In September 2015, the Open & Agile Smart Cities initiative welcomed a second wave of 30 urban centres to its expanding family. Adding new cities to existing OASC country networks in Brazil, Denmark, Italy and Spain, these latest participants included several new countries such as Australia, France, Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands. Applications for a third wave closed on 1 November 2015 and were announced on 18 November in Barcelona. OASC welcomed new cities from England, Croatia, and Bosnia & Herzegovina, as well as from existing OASC country networks. OASC now comprises more than 70 cities, representing 15 country networks worldwide.
Commenting on OASC’s growth, Dr Martin Brynskov, chair of the initiative, said: “It is incredible to see how a very simple approach to connecting existing smart city efforts can take off so quickly. We had not foreseen in March when we launched that we would have such a strong and positive reaction. To me, this shows a clear need for simple, open and freely available de facto standards such as the OASC mechanisms.”
Dare to share
OASC promotes the interoperability of smart city systems based on the free flow of data within and between cities. At the heart of this experimental data interchange is a shared set of simple principles – neither full-blown smart city technology platforms nor official international process or organisational standards, but common tools, models and approaches for implementing experimental smart cities.
The OASC principles are outlined in the Letter of Intent, signed by all participating municipalities when they join: a common ‘driven by implementation’ approach to smart city solutions; adoption of an open-licence API; a simple initial standard data model; and the use of an easily-distributed open data publication platform to make city data open and accessible for independent analysis and as the foundation of new applications and digital services.
For Europe, OASC contributes to several key priorities of the Digital Single Market. Most obviously is its role in driving technological interoperability through the free flow of data between smart city systems. Interoperability promotes innovation and competition among smart city technology providers while the publication of open data helps to level the playing field so local, often smaller, service providers can compete fairly for public contracts. This growth in the digital economy promises to expand markets and foster better services with more choice at better prices while creating new sources of employment, often at a local level.
Flying the flag for the Digital Single Market
OASC supports the Digital Single Market in many other ways:
- Better connections along the supply chain or between industry and service providers
Access to 100 cities around the globe would be a golden opportunity for most companies! Loose couplings between OASC participants provide smart city service providers with significant opportunities for market expansion plus cost savings and hence more competitive pricing through scale-up.
- An advocate for European values in international standards
While global in scope, OASC was ‘born in Europe’ and continues to promote European perspectives and business values in its contributions to international standards. OASC balances the increasingly strong industry voices coming from North America and Asia in the field of smart cities.
- Interlinked and multilingual public e-services for citizens and businesses
OASC empowers people as citizens and businesses in testbed cities receive training, education and first-hand experience in the use and development of cutting-edge smart city applications and services. By adopting the OASC principles, participating cities make it easier for people to experiment with data and digital tools. The Digital Single Market is a great place to launch innovative smart city solutions.
- A supportive investment climate for digital networks, research and innovative business
The interconnected platforms within OASC are attractive for researchers, developers, entrepreneurs and other investors. OASC provides a wealth of data and access to real-world testbeds.
- Growth within the EU and beyond
With the Digital Single Market in place, companies will have a secure foundation on which to build their international expansion. OASC creates a global smart cities market by linking national networks of cities. The business insights, contacts and market entry opportunities that OASC collaborations have to offer are attractive for any service provider wishing to access European or global markets.
Learn more about the Open & Agile Cities initiative
See the list of all OASC participants
More about the relationship between OASC and the Digital Single Market (DSM) strategy (PDF)