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Knowledge voucher for new knowledge at DanPhone

The wireless-communication manufacturer DANPHONE has saved valuable time by making use of the special knowledge voucher system which gives companies financial subsidies for the purchase of knowledge from university minds

When British engine drivers communicate with each other, they use radio communication. And the equipment they use stems from the company DANPHONE, located in Northern Jutland. The company also helps ensure that it is possible to communicate with vessels at sea though coastal radio – they are responsible for the shore-based part of the communication. But DANPHONE, which has existed since 1990, was facing a number of technological challenges at the end of 2008. And help turned out to arrive from an unexpected party – that is, from CISS, who were practically unknown to the company. And who could even offer DANPHONE a substantial discount on access to the centre's specialists, thanks to the so-called knowledge voucher.

Asked themselves in

"The local business support office had invited us to a post-workday meeting where CISS did a presentation. I had heard of CISS before, but I honestly thought they were some sort of educational center. It soon became obvious that they were something quite different – and then they asked whether they could come visit us. And of course we said yes," technical director Jens Lucassen, DANPHONE, says.

Along with business consultant Søren Westergaard, Business Center Jammerbugt, a couple of representatives from CISS visited the company, and that became the beginning of a productive collaboration between the company and researchers from CISS.

"When you build systems as extensive as ours, in which everything is controlled by computers, they are not allowed to "crash." The people from CISS collaborated with our engineers on finding a method of achieving redundancy; that is, building a number of similar units in order to ensure that the system works in a correct and stable way," Jens Lucassen explains.

Solved two problems

Through their analysis of DANPHONE's problem, the researchers found that there was currently no solution on the market that the company could use – in other words, they would have to develop such a system on their own. And that would take a large development effort. But CISS showed the company another solution, namely to change their operating system to a so-called open-source system that would make it easier to expand on – and thus create the necessary redundancy – than it is on Windows.

"We haven't solved the problem – but without CISS' help it would have taken us a very long time to reach that conclusion. We got an answer that allows us to move on," Jens Lucassen explains and continues:

"It actually didn't take that long – we still had some researcher hours left on our knowledge voucher, so we asked them to take a look at a different problem. We are in the process of developing our own voice-over IP system for use in shore-to-ship communication. Such communication needs to work fast with no waiting for answers from the other end, the way we are used to from satellite communication. CISS worked with us on analysing how speech can reach its target with no delay, and in addition they found out how we can optimise the sound."

Not used to collaborating with Aalborg University

Jens Lucassen has no doubt as to the significance of the encounter with CISS and the knowledge voucher: "It has given us great impetus. Our new products will have shorter time to market than usual, and the finished products will be of a higher quality."

This pleases Søren Westergaard at the local business promotion office, and he sees new opportunities for the companies in the area. "There is no doubt that several other companies in our area would benefit from collaborating with CISS and the other departments at Aalborg University. But even though we are located only a few miles from the university, most of the companies have no tradition for collaborating with knowledge institutions. Therefore it is a very good thing that the people from CISS are so dynamic and outgoing. This has given us here in the business support office the opportunity to go on company visits with them, which gives CISS the chance to tell the companies about the different possibilities for collaborations and the benefits it can give them," Søren Westergaard points out and continues:

"At our business support office, we are always on the watch for chances to make results from matching companies with researchers at the university. By and large, it is our job to keep every door open in order to find the people who will be able to help the companies in our area – and in that connection it is very nice when people act like CISS and come knocking of their own accord."


Søren Westergaard og Jens Lucassen. Foto: Lars Horn, Baghuset


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