Neelie Kroes: “FI-WARE is ‘open’ for business! €80 million on offer for startups and small business”

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Jul 152014
FI-WARE is open for business.

SourceNeelie Kroes Blog

Are you a startup or small business with a bright idea for a new app or service? Want to get your hands on the tools to make that a reality – or the chance for a share of €80 million to get you started? If so, we have a great opportunity for you!

Whether it's smart cities or the internet of things – there are many great innovative ideas and apps out there. But many of them rely on the same "generic" enablers, basic building blocks from which you can create great things.

And this is where we can help. FI-WARE is a "toolbox" making all those building blocks available to use and innovate with, open, fast, interoperable, reusable, and reliable. Without the risk of getting "locked in" or dependent on one supplier. So you don't have to worry about fixing basic problems that others have already solved, but can focus on developing the specifics of your bright idea.

And you can try them all out at the FI-Lab. (All part of our Public-Private Partnership on the Future Internet—and of our commitment to helping EU entrepreneurs startup in Europe, and stay in Europe).

Many apps have already been built using these tools – from warning about earthquakes to helping taxi drivers. Below you can see the CEO of FoodLoop talk about how he used FI-WARE building blocks to support his own work:

But I know the building blocks are not enough – you need the resources to help you see your idea through. FI-WARE also offers business support, mentoring and the chance to network and share with your peers. And from September there will be €80 million of EU money available for around 1300 small businesses and web entrepreneurs using those FI-WARE tools. That money won't come direct from the EU: but via those best able to understand and support startup needs – accelerators. The full list of the 16 accelerators is here — with each able to have a different focus.

If you're interested in then try out some of our tools at the FI-Lab portal – and keep an eye out here for your chance to grab a share of €80 million!

“Smart Cities are of strategic interest for all of us” – FI-WARE for Smart Cities

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May 142014
Future Internet Opportunities for Smart Cities

The strategic interest of Smart Cities was the main theme of the seminar Future Internet Opportunities in Smart City Environments, held at the auditorium of the Spanish Secretary of State for Telecommunications and Information Society, in Madrid. Several speakers discussed the opportunities that Future Internet platforms (such as FI-WARE and its open ecosystem, FI-Lab) could bring to Spanish cities in order to provide better services for its citizens. 

Representatives from several cities in Spain (A Coruña, Valencia, Rivas-Vaciamadrid and Seville) spoke about their efforts and chosen solutions to build Smart City services in areas such as traffic, e-government, energy efficiency, public lighting or emergency management. They also reflected on the importance of Open Data and difficulties they had come accross, such as the lack of legal frameworks and the hard choice of deciding what platform adapts best to their local and regional needs.   

"We are working through trial and error. We know What we want, be we still have to figure out How we want to do it" said Juan Gascón, from AMETIC.  Francisco Ramírez, from the city of Seville, added "It is very important to share experiences between cities. We need to collaborate, work together, share lessons learned" 

During the session dedicated to technological platforms that make Smart City services possible, Francisco Jariego from Telefonica R&D, presented FI-WARE: A Can't-Miss Opportunity for Spain [slides in Spanish] Jariego started his speech describing his views on Smart Cities "Cities are the best innovation machine we've invented. Innovation happens in cities. And, although we all know that the word Smart has been abused, I want to reclaim its true meaning. Smart means intelligent, but it can also mean elegant. To me, it means to have Cities we actually want to live in" But in order to work towards Smart Cities he pointed out "Technology itself is not enough. The Ecosystem is key

Jariego explained why Telefonica is betting strongly on FI-WARE:

"FI-WARE is offering the technology and the ecosystem. On one hand, a technology with open specifications, driven by implementation. On the other, an experimental enviroment that contains real data from cities (…) built with participation from both large companies and SMEs, Universities and research centers"... He described FI-WARE as pan-European effort with a international vocation, and mentioned the agreements to have FI-Lab nodes in Mexico and Brazil as the first examples of FI-WARE's first steps towards internationalization across EU borders. 

To further explain the Future Internet European strategy, Jesus Villasante, from the European Commision, explained how the Future Internet Public-Private Partnership (FI-PPP) has been working on building this ambitious platform since 2011. "First of all, let me stress that FI-WARE is an open platform that comes from Europe. It does not belong to a single company, to a single country. It is European".

In 2011 we looked at several trends: computing capabilities and data growing as we've never seen before, the emergence of cloud computing, the internet of things… trends that are defining the Future of Internet. All of this is built in FI-WARE (…) an open technological infrastructure with 60 modules, called Generic Enablers, based on the most innovative technologies there are to date (…) We then had large scale trials across multiple domains  – health, energy, agrifood, multimedia… and after verifying the potential of the technology we are now expanding it, making it accessible, for free, to thousands of startups and web entrepreneurs that can generate the innovation ecosystems we need

Villasante then talked about the Future Internet Accelerator program that is being launched in Fall 2014, with 80 million euros in funding distributed through 16 Accelerators, each one specialized in different themes (from open data and smart cities to multimedia, from 3D printing to cleantech, healthcare, creativity, agrifood…) and in located all over Europe. 

Five representatives of Future Internet Accelerators (FINODEX, SOUL-FI, CREATI-FI, FI-ADOPT, FABULOUS) were also attended to speak at this seminar, and gave the audience in Madrid a glimpse of what will come starting September. 

Last but not least, Jesús Cañadas, from the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Energy and Toursim, and Tomás de Miguel, from red.ES,  announced that there will be simultaneous events dedicated to FI-WARE and FI-Lab in Spanish cities (Valencia, Seville and Las Palmas) with workshops, information sessions and hackathons.   

In conclusion, yesterday we saw how several Spanish cities, companies and public administrations have faith and great expectations on FI-WARE's growth. We have some very, very interesting years to come! 

Thanks to AMETIC, es.INTERNET, APROTECH2020, MINETUR, and CDTI for their support. 

Getting ready to support startups! Future Internet Accelerators meet in Barcelona

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May 122014
Disseny Barcelona

Last week we attended a very special workshop in Barcelona. As you might already know, starting this September, the Future Internet Public-Private Partnership is going to distribute 80 million euros in direct funding for SMEs and web entrepreneurs who build innovative internet applications with FI-WARE technology. How will this be done? Well, in order to reach out to as many Europeans entrepreneurs possible, the task has been asigned to sixteeen startup accelerators from all over Europe. 

Their mission will not only be publishing Open Calls this fall that distribute the funding, they will also provide mentorship and coaching so each selected startup or web entrepreneur makes the most of FI-WARE technology and can achieve tangible success in their innovative Future Internet projects and businesses.

The final ambition: to have at least 1,300 businesses to be accelerated by 2016

During two days all accelerators got together with European Commision representatives, FI-WARE technology experts and independent advisors in a workshop that took place in the Disseny Hub building, in Barcelona's Institute of Culture. 

Future Internet Accelerators

The workshop addressed several key issues, such as – how to create synergies between accelerators, which dates will the Open Call start and finish, how will startups submit their proposals, what criteria will take place in the evaluation processes, how will they reach out and spread the word of their Open Calls?…

Independent advisors, successful entrepreneurs and venture capitalists shared their expertize to support the programme. Through panel discussions, participants shared ideas and opinions on how to build a profitable businesses and what really makes a startup successful. There were also interesting discussions around the difficult early stages of a startup, when cash flow is still negative, or what advanced marketing strategies can be used to deliver innovative products to customers. 

Future Internet AcceleratorsOn the last day of the workshop the Future Internet Accelerators shared practical information such as their acceleration methodology, target markets or staff that will be involved in the execution.

The result of all these conversations was a fruitful exchange of views and ideas, extremely productive and motivating for all participants. Such a wide and interdisciplinary exchange of information made the Future Internet Accelerators take home valuable advice and feel great enthusiasm for the job ahead!  

More work groups will take place until September 2014 – the launch date of the Future Internet programme. Until then: stay tunned for more information that will be released on how to submit your project for the upcoming Open Calls!  

FI-WARE, FI-Lab and FI-Ops at the European Conference on the Future Internet in Brussels

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Apr 132014
ECFI1 in Brussels

With the title Open APIs and Open Minds: Success stories of today, opportunities for tomorrow FI-WARE held a session at the 1st European Conference on the Future Internet (ECFI1) in Brussels with several presentations that gave a broad perspective of what FI-WARE is, what achievements we've had until now and what we are aiming to in the next years. 

The audience at ECFI had the chance to listen to several points of view from different speakers involved in FI-WARE. The architechture and technological infraestructure, experiences from European cities that have adopted FI-WARE for some of their Smart City projects (in this presentation we had Trento), the tools that FI-Ops will provide and, last but not least, the experiences of entrepreneurs that have built and tested their innovative applications on FI-Lab while winning our previous FI-WARE Challenges. All of them gave their insight on the several pieces we are aligning for FI-WARE "rubik cube". 

 First of all, here's a brief explanation of the 3 keys of this session: 

  • FI-WARE is an OpenStack-based cloud infrastructure complemented with a rich set of Generic Enablers easing the creation and delivery of Future Internet applications and services at a large scale. FI-WARE API specifications are public and royalty-free, each one driven by the development of an open source reference implementation. 
  • FI-Lab is working instance of FI-WARE enabling free experimentation with FI-WARE technologies. FI-Lab is a place where developers and entrepreneurs can meet potential customers, investors and data providers to showcase their applications.  A genuine meeting point for innovation on the Internet.
  • FI-Ops is a collection of tools that ease the deployment, setup, and operation of FI-WARE instances by Platform Providers. FI-Ops is the suite of tools used to build and operate the distributed Cloud linked to FI-Lab.

All conferences were recorded and are available at ECFI's website and the FI-PPP's youtube channel. Below these lines you can watch the conferences that were given on Thursday, April 3rd. 

Welcome and Introduction to the session –  Nuria de Lama, Atos, FI-WARE

Open APIs as one of the elements of the available results

A guide to the technical part that supports the FI-WARE philosophy. This part of the session will extend the concepts and explanations introduced in the plenary presentation about the three brands and all the resources around. It will provide a sound technical overview of this Future Internet Open Innovation ecosystem. It is an essential training for anyone who wants to understand how to use FI-WARE technology and how to get started with FI-LAB.

FI-Lab: a guide to the most exciting Future Internet ecosystem – Juanjo Hierro, Telefonica, FI-WARE Coordinator

FI-OPS: access from everywhere in Europe – Silvio Cretti, Create-Net, XIFI


Open Minds and success stories of today

This part of the session changes the focus dramatically. It jumps from the suppliers to the real users and players of the Innovation ecosystem. On the one hand we had representatives of startups (FoodLoop and SmarTaxi) and on the other hand, on the other hand pplication sponsors, in this case a Public Administration (the city of Trento). First-hand information about the most compelling applications already developed on top of FI-WARE technology and their benefits.

The ultimate solution for Smart Cities – Marco Pistore, Research Director, Fondazione Bruno Kessler – Trento

FI-WARE in practice – FoodLoop: example of value for business – Christoph Müller-Dechent, CEO FoodLoop Mobile Solutions Inc

FI-WARE in practice – SmartTaxi: the value for a developer – Jerónimo Tocado, TIA

Opportunities for tomorrow

What you have seen until now is only the beginning of the story, and that is why this part of the session provided information on coming opportunities to become part of the community in an active way. With a special mention to the upcoming FI-WARE Challenges (Smart Society and FI-WARE Excellence) 

How to engage with us: opportunities for collaboration – Nuria de Lama, Atos, FI-WARE

FI-WARE meets entrepreneurs in Seville and announces expansion of FI-Lab

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Mar 172014
Seville FI-WARE

Today, March 17th, it is a special day for FI-WARE because the city of Seville inaugurates one of the first nodes that will considerably expand the computing capacity of FI-Lab, the open innovation environment where developers can experiment with FI-WARE technologies and the ecosystem where entrepreneurs can get in touch with potential investors and clients.

You can download a Press Kit here.

The inauguration of this first node (data-center) represents the initial stages of FI-Lab’s expansion all over Europe. A first phase of this expansion will consist in the connection of a series of data centers located in Spain operated by (in the cities of Seville, Malaga, Las Palmas and Santander).  The expansion of the computing capacity provided by the FI-Lab datacenter located in Seville has been achieved thanks to an agreement signed between the Seville city council and

Following this, FI-Lab will expand throughout Europe creating a powerful network of datacenters in other regions that have joined forces to promote the adoption of FI-WARE as an open standard. The FI-PPP, via the XiFi project, launched an Open Call to identify different entities that provide and operate new data centers in Greece, Italy, the Czech Republic and other countries in Europe, further expanding FI-Lab’s computing capacity.

FI-Lab also allows cities, administrations, companies and other organizations to upload open data that may help entrepreneurs to develop innovative applications. So far, ​​arrangements have already been made for a large number of cities to publish open data through FI-Lab, answering the call made by European Commissioner Neelie Kroes made when she launched the European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities, back in September 2013.  This way, third parties can develop applications based on FI-WARE that enable a more efficient management of municipal services or bring innovative services that are useful to citizens.  The initial set of cities include Sevilla, Málaga, Santander, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Valencia, Trento, Torino, Espoo or Lisbon.

2014 is a key year for the adoption of the FI-WARE platform by the wide community of developers, including SMEs and entrepreneurs. Throughout the year, the FI-PPP will aim to promote the innovation and development of the Future Internet in Europe through the funding of companies and entrepreneurs.

One hundred million Euros will be destined to fund companies and entrepreneurs who develop applications based on FI-WARE during the final months of 2014 and 2015, through grants given by the European Commission.  The initiative will benefit more than 1,000 companies that will be selected through an open call process.  Each of the selected SMEs may receive funding in the order of €50,000 to €150,000.  

In the meantime, FI-WARE has recently announced the release of two new challenges that will reward the best applications developed on the platform with more than €340,000. One that will award applications that help to promote initiatives that benefit society in areas such as education, health or inclusion with the so called “Smart Society” Challenge. Another one witll award different open-themed applications that make the best use of FI-WARE technologies with the “FI-WARE Excellence” Challenge.

More info?  Download the press kit that contains the Press Release along with extra information and audiovisual materials. 

Don't miss FI-WARE and Entrepreneurship, a collection of interviews done at the ICT 2013 – Digital Agenda for Europe event in Vilnius, Lithuania, 2013. Several points of views on Entrepreneurship, Cloud, Big Data, IoT, Smart Cities, the present and the future of Europe in the digital market… and the ways the European Commission is seeking to address them through FI-WARE and FI-LAB.


FI-WARE for Smart City projects: benefits for public administrations and entrepreneurs

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Oct 022013

Smart Cities and FI-WARE

Smart Cities might sound to some people like something futuristic, almost playful, like something out of a SciFi movie. But as the world becomes aware of the serious sustainability problems we face in the 21st century, Smart City projects can be the solution to several problems: environmental threats, limited energy resources, ageing infrastructures, growing populations… Smart Cities aren’t a fad: they are a necessity.  
Public administrations are starting to realize it and small and medium enterprises are beginning to see the business opportunities of creating those innovative solutions for cities. 
But say you are a city’s public administration looking for solutions to improve an aspect of your administration (for example, reduce energy costs, improve transport) Thn imagine you are an entrepreneur and you are interested in the business opportunities that developing Smart City application could offer. 
How do you get together? FI-WARE. 
First, if you haven’t heard about FI-WARE before, you'll need a bit of context. In 2011 the European Commission got together with major players from the Information & Communications Technology Industry (all these) to form a partnership in order to place Europe in a leading position for the “next stage” of Internet (AKA Future Internet) The Future Internet Public-Private Partnership or FI-PPP.  
One of the main programs of this partnership is FI-WARE, a project that aims to create a standard platform that facilitates the development of Future Internet applications and an environment where developers, entrepreneurs and application sponsors can connect.
This platform would contain a set of open APIS (public & royalty-free) where developers could work on innovative applications. They would be able to use and reuse a series of “building blocks” called Generic Enablers that dealt with cloud hosting, data management, Internet of Things services, security, interfaces to networks and devices, 3D web and augmented reality…
Last September developers had their first chance to see FI-WARE in action with the launch of FI-Lab, the online working instance where anybody can enter and start developing.  
Now back to Smart Cities. 
FI-WARE is specially interested in Smart Cities since it offers great opportunities for both private and public entities. 
Cities can connect their networks of sensors and data sources to FI-Lab, where developers can take that data and experiment with it, creating specific application trials with real information. The creators of those applications then have the opportunity to connect with the best potential clients for those apps: the same cities that provided the data. 
The best thing is that the investment that a city would have to do for creating a Smart City app is much less that it would  need under normal circumstances. The solutions applicable to one city could easily be applicable to any other city, making it less expensive than creating ad hoc solutions for each one. Not only is it cost effective: the investment is protected since they city doesn’t have to tie itself to a specific platform provider.
From the application creators side the business opportunities are huge. There are many startups and entrepreneurial developers that have brilliant ideas for Smart Cities, but they lack the opportunities to contact public administrations and offer them a tailor-made product for their issues. FI-WARE will not only facilitate that communication, it will provide the necessary platform to test with real data, run trials and host a permanent showcase for their products. 
Finally, if all this hasn’t been enough to spark your interest, note that from 2014 till 2015 the European Commission has allocated €100M to finance SME’s that develop applications based on FI-WARE. In the meantime, several challenges and hackathons will be launched with a total amount of €870K in prizes, and a whole section of those challenges are entirely aimed at Smart City applications. 

More info:

· If you have any questions about FI-WARE and FI-Lab, join the LinkedIN group where the discussion is open. 
· Watch the panel about Smart Cities and FI-WARE we had at Campus Party with representatives of the cities of Trento, Manchester, Amsterdam and Malaga. 
· Remember that from October 16-18th we will have an event in Santander (on of the leading Smart City projects in Europe) dedicated entirely to FI-WARE and Smart Cities (hackathon included!) It's free to join, but you better hurry up because the are limited places!