19 July 2012

EU - Commission launches innovation partnership for Smart Cities and Communities

(RAPID)
One of the greatest challenges facing the EU is how best to design and adapt cities into smart intelligent and sustainable environments. Almost three quarters of Europeans live in cities, consuming 70% of the EU's energy. Congestion costs Europe about 1% of its GDP every year; most of it is located in urban areas. Smart urban technologies can make a major contribution to tackling many urban challenges. By launching a Smart Cities and Communities European Innovation Partnership (SCC) the European Commission aims to boost the development of smart technologies in cities – by pooling research resources from energy, transport and ICT and concentrating them on a small number of demonstration projects which will be implemented in partnership with cities. For 2013 alone, € 365 million in EU funds have been earmarked for the demonstration of these types of urban technology solutions. The transport, energy and ICT services and value chains are also now converging. The EU has many years of experience promoting and implementing urban projects in transport, energy and information technology, those efforts need also to converge to create "new thinking" across sectors. See Communication. See also speech by Neelie Kroes. "First, we need interoperability to help competition and new ideas ... Second, we must make the most of data. For example, the data we already have from smart meters. If third parties can access it – transparently and openly, without breaching privacy – that will be a great start. To fuel new innovations and help tailor new systems for end users. Third, the ICT sector must further work to reduce its own environmental footprint ... And fourth, absolutely essential to smart cities, are fast broadband networks for all."