Digital Single Market
Digital Economy & Society

31 cities agree to use EU-funded open innovation platform for better smart cities' services

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At CEBIT 31 cities from the EU and Brazil presented their deal to improve smart cities' services using an EU-funded open source platform.

At CEBIT 25 cities from 6 EU countries (Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Italy, Portugal and Spain) and 6 cities from Brazil presented Open & Agile Smart Cities Task Force (OASC), an initiative making it easier for city councils  and startups to improve smart city services (such as transport, energy efficiency, environmental or e-health services). This will be achieved thanks to FIWARE, an EU-funded, open source platform and cloud-based building blocks developed in the EU that can be used to develop a huge range of applications, from Smart Cities to eHealth, and from transport to disaster management. Many applications have already been built using FIWARE – from warnings of earthquakes to preventing food waste to Smartaxi apps. Find a full list of cities in the Background.

The OASC deal will allow cities to share their open data (collected from sensors measuring, for example, traffic flows) so that startups can develop apps and tools that benefit all citizens (for example, an app with traffic information for people on the move). Moreover, these systems will be shared between cities (so, an app with transport information developed in city A can be also adopted by city B, without the latter having to develop it from scratch); FIWARE will also give startups and app developers in these cities access to a global market for smart city services.

Cities from across the globe are trying to make the most of open innovation. This will allow them to include a variety of stakeholders in their activities (services are increasingly connected to other systems and innovative startups are a big part of this trend) and encourage a competitive yet attractive market for developers, thus reducing costs, increasing quality and avoiding vendor lock-in.

Background

EU signing cities are: Brussels Capital Region, Ghent, Antwerp (BE), Copenhagen, Aarhus, Aalborg (DK), Helsinki, Tampere, Espoo, Vantaa, Oulu, Turku (FI), Milan, Palermo, Lecce (IT), Lisbon, Porto, Penala, Fundão, Palmela, Águeda (PT), Valencia, Santander, Málaga, Sevilla (ES).

From Brazil: Olinda (Recife), Anapólis (Goiás), Porto Alegre (Rio Grande do Sul), Vitória (Espírito Santo), Colinas de Tocantins (Tocantins) and Taquaritinga (São Paulo).

Recent FIWARE announcements include:

  • Telefonica, Orange, Engineering and Atos announced at the Mobile World Congress that they are joining forces to deliver commercial offerings and to create, by the end of the first half of this year, the FIWARE Open Source Community that will support the evolution of common standards for smart cities and their spread worldwide. Common standards means it will be easier for cities to exchange services and platforms they develop, to reduce their costs and improve services to people and businesses.
  • the FIWARE Accelerator, an initiative offering SMEs seed money for ideas, coaching and mentoring services and access to the wider European startup community with contacts world-wide. So far 16 calls for the Accelerator have attracted over 5,000 applications from SMEs and startups, at least 500 SMEs and startups have been selected and are expected to receive 40 million Euro, while 10 more Calls are pending.

FIWARE is an open alternative to existing proprietary Internet platforms. It enables easy development and deployment of advanced Internet applications. It is one of the results of the EU Public-Private Partnership on the Future Internet and of the EU commitment to help entrepreneurs thrive in Europe via the Startup Europe initiative. FIWARE provides enhanced OpenStack-based cloud hosting capabilities and a rich library of components. These components, called the “Generic Enablers”, provide open standard APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) that make it easier to connect to Internet of Things devices, process data and media in real-time at large scale, perform Big Data analysis or incorporate advanced features to interact with the user. In FIWARE, API specifications are public and royalty-free, supported by open source reference implementations. Thanks to that, alternative FIWARE providers can emerge faster in the market.