Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

The secret behind Europe’s digital innovation success

Europe today is a hotbed of tech start-ups, innovation hubs and accelerators that are bringing innovation, jobs and positive changes to society across the continent. Behind the scenes, support actions such as the EU-funded CONCORD project have been working hard to help achieve this promising digital vision.
The secret behind Europe’s digital innovation success
The EU has long recognised that the adoption of future internet technologies is crucial for advancing the European market for smart digital infrastructures and services, increasing the effectiveness of business processes. The EU’s FI-PPP (Future Internet Public Private Partnership) programme – known today as FIWARE – is helping to make infrastructures and business processes smarter, more innovative and more efficient in sectors such as transport, health and energy.

In this vein, the EU-funded CONCORD (Coordination and collaboration facilitation for next generation Future Internet Public Private Partnerships) project played an important role in achieving this vision. ‘The FIWARE FI-PPP and its successors advance Europe’s digital single market by providing an open source, royalty-free platform for building innovative applications and services,’ says project coordinator Pentti Launonen from Finland’s Aalto University.

Even beyond the CONCORD project’s end, its efforts are still being supported by a complete innovation ecosystem of the FIWARE Foundation and its services. ‘This includes the open-source community, commercial platform providers, networks of accelerators and innovation hubs, large industry players, SMEs, start-ups, and national innovation initiatives,’ explains Mr Launonen.

Crucially, CONCORD provided the FI-PPP programme with numerous coordination and support actions to ensure its success. ‘These actions built a working framework for FI-PPP projects to contribute to the programme-level objectives and expand the external reach and potential impact of the programme,’ reveals Mr Launonen.

Bringing together partners from Belgium, Finland, Germany, Spain and Switzerland, the project built on collaboration among all FI-PPP projects and focused on go-to-market activities. It mapped the thematic structure, emerging areas, constraints, gaps and enabling conditions that require policy, regulatory and governance support to achieve its objectives and further the EU’s FI-PPP programme. CONCORD advanced the FI-PPP not only by coordinating with other projects but also by remodelling the programme’s governance framework, shifting the focus from technology to innovation.

‘One of the project’s key outcomes is the establishment of an industry-driven open-source foundation in Berlin in 2016, the FIWARE Foundation, offering close links to EU Member States’ digitalisation strategies,’ says Mr Launonen. Another key achievement has been the integration of key FI-PPP technology solutions within individual SME solutions, resulting in new growth and jobs in the SME sector.

Very noteworthy among the project’s achievements was the creation of a multi-vendor and city-driven community for smart city infrastructures. ‘The community is currently expanding globally,’ reveals Mr Launonen, attesting to the project result’s long-term success. In parallel, CONCORD focused on targeted activities within economic sectors where Europe enjoys a relative competitive advantage, such as smart industry and smart agriculture.

Beyond these palpable results, the project helped many SMEs take their ideas from research and development to real commercialisation, standardisation, market creation and industry competitiveness. CONCORD’s activities brought the FI-PPP closer to Member States’ plans and objectives, in addition to helping align EU digital agendas with industry and SMEs.

Today, CONCORD’s efforts and support actions are evident through the FIWARE platform representing a community of over 1 000 start-ups, 25 innovation hubs and 16 accelerators in over 75 cities. In line with CONCORD’s original mission, the platform helps its members go ‘from ideas to real projects,’ providing resources ‘to get you started with designing and developing your projects.’ Such enterprising EU-funded initiatives ensure Europe’s pioneering role in creating a digital future that brings real benefits to society.


Start-ups, innovation hubs, CONCORD, future internet, FI-PPP, digital single market
Follow us on: RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Managed by the EU Publications Office Top