Lero picks up €133,000 to develop cultural singularity software

13 May 2015

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Lero has been given funds to develop its cultural singularity software

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Limerick-based software research centre Lero has been awarded €133,000 to develop software that would be capable of transcending cultural and linguistic barriers to homogenise business internationally.

The award was made under Enterprise Ireland’s commercialisation programme and co-funded by the European Union through the European Regional Development Fund. It hopes to create an application that will allow, say, a team in India to work with one in Ireland seamlessly through technology.

Known as VENTURE, the original idea and groundwork came from a PhD research project conducted by ex Lero, UL and University Castilla-la Mancha (UCLM) student, Dr Miguel Monasor.

The VENTURE software being developed has a three-pronged approach that includes chat and e-mail simulators, a scenario designer and automated assessment that automatically monitors and assesses the learner’s progress and provides immediate feedback.

From left at VENTURE launch: Dr Helen Kelly-Holmes, Dr John Noll and Dr Sarah Beecham. Image via Sean Curtain Photo

From left at VENTURE launch: Dr Helen Kelly-Holmes, Dr John Noll and Dr Sarah Beecham. Image via Sean Curtain Photo

Breaking communication barriers

Led by Dr Sarah Beecham, Lero researcher from UL, the team are now considering licencing the technology to an Irish or multinational company that might have an interest in learning and training applications across a range of disciplines from research to sales and human resources.

“There is increasing research and evidence to show that poor understanding of cultural and linguistic differences between stakeholders can create invisible barriers to effective communication,” said Dr Beecham of the project.

“Our prototype uses an avatar to advise trainees in real time how an email or instant messaging communication could be inappropriate. It adapts to cultural norms depending on the location and nationality of the participants.”

International cooperation online image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey is a journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

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