In 2013 INOV INESC INOVAÇÃO (INOV, www.inov.pt) was contacted by the company 360S to develop an innovative training system for soccer players. The purpose of 360S was to create their own product protected by patent(s), more advanced than current state-of-the-art systems. In response INOV presented a set of technological solutions that, by their degree of innovation, concluded by signing an R&D contract with the purpose of studying, designing, and developing the related technologies as well as guaranteeing the protection of intellectual property (IP) and transfer of technology to 360S.
The development of the training machine, dubbed 360S, was carried out with the support of Sport Lisboa and Benfica. The first commercial setup was produced in 2014 and is currently in use in the Training Centre of Seixal (see figure).
This project is an example of success and proof of how INOV can timely create an innovative technological product using domestic know-how and a specialised multidisciplinary team accompanying all the steps necessary to carry out its implementation, namely:
Search and choice of technological solutions;
IP protection (definition and development of IP portfolio in this case using a third partner possessing particular competences);
Identifying appropriate partners and suppliers;
Carrying out system design, development and testing;
Production of supporting documentation, including that for technology transfer;
First system installation and its follow-up;
Validation of the development and entering into operation.
The project ended up with the full technology transfer to 360S, making this entity independent in product managing and marketing, while keeping the partnership with INOV, which supports continuous evolution of the product and its adaptation to new international and business realities.
In the epoch when special credit lines are expected to be available soon for RTD & Innovation within the framework of the EU backed up Programme Portugal 2020 it is highly appropriate for companies and entrepreneurs to stake on creating innovative products, systems, or services involving R&D infrastructures like INOV. Such partnerships are of paramount importance for success of this type of developments, not only by virtue of complementarity between the involved parties, but also due to potential access to knowledge networks in different areas, which the entities of the national scientific and technological system may provide.