Catapult Network Report Published

What on earth are those UK Catapults? Stop wondering and read the new report of the Catapult Centres by our sponsor organisation InnovateUK. In case you are too lazy to read it all, the Future Cities Catapult cases are on pages 15 – 16 (Smart Belfast), and 28 (Connected Roadworks).

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Smart Belfast

In Belfast, we worked with the City Council to recognise critical challenges. Chief amongst these was the need to maximise revenue from business rates, which accounts for half the Council’s annual income. The assumption was that companies were operating in the city without declaring themselves to be businesses. This was due to a variety of reasons; some businesses were classified incorrectly, others registered as residential properties and more generally, the Council’s data sources were not up-to-date. Following an open call issued by Belfast City Council, prototype digital tools were produced which used information such as energy consumption to pinpoint potential business rates avoiders.

The success of the experiment was evident from the get go. With an investment of £150,000, the Council was able to uncover potential new revenue of £350,000 per year in just the initial pilot phase.

Connected Roadworks

In Straffordshire, we supported Amey to develop an interactive portal to host data from a wide range of utilities, contractors and developers in the area, enabling better coordination of roadworks. The benefits were both impressive and tangible: ten proposed works by different contractors were combined into one, requiring just a single road closure. This meant the roads could be kept open for an additional 25 weeks and saved the contractors c. £184,000 in terms of reduced materials and management costs.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes: I’ll start as the new CITO of the Future Cities Catapult

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To follow the trend of the week and quote David Bowie, it’s time for Ch-ch-ch-changes. After a great decade in Forum Virium Helsinki, I have decided to take the next step. I have been appointed as the new CITO of the Future Cities Catapult. I will be moving to London in March, and start in my new position in the beginning of April.

There will be two new C-level people in the Future Cities Catapult. Dr Andrew Robinson joins as Chief Operating Officer (COO). He was previously Managing Director of Siemens Building Technologies and a member of the Siemens plc Executive team. Andrew has run major international business divisions through growth and change, led product innovation and complex technology projects across the built environment in construction, rail, highways, logistics and aviation in the UK, Europe, Middle East, the Americas and Asia.

Exciting times ahead.

Stay tuned:Internet of Everything challenge for developers & companies opening soon

Cities of Antwerpen, Copenhagen and Helsinki will open an innovation challenge for the European companies: how can the cities reinvent themselves as linked and large-scale Internet of Everything labs, which are open, standardized, data-driven, service-oriented and user-centric, and provide an easy access to developers and innovators to pilot, test and validate their solutions?
The project is called Select for CitiesThe challenge competition of 5,6 M€ which will be divided into 3  stages, between December 2015 and November 2018. It will be organised by using the Pre-commercial procurement (PCP) method.
The consortium is built around three renowned Smart Cities: Antwerp, Copenhagen, Helsinki, and comprises a balanced combination of six multidisciplinary partners across four European countries: Belgium, Denmark, Finland and the UK. These are Forum Virium Helsinki (the project coordinator), Digipolis, iMinds, Københavns Kommune, Stad Antwerpen, and 21C Consultancy Limited (partners in alphabetical order).
Stay tuned for the information sessions and market consultations starting soon across Europe. The first open call for the challenge will kick off early next autumn.

OASC in Barcelona


Meet the new OASC cities from England, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and take part in the many interactive sessions to learn about the city-driven initiative to create a global smart city market based on simple, open standards at the Smart City Expo. Besides new countries, OASC also welcomes new cities to previous national networks. All cities have signed the OASC Letter of Intent to drive global smart city development based on city needs by implementing three simple standard mechanisms. Third wave brings the total of OASC cities above 70 cities, representing 15 country networks worldwide.

UK hosts launch event

The launch event takes place on November 18, 09.00–09.50 am, at the UK pavilion at the Smart City Expo, Gran Via, hosted by the Future Cities Catapult.

The launch panel speakers will include representatives of the Future Cities Catapult, OASC leadership, the European Commission and cities joining in the 3rd wave. After some introductory remarks, the floor will be open for an interactive Q&A session with the audience.

Apart from the launch, there are many opportunities to meet and engage with the OASC community and leadership. Below is a list of key sessions during the Smart City Expo. You can also meet representatives from OASC cities in many of the other panels.

Looking ahead: Conference, Strategy Forum

The focus of the OASC Task Force is to support the needs of the cities who are already working with the OASC mechanisms, and to inform those who are looking to assess the added value of joining the initiative.

In concrete terms, the Task Force prioritises network support through events and online resources, and technical development through working groups. The network support is targeting topics like technical issues and financing strategies.

The next big OASC event is the Connected Smart Cities Conference on January 21, 2016, in Brussels. Here, the OASC community convenes for a full day of inspiration, learning and networking at an event which is produced in partnership with key stakeholders in the global and European smart cities landscape.

The conference is scheduled back-to-back with the EUROCITIES Knowledge Society Forum and other events, essentially creating a “European smart city week”, so save the week of January 18–22, 2016.

Open & Agile Smart Cities – Smart City Expo World Congress

Tuesday, November 17

11.45–13.00: Juanjo Hierro, OASC Task Force – TE 41 Innovative platforms for multi- stakeholder processes to foster sustainable cities (Room 4).

Wednesday, November 18

09.00–09.50: OASC 3rd Wave Launch – UK Pavilion (Expo Area).
11.30–12.45: Martin Brynskov, OASC Chair – SO 63 Raising resources and creating platforms to develop more equitable cities (Room 6).

Thursday, November 19

11.30–12.45: Jarmo Eskelinen & Catherine Mulligan, OASC Task Force – GO 36 City standards and indicators spreading smart cities (Room 3).

Cities from seven countries boost 
open standards for smart cities

Thirty-one cities from seven countries in Europe and Latin America launch the 
“Open & Agile Smart Cities” initiative to accelerate adoption of 
common standards and principles for global smart city development.

CeBIT was the natural place for one of the most important announcements this year about smart city development in Europe. The Open & Agile Smart Cities (OASC) initiative, signed by 31 cities from Finland, Denmark, Belgium, Portugal, Italy, Spain and Brazil, aims to kickstart the use of a shared set of wide-spread, open standards and principles, enabling the development of smart city applications and solutions to reach many cities at once, by making systems interoperable between cities, and within a city.
As I told in the press conference: “Seen from a developer’s perspective, one city alone is not a market large enough. A number of cities in several countries or a continent, adopting a minimal set of de facto standards is a sizable market on which developers can start investing.”
Picture: Juanjo Hierro, Martin Brynskov (network chair), and me (vice chair).
The OASC Task Force  operates under the Connected Smart Cities (CSC) Network. The first national city networks to join the initiative are Helsinki, Espoo, Vantaa, Tampere, Oulu and Turku in Finland; Copenhagen, Aarhus and Aalborg in Denmark; Brussels, Ghent and Antwerp in Belgium; Porto, Lisbon, Fundão, Palmela, Penela and Águeda in Portugal; Milan, Palermo and Lecce in Italy; Valencia, Santander, Málaga and Sevilla in Spain; and Olinda (Recife), Anapólis (Goiás), Porto Alegre (Rio Grande do Sul), Vitória (Espírito Santo), Colinas de Tocantins (Tocantins) and Taquaritinga (São Paulo) in Brazil.
Cities commit to four things: first, to drive development by implementation, ie. taking concrete action and experimenting. Second, to support open APIs (Application Programming Interface) to services, such as FIWARE NGSI (lightweight means to gather, publish, query and subscribe context-based, real-time information). Third, to use and improve standard data models based on experimentation and actual usage, with data models coming from the work lead by Forum Virium Helsinki for the CitySDK (City Service Development Kit) project. And lastly, cities in the OASC Task Force will publish their open data in compatible open platforms, such as CKAN (Open Knowledge Foundation’s platform).
Commitment to adopt these common standards and principles is supported by the signature of a “Letter of Intent” by cities that become part of the initiative, several of which were present at CeBIT.
The announcement was the first wave in an ongoing series where national networks of cities join the Open & Agile Smart Cities initiative. The process is open to every city in the world which implements the mechanisms, as long as they join up at least two cities from a nation or territory.
The next wave is expected in early summer. Cities from the Netherlands, United Kingdom and Mexico are already on track.
This is a unique opportunity to develop de facto standards in an open and collaborative manner which complements the traditional standards development processes, and focuses on the needs of cities as a whole, including opportunities for local job creation and SME involvement.

Loose coupling – the future of work

Just heard Esko Kilpi speaking about the future of work, and totally bought his vision.
To put it shortly: the jobs of the future is not any longer hierarchy-organised or process-organised, put network-organised. The model is the same as the Internet; things are done in loosely coupled processes.
Basically it is an idea expanded from the loosely coupled ICT, and the benefits are similar but wider:
(Source – Forrester Research, “Software Innovation Requires A Loosely-Coupled Application Architecture”)
Loose architectural coupling unleashes innovation – With not having to reinvent the wheel every time you start a new project, your team is more focused on developing innovations and relying on this architecture knowing that it will work as expected. Also, since this enables agility, faster time-to-market is possible and thereby encouraging bringing new innovations to the market.
Loose architectural coupling protects application investments. With business landscape constantly changing either due to M&A or just aggressive growth, it is pertinent for IT to evolve with newer IT systems but also remaining cautious about not breaking the system when retiring an old system or replacing it with a new system (especially relevant for the public sector!). Loosely coupled architectures make this process seamless.
Loose architectural coupling is a design discipline, not a technology. This is not a technology feature that any vendor can tout. This is only a design discipline that can be enabled with a mature ESB. Whether you leverage the publish-subscribe methodologies within the product or use SOA/APIs to construct such loose coupling, it is up to your architects to decide. But, ensure that you are working towards this model, if you already don’t have it.