3. Identified challenges

(back to the main report)

3.1  Competitiveness and opportunity

There is a growing global market for smart city solutions. The market can be divided in a few categories, but they are dependant of each other:

  • Infrastructure domains; logistics, transport, construction, environment, and energy, etc.;
  • Integration layers between different domains;
  • Service layers; smart end-user solutions.

One of the challenges in creating smart city ecosystems is that different domains are vertical by nature, having different existing legacies and business models.

Furthermore, the b2b solution business and the end user / citizen solution business also differ. As the behaviour of the people living in the cities plays a key role in both sustainability of the cities and in adaptation of the new solutions, it is important to use iterative processes which involve the user communities in all phases of service development.

Development approach for green-field, new cities, and grey-field, existing cities also differs. Most cities need to be retro-fitted to become smart. This requires lots of low-level harmonization. Crowdsourcing, using developer communities and SME’s as partners can be a fast route to harmonization.

The invited constituencies discussed about the small window of opportunity for Europe to become competitive at global scale in the Smart City context (just a few more years) and therefore the need to accelerate application development in Smart Cities and transfer of knowledge to be competitive.

There was common understanding that the current mechanisms for application development in Smart Cities are slow and that there is a lack of ecosystem thinking in Europe.

3.2  Sustainability

The challenge of sustainability was addressed three different ways:

  • the challenge of sustainability of the technologies,
  • the question of ownership of the platform, services, applications and data, and
  • the need of specific roles (stakeholders) to drive and accelerate the implementation.

3.3  Fragmentation

First, the lack of communication and collaboration between the Future Internet community, the Living Lab community and the City, and second, the already mentioned lack of ecosystem thinking were identified as the main unsolved challenges related to fragmentation in the collaboration between stakeholders.

3.4  Interoperability and scalability

As mentioned in the discussion report, interoperability (service and application level), scalability and transferability of solutions, and large-scale experimentations were listed and discussed as other important challenges.