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SMART Emerging Electronics Servicing DIH

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - SmartEEs (SMART Emerging Electronics Servicing DIH)

Reporting period: 2019-03-14 to 2020-11-13

Despite significant recent progress made by the EU industry, the level of digitalisation of industry remains uneven, depending on the sector, country and company size. Facing at the same time a scattered landscape of Research, Industry and Institutional stakeholders, the efficient adoption and transformation of enabling technologies into business visions & concrete market cases remain limited. This slow diffusion of digital technologies poses a risk to the EU’s ability to compete in the global economy.

This is particularly true for Organic Large Area Electronics (OLAE) enabling technologies whose industry made significant progress recently and has established itself as a competitive growth industry. Despite proving that more and more products have matured onto the global market, the actual diffusion and efficient adoption of OLAE technologies remain limited.

Underlying reasons and key challenges are identified (cost, processes, encapsulation, scalability, yield, standards & regulations), for which major breakthroughs are needed on use, production and cost rather than on basic technology, which reflects the growing market orientation of OLAE.

To address both market & technology specific challenges, SmartEEs plays a key role to link technology promises with real use cases. These are implemented through a unique digitalisation experience providing direct and concrete experimentation of OLAE technologies, valorizing the uniqueness of these technologies through disruptive product & service ideas.
Overall objectives of SmartEEs were to
- increase awareness of and interest in the possibilities of OLAE within European industry, European investors, governments and other important stakeholders;
- increase the efficiency & effectiveness of the EU innovation ecosystem for OLAE, incl. research organisations and application-oriented companies, as well as supporting organisations, investors and governments;
- demonstrate actual business opportunities by taking on actual business development of OLAE based innovations;
- identify and make operational approaches for boosting the use of OLAE by the EU industry, involving the most important stakeholders in actual OLAE based business developments;
- create an open and sustainable network of partners that will consolidate the further awareness creation, development of the ecosystem and demonstration of OLAE.
SmartEEs operated a 1-stop shop that,
- provided wider access for the innovative companies (ICs) to technology & services and supports the identification of market trends and emergence of new ideas;
- promoted a collaborative environment to bring together experts and innovation stakeholders to maximize cross domain and cross regional opportunities;
- matched suppliers, technology users and investors;
- gave an overview of sectors and emerging markets with high potential and short-term expectations for novel OLAE enabled products;
- had an Open Call for selecting and supporting ICs in experimenting OLAE on disruptive product & service ideas.

SmartEEs grew a community and a pan-EU collaboration,
- establishing a repository of OLAE stakeholders, mapping initiatives of importance and connecting with other DIHs launched under the SAE/I4MS initiatives;
- mapping public funding and ESIF opportunities by regions;
- building a private investment community to raise interest in OLAE and create investment opportunities;
- building the OLAE value chains and identifying critical roadblocks towards wide commercialization.

SmartEEs ran a competitive evaluation process of innovation ideas from ICs and supported selected ICs to overcome their technological barriers, business challenges and financial needs. Twenty companies were engaged in their digital transformation.
SmartEEs managed a portfolio of 20 Application Experiments, which included direct service delivery from the consortium (technical and business services) and a Voucher support (cascade funding) to each IC to cover its own cost or to subcontract complementary services.
SmartEEs outreached ICs across Europe and widely disseminated through a large panel of events the opportunities & benefits offered by DIHs as well as results from the 20 Application Experiments.
Finally, SmartEEs set the basement for a continuity plan to make the 1-stop shop operating beyond the project in a sustainable manner. The newly funded project SmatEEs2 has taken over the duty to launch a sustainable EU business network
Main SmartEEs achievements are:
- User-friendly web portal with nice visuals;
- Fully operational Open Call interface;
- Versatile Marketplace, including Showroom, Community and Brokerage pages, for ICs to understand the scope of OLAE
- Financial rules of participation in the Open Call, incl. conditions for direct services, Voucher and in-kind contribution, to support the easy understanding of the potential applicants;
- Community database with 290 individual qualified contacts;
- Capacity of the consortium to leverage local, regional, National funds further supported by EU structural funds;
- Raised awareness of first private investors on business opportunities provided by OLAE and nucleation of an investment community behind SmartEEs;
- Anchoring the sustainability of Application Experiments in the OE-A Working Group on Sustainability;
- A comprehensive Open Call for Application Experiments package;
- An operational Helpdesk managing enquiries and submission of proposals;
- Five cut-off evaluation processes completed / 101 applications evaluated / 20 applications selected and turned into 20 Application Experiments;
- Voucher process created and implemented all way through the 5 cut-offs;

SmartEEs as a DIH project and its Open Call were widely promoted through several communication channels. The awareness of the SAE initiative and its opportunities for ICs to experiment OLAE technologies is now established inside the OLAE European community. Furthermore, these channels proved to be efficient enough to outreach a relevant number of applicants and to select the expected level of high-quality proposals.
SmartEEs monitored the value creation for all 20 AEs to capture the business and economic impact of the overall innovation services provided. Which overall value is being exploited directly inside the follow-up prjet, SmartEEs2.