Open innovations for smart city futures


Jesus Villasante, Head of Unit for Net Innovation for the European Commission, DG Connect hails the development of new smart city applications…

The largest event dedicated to smart cities, the Smart City Expo World Congress was held from the 17th to 19th November last year in Barcelona. Jesus Villasante was there to represent the European Commission’s Future Internet Public-Private Partnership Programme (FI-PPP) activities, and its main outcome FIWARE. Villasante had the opportunity to see how Europe’s competitiveness will rapidly advance through innovative Future Internet technologies. And, with these great new partnerships, he claims that it looks promising.

Taken from a recent blog1, Villisante says that FIWARE and the European Data Portal will collaborate to bring free data to the growing open community of thousands of FIWARE developers, start-ups and new users in Europe and world-wide. This opens up more than 250,000 datasets, available through a multilingual interface of the European Data Portal, coming from public organisations in the EU, and is available for use and reuse for commercial or non-commercial purposes.

FIWARE and TM Forum, the global industry association for digital business, have joined forces to speed up the development of new smart city applications. This partnership will enable more efficient management of municipal services in areas such as mobility, water, waste, energy and environmental management, and will also pave the way for the development of smart applications by third parties. Together with cities that joined the global Open & Agile Smart Cities (OASC) this will boost the creation of sustainable smart city ecosystems. OASC is a city-driven initiative which creates a global smart city market based on simple and open standards.  New cities have joined from England, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as from existing OASC country networks, bringing the total to 75 cities from 15 countries.

Porto joined OASC earlier this year and is one of the first cities to publish real-time open data based on FIWARE. Supported by the local SME Ubiwhere, Porto has now a network of mobile and fixed sensors across the urban region and infrastructure supporting different apps and services. The Ubiwhere’s partnership with the Porto Water Supply Company collects data from more than 20,000 sensors allowing monitoring and advising for water consumption.

A key instrument in the development of Porto’s open city platform is the UrbanSense infrastructure, which was developed under the European funded project Future Cities Project. The Future Cities Project is a partnership between the University of Porto and the City Council aiming to create a Competence Centre for Future Cities in the city of Porto.

Together, but also with the participation of the Citibrain joint-venture, the city of Porto and Ubiwhere have developed the interfaces bringing access to real-time, contextual environmental data from 75 fixed and mobile units (monitoring stations) located across the city. The data is augmented by scanners installed on the city Council’s 200+ fleet of vehicles, creating a large-scale mobile scanner. External providers like the city’s water supplier, transport data providers, social media data and business start-up statistics are all plugged in to the platform to allow the city itself to guide you as you explore, travel, and work. The city of Porto now has plans to leverage the results of this work and expand the FIWARE/OASC-compliant urban platform to become the central point of its new integrated management and control centre2.

The Things Network and FIWARE Lab NL have recently announced the creation of an open Internet-of-Things-platform. The Things Network is a Dutch crowd initiative that launched an open source LoRa-netwerk in Amsterdam (NL) in August 2015. It also gathers a growing community in 36 nations and more than 130 cities worldwide. The two initiatives will create together an open IoT platform so developers will have meaningful sensor data to work with in the FIWARE Lab to create new solutions for smart cities, healthcare, agrifood and more. This initiative is supported by the Ministry of Infrastructure and the cities Amersfoort, Eindhoven, Enschede, Rotterdam and Utrecht, all cities that joined OASC.

Last but not least, FIWARE partners with the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) for the Global City Teams Challenge 2016 program (GCTC2016). Connecting communities and businesses by using the Internet of the Things (IoT) will improve resource management and quality of life. Through its participation in GCT2016, FIWARE can also contribute to building and strengthening sustainable innovation ecosystems, leveraging its previous experience in engaging with relevant players at the European and international level.

Villisante is very happy and enthusiastic about all these new collaborations that confirm the interest for open, multi-vendor platform ecosystems. In particular it strengthens FIWARE as an emerging leading example of an open service platform surrounded by an open innovation ecosystem of several thousand developers, attracting numerous cities.

This is a great opportunity for industry to accelerate a competitive European/global market of open platform services, and also a signal to ensure the relevant policy, legal, political and regulatory frameworks are in place.

To learn more about FIWARE, please visit the website at and follow @FIware




Jesus Villasante

Head of Unit for Net Innovation

European Commission, DG Connect


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