Lero, the Irish Software Research Centre, has received a €133,000 research grant to commercialise a training application designed to boost global collaboration, communications and productivity across culturally diverse teams.
The award was made under Enterprise Ireland’s commercialisation programme co-funded by the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund.
The app, Venture, combines chat and e-mail simulators to develop communication skills in three ways: by interacting with a simulated virtual colleague; design scenarios to simulate working conditions and situations; and automated assessment to monitor progress and provide immediate feedback.
The and groundwork for Venture came from a PhD research project conducted by ex-Lero University of Limerick and University Castilla-la Mancha (UCLM) student, Dr Miguel Monasor.
“Today´s global businesses require their employees to work in virtual teams and communicate with stakeholders who may not share the same culture or first language,” said Lero researcher Dr Sarah Beecham of the University of Limerick who heads the project team.
“Potential applications range from global software development to international sales and multinational staff motivation. Cultural training is now recognised as important to many multinational software engineering organisations, who are investing millions in providing communication related courses for their employees.”
Dr Beecham said that emerging needs across the global market mean that the technology could have the potential to create a spin out company in Ireland. Alternatively Lero is looking to licence the technology to an Irish or multinational company with an interest in learning and training applications that boost international productivity across a range of disciplines from research to sales and Human Resources.
“Right now we are seeking out potential industry partners who would like to use Venture to add true interactivity to their training scenarios. We are also interested in hearing from potential training organisations with regard to licencing the Venture technology,” Dr Beecham said.
Dr John Noll of Lero added: “While the application called Venture initially grew out of multi country software collaboration challenges, we have feedback already from the market that it also has huge potential in training global sales people on how to adjust their approach depending on who they are selling to. It has particular application in Ireland where many tech multinationals have located their EMEA sales headquarters.”