FiWare

The FIWARE ZONE: interview with Juan Marcelo Gaitán

 Accelerator Programme, Blog, Developers, events  Comments Off on The FIWARE ZONE: interview with Juan Marcelo Gaitán
Apr 052017
 
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Just a few month ago, we were presenting a new part of our ecosystem: the FIWARE ZONE, an advanced deployment of the FIWARE innovation Hubs model. Announced at the 1st FIWARE Summit, the initiative was launched with two centres being opened at the same time, one in Seville and other in Málaga, both in Andalucía and being backed-up by the local and regional governments.

After the sucessful events this week, presenting the IMPACT Growth acceleration programme in both cities, we wanted to know more about how the project is unfolding. We had the chance to talk with Juan Marcelo Gaitán, Director of Innovation Center SmarCity at Telefonica, and head responsible of the FIWARE ZONE.

The FIWARE ZONE initiative is still very recent, but it has been very active from the beginning, even from before its official launch. How would you summarize these last months?

In the few months that it has been running, the initiative is having a great implantation among the Andalusian companies. Each step we take and each event we organise is counting with the presence and interest of the public administrations, the universities and the private companies.

During these months, a number of local governments and the majority of provincial governments have been visiting us. They are asking us to tell and show them the path that they should take, to advance regarding the Smart City development.
Some institutions has shown a firm purpose to create a new center, associated to the FIWARE ZONE. They believe, as we do, in the usefulness of these kind of initiatives, both for the administration and for the technological businesses around.

We are a public-private initiative, with Telefonica and the Regional Ministry of Employment and Technological Development work towards a common aim, and with other stakeholders as important as the City Governments of Málaga and Seville. It makes the whole project even more interesting and trustworthy. A big part of the success of the initiative is due to the participation of these four entities that believe in, support and endorse the smartcities’ development, upon the FIWARE platform. 

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Is the project meeting its targets? Which would be the next steps to take?

Not only are we achieving our goals. We are advancing and growing much faster than we expected. That is why we intend to continue the same line of work, which is presenting such good results.
At the same time, we are working in parallel, revising our first objectives and updating and enlarging our action plan, to meet the over-demand that we are receiving.

FIWARE Zone is a noted example of the FIWARE innovation Hubs model. The vision is to unfold a global expansion plan, developing it locally and regionally. How does the FIWARE Zone works? Is it creating or attracting a community or a business environment around?

Regarding the technological companies, it is important to emphasise the pleasant surprise of receiving such great interest and involvement from them, since the very first day.  There are more than 50 companies that, during the last three months, have contacted us. They are interested in the FIWARE technology and how can it be used for each one of the companies.
We have created a FIWARE working group, inside the FIWARE Andalucía Smart City cluster, with already 14 active members, aiming to spread the use of FIWARE.

On the next days, we are going to launch a call for specialised mentoring, for companies that will receive the on-site support of FIWARE experts. They will help the team members through all the learning process and to adapt their products, integrating them into a real city platform.

To which extent, each company, organisation or individual, incorporating to the FIWARE Zone programme, is joining at the same time to the global advancement of the FIWARE initiative?

That is precisely one of our main objectives: to become the bridge and the link between the local companies and Europe. We are working closely and directly with the institutions and the FIWARE Foundation, creating the appropriate mechanisms in order to offer each company within our ecosystem to become part of the FIWARE Community, automatically.

Is there any difference between each one of the FIWARE Zone centres?

None. Both centres function as one single hub. Even more: every company from Andalusia can take part, indistinctly, in whichever activity that any of the centres is organising.
To such an extent that we have the case of two different companies that, after arriving to the FIWARE ZONE centres of Seville and Málaga, realized that they solutions were compatible, and started to work together in a common product, far more attractive and more complete.

Recently, a future FIWARE Hub has been announced – to be open in The Science and Technology Park of Lleida. Do you think that the FIWARE ZONE could be an inspiration for other centres of the same kind, reaching the rest of the country and other parts of Europe? Do you see yourself giving advice about how to launch them?

We have defined a development plan, in which we firmly believe. I am sure that there are other possible options, and I am not sure to which extent what we are doing is replicable in other environments.
Having said that, if anyone want to know what we are doing, and how and why we are doing it, we will be pleased to share it. We believe in a model designed for the development of innovation and the creation of an ecosystem of companies that are basing their transforming impulse in FIWARE solutions.
Our first results seem to confirm that we are going in the right direction. Nevertheless, we should be realistic: we have just begun and we will have to wait and see the results with a wider perspective.

C8kZGAYXoAQlPxMIn April, during this first week, the FIWARE ZONE has been organising the info days about the powered by FIWARE accelerator programme, launched by IMPACT Growth. What do you expect, after these sessions?

We are very excited with the idea of the Andalusian companies being well-fitted to apply and submit their proposals to the European acceleration processes. We want to be able to compare ourselves with other ICT companies from another countries, in order to learn and to improve our competitiveness in a market that is becoming each day more and more

Will be any kind of follow-up from the FIWARE ZONE, after these sessions? Maybe supporting the companies willing to participate in the open calls, giving technical advice to a project that, from Seville or Malaga, would be part of IMPACT Growth or frontierCities2 international acceleration process?

Of course. We will try to help and give the best support to the companies that intend to be participating in these calls.

How would you describe the value of initiatives like IMPACT Growth, for backing-up the innovation and the creation of jobs and businesses?

Now, we are in the beginning of the establishment of one of the technologies with more potential for its development in the years to come. That is why it is still less well-known that it should be. We need to reach and to make it familiar for the true lead actors of this digital transformation: the companies and the entrepreneurs.
To achieve that, we need certain incentives that would help to capture their attention and to facilitate the jump “into the unknown”: to start a project now, integrating it using the FIWARE platform. 

The first acceleration programme presented a strong value in order to help the dissemination of the FIWARE technologies, as well as making them more mature by use. It made the technology advance and the community grow. Now, FIWARE is being presented more as an “added value”, another important help for the projects accelerated by IMPACT Growth or frontierCities2. What has been changing in these last two years? 

Without any doubt, what has changed is the community. We are more each day, adding our part, bringing FIWARE closer to the ecosystem of developers and platform integrators. We try to make them see the advantages of this standards and the many reasons why they should start to think about using it.
We are constantly receiving technological companies, visiting us because they have heard about FIWARE… but they don’t know what it is.

I think that the community is still too little and too technical. We must show how good is FIWARE, not only to the software engineers. How good it is, versus other proprietary solutions. We should be showing it also to the companies CEOs and CTOs, explaining them why they should bet on FIWARE and the benefits it will rewarding them with.

And last, one of the axis for the development of the FIWARE ZONE is the educational: that FIWARE becomes one of the digital skills being taught at the universities, maybe even in high school… That goes in line with what was said a few weeks ago, at the EU Digital Day: to grant the job creation of the future by incrementing the digital skills of the whole European population. Have you started any course of action within that focus? Which might be the role of the acceleration programmes, regarding that line of work?

We are convinced that the future goes through FIWARE. But we are even more certain that the future depends on our universities and schools. That is why is so important to introduce this knowledge in the stages previous to the incorporation to the job market.

We have reach two agreements with Andalusian universities and we are negotiating with another two. What we try to achieve is that the students of Telecomm, Computer Science and Engineering, not only will be receiving theoretical information about FIWARE, but will also be able to gain practical experience, working on IoT at our FIWARE ZONE centres.
And we are also working with different professional training and business schools, to train the teaching staff so that they will be able to give at least an introductory notion about FIWARE in their respective centres.

We think that, in a few years, there will be a growing demand of personnel with this kind of knowledge. That is why, in our programme, we have presented a priority axis in that line.

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How to Develop IoT Solutions in FIWARE: first MOOC in Spanish

 Blog, Developers, IoT  Comments Off on How to Develop IoT Solutions in FIWARE: first MOOC in Spanish
Mar 292017
 
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Telefónica I+D Chile and Inacap are offering a Massive Open Online Course on FIWARE, the first of its kind to be given in Spanish. The aim of the course is to provide hands-on learning about the use of the FIWARE technologies, to develop IoT-enabled smart solutions. The program of the course comprises a comprehensive touch-theory and practice on the creation and deployment of industrial and personal digital products and services, smart solutions for the Internet on Things based on FIWARE.

w1The Excellence Centre of Telefonica I+D, co-funded by Corfo and Telefonica Chile, has been working for the last three years in the promotion of IoT and Big Data solutions for the Energy, Smart City and Agrifood sectors. In collaboration with the Technological University of Chile, Inacap has developed this course.

The course is divided into 4 modules, to be completed during 4 weeks time. Each module is completed with explanatory videos, complementary material and evaluation activities. A in-depth description of the course and a detailed overview of each module is accessible here (in Spanish). The aim of the MOOC is to provide the students with knowledge enough to start programming using FIWARE, and with the appropriate material in order to build the hardware necessary to carry out an IoT project.

Be part of this experience, starting April 3, 2017.
Apply now!

 Posted by at 12:01 pm
Dec 192016
 
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It is a joy to be entitled to write something like this: the 1st FIWARE Summit was a complete success!
And it is not only something that can be done… it’s a must! This is the appropriate time to point out who is responsible for the Summit surpassing our most optimistic predictions: you.
We would like to thank you as part of the FIWARE Open Community for making our first Summit an occasion to remember. We are still reviewing the main assets resulting from the event and we are also focusing on what should be improved for our future events.

At this moment, we can already share some figures: during the 3 days of the event, the Trade Fairs and Congress Center in Málaga gathered 300 participants from 18 countries. The summit comprised 39 tech sessions and 13 business sessions, with the participation of no less than 37 speakers and 32 technical experts. Additionally, 11 exhibitors were showcasing their powered by FIWARE solutions.

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Keynote speakers, how-to sessions, working meetings, a developers’ primer the first day, high-level panels on each one of the main verticals and programmes around FIWARE… and coffee breaks, lunches and an evening networking event with food, drinks and music! The 1st FIWARE Summit intended to be the most comprehensive experience possible for all and each one of the attendees.

We had the pleasure to be joined by the local and regional authorities, namely the Mayor of the City of Málaga, Francisco de la Torre Prados, and the representative of the Government of Andalucía, José Sánchez Maldonado (Regional Council for Work, Industry and Trade). Both of them spoke at the opening session, emphasizing the importance of the Summit for a smart city like Málaga and for a region that has always bet on the open technology, like Andalucía is.

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The FIWARE Foundation was represented by Ulrich Ahle (CEO), Stefano de Panfilis (COO), Juan José Hierro (CTO) and Hubert Tardieu (Atos CEO Advisor) as chairman of the FIWARE Foundation Board of Directors, also including Rosalía Simón (Smart Cities Director at Telefónica), Patrice Slupowski (VP Digital Innovation at Orange) and Dario Avallone (R&D Director at Engineering).

In the closing session of the event, Ahle reviewed the main announcements that were made at the Summit. We will be going over all of them in detail, through a series of individual posts. But let’s summarize now what the different initiatives and programmes were presenting.

In brief, FIWARE announced:

  • The FIWARE Accelerate programme gets renewed, with two spin-off projects: IMPACT Growth and Frontier Cities 2. With more than 5M € to be distributed supporting powered by FIWARE projects, the new calls are announced to be open by the beginning of 2017. Frontier Cities 2 will be focusing on developing solutions for the urban communities, while IMPACT Growth will be accelerating startups across different sectors, including Smart Cities, Smart Manufacturing, Smart Agrifood and Smart Content Verticals.
     
  • The FIWARE Mundus Committee will continue promoting the usage of FIWARE and the set-up of the FIWARE ecosystems at global level. FIWARE Mundus will seek to enlarge international membership, explore common business opportunities and foster FIWARE nodes and FIWARE instances installations around the Globe. With Jacques Magen (InterInnov, FI-GLOBAL) as its provisional chairman, the Mundus Committee presented the ongoing initiatives worldwide and the list of action points to be taken in the short and long-term.
     
  • The FIWARE iHub programme, designed to act upon the global FIWARE strategy, but at a local level. With the iHubs as physical meeting points for the community, the programme aims to show the path by example, offering coaching and training for developers and SMEs, organizing hackathons, collaborating with universities, showcasing commercial solutions, etc. Also, the FIWARE Zone initiative was presented, starting with two innovation centers in Málaga and Sevilla.
     
  • The FIWARE Marketplace was launched during the FIWARE Summit, as a tool to help finding out who is offering solutions and services based on our open source technology.  It comprise a list of Powered by FIWARE solutions, FIWARE IoT-ready device manufacturers and providers of both Training and Consultancy/Integration services. The FIWARE Foundation will soon offer professional certifications for FIWARE trainers and certifiers.
     
  • The FIWARE Foundation, that was set in motion by the Core Industry Group members (Atos, Engineering, Orange and Telefónica) is now joined by more Gold and individual members. FundingBox –the public funding platform upholding the IMPACT Growth accelerator–, Smart Cities Lab –the think-tank that is currently running the FIWARE activities undergoing in India– and Zabala Innovation Consultingformerly leading Finodex, the Open Data accelerator– joined as Gold Members. Plus 37 individual members who also have joined the Foundation.
     
  • Finally, the Foundation announced the 2nd FIWARE Summit, to take place in Berlin by the end of May 2017. Save the date in your agendas!

_o3a1922We have published a video overviewing what happened in Málaga. You will find it at the end of this post.
Each one of the activities in the main rooms were recorded in video. The first day developers’ prime and the panels on days 2 and 3 were live-streamed. You can find them now, in a rough edit, on our YouTube channel. Soon, individually edited videos will be shared.
Also, we will be publishing each one of the presentations that were shown at the event. Find them linked on the event’s agenda.

After all this, after all the excitement, the good news and the hard work, it is probably the perfect time to think not only about the FIWARE Community: take a minute now and think about all the people in your life. How did you initially meet? What brought you closer together? From shared interests to specific events, from scheduled activities to casual networking. Each occurrence that build upon the trust, the knowledge, the reciprocity and shared best practices that improves the quality of life within a human ecosystem and make a project thriving and resilient.

Personal relationships are built on a day-by-day basis. And a community like ours is worthing a lot more when it manages to reach new contributors, to convince them to join in and, at the same time, the engagement between present and future members is deepened.
The 1st FIWARE Summit has accomplished to do that, enriching our social capital. And that should mark the biggest difference between having a good… or a great future ahead!

_o3a2577With events like this Summit, the community members will be able to keep creating their own value. The platform will be strengthening. The technology will keep advancing and being adopted. New partnerships will be started and people new to and interested in FIWARE will find a perfect chance to be joining the community, joining our global ecosystem. In Málaga, during each one of the sessions, there was a sense of great attention and the will to participate, to be enhancing the hands-on learning process about FIWARE, thus greatly improving the direct and institutional communication and the relationship within the Open Community, always based on merit, transparency and trust.

For the 2nd FIWARE Summit we are looking forward to offer an even better experience for the community members. So, please, if you were present at the 1st Summit in Málaga or followed it online, or maybe you have a notion about how to improve the involvement and participation for the attendants… just write us! Send an email to the FIWARE Press Office.
We will love to receive your ideas and we are counting on your support to make the encounter in Berlin the perfect place and time to gather and to keep moving forward. Thank you in advance and thank you, again, for making this 1st FIWARE Summit a great success.

Together, we build FIWARE! And the best is yet to come.

FIWARE Bounty Programme: New Prizes for Developers

 Blog, Bounty Programme, Developers  Comments Off on FIWARE Bounty Programme: New Prizes for Developers
Nov 222016
 
Hacker using laptop. Lots of digits on the computer screen.

Our first Bounty Programme was launched some months ago with the aim to engage external contributors in the development of the FIWARE Open Source technologies. The Programme also focus on enlarging the Community, by encouraging and rewarding developers and researchers, eager to take part and to help making FIWARE online environment more secure, improving the performance and quality of the Platform.

In a recent interview, José Manuel Cantera, Technological Expert with Telefónica and responsible for the FIWARE Bounty Programme, reviewed the main outcomes and prospects of the Programme after its opening results: “This is the first edition and our aspiration is to keep it permanently open”. Initially the tasks were divided in two groups: temporary and permanent bounties. Now the works around the Programme intend to be continuous, reaching and gaining new collaborators while engaging the already awarded contributors to participate again, finding and solving more issues.

“The Bounty Programme needs the cooperation of the FIWARE projects, so that they are prepared to accept contributions coming from developers which are not in their core team. Furthermore, they should increase the level of transparency and openness, providing information about what tasks are suitable for being developed by an external contributor” –explained Cantera, emphasizing the role of the Bounty Programme in the enlargement of the FIWARE developers’ global team–. “Core team members should be willing to help non experienced contributors. That way a greater community will be gradually created.”

bannerbounti_1180x596_v03Now, the Bounty Programme announces some attractive changes around how it would be rewarding contributions. Now, every time someone solves a defined task, the prize money would increase! Here is how it works:

  • When a contributor has successfully completed his or her first task, the contributor will get the amount listed for that task.
  • After that first completed task, if the contributor comes back and solves a different task, he or she will get twice the amount earmarked for that task.
  • After that second completed task, if the contributor comes back and solves a different task, he or she will get three times the amount earmarked for that task.
  • Any subsequent task completions will be capped at three times the amount earmarked for that task.

To know more about the different tasks available, check out the Bounty Shortlist.

Asked about if there are areas or tasks that should receive more attention, now that the Bounty Programme keeps progressing, Jose Manuel Cantera points out two: “One area on which I would like to see improvement is on code contributions to FIWARE Generic Enablers. To this aim we have created (already in a draft state) the guide for contributors. Another area with great potential for external contributions are tutorials, blog posts and presentations. FIWARE technologies need more dissemination work and I think the community has to play an important role in this regard.”

The Bounty Programme is on and it could be your opportunity to take part in the advancement of FIWARE, to be recognized and be paid for it. Join in, apply now!

 Posted by at 12:54 pm

Assessing FIWARE GEs Quality

 APIs, Developers, Experimentation, GEs, NGSI  Comments Off on Assessing FIWARE GEs Quality
Sep 202016
 
Blue technology background with a bright piece.

FIWARE is rapidly moving from experimental to production environments in which the platform must scale in reliable and real workload conditions. This fact implies that all FIWARE GEris must work at an adequate quality, reliability and at performance level appropriate for these conditions. A dedicated activity has been launched in the framework of the initiative to analyze and assess the level of quality of each GE, providing diverse kind of reports and an assessment dashboard.

The quality is evaluated from different points of view:

  • Curation of GEs documentation (documentation testing), both inspecting the code and the accompanying documentation (installation manuals, user guidelines, and similar). The goal of this assessment is to support FIWARE users with high-quality support for installation, configuration and operation of FIWARE technology, thereby improving the FIWARE user experience in general.
  • Verification of the GE specification (functional testing), developing the appropriate test cases to assess if the GEs implementation corresponds to what is defined in the specification.
  • Assessment of performance, stability and scalability of GEs in operational environments, like under excessive workload (stress testing). Test scenarios are defined and executed such that limits of a GE under test are identified, and can be compared with reference levels. The goal of this assessment is to favor the applicability of FIWARE in purely commercial scenarios.

overallfunctionalThe testing of the documentation and verification has been done for all GE not deprecated in FIWARE Catalogue (28 in total). Three phases are required to complete the QA functional test process. The first phase verifies for each GE the completeness of documentation, the consistency of artefacts and the soundness of information.  The usability of documentation, by example, in case of installation manual is checked installing step by step the GE. In the second phase specific method calls verify the single APIs and the response correctness of each GEs. The last phase consists of functional verifications based on reference architectures integrating some GEs. As result a live dashboard collects and maintains the assessment information and GE owners are punctually requested to correct the encountered deficiencies. The 90% of the high priority GEs has passed successfully the documentation and verification tests. The medium and low priority GEs are above 70% of success but they are working on solving the issues

post-ges-2On the other hand, the stress testing has been performed only for those GEs most critical in terms of performance in the overall architecture. An iterative process and operative methodology have been put in place, obtaining after each iteration, a complete report with the measures obtained after stress test and analysis of the data. The reports are sent to the GE owners for considering improvements about performance and stability for next release. Three iterations will be achieved before end of September this year: one took place in February testing 9 GEs (Orion, Proton, Aeron, IDAS, Kurento, Wilma, KeyRock, Cepheus, Bosun); the second one in May testing new versions of these GEs; and final one due by September testing again a new updated version of these GEs plus two more identified (AuthZForce and Cygnus) and more frequent combination of GEs.

Once the first iteration of stress testing was conducted, a quality assurance expert was consulted for carrying out an independent assessment of the followed process and executed tests to produce an assessment of the achieved work. The main conclusions of his assessment were:

  • Important performance borders were identified
  • Robustness of use within bounds was shown
  • Documentation needs to be improved

According to this assessment, FIWARE GEs are fit for being released in a commercial operational environment with some adjustments. A new external independent assessment is currently being requested after second iteration.

http://i2.wp.com/sigspl.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/spl_cert.pngpost-ges-3As part of the overall testing process and based on the obtained results in the three aspects (documentation, verification and stress) above mentioned, an overall label of quality is granted to each GE. This global label represents the degree of quality of the GE by adopting the energy labelling system[1] used by EU for devices. Specific labels for each analyzed category (usability, reliability, efficiency, scalability, performance and stability) are also granted. Thus, in the Catalogue each GE will be labelled with a global label expanded by clicking of detailed labels map.

Now, after two phases in the process some overall conclusions can be stated. There exists a significant heterogeneity in the GEs quality, having more mature GEs and ready for market than others. There is still room for improvement in documentation and support for most of the GEs, which is currently in progress thanks to this activity. It can be also stated significant improvements in performance from first iteration to the second one, due to the following of recommendations in first iteration testing report by the GE responsible, which is also a demonstration of the value this activity can bring to FIWARE.

In near future, the main focus will be to enlarge number and type of tests and to automate the tests as much as possible, but in the meantime a set of guidelines have been created in order to be able to replicate all the conducted tests by anyone. All the tests and code are already public in FIWARE software repository and all the reports available through the FIWARE wiki.

For further information:

  • GitHub repository containing all docs (guidelines) and scripts (to run the tests) about non functional testing task (stress tests)
     
  • All the reports, up to date, in Docman, under Quality Assurance folder.
     
  • The FIWARE Quality Assurance chapter in our wiki.

[1] Figure under Common Creatives Share-Alike license by sigspl.org

Towards schema.fiware.org

 APIs, Big Data, Blog, Developers, IoT, NGSI  Comments Off on Towards schema.fiware.org
Sep 022016
 
Cyber space with hexadecimal code as digital background

In previous blog posts the benefits of NGSI version 2 have been described, as a harmonized API for IoT Big Data ecosystems and particularly for exposing real time context information. Harmonized APIs are a necessary but not sufficient condition to foster developer-friendly IoT Big Data Ecosystems, which enable building smart applications.
If data models are not harmonized, developers, in practice, get forced to change their application when porting it to another context (E.g. a different city).

Harmonizing data models means creating a shared vocabulary of terms and relationships that provide uniformity on the representation of different concepts: parking, public transport, weather… Harmonized APIs and data models, together, will enable the creation of smart applications that are portable at data level.

The FIWARE community has started an agile, implementation-driven process, to devise harmonized data models. Focusing initially on the smart city domain, the work is evolving on a daily basis and it is being registered on the documentation hosted in the related Github repository. Such documentation is currently written in markdown format and published to a readthedocs site.
There is also a landing page /data-models (to be redirected from http://schema.fiware.org, as per schema.org recommendations) which provides fast and convenient access to the different data models.
Such data models are published under the Creative Commons by Attribution License.

The design principles behind the FIWARE data models promote reuse, thus existing vocabularies, especially schema.org, have been adopted and leveraged. Other design principles are flexibility and simplicity, enabling a phased adoption by data providers and applications.

A first, draft version of the following models has already been provided:

  • Parking. They allow to model on street and off street parking areas. The data models reuse parts of the vocabulary defined by DATEX II

  • Waste Management. It is intended to model all the assets intervening on (municipal) waste management (containers, isles, etc.)

  • Streetlighting. They model urban streetlights and certain aspects of their controlling equipment

  • Civic Issue Tracking, leveraging the popular Open311 de facto standard to meet NGSIv2

  • Key Performance Indicators, to model performance measurements appropriately

  • Water Quality. Captures different observed measurements (ph, conductivity, etc.) about the quality of water in rivers and lakes, or water intended to human consumption

Other data models to be developed and documented are Weather, Environment, Alarms, Devices or Parks & Gardens. Contributions, in the form of Github pull requests, are encouraged.

It is noteworthy that, at the time of writing, different FIWARE community members and telco operators worldwide (with GSMA support) are starting to experiment in real applications with the referred data models. As a result, valuable feedback can be obtained in order to refine them. The final aim is to contribute these data models to standards organizations, industry associations (particularly GSMA) or global community-driven efforts (schema.org).

José Manuel Cantera – Technological Expert. FIWARE Team

Reimagining the City as Platform: How VM9 Are Reimagining What Cities Can Do

 Blog, Developers, IoT, myFIWAREstory, SmartCities, Success Story  Comments Off on Reimagining the City as Platform: How VM9 Are Reimagining What Cities Can Do
Jul 282016
 
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FIWARE is helping power a major new city initiative that is helping one Brazilian city embark on an ambitious city-as-platform approach. The Brazilian startup VM9 is creating a smart cities platform that has already been adopted by the Brazilian city of Nova Friburgo, in Rio de Janeiro.

VM9 are currently working with Nova Friburgo to establish a digital interface for citizens to connect with the local municipality and to carry out tasks like checking and providing feedback on planning legislation, creating their own maps, or making a public service request.

Citizen Portal: Meio Ambiente Digital

“The Municipal Secretary of Environment and Sustainable Urban Development (“Secretaria do Meio Ambiente”) is the organ of municipal government in Nova Friburgo responsible for a great number of activities related to territorial management, including licensing and civil constructions monitoring, supervision of environment preservation areas, and urban planning”, explains Marcos Marconi, Founder and IT coordinator at VM9.

meioambientedigital

The Municipal Secretary of Environment and Sustainable Urban Development uses the VM9 Smart Cities Platform to provide better services to citizens and improve internal productivity through the portal Meio Ambiente Digital.

Marconi says the current project for the digital portal has been divided into two phases. He explains:

The first objectives are: 

  • To construct a robust municipal geospatial database to be publish for citizens and provide internal support for technicians of the Secretary during approval process of licensing and others, and 
  • To simplify and improve the services offered for citizens from digital workflows of public requests and enhance internal management.

The second phase will start in 2017 and will be used to monitor air and water quality, environmental conditions, etc and to publish information to citizens through a variety of communication channels.

Marconi says that as a pilot project, Meio Ambiente Digital is already receiving much interest and praise.

Government and City as a Platform

In 2013, media publisher and tech visionary Tim O’Reilly wrote a key paper on “Government as a Platform”. This seminal text summarised the many global initiatives that demonstrate an emerging new approach to how government services are created and delivered. Instead of citizens being receivers of government services — with their main input being to vote every election cycle — O’Reilly envisions a new approach to government where “Internet technologies will allow us to rebuild the kind of participatory government”. O’Reilly describes the concept of Government as a Platform:

There is a new compact on the horizon: information produced by and on behalf of citizens is the lifeblood of the economy and the nation; government has a responsibility to treat that information as a national asset. Citizens are connected like never before and have the skill sets and passion to solve problems affecting them locally as well as nationally. Government information and services can be provided to citizens where and when they need them. Citizens are empowered to spark the innovation that will result in an improved approach to governance. In this model, government is a convener and an enabler rather than the first mover of civic action.

O’Reilly’s paper has encouraged the then-fledgling civic tech movement to evolve even further, and while we are still at the start of this journey, there are now many tech startups (like VM9) around the world focused on helping government engage with citizens and help citizens co-create government services and participatory mechanisms.

These ideas of government-as-a-platform are also being thought of in terms of the “City as a Platform”. In many ways, cities may be faster at being able to take up the challenge of evolving into platforms. Government institutions can be huge monoliths that must meet the diverse needs of a geographically dispersed population. Cities, on the other hand, are where we live, work, and play every day and are at a much more human scale of participation. We all want a say over the areas we live in, how accessible is our transport and walkability, our access to resources like schools, supermarkets, and childcare, our local air and water quality, our safety, and our free movement and leisure opportunities. 

A recent research report by David Bollier for the Aspen Institute says that implementing the vision of cities as platforms is underway, but, again, still in its initial stage:

Historically, cities have been governed through nineteenth and twentieth-century ideas of civic organization and social norms. Much revolves around representative governance and centrally directed bureaucracies overseen by experts using strict, formal rules of procedure. Conceiving of cities as platforms represents a significant shift in how cities might function. An open platform honours self-organized, bottom-up participation in the style of open source software, for example. It regards rigid and complex rule-sets and non-transparency as irksome impediments.

VM9 as a City Platform Hub

Startups like VM9 are leveraging FIWARE to help cities implement this new platform model.

To make the ambitious project achievable, the VM9 team has divided its scope into 5 interconnected project areas, with each also able to operate as independent services.

VM9Marconi lists these five areas as:

1. Internet of Things (IoT)

This module — called FI-Guardian“is totally based on FIWARE GEs”, says Marconi. “It is being developed in partnership with the Federal University of Uberlândia (UFU) with a grant provided by National Council of Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) under the Human Resources in Strategic Areas (RHAE) initiative. The FIWARE components are deployed in the FIWARE Lab infrastructure hosted by UFU”.

Marconi shares an early iteration of how the IoT Module makes use of FIWARE to create an IoT module for use by the city and its partners:

FI-GUARDIAN.jpg

2. Web Geographic Information System (WebGIS)  

 

“Here we have a WebGIS module which manages a GeoSpatial Database to deliver interfaces to citizens as interactive maps, geospatial searches, and geoinformation publishing”, Marconi explains. In this way it can be used completely independently, but Marconi also says as part of the platform it is integrated with the business process management project to “create a powerful Territorial Intelligence System which helps analysts and technicians to conclude analyses about processes related to urban planning and city growth".

3. Business Process Management (BPM)

This is at the core of the first phase of Meio Ambiente Digital and is an excellent real world example of what city-as-a-platform can mean in practice. “It lets citizens make administrative requirements for the government, monitor the progress of processes, printing payslips, make online payments, and fulfil desired requirements. This could include building approvals, obtaining environmental licenses, any procedures that need administrative interaction between governments and citizens. It is based on an smart motor of logical workflow controls, dynamic and configurable forms, notifications panels, permission rules, and level of authorities. With this module, institutions can become more efficient and, at the same time, deliver comfort and simplicity to citizens and customers”, says Marconi. 

4. Electronic Content Management (ECM)

This delivers an advanced system to create interrelationship between contents (photos, videos, sites and documents in general) and geographic data, in order to structure rich computerized geographical information databases to be published to citizens or used for technical teams, in order to qualifies digital workflows”.

5. Digital Communication Management (DCM)

This area will connect the IoT module — for example, for measuring air and water quality and environmental conditions — with communication channels that share the information in an accessible format to citizens and business.

In stage one, the focus is on the WebGIS (project 2), automated workflows for citizen engagement with planning and service requests (project 3) and content management that supports these areas (project 4). 

Marconi says modules 2, 3, and 4 are all now working and available to citizens, having been deployed on April 18th this year.

In early 2017, VM9 will focus on the IoT (project 1) as document communication (project 5).

FIWARE generic enablers, such as the GIS Data Provider GE, are being used to power the current work in stage one to enable citizens to create their own maps through the Meio Ambiente platform. “We also have the strong intention to use Kurento GE in the project related to Digital Communication Management”, says Marconi.

A true smart city platform solution goes beyond efficiency of public service delivery to look at local economic development opportunities, and Marconi is excited about the work that VM9 has planned in this regard:

"Combos IOT is the next challenge for VM9. These will be pre-built packages of hardware and software, integrated with the VM9 Platform and focused on specific needs of the market, such as: environmental monitoring, health, urban mobility, etc. The objective is to simplify and accelerate the IoT adoption for our customers, through the delivery of complete solutions (plug-and-play) for specific IoT vertical markets".

VM9Team

The VM9 team is now racing to complete all module work by March 2017.

Presentation of FIWARE Lab Multi-Region Cloud Reviewed by OpenStack Superuser

 Cloud, Conference, Developers, events, Experimentation, OpenStack  Comments Off on Presentation of FIWARE Lab Multi-Region Cloud Reviewed by OpenStack Superuser
Jul 142016
 
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A few dates ago Fernando López Aguilar, Technology Expert at Telefónica I+D, shared an article summarizing the participation of FIWARE in the OpenStack Summit, through the presentation that Silvio Cretti, from CREATE-NET, delivered at the event, about FIWARE and its experimentation environment: the FIWARE Lab.

Now an extensive review around that presentation has been published by OpenStack Superuser, a comprehensive reference site for the OpenStack users, external to ours. Finding out new links and a growing mutual interest between two innovative Open Source communities is always exciting.

yf5ghoqw9rblbvfigyvnMeaningfully, Fernando presented it to the FIWARE audience with the following words: “I would like to share with you an important milestone that was obtained for our FIWARE Cloud, FIWARE Ops and FIWARE Lab teams. An external and important site, OpenStack Superuser has just written an article about our FIWARE Lab Federation Monitoring solution based on our changes in OpenStack Ceilometer and Monasca services taking our presentation in the past OpenStack Summit”.

The complete article could be read here:
http://superuser.openstack.org/articles/monitoring-a-multi-region-cloud-based-on-openstack

The OpenStack Foundation created the Superuser site to facilitate the knowledge sharing and the collaborative problem solving, among individuals who are running OpenStack clouds and work within the cloud-based infrastructure across all industries. Usual topics could range from how-tos and case studies, to broader issues like organizational culture and vendor management.

“I do not want to finish this message without a recognition to our team” –López Aguilar pointed out– “especially to Silvio Cretti, Daniele Santoro, Pablo Rodríguez Archilla and José Ignacio Carretero Guarde for their effort to achieve this landmark”.