Technology & Tools
SELECT for Cities IoE Platform Competition Launched

SELECT for Cities has launched its initiative to invite companies (not just Europe-based) to participate in a competition to develop an Internet-of-Everything (IoE) platform for open innovation in Europe. On February 9th it published the call for tenders for its Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP), which will allow it to explore and test solutions not yet commercially available.

The SELECT for Cities competition, it explains, is built around the premise that cities across the world are seeking new methods, technology and tools to foster open innovation to solve challenges, create value for their citizens and business, and to become ‘smart cities’. So they are looking for companies that will design, research and develop a data-driven, Internet-of-Everything platform for European cities to enable large-scale co-creation, testing and validation of urban IoE apps and services.

“Envision a city that self-adapts to citizen and community needs! Create the future,” it says. “Europe has great potential in the Smart City sector and European cities can become exemplary cases to the world.”

Currently, cities have no systematic way of working with external developers, it points out. IoE progress to date has been slow due to a number of barriers such as the lack of common standards, a fragmented marketplace, and lack of ways to systematically test and introduce new solutions in the cities. Development and testing is mostly done in random ways in existing organisational silos. And this has raised many issues, including the lack of communication between cities and departments, which do not collaborate on projects, missing opportunities to re-use existing innovations; failure to measure and follow up on pilots; successful pilots are not implemented and resources are lost; failed pilots are not analysed to learn from the same mistakes.

So the envisaged platform needs to enable interaction between cities with automated testing and validation, it will have components and features that currently are not available in a single solution (nor as interoperable separate components).

And what do companies need to know? There will be a budget for selected companies of between EUR 36,000 up to EUR 800,000 each. The procurement is funded by three cities – Antwerp, Copenhagen and Helsinki – with support from the European Commission Horizon 2020 programme. Tender documents to download and all other information can be found here. And the deadline for submitting tender documents is 14th of April 2017 at 10am CET.

The website explains the various stages of the project: Phase 1: Suppliers will be asked to highlight the technical feasibility of the tendered concept, Phase 2: Chosen suppliers from Phase 1 will develop and demonstrate their prototypes, Phase 3: Chosen suppliers from Phase 2 will test in a larger-scale living lab environment located in all three of the competition cities (Antwerp, Copenhagen and Helsinki). Requirements of the platform and vision are clearly laid out here. And all other criteria and information can be found here.

The website also has a very good Frequently Asked Questions section, but if that doesn’t answer all your questions there will be a webinar on March 24th to clarify questions and answers that arose during another (recently held) webinar, to discuss possible “Addendums” to the documentation and to answer potential Tenderers’ questions before the call for Tender closes.

It’s an exciting project, and we look forward to watching progress and reporting on it here. A pertinent point that SELECT for Cities makes, is that Europe, with its shared policy-making process, has the perfect opportunity to boost wide-scale adoption of new innovations.