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The Beta Testing Campaign Platform for Research Projects

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ReachOut (The Beta Testing Campaign Platform for Research Projects)

Reporting period: 2020-07-01 to 2021-12-31

ReachOut is a Coordination and Support Action (CSA) helping H2020 projects in the area of software technologies to implement beta-testing campaigns. ReachOut act as an operational intermediary between research projects and the open market. ReachOut helps research projects implement beta testing best practices and recruit beta-testers by running promotion initiatives. ReachOut helps develop connections between research projects and potential users and beta-testers.
If a research project is able to launch a beta-testing campaign of its results, it has what it takes to bring value to the market, engage with other research projects, users, partners and contributors and develop its own ecosystem.
European research projects are expected to deliver results for reuse by other research projects and integration by business users. In both cases, to increase the chance of a tangible impact, research projects must deliver results that are well packaged, easy to understand and easy to use.
ReachOut addresses this need with a two-prong solution. First, by educating research projects on the methodology and benefits of beta testing and, second, by providing a platform with tools and functional resources to launch beta testing campaigns, recruit beta testers and collect feedback.
ReachOut's overall objective is to provide EU-funded projects in the area of software technologies with end-to-end support to develop and launch beta-testing campaigns so as to enable them to concretely engage with their potential users and markets and develop their ecosystems. ReachOut will not only concentrate on improving projects best practices with beta testing methodologies, coaching and blueprints, but it will actually run promotion initiatives to develop connections between projects and market and industry stakeholders.
By encouraging partners to work together to enhance the market maturity of the product of their research, a beta testing campaign is a best practice to deliver valuable and exploitable results. A beta testing campaign is a technico-marketing initiative in which, on one hand, provisional software is combined with product attributes such as proper packaging, user interface and documentation so as to make it understandable and easy to use and, on the other, beta testers are recruited and incentivised to provide feedback with the possibility of winning a prize.
ReachOut helps H2020 projects in the area of software technologies concretely engage with their markets via beta testing campaigns. Here is what you can expect from ReachOut:
- The BetaCenter platform where projects can publish their beta testing campaigns.
- A set of recommendations and best practices for beta testing and market alignment.
- Face-to-face or online meetings to educate projects to align with market expectations.
- Potential users, partners and complementors who will connect with projects.
The project ReachOut achieved the following results
1) Design, implementation and provision of the the ReachOut BetaCenter https://www.reachout-project.eu/
The project successfully designed, implemented and provided as an online service the ReachOut BetaCenter. The BetaCenter includes the components allowing Campaign Managers to develop their project presence on ReachOut and manage their Beta-Testing Campaigns, and components allowing Beta Testers to participate in Beta-Testing Campaigns. The ReachOut BetaCenter was impelemented on the basis of well known open source tools.
2) ReachOut educational materials.
The developed in the reporting period educational materials include:
• a methodology framework defining
o Concepts and vocabulary
o Process, roles, etc.
o Dashboard
• the ReachOut Methodology presented as a project education slide deck and as a Reference Document. It introduces a set of concepts, tools, methods, tips and best practices that can be applied to efficiently develop and run a beta-testing campaign. The beta-testing methodology is the general strategy that outlines the way in which a beta-testing campaign is to be undertaken and, among other things, identifies the methods to be used to complete it.
• templates for Campaign Managers
o Communication package
o Legal notices
• ReachOut Video Tutorials presenting the different aspects of using the ReachOut BetaCenter for organising beta-testing campaigns.
All educational materials are presented on the ReachOut website.
3) Engagement and education of projects
Reachout established a contact with 174 H2020 research projects. For them ReachOut organised 39 individual private workshops or invited them to attend the ReachOut webinars (16 were organised), where they learned the ReachOut methodology and how to work with the BetaCenter. ReachOut in collaboration with the projects organised 41 beta-testing campaigns.
4) Helping projects to recruit beta testers
Abobout 600 to 750 beta testers participated in the beta-testing campaigns organised with help of ReachOut.
5) Initial Exploitation Plan
The project prepared the plans of the ReachOut consortium members for exploiting project results and for the ReachOut platform sustainability. It includes an outlook for ReachOut long-term sustainability, provides a methodology including lessons learned during three years and feedback from projects. It details the market drivers and its competitive environment. And it also brings a ReachOut value proposal, some market positioning and tactics, a SWOT analysis, revenues and costs evaluation, operating results and a generic business model.
ReachOut contributed to the expected impact and to the overall competitiveness of the European software industry in the following manner. As a public web platform, ReachOut will bring together providers, integrators and users of software technologies. We aim at reaching a level of critical mass that will position ReachOut as the de facto European forum of stakeholders representing the software research, industry and end users. The ReachOut web platform will maintain an on-going recruitment of beta testing campaigns and will continuously grow its code base. As it reaches critical mass the platform automatically attract new projects.
Beta testing campaigns help turn research results into sustainable and valuable solutions, and engage with third-party stakeholders, whether other research projects or end-users, and build an ecosystem. The result of this comprehensive process is a greater alignment of the research results with market expectations, an improved market status of the research project, an enhanced ability to generate sustainable exploitation plans. Our idea is to help projects show their technologies in a way that is attractive for the market. Fostering projects to launch beta testing campaigns is a powerful way to position them in a situation where they are able to establish their software ecosystems, transform their initial software development results into exploitable and viable solutions, showcase their best practices of code reusability, build their communities and promote the reuse of their code.
Focusing on a beta testing campaign is also a good way to motivate researchers and developers not just to not reinvent the wheel but also to comply with best practices in terms of software reuse, integration and packaging. The focus on a beta testing campaign brings an element of real life into the research activity. It fosters the reuse of existing code and the alignment with standards.
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