Dare to rethink your city with the CEF Building Blocks

By Smart Cities Editorial
Industry news

Dare to rethink your city with the CEF Building Blocks

Continuous technological innovations and present-day digital technologies are fundamentally changing the way we provide, operate and perceive all types of services. With a growing need for digital and citizen-centric public administrations, European cities nowadays are significantly improving their overall urban organisation to make their city a better place to live. The progress of new technologies and the increasing amount of data collected leads to promising innovations such as smart mobility services, intelligent energy distribution and user-centric public services. 

However, cities face common challenges that significantly slow the implementation of these innovations. The question of security prevails on the agenda of the majority of cities, which implement new technologies, focusing on how to ensure that the technologies used and the data collected are safe. The second burning question for cities is how to provide interoperability of systems, developing a unique network, able to support a growing range of applications. Sufficient funding, able to sustain projects over the long-term and the development of technologies in line with existing legislation, are also among the crucial challenges cities faces while planning and implementing a smart project. 

Today, thanks to the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) Building Blocks, cities have a unique opportunity to develop smarter solutions without having to worry about these challenges anymore. The CEF Building Blocks offer cities a unique opportunity to accelerate and foster the modernisation and digitalisation of public services at large. They offer basic capabilities that can be used in any European project to facilitate the delivery of digital public services across borders. The overall aim of the Building Blocks is to ensure interoperability between IT systems so that citizens, businesses and administrations can benefit from seamless digital public services wherever they may be in Europe. 

The CEF Building Blocks are advanced connected technologies. Big Data Test Infrastructure, Context Broker, eArchiving, eDelivery, eID, eInvoicing, eSignature and eTranslation support the security, interoperability, support and compliance with the complex legislation of smart city projects. The Building Blocks support secure environments, where data is safely handled and stored. They are based on open European standards and technical specifications, ensuring systems can communicate with each other all across Europe. The Building Blocks offer free supporting services (such as conformance testing and training) and grants, allowing cities to save time and money in the implementation of complex digital projects. 

Meet Our Building Blocks


The CEF Building Blocks in practice

There are several compelling success stories demonstrating the powerful impact that the Building Blocks have on successful cross-border digital projects around Europe. For example, the city of Eindhoven uses the CEF Context Broker to provide a safer and more secure environment in one of its most lively streets. The CEF Context Broker is a digital solution that helps cities to collect, manage and share real-time data coming from multiple sources. Using this information, cities can see a much broader picture of actual events happening in different areas and can take data-driven decisions based on real-time information. Eindhoven uses the Context Broker Building Block to predict critical situations, such as car accidents or crimes, by collecting and processing anonymised information from moving patterns, sound on the streets and social media analytics. This information is transmitted to the police in a user-friendly format, so they can take data-driven decisions, like sending a police officer to intervene and, therefore, prevent an upcoming danger. Since the introduction of the advanced technology, the crime rate has been reduced and the city’s image has improved significantly. 

Other cities also use the CEF Context Broker, for example, to measure the level of pollution or to develop smart irrigation systems.

Curious about other Building Block success stories? Read here how CEF eArchiving helped the National Archives of Estonia ensure preservation and usability of society's memory for current and future generations. Find out here about a European consortium, which built a quality machine translation able to switch between languages and domain topics. More success stories.

Contact us!

The CEF building blocks are safe, interoperable solutions, fully funded by the European Commission, compliant with the EU legislation and allowing to save time and money to their users. If this all sounds exciting to you, visit our website and choose the Building Block(s) that will help you develop your next smart solution!

Send us a message at CEF-BUILDING-BLOCKS@ec.europa.eu to get started!