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Support and stimulation of dynamic and organic growth of pan European ICT for Manufacturing SME Innovation Ecosystems

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - I4MS-Growth (Support and stimulation of dynamic and organic growth of pan European ICT for Manufacturing SME Innovation Ecosystems)

Reporting period: 2016-11-01 to 2018-02-28

The I4MS initiative was launched by the EC on July 2013 which has shown substantial success, contributing to the progressive development of European SMEs and adopting advanced ICT solutions for manufacturing.
I4MS supports the adoption of innovative ICT by SMEs in manufacturing. Through 11 large projects in 4 key areas: HPC Cloud-based simulation, advanced robotics, CPS/IoT and smart sensors, I4MS brings end-users and suppliers directly into R&I projects, introducing them to innovative technologies and supporting their adoption or to move their technology from the lab to the market.
The EC presented its set of measures and recommendations with the aim to foster European industrial competitiveness by supporting companies in their digital transformation. One of those measures promotes the creation and reinforcement of Digital Innovation Hubs (DIH) in every European region, which will support industries, especially SMEs and mid-caps in the uptake of digital technologies.
I4MS-Growth CSA has adapted to the needs of the 11 projects involved as well as in close collaboration with the XS2I4MS CSA. The I4MS-Growth CSA provides the following conclusions:
• CSA needs to satisfy the needs of the “clients”, in I4MS case: the I4MS projects, community and initiative.
• Listen, adapt and respond to the evolving needs of the projects and community.
• Website: fresh design, facilitate to disseminate the events/open calls/projects, avoid subscriptions, or engagements into communities/data provision.
• Events: prepare in advance to organise well, engage actors and interested parties, boost the visbility via social media, create a dedicated website, control responsibility of all different aspects to avoid last minute problems, and check speakers involvement continuously. Small events capture more attention from SMEs or local organisations.
• Social media: Twitter is the most active channel to capture attention from other initiatives/communities. Linkedin serves well to start disseminate Open calls and then to be relayed by newslleter/twitter as the passion reduces within LinkedIn groups. Youtube reinforced the message through webinar videos. The newsletters work well for open calls/webinars/events registration.
The added value of I4MS-Growth is to reinforce I4MS branding, forming a shared image and message in social media, dissemination materials, newsletters and events. Open the initiative to new communities and promote the participation of new comers in the I4MS´open calls. Encourage the interaction within the initiative by experiences sharing, synergies search and united participation in events. Make the I4MS website the unique stop shop, raise awareness to I4MS and spread I4MS benefits.
Objective 1 – Support and reinforce the I4MS innovation ecosystem
To enlarge the innovation ecosystem I4MS-Growth has: created an informative webinar to integrate new projects; provided support to register and organise webinars for the call of DIHs (by XS2I4MS); arranged joined participation from the I4MS projects in Hannover Fair 2016 and 2017; participated in various events e.g. ICT 2015 (Lisbon), World Manufacturing Forum 2016, EFFRA roadmapping workshop 2015, Oslo Innovation Week 2016, “Industria Conectada 4.0” 2017, Manufuture 2017; and participated in regional workshops in the Basque Country, Lombardia and Sweden; organised the I4MS European event held in June 2016 in Amsterdam; presented I4MS in the working group organised by the Spanish ministry (2017); presented I4MS in “First EU Process Industry Conference” 2017; organised the DIHs event held in September 2017 in Madrid, logistics organised the DIHs mentoring event closure in Madrid lead by XS2I4MS; etc.
An iterative work was performed to obtain an area in the platform dedicated exclusively to the Competence Centers and DIHs which are organised in an interactive map. Main actors related to the local governments and leaders of regions in Spain, Lombardia and Sweden were contacted as part of the working groups for DIHs. Webinars to support the launch of open calls were organised in cooperation with the IAs (Fortissimo 2, BeinCPPS, ReconCell and Horse). Organised I4MS monthly calls including the I4MS Coordination Board. An I4MS CB was organised remotely in November 2015 and, then 2 meetings were held in Brussels in April 2016 and February 2017.During the project I4MS-Growth has published a trimestral Newsletter with the latest news and specific newsletters focused on IAs’ Open Calls and I4MS events.
Objective 2 – I4MS Platform management
A renewed platform has been launched, with improved user experience, rearranged content and higher visibility for the new projects. Since a need arose for a dedicated area in the web for tasks in the XS2I4MS, the platform was extended. Continuous interactions with XS2I4MS were managed to enable an area with the same image and design. The renewed design and I4MS brand image has been kept for the sake of continuity with the first I4MS phase.
The CSA was built on the success of the first phase to enlarge the audience, cooperate with other initiatives and projects to obtain the maximum impacts and extend its regional scope to the whole Europe.
The KPI for targeted followers (1000) was completed within the first 14 months of the project. In M30, followers surpassed 1290. Specific dissemination activities related to the Open calls and the I4MS initiative were carried out. Linkedin group was kept stable during the 30 months and videos from webinars were included in the YouTube channel. Slideshare presentations were included in the I4MS account.
Objective 3 - Support, promote and disseminate Best Practices
The project has collected, classified, scored and disseminated experiments from the I4MS projects using a developed framework, methodology and operative tools. An improved area has been included to enable experiments search. New experiments from the IAs and IPs have been included and updated. Eventually, I4MS-Growth collected success stories and had them included in I4MS Brochure 2017.
I4MS-Growth has continued to work for the I4MS initiative, helping to support companies in their digital transformation. Based on the work in the 1st phase, new projects, DIHs, SMEs, regions have been included to reinforce the I4MS community. Among other aspectsd, we can find DIHs created and reinforced in every European region, which support industries, especially SMEs and mid-caps to uptake of digital technologies. New actions to expand the network of competence centres and DIHs to new regions by launching calls for regional DIHs have been a good opportunity to reach out and involve the diverse landscape of European SMEs and mid-caps.
I4MS-Growth CSA has worked towards the final success of the initiative, adapting to the needs of the eleven projects involved and in close collaboration with the XS2I4MS CSA. All the information related to the newest 3rd phase IAs is available in the portal and the map.
I4MS-Growth sets various strategies that permit to renew the I4MS Portal, enable the interchange of synergies between IPs and IAs involved, support the interaction with the I4MS CCs Network while enable them to interact with the DIHs, promote and support the involvement of SMEs while launching IAs open calls and facilitate the dissemination of the experiments from the IPs and IAs. All these have helped position the I4MS as one of the key initiatives in Europe for the Manufacturing and ICT sector.