TechSaloniki #AskTheCEO interview with Tom Avramis

The #AskTheCEO is a series of interviews with creative technology leaders conducted by TechSaloniki. This is an extract of the interview of Tom Avramis, the Managing Partner of DataScouting.

Q: What are your company’s mission and vision? Tell us more about the Technologies that you implement and your innovative products or services.

Tom: DataScouting is a software development company that aims at using cutting edge technologies of our R&D department to analyze news media from various sources (print media, video, and internet) and extract relevant metadata. Our solutions not only include the tools that are necessary for the industry to search and create actionable information from big data, but are also constantly being improved to keep up with the evolving needs of our clients for indexing, searching, analyzing and delivering knowledge to third parties. We create technologies that automatically detect entities, logos, faces, advertisements, news tickers, objects, subjects, and hate speech in order to help clients identify what is important for them and measure their media impact.

Q: What was the path you took to get to where you are today? What is the story behind your company?

Tom: DataScouting was founded by four friends who worked on IT for many years and shared a common passion for software development. The accumulated expertise and technical knowhow propelled DataScouting to innovate, and add features that became essential to the media intelligence and analysis industry.

Q: Why… Thessaloniki?

Tom: DataScouting is headquartered in Thessaloniki, the epicenter of northern Greece. This beautiful city has proved it offers a huge potential to software development companies, and it is one of the best places to find skilled and talented people with the right foundations. Also, it doesn’t hurt that it is a lively city to work and enjoy.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish within the next year and what are your future goals?

Tom: DataScouting is and always will be a forward looking company. In the next three years we intend to expand our research and development dynamic to areas of a broader spectrum of needs. Our goal is to create tools and machine learning algorithms to analyze and extract relevant information for businesses from the massive data that surround us. These include (but are not limited to) automated video and audio stream analysis, cross media information correlation, and augmented reality user interfaces. Our software and expertise classify us as a world leader in the media monitoring and intelligence industry. We keep on developing our software solutions and hope to make them more intelligent, expand our sources and use cases to additional domains.

Q: How do you assure that the company is ready to meet future challenges like changing demands and technology?

Tom: We at DataScouting believe that only through innovation, research and development, with a constant focus on our clients’ needs, is the key to our current and future success. By actively pursuing collaborations with companies and research organizations we maintain our evolved state of the art and always envision our next technology leap.

We love what we do_DataScouting

Q: From an employee’s perspective, what makes your company a unique place to work?

Tom: I’ll better let our team members answer this question.

Stavros Doropoulos, CIO: The ability to work with data on a massive scale, to learn new technologies virtually every day and keep up with state of the art machine learning and software engineer advancements while working with brilliant people. Bottom line we learn, we play and we create.

Ioakeim James Theologou, Software Engineer: Datascouting offers a very friendly environment, a lot of knowledge due to developing advanced applications designed and structured for massive requirements and last but not least the ability to strive for innovation and creativity, giving us the developers the chance to open up our minds and create something unique.

Q: What have been the biggest challenges you’ve had to overcome while choosing to stay in Greece?

Tom: The challenges that came up when we decided to keep our headquarters in Thessaloniki were many: multiple years of recession, constantly changing laws for businesses, distrust from potential customers in developed countries. But the single biggest challenge was to build and maintain a positive company culture and moral; we do not simply believe in DataScouting, we all feel that we ARE DataScouting.

Q: Brain Drain vs Brain Gain… Give us three reasons why a tech oriented employee should stay and work in Thessaloniki or come back after gaining some experience working abroad.

Tom: Thessaloniki as a place of work has many advantages, and the most important are:

  • It offers a good environment for both junior and senior personnel. Through academic institutions and the culture of meet-ups and IT conferences, Thessaloniki is becoming a hub of evolving professionals.
  • The IT business sector is constantly evolving and innovating, providing challenging, yet fulfilling prospects for professionals.
  • Thessaloniki is also a great place to work and live, something that people who have lived abroad know very well. The Mediterranean way of life, the relaxed pace, and the feeling of safety area contributing factors to productivity and well-being.
Q: Give us three reasons why a TECH company should choose Thessaloniki as a new TECHstination for opening its next branch.

Tom: There are many reasons why highly technological companies, like DataScouting, should be headquartered in Thessaloniki.

  • Thessaloniki has proved that as the focal point for business development in northern Greece, Academic institutions train proficient future personnel properly oriented towards technology and business
  • The same reasoning is behind the high technical state of the business environment in Thessaloniki. This is a fertile ground for collaborations with academic institutions and other companies to exchange research and set common goals, especially when aiming for an international client base.
  • The technological events, like meetups and conventions, prove that it is an evolving ecosystem of new technologies and forward thinking. Meetups provide cutting edge mentoring, and conventions draw in professionals and companies from all over the world.
Q: Tell us something -that in your own opinion- we don’t already know about the TECH community in Thessaloniki.

Tom: Northern Greece was always full of people that desired new outlets, whether it was the migration waves in the 30s and 50s, or the consistent high percentage of university degrees in the 80s and 90s. Nowadays, Thessaloniki is the new outlet for professionals into the fourth industrial revolution, where we can see Information Technologies manifest into everyday physical interactions and practical applications.

The original interview was first published on the TechSaloniki blog.

TechSaloniki AskTheCEO_Tom Avramis_DataScouting

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