Activity background in the country (1)

At the end of July, the Institute of Lithuanian Scientific Society has launched the project “Encouraging local and international scientific cooperation, and development of professional expertise” aimed at gathering together the scientists working with the Embedded Systems in the country and partly the employees designing, manufacturing and managing the systems.

There are no doubts that the project launched will be of significant importance for Lithuanian scientists and designers of embedded systems. In our country, the specialists of this field are prepared by Kaunas University of Technology and Vilnius Gediminas Technical University. Students also work with scientific researches and development works in the departments and divisions of these institutions. In the area of embedded systems, there are many successful companies working, including Teltonika, Elgama-Elektronika, Elsis, Arginta, Elinta, etc. However, do the names of such modern Lithuanian companies as Eltesta, Elmika, or Terra has any meaning for Lithuanian people (who are not experts of embedded systems and electronics)?

Elmika designs and manufactures radio measurement equipment and radio antennas. The company Eltesta produces radio, television, electronic equipment and parts. UAB Selteka is the largest manufacturer of digital set-up boxes in the Baltic States, and the largest manufacturer of electronic products in the Eastern Europe. Axis Industries, for example, is the biggest enterprise group in Lithuania working with industrial and energy projects and applying engineering solutions for thermal technology, bio fuel, industrial and energy facilities. All these companies and many other work with embedded systems, and some of them not only apply these systems but also design them.

Information on the company Terra Electronics on the internet is mostly presented in other languages but not Lithuanian. The same can be said about some other companies. Naturally, most of their clients are from other countries and continents, therefore the companies consider their needs and interests in the first place. But the time must come when these companies will pay more attention to their own country they are established and operate successfully in, use the knowledge, experience and skills of our people. Responsibility and obligations related to the land we are all connected to do not come immediately and not for everyone, however, this idea comes to heads of some eccentrics. Finally, people working in these areas do not deserve to be only a supplement to certain design or production components. Be it a naïve objective of the publishers of this electronic publication, but we would like to show the examples of creativity of the people working in the area of designing and producing embedded systems for the public, and thus excite admiration in younger generation for technical work. The very conception of creation is binding, therefore, technical design should not be limited to performance of routine tasks. In our opinion, this project could serve for the purposes of publicity and information dissemination.

We would like to mention the names of the people who participated in the first meeting of the project for embedded systems, which could be useful for those willing to participate in the project of looking for contacts. Among the participants were the Chairman of the Lithuanian Society of Scientists Dr. Vygintas Gontis, Director of the Institute of Lithuanian Scientific Society Valentas Daniūnas, and the project manager Dr. Zenonas Jančys, Director of the Centre of Real Time Computer Systems of Kaunas University of Technology Professor Dr. Egidijus Kazanavičius and the project researcher Arūnas Vrubliauskas, doc. dr. Andrius Ušinskas from Vilnius Gediminas Technical University, Department of Electronic Systems, lecturer of the Kaunas University of Applied Sciences, Department of Computer Technology and Telecommunications Edmundas Garla, and employees of the Lithuanian science newspaper Mokslo Lietuva.

Below you will find some recent history and some forecasts for the future.

In order to refocus Lithuanian companies on production of high added value products, twelve Lithuanian electronics and IT companies and research groups have come together to establish a technological platform for embedded systems in 2006. The Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Lithuania has funded the implementation of the project called “Promotion of technological platform for embedded systems”. The documents related to strategic activity of the platform as well as a feasibility study and a vision for the future were prepared. Attempts were made to make another quite logical step – to enter the European platform of embedded systems ARTEMIS (Advanced Research & Technology for Embedded Intelligence and Systems). The latter was established by the world’s giants of electronics, including Nokia, Philips, STMicroelectronics, Thales, and DaimlerChrysler. The things have gone well until it was required to pay an entry fee for ARTEMIS. The Ministry was not able to give the required amount, the entry fee was not paid, and the progressing technological platform of embedded systems did not receive 90 thousand euro which would have come to Lithuania from the European Union. Seeing no perspective for getting funding for their work, some members of the platform dispersed every where.

As a sceptic would say, – “The intensions were good but the result was as usual”, and he would be right. However, optimists saying that there is no such force to stop the process are also right. For the European Union it is vital to survive in this competitively global world, therefore connections between science and business are constantly being developed, and if Lithuania is willing to become a strong player in this activity, it should act accordingly. According to professor Dr. Egidijus Kazanavičius, it is important for science groups to have more information about the issues that are interesting for the companies. However, when carrying out the project it is important to consider not the interests of one or several companies but rather the issues that are relevant to the majority. These issues should be analyzed during the planned training. Important are the issues that are both relevant to the academic community of scientists and the companies, and also those which has not been increasingly used in Lithuania but are very perspective in the international arena. To put it short, international aspect is of high importance, or even an essential one. This was the opinion of the scientists who have participated in the first meeting.

Those, who at least to some extent are familiar with foreign companies working with embedded from, would probably agree that not all of them are willing to disclose their ideas since it is a profitable activity characterized by specific features. They tend to communicate more easily with valuable partners, or at least those which might be useful in the future, and for our scientists and companies the number of new contacts is important. All this has to be taken into account when launching a new project.

Among the most ambitious and strong companies, E. Kazanavičius specifies Teltonikas in Vilnius, Elinta in Kaunas, Elsis and many others. There are a quite a large number of strong companies, especially those working with lasers, measuring devices, therefore the list would take more than one page. There are a lot of small companies too, therefore, the project could not physically involve every company willing to participate in the project, especially considering the fact that the project is intended for scientists and researchers in the first place. This is the target group of the project, however, strict observance of project regulations is contradictory paradoxical keeping in mind that the true objective of the project is promotion of communication between science and business. Life is always more complex than regulations, therefore the question arises: what should be adjusted to what – regulations to life or vice versa? Hopefully there will be enough flexibility on the side of project promoters, as well as of prospective participants, or those willing to become such.
to be continued