Located at the Atlantic coast in the north of Spain, Santander is one of eight core pilot cities in the SynchroniCity project. The city has recently organised an open call launch event as well as the open call clinic where interested applicants can book one-on-one appointments to learn more about the city’s priorities and ask questions directly to the city.

Juan Echevarria Cuenca, who coordinates the SynchroniCity project in the city of Santander, has a simple yet highly effective advice for the applicants: “Talk to each other”.

End of June you organised an open call info event and just recently you’ve hosted Santander’s first SynchroniCity city clinic. Who did you meet at both events?

In the open call official presentation on 29 June the people who attended were mainly coming from SME and start-ups companies. There were also some research groups. Those people were previously engaged in the open pre-announcement on 18th April and past events related to open calls belonging to other projects, for example OrganiCity or FIESTA-IoT.

At the latest city clinic in Santander we had attendants not only from Santander but also from neighbouring municipalities and even from nearby regions, which shows the big interest in the project at national level.

The SynchroniCity open call has gained a lot of interest in the last weeks: What’s your first impression of the potential applicants who joined the clinics?

The clinic attendees brought clear and defined ideas. The majority of them had also brochures and presentations of their products. This gives us the idea that they have understood perfectly the level of development we request for a proposal.

Is there a question that all potential applicants had in common?

There are two common questions we have received. The first one is whether it is a requirement that the SME work with IoT and the second question is what exactly a TLR-6 is and how they can demonstrate that their product is in that state.

Is there any advice you can share with potential applicants from SMEs and large businesses?

My main advice is that they talk to each other. We see a lot of complementarity between those entities that have good products and IT specialist companies that can help with technical difficulties. Another important issue is the implementation of the solutions in different cities. My advice in this regard is to use the mechanisms that SynchroniCity provides to contact entities in different countries that can facilitate a deployment.

There are also cities interested in joining SynchroniCity via the open call. What would you recommend them to do to become a vital part?

For those cities interested in SynchroniCity, I advise you to contact a company specialised in IT, or better, in IoT, that is in your environment, that currently has a product that interests you, that solves the problems and facilitates the learning curve.

There will be more open call clinics in Santander: How and where can interested SMEs, businesses, and other cities sign up?

Two more clinics are already planned on 7 and 21 September. These clinics will be face-to-face sessions but will also have a remote online connection to assist entities that cannot attend in person. Interested people can sign-up via the SynchoniCity website.


About the author

With a background in Telecommunications Engineering, Juan Echevarria Cuenca has been involved in several R&D projects in the public sector related to optical fibre and has also experience of more than 15 years working at private companies. He joined Santander City Council in 2015 as an innovation technical manager being involved in several European projects and the municipality’s innovation projects. He is part-time lecturer at University of Cantabria.