The functionalities of more and more objects are augmented by digital components hidden inside, as we can see for instance in smartphones, smart watches or smart TVs. These digital changes are opening up new opportunities for European companies, which can gain competitive advantages if they develop and integrate such technologies into their products.
To make sure that companies, and especially SMEs, can make the most out of these opportunities, the European Commission launched the SAE initiative in 2015, closely linked with the action line on Digital Innovation Hubs. So far, €58 million have been invested on SAE, and a further investment of €64 million is committed for 2019.
The SAE initiative is building ecosystems based on collaboration between researchers, large industries and SMEs across the complete value chain in four technology areas:
- Cyber-physical and embedded systems
- Customised low energy computing, powering Cyber Physical Systems and the Internet of Things.
- Advanced micro-electronics components and Smart System Integration
- Organic, flexible and wearable electronics
In Europe, there are many SMEs and mid-caps who very often have great ideas but are lacking resources to implement them. To bridge this gap, SAE enables focused application experiments where these companies can experiment with new technologies, try them out in their processes and work together with the suppliers of the technology to adapt it to their specific needs. This collaboration is triggered by the Digital Innovation Hubs, who provide their knowledge and resources.
These experiments generate a win-win situation for all participating actors. On the one hand, companies can develop new producst or services and ultimately transform their business through digital innovations. Technology suppliers, in turn, can mature their existing technologies and open new markets and services. The Digital Innovation Hubs also benefit by extending their largely research-oriented activities with industrial projects, gaining a new sustainable business model.
More than 200 experiments of this kind are being launched since the beginning of the initiative, helping hundreds of companies across Europe to foster their competitiveness.
Contributing to the European network of Digital Innovation Hubs
SAE is one of the key initiatives supporting the pan-European network of Digital Innovation Hubs. By enabling cross-border experiments, SAE also helps to develop fully functional innovation ecosystems where hubs provide the services needed by companies across Europe, going beyond technical advice and including also other support such as business consulting, training or help to find finance.
Four SAE projects are currently active (FED4SAE, SmartEEs, Diatomic and Tetramax). They will run 15 open calls for experiments between 2018 and 2020. If you are an SME or mid-cap interested in funding to test digital innovations, you can find here all available open calls.
The Horizon 2020 programme is also calling for proposals to launch three new projects (Innovation Actions-IAs) and a Coordination and Support Action (CSA) within the framework of the SAE initiative in 2019. If you are an organisation willing to be part of a consortia that coordinates these EU projects, you can submit your proposal via the participant portal.