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Shaping Europe’s digital future

Achieving a smart city digital ecosystem

The Commission wants to join together digital solutions for cities and improve their impact.

    Image representing a digital ecosystem over a city

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Join, Boost, Sustain

The ‘Join, Boost, Sustain’ movement aims to support the scaling up of interoperable, cross-sector and cross-border digital platforms and solutions across the EU.

The movement began under the Finnish presidency and was formalised in a declaration signed by mayors and regional representatives from across Europe. It is driven by organisations including EUROCITIES, European Network of Living Labs (ENoLL), and Open & Agile Smart Cities (OASC).

A multi-level governance steering board will be set up in 2020 to progress on the commitments of the declaration.

Maximising efficiency and flexibility

Interoperability and Standardisation

The European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities (EIP SCC) is a first step towards future EU policy on cities.

The EIP SCC has successfully brought together stakeholders in six action clusters, and generated a series of calls over seven years for Smart Cities Lighthouse Projects under the Horizon 2020 Framework. 

Achievements in this area so far include:

  • engagement of around 110 cities in urban data platforms and smart lampposts;
  • a guide to facilitate buy-in from decision makers, encompassing a guide for implementation and relevant standards;
  • an industry group providing reference architecture and design principles to enable portable urban services;
  • a smart ‘humble’ lamppost standard and a guide to facilitate buy-in for more than just light from decision-makers;
  • supporting and facilitating the development of an Internet of Things reference interoperability language, and ESTI/OneM2M standard SAREF (Smart Appliances Reference ontology), allowing for home devices to exchange information with energy management systems and the smart grid.

Building Consensus

The European Commission has worked to build consensus in all of its smart cities projects, and has already welcomed positive results in smart grids, energy efficiency, and the digitisation of the water sector.

Under the Smart Grids Task Force (co-chaired by DG CNECT and DG ENER), the Commission explored the potential for and possible scope of a common format for energy data exchange at EU level as a basis for an interoperability framework.

Regarding energy efficiency, the Commission helped to define a smart-readiness indicator for buildings, which measures the capacity of buildings to use digital technologies and electronic systems.

Within the scope of the Horizon 2020 Framework, the Commission initiated several projects on ICT and water efficiency. The result was an action plan that spelled out the activities, challenges, timeline, and tools for implementation of such technologies.

Climate neutral and smart cities

Under the programme Horizon Europe, the European Commission initiated a mission on ‘Climate neutral and smart cities’.

The aim of this mission is to support cities to become more resilient and smarter by empowering citizens in digital social innovation and in policy making. We want to blend together best practices with technology components for large-scale, cross-border, standardised solutions and digital infrastructure.

The European Commission’s proposal for the Digital Europe Programme includes the large-scale deployment of interoperable solutions for cities and communities, to be tested under Horizon 2020.

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