DG INFSO (Information Society and Media Directorate-General of the European Commission) is exploring the idea of pilot projects on “Open innovation for future Internet-enabled services in “smart cities”. Their recent communication “A Strategy for ICT R&D and Innovation in Europe: Raising the Game” recommended that “the CIP will support SMEs piloting highly innovative technologies, and the development of open platforms for user-driven innovation”.

As such under the “Competitiveness and innovation programme” (CIP), theme 4 “CIP ICT PSP” will probably consist of 5 pilot projects to be funded on internet based technologies and services in the city. At least one will have a focus on use of RFID technologies. Call expected Q1/2010 deadline Q2, info day Jan 2010. More at http://ec.europa.eu/ict_psp/

Making a strategic move from islands of services to common open platforms requires investment beyond the scope of a single application developer or city. It is important that cities connect, share and identify common best practice through pathfinder projects that can drive the development of common open platforms. User-driven open innovation methodologies or ecosystems such as the Living Labs are being proposed to nurture this process.

Pilots are being proposed that would combine all three of the following synergistic elements: 1) user-driven open innovation, 2) connected smart cities, and 3) Internet-based services.

Ideas around the following themes are of interest:

  • smart living: participatory urban planning and co-design of spaces
  • green digital agenda: master-plans for digital infrastructure to enable low carbon, e.g. energy production, environmental monitoring, buildings and facility management, traffic and transport (‘Urban Information Architecture’ or CIM in Arup)
  • The citizen in transformation: citizen as an active co-producer, as
  • well as consumer, of content and services, e.g. wellbeing, health, inclusion and participative democracy

The only pity is that it will be five large scale (10mil Euro each?) projects rather than one hundred 50k Euro projects. Just think of the diversity of urban informatic / internet of things prototypes you could build around Europe with that finance…

Still if you have any project ideas you would like to pursue around the theme of user centred / urban design led applications that the future internet may be able to support then please get in touch. They EC are keen for these projects to be urban design ‘pulled’ rather than technology ‘pushed’.

Brussels 16.11.09