SynchroniCity Consortium meeting Milan 3 October 2019

SynchroniCity, as a project, will take its last steps at the end of 2019. During its last consortium meeting the learnings from the project and its potential for upscaling and duplicability were a key topic on its last consortium meeting. 

SynchroniCity has solidified a community of cities, businesses, and international networks that share the idea of making city-based digital markets accessible, user-friendly, and effective. Through the establishment of a minimal common technical ground, SynchroniCity has taken the decisive, first big-step in a European Way for a global market of IoT-enabled services for cities and communities.

Scaling up in Milan

From 2 to 3 October the SynchroniCity project hosted its last consortium meeting in sunny Milan and brought together more than 80 people. The diversity of actors gathered, presenting a testament to the scope, reach, and potential of SynchroniCity as an initiative. Representatives of the 9 core cities, more than twenty SMEs from the 16 deployments, and more than twenty partners, came together to share and exchange learnings from the work with the pilots, the project so far, and the way ahead for upscaling the project results.

“For our city, it was a pleasure and a great opportunity to host the last official consortium meeting. The possibility for our local teams to join in the debate, including the representatives and directors for Innovation and ICT of Milan, gave us the chance to take full advantage of the idea-sharing and problem-solving community we have with the other cities and partners,” reflected Chiara Bresciani, Project Manager for the City of Milan. 

The morning of the first day began with the cities presenting the “demand-side” perspective: the why and how of welcoming the SynchroniCity architecture and the work lead by the SMEs through the piloting of their initiatives. This conversation was quickly complemented by the “supply-side”. An opportunity to learn from the pilots about the challenges of running the same IoT solutions simultaneously across several city-wide markets under a new, open framework. Beyond the challenges and rewards of running and further developing these IoT solutions across city landscapes in Europe and beyond, all partners noted the importance of peer-learning and exchange as cities as well as for businesses. 

The workshops

While the first day was all about presenting ideas and understanding the current common ground, the second day was about validating the findings and exploring how to move on. Here, it was the pilots’ turn, the SMEs themselves, to take centre-stage and share the challenges and rewards of their work. All 16 pilots shared with the community what their process had been. Their insights further shared in a workshop format.

Three parallel sessions focused on three key areas for the sustainability of the outcomes of SynchroniCity. One session was the “Cities Forum”, lead jointly by Open & Agile Smart Cities, OASC & Connected Places Catapult, CPC, that was created during the lifetime of the project as a platform for cities to share learnings and cooperate. Another session was looking at the technical roadmap for the future within the activities led by the OASC Technical Committee. Finally, the IoT Next Club, a club for SMEs in Europe that are forming part of the new IoT landscape has a session for the SMEs. IoT Next Club is managed by BlueSpecs and it aims to connect hardware and service providers who want to share their knowledge and growth their IoT network with the IoT Large Scale Pilots.

The future for the technical framework

“The meeting was a chance to discuss and find fixes on what we have understood and developed during the project,” added Ms Bresciani and continued. “A crucial value-added of all this, is being able to build knowledge and get ideas on how to move on and overcome our shared problems as cities and our entrepreneurs.” 

There was also an opportunity to reflect on the technical leaps done throughout the project. At centre stage was the consolidation of the basic technical components of the framework and the extension and creation of new data models by cities and pilots. These early successes are at the heart of the already operational SynchroniCity IoT Data Marketplace. 

It is these type of forward-looking steps, alongside the leaps made by the common architecture, the development of the Atomic Services and the Minimum Interoperable Mechanisms (MIMs) under the OASC umbrella, which make the SynchroniCity community hopeful on the next steps once the curtains of the project are drawn, and new doors open to continue building on the work of the last 3 years.

OASC, for cities and communities, and the IoT Next Club, for SMEs and entrepreneurs are moving forward to deliver the first steps on upscaling, growing, and improving upon the work of Synchronicity for its new stage.