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More than 5,000 Smart Cities Stakeholders Work to Make EU Cities Smarter

December is often the month to evaluate achievements for the year, and this was also the case for the European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities, which already boasts more than 5,000 members. 2016 has been a year full of activities within the smart cities community and this has positively contributed to making European cities smarter. If you want to know more about the evolution of the EIP-SCC Market Place, keep reading… You will find an overview of the last three years.

 

  • Evolution

The Market Place has undergone many changes since its creation. Three years ago it was in fact called the Smart Cities Stakeholder Platform. It had been initiated by the European Commission with the dual aim of identifying and spreading relevant information on technology solutions and needs required by practitioners and providing information for policy support to the European Commission. It was created both as a web-based and physical Platform open to anyone who registered on it. The backbone was the contributions by stakeholders in a bottom-up manner and the ownership was by the stakeholders.

With the objective of taking a step forward towards the implementation of the smart cities solutions previously shared within the Platform, the European Commission opened an invitation for commitments.  370 ambitious commitments gathering about 3,000 partners were selected. These were structured into different Action Clusters according to their focus areas.

Many achievements have been reached since the European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities kicked-off its Action Clusters. The kick-off event, held on 9th October 2104 in Brussels (Belgium), gathered more than 300 people representing quadruple helix stakeholders and was supported by three Vice-Presidents of the European Commission: Günther Oettinger (responsible for Energy at that moment), Neelie Kroes (Digital Agenda) and  Siim Kallas (Transport).

Given the bottom-up approach of the Market Place, it was hard at the beginning to align everyone’s interests and agree on specific roadmaps for each Action Cluster. From this work, specific Initiatives were born. A deep analysis was undertaken in order to identify synergies among the different roadmaps of the initiatives thus avoiding overlaps and silos. Based on the individual roadmaps and the interlinks analysis, the EIP’s overall Roadmap 2016 was designed, including as its main target the engagement of 100 cities and 100 industries in the Action Clusters collaborating to overcoming market fragmentation and achieving scale in building a market for smart city innovations.

The Roadmap detailed the roll-out actions to be undertaken to achieve its goals. The focus is on the deployment of technology and service innovation at scale in the fields of interoperable urban platformsintelligent lamppostspositive energy blockssmart electro-mobility solutions and smart mobility services. It also took into account the enabling roles of collaborative actions such as new business models and financing arrangements, new strategies and tools to increase citizen focus and engagement  as well as new strategies and tools for integrated planning and decision-making.

 

  • Achievements

The main achievements for the time being have been the involvement of a significant critical mass of relevant stakeholders and being able to define a clear strategy to foster the deployment of smart cities technologies and service innovation.

Many conferences, expert workshops and webinars have been held over the three years contributing, on the one hand, to raising awareness about specific roadblocks and opportunities related to the deployment of smart cities and, on the other hand, the development of a  shared vision concerning the needs of citizens and cities and how to satisfy them with innovation.

In line with this, the impressive impact of our communication activities in the smart cities arena is also remarkable. The relevance of the figures increases when comparing them to the achievements of other key initiatives in this field:

  1. The Market Place has already over 5,050 members.
  2. The website is very high in the worldwide ranking of visits (Ranking Alexa) with more than 17,000 visits per month.
  3. With 11.200 followers on Twitter, and 1.500 on LinkedIn, the EIP-SCC is far more visible than any other EIP.
  4. The Market Place has international outreach, having many visitors from India and USA.
  5. The attendance rate in the EIP-SCC events is increasing; the latest General Assembly (Eindhoven, 24th May 2016) gathered 450 people. In addition, there is an ongoing series of webinars contributing to spreading the news on diverse activities.

Furthermore, the engagement of the audience is growing significantly as reflected by the growing number of people participating in events, the increase of the Twitter followers and the rising number of visitors the website receives.

Even if the EIP-SCC is one of the youngest initiatives amongst those the European Commission is supporting, it is at the top in terms of stakeholder interaction. The EIP-SCC Market Place is indeed becoming the central hub for knowledge sharing and collaboration among stakeholders and it will play a crucial role in smartening the cities of the future and overcoming market fragmentation.

 

  • Roadmap 2016

Comparing the key collaboration targets set in the Roadmap 2016 with the actual achievements of the Market Place, we can confirm that it has been a successful year.

As shown in the overall State of Play” summary, the initiatives have not only succeeded in engaging a significant mass of stakeholders but have also delivered interesting and tangible results. Among them, there are wide networks growing day by day, such as EV4SCC, Manifestos gathering the support of key actors (such the ones on Urban Platforms, Citizen Engagement, New Mobility Services and electro-mobility...), projects being designed (e.g. EIB investment proposal on car sharing) and supporting documents and tools.

As regards the latter, it is important to highlight the new Online Funding Tool developed by the Business Models Action Cluster, which aims to provide clear and practical information about the opportunities that European Funding Programmes can offer to enhance the development of smart sustainable solutions in both cities and regions.

 

  • Next steps

The Roadmap 2017 is being co-created now and will be published soon. All stakeholders have participated in the discussions on what the Market Place should achieve by the end of next year. Again, the Market Place will allow the tackling of the common challenges of European cities through collaborative action.

 

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