#EURegionsWeek

Scaling Urban Digital Solutions: Towards a Digital Single Market for Cities & Communities

Thu 10, October 2019
11:30 - 13:00 CET

Cities and communities in the 21st century are facing common challenges ranging from air pollution to waste management and urban mobility. Data-driven and IoT-enabled urban services can be a solution to these common challenges, but a major challenge is the scale-up of locally developed services to replicate successful solutions with similar challenges in other cities and communities. 

This session brings together cities and experts who are reducing these market barriers through the SynchroniCity project. In an open and collaborative environment, participants will hear best practices from frontrunner cities and will discuss:

  • the benefits of an active innovation ecosystem for cities & communities
  • how to stimulate such an ecosystem
  • why city networking in the digital transformation is crucial
  • the role open standards for digital interoperability and procurement of digital services.
  • how to move towards a digital single market for cities and communities.

SynchroniCity is an IoT Large-Scale Pilot supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020. In SynchroniCity, 33 SMEs are leading , 50 IoT-enabled services across 19 cities, who have agreed on a common and minimal technical baseline.

Miguel Galdiz, Network Manager, European Network of Living Labs, Belgium.
Lea Hemetsberger, Communications & Project Manager, Open & Agile Smart Cities, Belgium.
Greet Brosens, Chief Architect, Digipolis Antwerp, Belgium.
Paulo Calcada, CEO, Porto Digital, Portugal.
Miguel Galdiz, Network Manager, European Network of Living Labs, Belgium.
Thomas Gilbert, Senior ICT Engineer, Alexandra Institute, Denmark.
Lea Hemetsberger, Communications & Project Manager, Open & Agile Smart Cities, Belgium.
10PL487
Participatory Lab - world café, ideas labs
A smarter Europe
ENoLL - European Network of Living Labs, Future Cities Catapult, Open and Agile Smart Cities
English (EN)
Hall 400.
Address: Mont des Arts, 1000 Brussels

Session summary

Cities and communities in the 21st century are facing common challenges that they are trying to solve by means of technology. Currently, digital solutions range from air quality measurement in schools and monitoring energy consumption in existing buildings, to the maintenance of green roofs with support of the sensor technology. However, a major challenge is the scale-up of locally-developed services that have proven successful. Cities therefore need to enable their digital platforms to be interoperable.


The SynchroniCity project has demonstrated that it is possible to scale digital services across multiple cities in parallel once the technical framework is in place. Such a framework is based on open standards and open interfaces (APIs) to avoid vendor lock-in and provide maximal freedom of choice for municipalities.


At the workshop, the cities of Antwerp and Porto presented their experience of deploying different digital services. The main take-away is that for projects like SynchroniCity to succeed beyond the project lifetime, support from the political level is needed. Moreover, procurement processes have to take a more innovative and agile approach to provide an opportunity for smaller companies - i.e. start-ups and SMEs - to test and validate their solutions and once they have proven to be successful, to scale them.

Take away message

To create a successful digital single market for cities and communities, not only technical common ground based on open standards and interfaces is needed, but also the political support of the municipality and the willingness to cooperate and use successful European solutions. 

Photos



Greet Brosens, Digipolis Antwerp, said: "Antwerp rolled out seven pilot projects at the same time, which was only possible when both cities and suppliers agreed on technical common ground in advance".

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