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Next Generation Internet for All - Promoting Global Visibility on the Human-Centric Internet

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - NGI4ALL (Next Generation Internet for All - Promoting Global Visibility on the Human-Centric Internet)

Reporting period: 2019-01-01 to 2020-06-30

The NGI initiative has been launched to address the concerns related to the connection, interaction and interdependence of humanity and technology, since digital technologies and the Internet are rapidly and radically changing the dynamics of collective human experience and affect our lives at almost every aspect of it.
NGI4ALL has the ambition to operate the best and most effective branding, communication and marketing “agency” at the service of the NGI by establishing the NGI Outreach Office (NOO) running professional and dedicated communication and marketing (C&M) at the service of: the NGI ecosystem, including active organisations and projects and the many 3rd party organisations planned to be involved via NGI Open Call, the broader Open Internet research and innovation ecosystem and the European Community, including related national and international NGI-driven efforts.
Through the establishment of the NOO, synergies are ensured with all relevant initiatives to embrace the large community of researchers, innovators, policy makers and people at large that are indeed already at work transforming the Internet and the whole digitalisation of our society.
NGI4ALL creates a strong, fresh and persistent NGI brand, which generates greater resonance and impact in the scientific community, in the media, towards policy makers and the public. The NOO ensures one voice towards the world enabling each action (from different organisations and projects) to flow in an orchestrated manner even when addressing different audiences. The ambition is to make sure the NGI storytelling is harmonised and curated contents ensure conveying the most suitable messages depending on specific target groups.
Q1-Q2 2019 - During the first 3 to 6 months of the NGI4ALL project, intense work was on aligning our project’s planned work with the NGI Unit needs, but also with the plans and requests of a growing NGI community. Between November 2018 and January 2019, four new NGI RIA projects had started as well as four other CSAs. NGI4ALL main responsibility (and intense efforts) during was indeed to ensure coordinated plans in terms of communication and dissemination across the several projects, but most of all to enforce alignment in terms of branding, leveraging on different communication channels coming from different projects.
Q3-Q4 2019 - The new brand and web site were launched beginning in view of the big announcements for the 3rd edition of the NGI Forum. Intense efforts were made to promote all the various NGI Open Calls, but also to ensure a successful 3rd edition of the NGI Forum, which was held in Helsinki in September 2019, besides guaranteeing a strong presence of the NGI during the ICT Proposers’ Day 2019 and at the MyData 2019 Conference, both events also held in Helsinki (Finland). This period was crucial to ensure consolidation of the NGI vision and message towards all target stakeholders by also engaging with other Units at the EC falling within the NGI umbrella. Besides meeting with EC representatives in Luxembourg and Brussels, the NOO produced a comprehensive brochure presenting that was pushed out in September 2019 as per request of the DG CONNECT Director General. Especially towards the end of 2019, editorial efforts (WHO’S NGI BLOG in primis) of the NOO were intensified in order to start documenting and promoting success stories. This, from an overall, strategic point of view, marked a major turning point for the NOO work as we started direct engagement with third party innovators, but also with external press, which led to the beginning of 2020.
Q1-Q2 2020 - NOO's work was to ensure engagement of newcomers to the NGI, especially in view of cascade funding made available via the various NGI RIAs. At the beginning of 2020, this need was further exacerbated by the start of new NGI RIAs. Thus, we intensified promotional campaigns, both online and offline to ensure broad coverage, in particular thanks to a variety of tools and activities (NGI online community, NGI Map, webinars, training, etc.) that culminated with the 4YFN event in Barcelona (Spain) in February 2020. At this event, thanks to a dedicated exhibition booth and various sessions, it was possible to reach out many innovative Startuppers and Innovators from all over the world. Complementary to these efforts, was also the work the NOO led to ensure engagement of the press as well as more active involvement of the Future Internet Forum representatives and NGI Contact Points in the various Member States. In addition to these, the first couple of months of 2020 were dedicated to coordinate with the EC on intensifying the press outreach and ensuring that, especially in view of the transition from Horizon 2020 to Horizon Europe, the NGI communication machine was ready to ensure great visibility of the NGI also to policy makers, general press and general public overall.
The main expected impacts of the communication and marketing activities NGI4ALL leads are: develop a steady loyalty to the NGI values and bran; defragment and connect the NGI community, fostering a strong sense of belonging and common goal among the NGI players; inject new blood (reaching out newcomers) in the NGI initiative; promote and amplify the results achieved by the NGI initiatives and NGI innovators ; raise the bar of the technological, political and ethical debate around the Next Generation Internet; increase awareness, credibility, trust and reputation of the NGI initiative.
Towards these impacts the most critical factors are:
Multiplicity of actors and risk of fragmentation of efforts: the NGI is essentially a community of communities with specific objectives, timeline and resources. The concentration of parallel NGI-driven efforts through different projects and distinct CSAs dilute the univocal identity of NGI, although it is critical that the NGI functions and presents itself as a coherent and consistent movement with credible and solid foundations. NGI4ALL improves the NGI identity and sense of common purpose between NGI efforts through the NOO, shares and promotes a common vision for the communication strategy and messages, provides clear communication guidelines, coaching, events, targeted contents and collaboration tools.
Awareness and integration of the civil society needs for the Internet of the future to be centred on human-needs. Internet researchers and innovators often do not adequately understand how their concepts, platforms and services should be offered and promoted to create impact answering the civil society needs. NGI4ALL leads specific activities dedicated to engaging innovators (researchers, start-ups, SMEs) in developing solutions answering to people’s fundamental needs, including trust, security, and inclusion.
Strong privacy regulation in Europe. The EU GDPR has shaken up the digital marketing landscape. Data is essential in marketing and advertising, giving an insight into the consumer. Within the context of NGI4ALL, data has been gathered through several activities (across WP2, WP3 and WP4), that is crucial to understand the needs of the community, elaborate meaningful concepts, stories and messages, steer activities all along the project life-time. With the GDPR in place special mechanisms and processes have been established and followed, considering also the implications and services provided by both the NGI portal and NGI community platform (as described in the project Data Management Plan).