Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP7

IMPACT — Result In Brief

Project ID: 632828
Funded under: FP7-ICT
Country: Italy
Domain: Information and communication technology

Future proofing internet mobile content

The EU-funded IMPACT project has accelerated the development and adoption of Future Internet technologies in Europe, advancing the European market for smart infrastructure and increasing the effectiveness of internet mobile-based business processes.
Future proofing internet mobile content
Currently, internet business models are based largely around e-commerce, user-profile driven advertising and making media content available. However, over recent years there has been increased concern that this paradigm has limited sustainability. Against this backdrop the European Commission established the Future Internet Public-Private Partnership (FI-PPP), which has suggested new growth opportunities in the needs of innovations from sectors such as energy, agriculture, logistics for things and people, environmental care and urban development.

The FI-PPP was designed to be industry-driven and so is guided by matching the needs of supply and demand. Its methodology was to apply the findings of Research and Development on network and communication technologies, devices, software, service and media technologies; to real application scenarios. The EU-funded IMPACT project has contributed to these efforts as an ‘accelerator’, set up to promote and encourage early adoption of mobile technology advances.

Pressing the accelerator

FI-PPP was divided into three stages. Firstly, the technological foundation known as FIWARE (an open, middleware platform which links operating systems to user applications) was laid down (May 2011-April 2014) to facilitate access to services, cloud hosting, Internet of Things connection, data as well as context management and security. Aligned to this, eight use cases across different industry sectors, such as transport, agriculture, smart cities and the environment were established to test the infrastructure. Phase two saw further development and versatility testing of this infrastructure through the EU funded XIFI project and the creation of a European network of FIWARE nodes, known collectively as the FIWARE Lab.

The IMPACT project contributed most directly to the third phase (September 2014-September 2016) which the project coordinator, Ms Simona Torre explains ‘was focused on improving the infrastructure for large-scale trials, while also creating a sustainable ecosystem for innovation.’ IMPACT operated as one of 16 business accelerators providing support to more than 1000 entrepreneurs, start-ups and SMEs. This support came in the form of mentoring, education, coaching, funding, brokerage with investors/markets and provide more sustainable funding through the Extended Investments Phase which provided access to additional investment beyond that of the EU funding. Additionally, at the end of last year, the IMPACT team ran an Extension Program to further accelerate the best performers of the programme by focussing on internationalisation and marketing-led business expansion.

Growing IMPACT for a more competitive Europe

Reflecting on the project results, Ms Torre says, ‘Several start-ups have received further funding after joining IMPACT’s accelerator program to the tune of around EUR 14 million and we recently saw the first company acquisition. Additionally, more than 20 of the start-ups have received some sort of prize or recognition but perhaps best of all, 185 people have been hired by these start-ups.’ Indeed, the IMPACT start-ups have already secured 148 partnership agreements with major industry players such as Vodafone, Amazon, Microsoft and Orange.

Given the success, the European Commission has released more funding to keep the momentum going, with a follow-up initiative, IMPACT Growth. This brings together a private-public consortium of investors, global brands and top accelerators, to support start-ups which are now established and seeking to further grow. IMPACT Growth is already undertaking two open calls to select 14 mature start-ups in each who are in the growth phase, to receive top acceleration services such as mentoring, training and internationalisation.

As Ms Torre summarises, ‘These efforts will increase the effectiveness of business processes and infrastructures in areas such as transport, health or energy, leading to the creation of innovative business models that strengthen the competitive position of the European industry in sectors such as telecommunication, mobile devices, software and services, as well as content provision and media.’

Keywords

IMPACT, future Internet, mobile content, smart infrastructure, Internet of Things, cloud hosting, entrepreneurs, start-ups, SMEs, business model, middleware
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