Boosting Commercialisation of GNSS in line with the European Space Strategy

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The recent introduction of the European Commission’s Space Strategy for Europe is another milestone within the commercial exploitation for Europe. This Blog post refers to the EU space strategy and focusses on AZO’s implementation through the European Satellite Navigation competition (ESNC) and how it enables economic growth.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos referred to space as “the next Internet”, at the Vanity Fair New Establishment in San Francisco 2016. We all know how the Internet transformed into an indispensable means of everyday life. This is exactly the way space should literally skyrocket in terms of commercial exploitation. According to the OECD, the market volume amounts to EUR 136 billion with great growth potential (7-8 percent in the areas of navigation and Earth observation) for companies and investors.

Commercialising Space for Europe’s Competitiveness

The new Space Strategy’s guiding principle is the extensive exploitation of space for the European economy and society, seizing the myriad benefits it offers on the global scale. One of the main objectives is fostering the European space sector’s competitiveness globally by boosting the development of commercial space applications especially for startups, SMEs and young entrepreneurs. In addition, advancing Europe’s space programmes and meeting user needs, especially when it comes to space data access to encourage alternative business models and technological progress, represent major goals of this strategy.

Scouting Innovation in Satellite Navigation

With its numerous forward-thinking initiatives, AZO has been on the forefront of this very space exploration. The involved commercialisation of space applications which make use of Europe’s space programmes has been AZO’s mission ever since its foundation. Turning game-changing entrepreneurial ideas into real ventures and new companies is its determined endeavour. Just by 2016, AZO’s network comprises 170 international industrial and institutional partners, more than 350 experts and 40 business incubators, which led to more than 600 submission from over 50 countries.

When it comes to innovation scouting in the field of Galileo and EGNOS, the European Satellite Navigation competition (ESNC) is the perfect platform for detecting novelties. Within this context, the ESNC’s Call for Regions for the “Galileo-EGNOS award scheme” seeks to support all European regions and to strengthen the market uptake of Galileo/EGNOS, thanks to the European Commission, by supporting trendsetting startups. The ESNC’s submission phase runs from 1 April until 30 June 2017. The following significant startup showcases how smart use of data enables new types of business.

The former Overall Winner of the ESNC, KINEXON has ever since boosted its business tremendously. Their mission is to power the industrial Internet of Things with smart and precise motion data, by focussing on the development of precision localisation and motion sensing solutions. The company, which was also part of the ESA BIC Bavaria programme, is now collaborating with industry giants such as Intel and Audi – only within the timeframe of three years.

Call for Regions

The ESNC’s Call for Regions for the “Galileo-EGNOS award scheme” seeks to support all European regions and to increase the market uptake of Galileo/EGNOS, thanks to the European Commission, by fostering pioneering startups. This future-oriented Call for Regions is an excellent example of how the common EU strategy will help raise the awareness of commercial space exploration and boost innovative ventures in various application fields.

Truly Pan-European Strategy

It is important to implement the Space Strategy on the local level throughout Europe as a common effort, by addressing societal challenges. The annual festive Awards Ceremony of the ESNC’s and Copernicus Masters awarded the most outstanding business ideas and solutions in the areas of satellite navigation and Earth observation, in the context of the Satellite Masters Conference 2016. The third edition of AZO’s dedicated space conference series included topic-specific focus sessions, exciting startup pitches and presentations of renowned stakeholders dealing with Europe’s flagship space programmes, their commercial applications and the latest space-related trends. The last event was honoured to be joined by Markku Markkula, president of the EU Committee of the Regions, and his inspiring speech. He put emphasis on the importance of involving regional and local authorities in the European decision-making process and thus encouraging greater participation from fellow citizens – in brief: Galileo for regions and Copernicus for regions.

Let’s Embrace the Entrepreneurial Spirit

The constant strive to improve our daily lives with innovation is the fuel for entrepreneurial missions. Inventiveness, making the impossible possible and the commercialisation of groundbreaking ideas accelerate creativity and business. Jeff Bezos’ notion of space as the next Internet, shows how global industry players have great interest in exploiting the enormous potential of space. Let’s take it from there and work together to on the long-term commitment of space. Have a look at the various ESNC opportunities and get inspired to get involved.

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