ABA Newsletter (7 Dec 2016)

Date: Dec 2016

Practical tips from the business location experts at ABA

Several companies establish a subsidiary abroad without sufficiently addressing issues concerning their business strategy and the selection of a suitable foreign site. What should they take into account?

We have put together ten important tips for you as the basis for locating business operations in Austria or expanding afterwards.

Viennese software supports rescuers

When it comes to disaster relief efforts, rescue organizations frequently lack precise information about the place and extent of the damage. As a result, precious time is lost, accompanied by the dwindling hope to rescue the victims.

A Viennese IT company has established a new business area to tackle this problem. Sail Labs Technology has software to precisely monitor all traditional and social media as a means of getting a good overview of the situation.

Sail Labs is carrying out a research project in cooperation with the Austrian Red Cross to further refine this technology, and is negotiating to set up a similar arrangement with the Austrian armed forces. The most important customers of the company and its media mining software are governments and public authorities responsible for domestic and external security.

The company was founded in 1999, and generates more than EUR 5 million in annual revenues with its staff of 22 employees. 13 years ago Sail Labs achieved a breakthrough by winning a large contract from the U.S. Department of State within the context of a public tender. In Johannesburg, a marketing agreement was concluded with the Airbus subsidiary GEW Technologies, which also develops communications and monitoring systems.

Sail Labs only processes public sources – Twitter, public Facebook pages, TV and radio reports as well as all print and online media.

Austria’s SMEs rank among the best in Europe

The most recent performance test of the EU Commission gave good marks to Austria’s SME sector. This is shown in the data sheet for the Small Business Act (SBA).

The Austrian SME sector has been one of the most adaptive. Value creation increased by an average rate of 3% annually in the period 2010 to 2015, or a total of 16%. Employment climbed by 7%, creating more than 122,000 jobs.

In four categories, Austria performs better than the EU average, i.e. with respect to internationalization, sustainability, environment and energy, further education and innovation and its positioning in the domestic market. The new SME investment growth premium amounting to EUR 175 million in 2017 and 2018 should provide important impetus for further improvement.

The expanded license exemption and the new “Trades Information System“ (GISA) considerably facilitating business registration, changes of location and startup of operations also contributed to the good ranking.

Lasers from Linz for the Internet technology of tomorrow

LEDs and their related semiconductor lasers can also generate light in invisible spectrums. Such infrared or ultraviolet sources of light are seen in many technical applications. For example ultraviolet diodes are utilized in the disinfection of water, whereas infrared lasers are widespread in medicine and telecommunications to transmit data.

"Practically all LEDs which produce visible or ultraviolet light consist of gallium nitride“, states Alberta Bonanni, the Italian-born experimental physicist at the Institute of Semiconductor and Solid State Physics at the University of Linz. However, the semiconductors consisting of gallium and nitrogen could not be used in the past for diodes in the infrared range. In this case crystals consisting of gallium and potentially hazardous arsenic are widely used.

Now Bonanni and her team have managed to significantly improve state-of-the-art technology. They have produced diodes on the basis of a gallium nitride crystal which also generates infrared light. And they succeeded in doing so for those ranges of light used for optimal data transfer, which in turn has enormous potential for being applied in digital networking.

Bonanni was recently given the Hedy Lamarr Prize, which honors outstanding female inventors.

Innovative rehabilitation after strokes and communication with coma patients

The consequences of a stroke are severe. Many patients suffer from irreversible damage or even die. Thanks to its opening of the Center for Neurotechnology, the Upper Austrian company g.tec has established a competence center for stroke rehabilitation. It combines therapy, research and training under one roof.

New therapy “recoveriX” exploits the power of thought

recoveriX is a novel and promising therapy platform which pursues totally new paths. The power of thought and the unique combination of three rehabilitation approaches are the key to stroke therapy. Whereas the musculoskeletal system is often impaired, the patients retain their power of imagination.

The brain practically learns new ways to once again carry out arm or leg movements on its own. This method can be used for acute strokes, or also in case of strokes which took place a long time ago. An individual training plan is developed tailored to the extent to which the patient is impaired.

MindBEAGLE enables coma patients to communicate

In addition to recoveriX, g.tec is also working on a method to assess the awareness of coma patients. The therapy called “mindBEAGLE” is based on the latest findings from the field of neurotechnology and the use of brain-computer interfaces. This method is used on patients who are in a coma or in a vegetative state in a minimal state of consciousness following grave brain damage or suffer from a completely locked-in state. The process can be applied in hospitals, rehabilitation facilities or even on patients directly who are being cared for at home.

The company, whose customers in the past have primarily been universities and research facilities, now wants to use its latest development to target a larger market.

New quantum states for improved quantum memories

How can quantum information be stored as long as possible? An important step forward in the development of quantum memories has been achieved by a research team of the Technical University (TU) Vienna.

Conventional memories used in today’s computers only differentiate between the bit values 0 and 1. In quantum physics, however, arbitrary superpositions of these two states are possible. Most of the ideas for new quantum technology devices rely on this “Superposition Principle”. One of the main challenges in using such states is that they are usually short-lived. Information can only be read reliably out of quantum memories for a short period of time. After that it is irrecoverable.

A research team at TU Wien has now taken an important step forward in the development of new quantum storage concepts. In cooperation with the Japanese telecommunication giant NTT, the Viennese researchers lead by Johannes Majer are working on quantum memories based on nitrogen atoms and microwaves. By specifically manipulating a small portion of the atoms, one can bring the remaining atoms into a new quantum state, with a lifetime enhancement of more than a factor of ten. These results have now been published in the scientific journal "Nature Photonics".

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