From ZABALA Innovation Consulting we coordinated the first accelerator ever based on open data and FIWARE, no verticals in principle, although then we discovered that areas like smart cities, agro-food or health had a bigger impact than the others. Not surprising either if we see where FIWARE was and is putting their target on.
But this post will not talk about our accelerator anymore, you know “our story” and can have a look back as many times as you like. The reason for us is the FIWARE Foundation and the first FIWARE Summit, happening in a few days in Málaga.
The announcement is that ZABALA Innovation Consulting will join the FIWARE Foundation as a gold partner. We do this without being an ICT-based company, we have no developers onboard nor develop technology as such. We are a consultancy services company with a large expertise on public funding at all imaginable levels. We work with local, regional and national authorities in our markets and of course with a number of agencies and organisations at EU-level. This is where FIWARE plays a really important role for us. Let me use the following lines to motivate this.
In 2013, we submitted our FINODEX proposal to the EC open call that was looking for the FIWARE accelerators. We had never had an earlier experience on Future Internet technologies, so our approach to FIWARE was due to the fact of managing open calls and being able to put our skills into practice through a new scheme for funding by the EC, the cascade-funding. ZABALA has over 30 years of experience in EU project management, we have been working on EU projects since the first framework programme with wonderful results, so approaching to new models and initiatives is as innovative as we are ourselves.
After 27 months of FINODEX accelerator, we had the chance to discover several facts we had not imagined at the very beginning:
- FIWARE Accelerate has created a large community of innovators around a technology.
- It is not only the technology! Now we are one click away of mostly everyone in Europe related to innovation of ICT-services in a variety of domains.
- Start-ups boost can also be driven with EU-funds, not only with large capital investments diluting their ownership.
- FIWARE is here to stay in the long term, and the Foundation was the strongest evidence after the investment by the EC and a number of entities since 2011.
Being part of the FIWARE Accelerate programme as managers of one of the funds have allowed us to grow our portfolio of service and markets, now we work with a number of start-ups from many countries in Europe and we have risen the “word-to-mouth” approach that made us known in Spain to other latitudes in the continent.
At the same time we have already integrated FIWARE as part of the technical basis of a couple of EU-funded projects in the areas of Smart Cities and more specifically in waste management.
REPLICATE is a European research and development project that aims to deploy integrated energy, mobility and ICT solutions in city districts. It is funded by a €29m grant from Horizon 2020. The overarching vision of the REPLICATE project is to increase the quality of life for citizens across Europe by demonstrating the impact of innovative technologies used to co-create smart city services with citizens, and prove the optimal process for replicating successes within cities and across cities. There are three lead cities (called Smart City ‘Lighthouses’) which include Bristol in Great Britain, Florence in Italy and San Sebastian in Spain. FIWARE will be one of the components to develop services related to the management and publication of open data.
WASTE4THINK. The main objective of this project is to move forward the current waste management practices into a circular economy motto, demonstrating the value of integrating and validating a set of 20 eco-innovative solutions that cover all the waste value chain. The cities where pilots will take place are Zamudio (ES), Cascais (PT). Part of the solutions are based on ICT technologies, and yes they are based on FIWARE. The project is lead by the University of Deusto (ES) and counts with the participation of two well-known FIWARE evangelists partners, Engineering (IT) and ourselves (ZABALA).
Therefore, we concluded that FIWARE is a key-enabler for research and innovation in Europe and beyond. The argument convinced us to be one of the first members in the Foundation, after the core group initially establishing the by-laws.
Being members of a technology foundation is a new and exciting adventure for us, we expect to be close to start-ups and their innovation during the following years helping as the mission states, to develop an open sustainable ecosystem around public, royalty-free and implementation-driven software platform standards that will ease the creation of Smart Applications in multiple sectors. We have already started to pursue this mission so we would encourage everyone to join the Foundation and add their bit in the mission.
A good starting point to work with the community will be the first FIWARE Summit happening in Málaga next 13th to 15th of December. Besides the wonderful track of technical talks, which is impressive, the number of workshops from the different Mission Support Committees or the conference itself, it will be a great opportunity to meet everyone again and explore new endeavours for the future of FIWARE. See you in Malaga?