Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Bringing community benefits through cloud computing

An EU-funded project has developed a marketplace for cloud-based services where public administrations, SMEs and citizens can browse available applications and choose the most appropriate ones that address their needs.
Bringing community benefits through cloud computing
European public administrations are often characterised by their stiff organisational approach. This can make it very difficult for citizens and businesses to re-use existing services, for new applications to be developed or for administrations to migrate services towards new technologies like cloud computing.

In order to address these issues, the EU-funded CLIPS project developed a common platform with interoperable services – along with an associated business model – to facilitate easy adoption of cloud-based public services that bring direct benefit to citizens.

‘CLIPS represents a big step forward for EU cloud capabilities with significant benefits, not only for public organisations at the national and regional levels, but also for SMEs and citizens alike,’ explains project coordinator Lanfranco Marasso. ‘As a result, we see CLIPS playing a key role in the digital transformation happening in the public sector and in building sustainable ecosystems.’

A big step forward

The platform provides a marketplace for cloud-based services and micro services (MSs) where public administrations, SMEs and citizens can browse available applications; choose the most appropriate ones to address their needs and then create their own service. At the same time, the marketplace offers SMEs the possibility to advertise and sell their services, along with promoting the sharing and reuse of solutions already developed for other Public Administrations.

‘Essentially, CLIPS is designed to facilitate easy communication between public administrations, citizens and SMEs,’ says Lanfranco Marasso. ‘This means that public administrations and enterprises can focus on innovation instead of spending so much time worrying about infrastructure and technology.’

Citizen benefits

The platform has already shown what direct benefits it can bring. For example, the project demonstrated how cloud-based services can help a family move seamlessly from one EU Member State to another, through the delivery of CLIPS platform-based services in four pilot cities – Bremerhaven (Germany), Lecce (Italy), Novi Sad (Serbia) and Santander (Spain).

‘Taking into account such administrative requirements as registering for utilities, schooling, local taxes and social care, these pilots showed how the cloud can improve the delivery of public services,’ says Roberto Di Bernardo, the project’s technology guru. ‘The definition and implementation of these new cloud-based services follows a mash-up approach designed to develop an ecosystem template that can be easily replicated across Europe, promoting interoperability and enhancing consumer confidence in cloud services.’

To support Santander’s Smart City initiatives, CLIPS developed a service for the procurement of official census certificates – the procedure most often requested by Santander citizens. In Bremerhaven, CLIPS helped deploy a cloud-based ‘Request a Place at Kindergarten’ service, which lets users planning to move to Bremerhaven look up nearby kindergartens and already begin the application process.

‘CLIPS helps facilitate the mobility of European citizens in the public administration field,’ says Roberto Di Bernardo. ‘It enables citizens to reuse their own national credentials in public administration applications provided by foreign states and to securely transfer their sensitive data across states.’

Layered architecture

In order to move a public administration’s legacy information system towards the cloud and, subsequently, to enable the reuse of resources, CLIPS based its platform on the Micro Service (MS) concept, introduces a Micro Proxy (MP) platform and leverages a hybrid integration approach.

The CLIPS platform is also three-tiered and includes Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), application Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) layers. The latter is the most relevant, combining the ready-to-use software services of SaaS, the application serving and development functionality of traditional PaaS, and a convenient marketplace for the development of applications. A cross-tier layer for managing security aspects is also included.

Related information


CLIPS, cloud computing, open source, Smart Cities, public administrations, public services, SMEs
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