For the last six months, 16 pilot groups brought their services to 21 cities delivering 50 service deployments across issue areas on air and noise pollution, climate change adaptation, and public transport solutions, among others. Beyond their potential for tangible benefits on those areas, these 16 pilots were helping to answer a completely different question on the usability and future potential of SynchroniCity as a long-lasting community.
How it all began
The simplicity of the guiding principles of the project – of “synchronising” city-based digital markets – is what, ironically, makes SynchroniCity uniquely ambitious and alive with untapped potential. Almost 3 years ago, over thirty partners came together to develop, test, and roll-out an effective solution that would allow IoT and AI- enabled services to simultaneously run across several cities without the need to restructure or overhaul their entire operating system. After 2 years of work, building upon and compiling new components, SynchroniCity was ready to answer the question: What is the minimal common technical ground needed in a global market for IoT-and AI-enabled services for cities and communities?
The SynchroniCity architectural framework model was that answer, itself a realisation of the Open & Agile Smart Cities “Minimal Interoperability Mechanisms”, also known as MIMs. Once the framework took a robust shape, it became time to test it in the real world. As such, the next step was to roll-out this framework across cities on a large scale. For this purpose, mature companies – both SMEs and Large businesses – with successful business models – looking to upscale themselves – were the ideal candidates as they ould use the framework to bring their digital solutions across digital markets in Europe and beyond.
Choosing the Pilots: “Having Your Cake and Eating it too”
Equally important to rolling out the SynchroniCity framework model at a large-scale, in a real-life setting, pilots ought to also address the needs of smart cities & communities. Categorised under 4 themes and 7 challenge areas, the Open Call received over 130 applications involving a total of 227 SMEs, 6 MNCs, and 44 cities. Of those, the top 16 proposals were chosen on the basis of clear parameters, leading to 6 pilots on Sustainable Mobility, 6 under Environment & Wellbeing, 1 for Citizen Engagement, and 3 other under the Open Theme. You can read more about them on their dedicated pages.
Analysing and setting the way forward
As the half-year pilot period came to a close in September, it became clear that both the process and the end-results held valuable lessons. The real-life implementation of the SynchroniCity architecture framework brought new challenges and technical questions that expanded the usability of the existing architecture throughout the pilot period. Cities and businesses reached the end of the 6 month collaboration wanting more and working towards keeping the cooperation going. Moreover, city representatives reflected upon their informal engagement throughout the project on the “Cities Forum”. They did this, through a participatory workshop to understand what might be learned and taken forward from the dynamic of the Cities Forum. The consortium meeting in Milan explored these results, looking towards the already aligned next steps of SynchroniCity after the project-end.