2016 offers lots of opportunities for Smart Cities when 2015 was charged in emotions. Anna Domenech, Smart Cities expert, gives her insights.

EIP-SCC Market Place stand at Smart City Expo in Barcelona
28/01/2016
2015 was eventful: Smart Cities Info Day, Action Cluster Meetings, ERRIN Workshop on Smart Cities in Brussels and Smart City Expo in Barcelona. Anna Domenech, Smart Cities expert, R&D+I consultant in Zabala Innovation Consulting and Coordinator of the EIP-SCC Market Place Management Team, gives us her insights about this agenda.

Among the events organised the followings can be highlighted:

  • Smart Cities Info day,6 November 2015, Brussels. Objective: present the smartcities related topics under the Horizon 2020 Work programme 2016-2017 ‘Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy’.
  • Action Clusters Meetings of the Market Place of the European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities (EIP-SCC Market Place) , 10 November 2015, Brussels. The six Action Clusters first met in the morning in different regional venues to review their core objectives of the implementation agenda for 2016, while in the afternoon all participants gathered at the Albert Borschette Congress Centre where a World Café(*) and a plenary session took place.
  • ERRIN Working Groups on Energy and Smart Cities, 17 November 2015,  Brussels. Organisation of a workshop for ERRIN members from Brussels regional offices working on or involved in project proposals preparation. The workshop focused on ‘dos and don’ts’ in the process of Horizon 2020 proposals development. Juan Cristóbal García, R&D and Innovation consultant at ZABALA INNOVATION CONSULTING and Expert in Smart Cities, was moderating the workshop.
  • Smart City Expo World Congress, 17 to 19 November 2015, Barcelona. The EIP-SCC Market Place attended  the Expo where over 300 of the most innovative and influential smart city thinkers gathered to share knowledge, present visions and highlight opportunities on how we will create efficient, economically viable, sustainable and liveable cities.

Anna Domenech, Smart Cities expert, Coordinator of the EIP-SCC Market Place Management Team, and R&D+I consultant at Zabala Innovation Consulting sheds light about this busy agenda and its meaning for Smart cities. She could attend some of those events.

  • The past months were eventful, could you tell us what the most significant events for the EIP Market Place have been?

 

Yes, indeed, the past semester (and in particular November 2015) was really busy for the smart cities stakeholders. You can see it by only having a look at the EIP-SCC Market Place calendar of events. It was marked with two information days on the Horizon 2020 Work-Programme 2016-2017. The first one was dedicated to the challenge ‘Smart, Green and Integrated Transport', which tackles one of the smart cities pillar: sustainable urban mobility. The second one was focused on the topic Smart Cities and Communities, which is part of the challenge ‘Secure, Clean and Efficient Energy’. The EIP-SCC Market Place had a stand there to get the opportunity to network with many interested stakeholders. This event had a brokerage session, anyone can access the list of participants which can be a very relevant source of new partners for collaborative projects.

Of course the key event of the EIP-SCC Market Place was the Action Cluster meetings on 10th of November 2015. It gathered around 200 people representing Cities, Institutions, Industry, Research Centres and Academia. The EIP-SCC Initiatives were presented and it was clearly stated that they will be the core of the EIP-SCC work for 2016. The main outcomes of these meetings are posted on the event website.

From 17 to 19 November 2015, I was at the Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona where the EIP-SCC Market Place had a stand. The EIP-SCC Content Coordinator, Eckhart Hertzsch, provided a speech at the Congress. Additionally the EIP held an interesting workshop on Urban Platforms: 'Connecting the Data and the Dots within Cities'. Afterwards, Dr. Hertzsch was representing the EIP at the Urban Futures Conference in Berlin at the end of November.

The EIP-SCC also held an event in the framework of the Open Days for Cities and Regions and was attending the COP 21 where the Mayors showed the commitment to work towards EU-Climate objectives.

Finally, it is worth mentioning the workshops and conferences organized by important networks in the smart cities field such as POLIS, ERRIN, Eurocities, and EERA Joint Programme on Smart Cities. The EIP-SCC Market Place is always seeking for collaboration with these European initiatives and organisations.

  • What does all this activity for Smart Cities mean in general? What are the mid-terms perspectives for Smart Cities?

 

All these events claim that Cities are the key to achieve the ambitious European goals for sustainability, society and economy. Smart cities are an opportunity to increase the environmental sustainability of the urban areas, improve the citizens’ quality of life and boost economic growth.

However, at the present time, smart city projects tend to focus on vertical integration within existing independent infrastructures while a truly “smart” city requires horizontal integration. In addition, smart city strategies need to be integrated both at regional and European level.

After many years of debate, Europe is no longer discussing the need for an Urban Agenda but rather how to make it happen. The Urban Agenda should both involve cities in the conception and implementation of European policies, and adapt EU policies to the urban realities where they will be implemented.

I think all European initiatives are working in the same direction. Now we need better coordination of the different initiatives to link one another and get great results!

 

  • Could you tell what the main opportunities for smart cities for 2016 would be?

2016 will bring very interesting funding opportunities through programmes such as H2020, Urban Innovation Actions, INTERREG, JPI Urban Europe, etc. The EIP-SCC Market Place will offer a wide overview through its funding mapping tool (work in progress).

Moreover, there are a range of projects funded by the European Commission aiming at developing tools to support the deployment of smart cities in Europe. As an example I can mention, the Smart Cities Information System -developing a project database; the CityKEYs -developing a set of KPIs, and the very new project on European standardisation for smart cities funded under Horizon2020.

Besides that, it is important to highlight that the EIP-SCC, the key European Commission initiative in the field of smart cities, will publish its roadmap in an event organized by DG MOVE on 28th January. In this sense I recommend all stakeholders interested to contribute to the European goals in this field, to join one of the ongoing EIP-SCC Initiatives.

 

 

ZABALA Innovation Consulting and its experts do not engage the EIP Market Place views.