The next step should bring the first results. Besides the demonstrations already available on the Web sites of QUAERO (see Videos and Demos) and of some of its members, the consortium plans public demonstrations for 2010...

We are looking forward to the communication of these new results. It will be the opportunity to show that the state and  partners’ contribution is beginning to give its first results and that it therefore supports the creation of knowledge and values for the research, the industry and the society.

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