From 13th to 15th December, members of the global FIWARE community are meeting in Malaga for three days to shape the smart solutions of the future that will lay the foundations for the new digital economy.
Developers, accelerators, users, companies, cities, start-ups, public authorities and non-profit organizations will all share their experiences and debate the impact of the Smart Solutions in the ICT field and the need to adopt a standard for the building of a unique digital market that favours interconnectivity and replicability together with innovation and growth.
What is FIWARE?
Born in Europe but with global ambition and currently strongly supported by both the European Commission and by leading companies in the ICT sector, the FIWARE community has as its mission the building of open source software that will become a universal standard for the development of services and smart applications in the new digital era. The recently created FIWARE Foundation is an independent body that promotes the development, distribution and adoption of FIWARE technologies, providing support to the growing community that is behind it.
Since its origin, this platform has generated a strong ecosystem of developers and entrepreneurs who will meet in the Palacio de Ferias y Congresos in Malaga (Trade Fairs and Congress Centre of Malaga) from 13th to 15th December. This meeting is the first in a series of six-monthly events organized by the Foundation, and marks the beginning of a new era for the FIWARE community, encompassing not only developers of open source code associated with the platform, but also all those who work to promote the adoption of technology.
The I FIWARE Summit will be structured in a series of talks given by experts that, together with the testimony of users in the sectors of industry, cities and agriculture, will show the full potential of FIWARE. In addition, there will be a series of working meetings to coordinate the present and future actions of the community, as well as a space for learning, exchange and creation that will enable developers to acquire the necessary knowledge to create smart, innovative solutions using FIWARE. The event will see the launch of the marketplace, a new service that will allow developers of solutions, manufacturers of compatible sensors, and suppliers to the platform, to publicize and disseminate what they offer that is based on or compatible with FIWARE.
Currently FIWARE is in a process of expansion through a global community with nodes and innovation centres that extend across all continents. The deployment of experimentation environments (FIWARE Labs) now includes centres in more than thirty countries. FIWARE also continues to increase its scope through strategic alliances around the world with clusters, governments and associations.
In recent years, FIWARE has established itself as an open source platform of global reach that, today, has materialized its innovation in 42 software components in service to developers, businesses and industry. The full potential of FIWARE and its solidity as a model was highlighted recently by the European Commission and the White House, and is backed by various organizations such as GSMA, TM Forum and NIST, the US National Institute of Standards and Technology. What began as a technological project with open source software for developers, is today a strong example and model of collaboration through public-private and strategic alliances – a global model that translates into visible results.
Perhaps the most tangible example is the FIWARE Accelerator Programme, addressed at promoting the growth of SMEs and start-ups that opt for the use of FIWARE technology in the development of their solutions and applications. Since its launch in September 2014, the programme has received more than 10,000 applications in different calls for proposals launched by 16 accelerators throughout Europe. Additionally, it has mobilized almost 100 million euros to launch more than 1,000 start-ups. For 2017, a new round of funding consisting of 5 million euros is planned to continue to support the adoption of FIWARE technology in the field of smart cities and the development of smart solutions for the agrifood and industrial sectors.
After outlining the current state of the FIWARE ecosystem in the world, the planned presentations will primarily focus on three of the key sectorial axes of its strategic positioning and its present and future development: Smart Cities, Agrifood and Manufacturing.
Smart cities: Cities will have a smart future or none.
The potential of FIWARE for the growth and sustainable development of Smart Cities is already a reality backed by more than 100 cities around the world. Among them are Spanish cities such as Valencia, Seville, Santander, or Malaga itself, which is hosting this meeting.
The adoption of common mechanisms that enable solutions to be replicated between cities and to be interconnected within a single city are two of the principles behind the Open and Agile Smart Cities (OASC) initiative. The cities that have joined this initiative have agreed to the use of a standard API that is part of FIWARE, as a mechanism for accessing the information that describes what is going on in the city, in real time. In addition, the cities are collaborating in the definition of a set of descriptive data models showing the state of the city and its management indicators. This also involves committing to the adoption of APIs and platforms for the publication of this data, thus allowing third parties to commercially exploit, without difficulty, all the contextual information that feeds the abovementioned applications and solutions, making them capable of converting a city into a genuine engine of development.
The Smart Cities panel will focus on collaboration between cities and the opportunities this offers FIWARE when it comes to creating an expansive view of Smart urban communities, looking at the specific cases of cities such as Genoa, Oporto or Ancona.
The agrifood and industrial sectors also want to be smart
The agrifood industry is experiencing huge development in digitalization, focused on improving the efficiency of the cultivation and distribution of products, achieving better management and promoting solutions easily deployable in developing countries. In fact, this sector was worth almost 750 million euros in 2015, and by 2020 is expected to increase its profits to 2,800 million (source: Machina Research). As was previously the case with Smart Cities, in the smart agriculture sector ICT solutions are solving many problems in isolation, preventing the creation of common spaces of exchange or marketplaces of open data. This considerably reduces innovation due to difficulties in accessing all the data and the services of the entire ecosystem. It is also essential to reduce barriers for developers, providing them with technologies that facilitate connection through sensors and the large-scale management (Big Data) of the information collected through the sensors, and through other sources of information.
In the field of industry, the interconnection between each company's own systems, and the systems of other relevant actors in the value chain is of vital importance, going beyond the company’s internal communication, its communication with its providers, and the traditional management of the client relationship, by exploiting all the contextual information that accompanies the production, distribution and consumption of products. Thus, the companies manufacturing the products in the digital world of the future must not only focus on the automation of the processes of manufacture and distribution of the products, but also on the added value that comes with the exploitation of information on who is consuming their products, when, where, and how.
FIWARE responds to the challenges in both sectors, facilitating the connection to the Internet of Things (IoT), the processing and analysis of contextual information in real time on a large scale (Big Data), and the incorporation of advanced functions for user interaction. Its FIWARE IoT-Ready Programme is aimed at facilitating information from suppliers of IoT devices so that they can connect to applications based on FIWARE with minimal configuration (plug&play). The use of the platform in conjunction with FIWARE IoT-ready devices, means that the development of solutions based on the use of sensors is a lot easier and developers do not have to face the complexity involved in studying and using different IoT communication protocols. Likewise, the use of FIWARE allows them to link and enable dialogue between different solutions in the different vertical sectors (Smart Cities, Smart Industry, Smart Agrifood), allowing developers to create ingenious holistic systems, based on the combination and exploitation of information and offering a field of possibilities unseen before now.
To close the I FIWARE Summit, on Thursday 15th, two discussion panels will focus on explaining how developers of solutions based on FIWARE (Powered by FIWARE Solutions), manufacturers of compatible devices (FIWARE IoT-ready Programme) and suppliers can share information about their offer in the FIWARE Marketplace, as well as analysing the level of adoption of FIWARE as the "de-facto" standard in various sectors, with the participation of representatives of OASC (Open and Agile Smart Cities Initiative), TM Forum, IES-CITY and GSMA.