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