Interoperability going local
Cities and communities are facing growing and complex societal challenges for which green and digital technologies prove to be helpful to contribute to the well-being of our society and planet. However, despite the investment of public administrations on digitalisation, the current level of interoperability is insufficient and hinders cities' journey towards a digital and sustainable transformation.
Interoperability allows organisations to interact towards mutually beneficial goals. It involves the sharing of information and knowledge between organisations through the business processes they support, by means of exchanging data between their network and information systems. Interoperability ensures that data can be exchanged seamlessly. 1
How does the EIF4SCC help cities and communities in their journey?
The European Interoperability Framework for Smart Cities and Communities (EIF4SCC) is a Commission Staff Working Document adopted by the European Commission when issuing the Proposal for an Interoperable Europe Act. It aims to provide a generic framework of all types of interoperability, in order to contribute to the development of Smart(er) Cities and Communities.
The framework provides European Union local administration leaders with a guide to interoperability. It includes definitions, principles, practical use cases, a common interoperability model and up to 30 recommendations to enable interoperability across domains, cities, regions and borders, leading to improved delivery of services to inhabitants, visitors, businesses and city/community administrators.2 This will pave the way for services for citizens and businesses to be offered not only in a single city, but also across cities, regions and across borders.
This working document was developed by building on and finding complementarities with previous and ongoing initiatives, such as Living-in.EU, the 2017 European Interoperability Framework (EIF), the Minimal Interoperability Mechanisms (MIMs Plus) and the outcomes of EU funded initiatives (e.g., Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), Digital Building Blocks, Smart Cities Marketplace, Intelligent Cities Challenge, Digital Transition Partnership under the Urban Agenda) and EU funded projects (Synchronicity, Triangulum, etc.).3
The EIF4SCC is now available in all EU languages, which you can find here.
How does Living-in.EU support signatories on interoperability?
Living-in.EU offers EU decision makers the possibility to join forces to boost sustainable digital transformation in their cities and communities and together develop sustainable measures. This also includes exchange of knowledge and sharing best practices around interoperability solutions in the cities.
In concrete, Living-in.EU helps signatories to work on and learn about interoperability through three of its working sub-groups:
- Legal. The legal subgroup has been working on understanding the Proposal for an Interoperable Europe Act and learning about its potential impact on cities and other public authorities. This proposal builds on the evaluations included in the non-binding policy framework the EIF, and the ISA2 programme.
- Technical. The technical subgroup works together to develop a common list of standards and technical specifications to achieve interoperability of data, systems, and platforms among cities and communities and suppliers around the world to enable solutions such as open urban platforms and digital twins. These standards are called Minimal Interoperability Mechanisms (MIMs). You can find the latest version of the MIMs Plus here.
- Monitoring & Measuring. This subgroup is contributing to co-design LORDIMAS tool, an initiative led by ESPON, the EU Commission and the European Committee of the Regions. It aims to support digital transformation efforts across Europe by helping local and regional governments to understand where they are in their digital transition journey. LORDIMAS will help cities and regions measure elements of interoperability inter alia.
- Education & Capacity Building. Among others, this sub-group supports the development of administrative capacities to make the best of digitalisation to avoid technology or vendor lock-in, and facilities and coordinates activities including knowledge sharing, communication, dissemination and consultancy provision, to upscale successful digital solutions, ensuring a participative, cross-domain approach to design and implement smart and sustainable local solutions. The latter facilitates interoperability.
Therefore, Living-in.EU supports signatories on interoperability in a holistic way.
(1) Proposal for an Interoperable Europe Act, 2022, page 1.
(2) Commission Staff Working Document, European Interoperability Framework for Smart Cities and Communities, 2022, page 23.
(3) Ibid, page 3.
The Data Space for Smart Communities Online Info Session took place on the 15th of November 2023, in collaboration with the Living-in.EU movement and Gaia X. The session provided a deep dive into available tools and the planned activities to deploy the European Data Space for Smart Communities.
Calling all national or regional associations, or similar initiatives, representing cities and municipalities at EU Member State level!
In view of the various smart communities event such as the European Week of Regions and Cities on 9-12 October, and the Smart City Expo World Congresson 7-9 November, it was timely for the Living-in.EU supporters to come together and have a recap of recent smart community activities.
The BDTI Team is happy to announce the launch of The BDTI Kitchen: Baking Data Stories, a monthly newsletter that will launch soon to not only provide you with the latest BDTI news but also to explore good practices and opportunities for data analytics in the public sect