As the sun sets on the 2015 year, we celebrate and give thanks to everyone who has contributed to making the FIWARE community what it is today. This year has been about building products, forging new partnerships and stabilizing our platform, and we are excited to enter into 2016 with a string ecosystem and a new generation of smart city apps built using FIWARE technologies and support structures.
2015 has been a turning point in the growth of the FIWARE platform. 2013 and 2014 (and even the start of 2015) were often about mentoring startups, funding accelerator and incubator programs, running hackathons, and building a suite of robust and fully-functional open APIs and generic enablers. But more than ever before, the real vision of FIWARE began to take shape this year, as production-ready apps started becoming available, all built on the FIWARE platform.
Companies like 3D internet-focused startup Cyberlightning is using FIWARE’s generic enablers to enable a self-learning industrial Internet of Things network.
Cities like Porto are using FIWARE technologies to enable a new generation of context-aware, smart mapping and mobility apps: app that let you reduce your contribution to air pollution and that guide you around traffic congestion all the way to a vacant car parking space.
Apps like Outbarriers that bring a TripAdvisor-like experience to travelers with visual impairment.
Apps like MejoraTuCuidad that bring city governments closer to their residents and enable a single, seamless process flow from citizen engagement around an amenity issue (like a pothole or graffiti) through to asset maintenance (like the city’s roadworks or graffiti removal departments) and back to the citizen (to inform them of the outcome). Using technology to enable a new communication and engagement with local residents builds trust in our city governments and uses the best of tech business’ user experience focused approach to how we manage our civic society.
There are now a wave of new apps emerging that make use of FIWARE, and it can be easy to miss out on everything that is happening. So in 2015, we launched myFIWAREstory to share those apps and experiences with you and between our community members.
#myFIWAREstory is a story made up of stories: start-ups, small to large companies, public and private organizations, end users and other stakeholders. All together they are building relationships within a sustainable, open and innovative system. All those voices are important and will be heard as MyFIWAREstory grows. It is a story of community openness, full of opportunities, not locked into any vendor. It is a story of context-aware behavior, of sustainable efforts and infrastructure, of providing an enhanced user experience. A story of market-building with straightforward and simple standards, of growing a sizable market based on the development of portable and interoperable applications, a market that attracts investors and users. It is a story of innovation and support towards our shared goals. It is your story. It is MyFIWAREstory.
Throughout 2015, we welcomed new partnerships into the FIWARE ecosystem and created a map to visualize the growing community of SMEs, iHubs, and accelerators that make up FIWARE in action.
One of our key partnerships with the Open and Agile Smart Cities (OASC) initiative saw rapid growth this year, now reaching 75 cities from 15 countries across Europe, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with cities participating in OASC. Together, we use a bottom-up, real world problem-solving approach with participating cities. First we focus on solving urban challenges and offering the FIWARE platform to cities to build tech solutions. Once those solutions are being built, we look at how that can scale to other member cities, and where standards might be able to help speed up the replication of successful initiatives. We believe this model, based on lean business methodologies and recognizing the pace of change of technology today, is the most appropriate way to ensure a citizen and community-centric design of our new city technologies.
A range of our other key partnerships this year included:
● Working with the U.S. Global City Team Challenge and began working on a new round of projects for launch in mid June 2016
● Partnering with TM Forum, a global IT business association, to bring a new range of APIs to FIWARE that will enable developers to create new business models for their civi technologies
● Collaborated with the European Data Portal to make open data available to FIWARE developers
● Participating in the Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona
● Partnering with Civity, Deloitte, Elba-Rec, Onetrail and Xcellent to create the first FIWARE Lab node in The Netherlands
● Partnering with Infotec in Mexico to create the second FIWARE Lab node and bring smart city technologies to Mexican cities
● Participating in The Mobile World Congress’ 4YFN event.
Perhaps most significantly, as 2015 concludes, we have announced a Core Industry Group initiative with Telefonica, Orange and Atos aimed at creating agreement to push common standards in designing smart cities solutions using the FIWARE platform. This industry-wide collaboration sends a message to startups and businesses of all sizes that they can trust in building on the FIWARE platform. It allows developers and cities themselves to be confident that the tech solutions they build on FIWARE will be replicable and can be scalable as potential businesses and community solutions.
Throughout 2015, the FIWARE platform continued to expand, empowering more use cases and enabling integration with a wider range of services. In July, we introduced a Governance model for the FIWARE community, enabling greater transparency and a clearer, community-driven roadmap for our work. We have also continued to partner with challenges and accelerators to enable new apps and tech solutions for urban agriculture, quality of life, tourism and cultural heritage (amongst other themes) to be built in faster time and with more scalable opportunity, as apps can be replicated in a variety of city locations using the same platform infrastructure each time.
The FIWARE platform has also been able to integrate with more external services this year. SigFox Internet of Things devices, for example, are now easily able to be connected to the FIWARE platform. GIS and mapping leader ESRI has built a connector to enable integrating ESRI map products to the FIWARE platform.
2016 will see many more new connectors and integrators built that extend the use cases for the FIWARE platform and more easily enable developers to build value chains for their city and IoT solutions that bring new solutions to the lives of residents around the world.
WHAT WILL BE COMING IN 2016?
One of the major pieces of groundwork completed in 2015 was our consultation process around a governance model for the FIWARE community. This was an important stepping stone for building a truly open source project basis for FIWARE. The FIWARE Community is an independent open community whose members are committed to materialise the FIWARE mission, that is: “to build an open sustainable ecosystem around public, royalty-free and implementation-driven software platform standards that will ease the development of Smart Applications in multiple sectors”.
Early in 2016, this work will take the next step: the launch of the FIWARE Foundation which will be the open source organization that oversees the FIWARE project. To date, we have bootstrapped an organizing body, and in early 2016 will be announcing the initial members of the Foundation that will help steer our FIWARE open source community.
In addition to this organizational work, if 2015 has been about building products, extending partnerships and consolidating our platform, we hope a major theme of 2016 will be about bringing an equity dimension to how FIWARE is used around the globe. This has been a part of our core mission from the very start, and as we continue to grow, we do not want to lose sight of this focus and opportunity.
Already, the Open and Agile Smart Cities initiative meeting on January 21 during European Smart City Week in Brussels will have the theme of “empowering the change makers within cities”, and from February 16 – 18 in Puebla, Mexico, FIWARE will participate in the Smart City Expo with a focus on leveraging innovation to create equitable solutions across the Latin American region.
We will be working in 2016 to not only extend the FIWARE platform and to support our partnerships around the globe, but also to incorporate an equity dimension into the way we all work to build the next generation of smart city technologies.