Last September the Reaction consortium (FP7) brought together 25 European projects on ambient intelligence advanced technologies in support of healthcare and assisted living. The participants of the clustering event saw they had a lot in common and agreed to share their knowledge more often.
On 26-27 September a total of 25 European projects came together on Crete for demonstrations, presentations of innovative solutions and discussions on potential synergies and cooperation.
The project presentations were clustered in five thematic areas: 1) Personal health systems for diabetes, 2) Personal health systems, 3) Social care through robots, 4) Social care, 5) Falls.
It turned out that the projects had several concerns in common. The use of standards and mainly interoperability standards for example. And impact evaluation and exploitation. As one participant expressed it: "We have similar issues, it would be good to discuss what different projects do and combine the information."
In general the project experts agreed that sustainability of implemented solutions is a major issue. The experts also expressed the need for common methods to measure impact, distinguishing long term and short term impact.
In addition, the participants discussed the paradigm shift towards community and integrated care. It was agreed that it is important to assure and promote user involvement at an early stage of the project and even as early as the proposal design.
The subsequent discussion addressed how to involve all stakeholders and ambassadors early on to develop a common language, but also to find ways to reimburse clinicians and end users for their work in the context of EC projects.
Methodologies to identify user requirements
Several needs were related to promoting the use of projects' outcomes to clinicians after the end of the project, effective sharing of knowledge and communication, and the importance to take advantage of complementarity of projects.
One participant said: "We all use similar methodologies to identify user requirements, so why not share these methodologies?"
Defining areas of collaboration will help organize the work within the project accordingly. However, it was suggested that collaboration should be on a voluntary basis and take resources and effort into consideration.
More knowledge sharing needed
In general, it was agreed that knowledge should be shared and that events like this should be repeated in the context of concentration activities as foreseen by the EC.
Suggestions also involved organizing meetings between projects on a regular basis and supporting spontaneous cooperation, establishing horizontal working groups for regulation, exploitation and impact evaluation studies, and also developing collaborations between the technical people per topic such as algorithms, low energy sensors, robotics, etc.
Overall, the participants were very enthusiastic about the event and were strongly in favour of organising a similar meeting next year.
The Commodity 12 project proposed a workshop on diabetes projects at the ATDD congress in February 2014 in Vienna, and invited the other projects in the session to participate.
The Reaction clustering event attracted nearly 60 participants from 15 European countries, including two Project Officers representing the European Commission and particularly the Directorate-General Communications Networks, Content and Technology. Participants' organizations included 15 universities, 8 companies, 5 research centres, and 2 healthcare organizations.