The Open Day event, held in Brussels on March 7th at the Charlemagne building, was a success and a great occasion to meet both the people that have been supporting FIWARE since its very beginning and the ones that are called to join in and enrich human organization that the open community has become.
Coinciding with the Open Day, the FIWARE team at the European Commission has released a brief but substantial communication, exposing their vision on how the platform and ecosystem is moving on: ‘From research and innovation to setting European standards and business success’. Published on the same day of the event, it begins emphasizing on the Open Day marking the completion of the Public-Private partnership between the European Commission and industry. A successful culmination that was illustrated by Pearse O’Donohue, Acting Director for Future Networks and Head of Unit for Software and Services in Cloud Computing, European Commission at DG CONNECT, passing the baton on to the hands of Ulrich Ahle, CEO of the FIWARE Foundation.
The Future Internet PPP Programme and the FIWARE advantage
The European Commission launched the Future Internet Public Private Partnership (FI-PPP) Programme in 2011. Aiming to increase and share the social and economic benefits of the future internet for everyone in Europe, it was backed with € 300 million, targeting consumers, citizens, the public sector and businesses, following the advancement of ICT technologies and the digitalisation process across all kind of sectors.
The Future Internet PPP central development was FIWARE. An open platform of components, deployed by merging the best technologies available and designed to build smart applications.
Five years later, the FI-PPP has been linking, funding and supporting entrepreneurs and startups, companies and researchers, engineers and academics using the FIWARE building blocks.
The path that the platform has been paving and going across is somewhat the same one that the projects, the companies, the developers and other contributors have been going through, at the same time: from the research and innovation stage until their products and ideas reached the marketplace.
The advancement of FIWARE is the advancement of its community. Hundreds of startups and dozens of municipalities in Europe are providing advanced digital services and have created and commercialised smart apps, deploying them and getting to the market faster and at a lower cost, thanks to FIWARE open source technologies, while profiting from the different programmes that have supported this process.
Moving forward, going global
The keynote speak by Yasunori Mochizuki, Senior Vice President of NEC, was one of the most exciting moments of the Open Day, as it showed how the platform is regarded as a positive, disruptive force for international markets, geographically far away from Europe, but connected through the open components of FIWARE.
“NEC sees that the open specification and the large user community around FIWARE make it a very attractive platform. Consequently, we have worked on raising awareness to FIWARE in the government and other stakeholders in Japan. And it is now our strong wish and commitment to support dissemination of FIWARE in Japan and other regions as we believe that the idea of FIWARE and its ecosystem are really in good coherence with Japan’s overall direction, and thus, should be of a great value to the future of Japanese industry. For this reason, NEC will work on making continued technical contributions to FIWARE including the standardization effort to establish the ETSI SIG CIM for Smart City APIs and Smart City data models, and NEC very much would like to work also on the management with the FIWARE leadership team under the “Going Global“ strategy.”, explained Mr. Yasunori.
The FIWARE community has reached Japan and its vision around “Society 5.0”, a human-centric super-smart paradigm of development. It is also present in China, Brazil, México, Canada, USA… with the FIWARE Mundus Programme fueling this expansion worldwide. And with the FIWARE iHubs and FIWARE Zone as modeling the local activity towards a global expansion.
Today, more than 100 cities have joined the Open and Agile Smart Cities (OASC) Initiative, and rely on FIWARE-based products and services in their quest for city-wide open service platforms and re-use of services, developing an market for smart urban services. For the communities, FIWARE boost innovation and competitiveness and avoids vendor lock-in, helping to interconnect already existing city management systems and removing further commercial and technical barriers for third parties willing to join in and participate from a data-driven economy.
These are two examples of the new economic model, based on standard open service platform components. Organizations as diverse as the White House –naming FIWARE as one of the key players in the development of a IoT-enabled smart city framework– or ETSI –the European Telecommunications Standards Institute–, are working upon FIWARE standards.
From PPP to FIWARE Foundation and beyond
Matching the investment coming from the Industry, the European Commission supported FIWARE with € 150 million –under the FP7 R&I innovation programme–. The initiative whole, and the potential and increasing maturity of the platform, attracted the attention of big ICT companies and the Core Industry Group was assembled.
In autumn 2016, Atos, Engineering, Orange and Telefonica launched the FIWARE Foundation as its founding members. Established in Berlin, the Foundation is an open body within the FIWARE community, created with the mission of promoting, augmenting, protecting and validating the brand and the technologies.
They were soon joined by more companies, large and small, by cities and institutions, and by individual contributors, who wanted to also support the activities around FIWARE.
The Foundation is financed by its members and, while it is here to drive the global take-up of FIWARE, the links with its European origin remain strong, as it participates in several H2020 projects, through which it receives funding.
With FIWARE ready for market, the Foundation has become the central connection between the open-source developer community, the industry and the final, across vertical and borders.
Following its recent communication: “The Commission continues supporting FIWARE, wishing to see that it succeeds on the market place, however also because the principles behind FIWARE support our vision of a European digital single market. Two recently launched large scale pilots, IoF2020 in the agrofood sector and SynchroniCity in the Smart City sector make use of FIWARE as their open platforms for service development.”
The formally launched new stage “guarantees the long-term evolution of FIWARE by its open-source developer community and establishes the FIWARE platform as an open-source alternative in the market place.”
Dr. Andreas Goerdeler, director for the German and European digital agenda at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, also participated as speaker at the Open Day event, looking back to go forward on the role of FIWARE in the development of the Future Internet.
He emphasized the perspectives of the open platform and the ecosystem as a cornerstone for the Next Generation Internet: “For the next steps, smart services with embedded artificial intelligence and data driven service platforms will be key. They should be designed, and developed by our traditional branches – innovative SME and startups should work together with car manufacturers, machinery engineers, chemistry enterprises and other. FIWARE can provide a set of central components and developer tools to facilitate this vision. We are glad that the FIWARE Foundation has chosen to establish its headquarter in Berlin with its vibrant start-up scene and we wish you good luck and all the best for this important endeavor.”