2. Discussion notes

(back to the main report)

The discussion involved an active group of about 25 people representing different constituencies.

As common share points, there was a general agreement in the need for cooperation between different communities and stakeholders, and therefore collaboration was stated as a key requirement.

Interoperability at platform, service and application level and scalability of solutions through easy implementation in different cities were identified as crucial aspects of a well-functioning Smart City ecosystem. Without interoperability there is no scalability, leading to high costs and one-off solutions. Interoperability should be supported by both top-down and grassroots-up / market-driven approaches.

Top-down approaches are efficient for building the regulatory and technical framework for smart cities. They include for example standardisation (software layers, interfaces, protocols, etc.), regulation (legislation, architectures, procurement, etc.) and collaboration/synchronization agreements and joint ventures across multiple cities.

For market creation and user involvement, grassroots-up and market driven approaches are more efficient. The power of Internet innovations lies in iterative development (in which services are constantly adjusted based on feedback from the users) and fast involvement of user and developer communities. Same approaches must be used also for Future Internet solutions. These include for example open city interfaces (open data, open source, open api’s), using the lateral innovation models for smart city service development (developer community empowerment, user community involvement, crowdsourcing, etc.), and building strong stakeholder networks (cities, developers, SME’s) to achieve “de facto standardisation” through a dominant position in the market place (supporting fast roll-out and fast scale-up of solutions).

Another important point, identified already during the presentations and enforced during the subsequent discussion, was the need to move fast and therefore, the need to access fast experimentation and the need for tools to develop quick smart city developments and applications.

There was a general common consensus in the view of the city as a horizontal service ecosystem, running an open service platform, where vertical domain applications can be easily built, providing a neutral technological approach and incorporating all kinds of technologies.

Related to the already mentioned collaboration aspect of the Smart Cities, most of the constituencies agreed in the criticality of engaging the city and the citizens boosting innovation not only at industry level but also at the city administration and citizen levels.

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