Living-in.EU 2nd Supporters Meeting - Minimal Interoperability Mechanisms Plus

Menti Motivation
Menti expectation
15 Jul 2021

The Living-in.EU movement has more than 70 supporters from diverse settings, such as businesses, research organisations and academia and not-for-profit associations, which all subscribe to the commitments set out in the Living-in.EU Declaration. Living-in.EU aims to accelerate the digital transformation at local level, by creating the right conditions for a dynamic market of smart communities services based on open technical standards that respect citizens’ digital rights and data sovereignty. Supporters are essential to bring forward the European way of Digital Transformation!

The meeting focused in the MIMs Plus. The Living-in.EU Technical Sub-Group is working on version 4 of the MIMs Plus, issued as draft on 28 June

MIMs Plus refer not only to the 10 OASC MIMs seen in this image (grouped in Integration, Integrity, Impact), but are adapted to the specific context of the EU27. They are the MIMs combined with European initiatives and regulations (eg: EIF/the proposed EIF4SCC, ISA2, CEF Digital Building Blocks, INSPIRE, ELISE, etc…).

The MIMs Plus are beneficial for cities and communities; they allow them more choice, flexibility, value-for-money due to competition, efficiency, independence and fostering of economic development. But they are also advantageous for businesses, being essential to scale-up, and facilitating agile development and deployment. MIMs allow both sides to benefit from reduced risk, increased investment and innovation. The Living-in.EU community can work as a scaler and enabler of MIMs compatible solutions, both locally and globally.

Eddy Hartog, Head of Unit, European Commission, DG CONNECT, Technologies for Smart Communities, and Martin Brynskov, Chair and Co-founder, OASC, welcomed participants and introduced the topic.

OASC’s Lea Hemetsberger sought participants’ reasons for joining the movement, their expectations as supporters and what they can bring to the movement.

Political context

Nóirín Ní Earcáin, DG CONNECT, presented EU policy in support of local digital transformation. Among the current European political top priorities are the “Green Deal” and “A Europe fit for the Digital Age”. Cities and communities are at the centre of this Digital and Green transformation.

EU technological and data sovereignty can be applied at local level through the deployment local data platforms and digital twins, while respecting citizens’ digital rights. The Data Governance Act and the upcoming Data Act are essential in the regulation of the use and access to data. The creation of the Data Space for climate-neutral and smart communities will facilitate cross-domain data-sharing for better service delivery and improved decision-making.

Interoperability is a core enabler of Europe’s digital autonomy. The New Leipzig Charter and the Berlin Declaration provide a clear indication of the need for Member States, regions and cities to work together on the digital transformation. The Living-in.EU Declaration brings together these aims.

The Minimal Interoperability Mechanisms Plus

Martin Brynskov, OASC, provided an update on the work of the Living-in.EU Technical Sub-Group on the MIMs Plus, Living-in.EU Technical Specifications Two new MIMs have recently been approved by OASC as MIM Capabilities: MIM 4 on Personal Data Management, championed by Helsinki, and MIM 5 on Fair Artificial Intelligence (AI), championed by Amsterdam. Citizen data is a key element in providing human-centric public services. MIM4 Personal Data Management explores the mechanisms for personal data protection, transparency, and trust when sharing personal data between cities. These capabilities are a key part of the digital transformation journey of cities worldwide.  Amsterdam city council, along with some other cities, proposed the Fair AI MIM 5 as part of their work to develop a European norm for procurement rules for government agencies to use when procuring algorithmic systems to support automated decision-making. Five new MIMs have been approved by OASC as Work Items. These are examples of updates under consideration for the MIMs Plus Technical Specifications.

Jonas Iversen, Aarhus Municipality, presented national ongoing activities at National and Local Level in Denmark from OS2 (Danish Public Digitalisation Network), sharing the recent example of OS2iot, a national IoT data broker platform for all municipalities, procured jointly with the Danish Business Authority and with the OASC MIMs and CEF Building Blocks in the required specifications. The platform is now delivered by the winning company, and subsequently, five commercial operators are offering it to all Danish municipalities based on their own technologies. This case shows how joint procurement, based on MIMs, can create a diverse market response and much-needed service offerings to support data spaces for cities and communities going through the green-digital twin transformation, based on open source and avoiding vendor lock-in.

Next steps for Living-in.EU

John Lynch, Context Studio, presented the Service Design done for Living-in.EU, which aims to review the movement so far, and plan for the next steps. Qualitative research was conducted through 14 interviews with cities and other stakeholders. A total of 12 hours of interviews were conducted, with 7 different cities and partner organisations in 8 different countries. The common goal everyone agrees on is better delivery of services in cities and communities.

The results of the research show that Digital Transformation per se is not an immediate concern but merely a tool to address cities and communities’ challenges. It revealed that the advantages of membership of Living-in.EU should be presented clearly. There is a certain degree of initiative fatigue due to many different Europe-wide initiatives and limited bandwidth in city administrations, in particular small cities, to service them.

The main current challenges brought to light by the research are:

  • How do we make digital transformation more relevant to Mayors and other stakeholders?
  • How can we help communities find common ground for collaboration?
  • How might we change the dynamic and routine in our activities?
  • How might we enable and capitalise on two-way communication with communities and create a space for conversation?
  • How to facilitate equal opportunities smaller cities and communities?
  • How might we help communities stakeholders better understand our goals, how to get them involved?

Tech 1 Breakout - MIMS Plus – Where to start?

Gert De Tant, OASC, guided participants step-by-step through the MIMs Plus.  

Martin Bauer, NEC, presented Scorpio NGSI-LD Context Broker on which MIM 1 is based. He highlighted the importance of data context management to interpret data. What is going on? Where, who and why? The complete context can be useful to different stakeholders in different ways, and they should be able to quickly access the specific data that is relevant to them.

Alberto Abella, FIWARE, presented an overview of the Smart Data Models Initiative-  a free for all, fully open licensed multi-domain initiative of data models to provide actual and detailed interoperability, based on open specifications, MIMs and use cases. It doesn’t define data models but standardises what is already being used. This community already has 162 participants and 45 organisations and aims at an agile standardisation that is advantageous both for cities and SMEs

Catalogues CEO of OASC Davor Meersman preseted OASC’s City x City Catalogue. The catalogue showcases cities and communities’ successful best practices. Federated catalogues provide trustworthy information for cities to explore and potentially replicate. Another useful catalogue example is the Intelligent Cities Challenge Tech4Good marketplace. Steve Tunzi, also from OASC, guided us through the process of filling in the City x City catalogue solution form. Cities are encouraged to showcase solutions they’ve deployed for others to learn from. FIWARE’s  Juanjo Hierro presented a FIWARE catalogue FIWARE on GitHub. This Catalogue is a curated framework of open source platform components which can be assembled to accelerate the development of smart solutions. The FIWARE Marketplace is a place to match demand and offers powered by FIWARE/ FIWARE-reading technologies/ FIWARE Services. You can also read impact stories and find Booklets, position papers on Data Spaces, Digital Twins Artificial Intelligence within Cities.

Tech breakout 2 - Virtualisation taking place!

Martin Brynskov, Chair of OASC, introduced the topic. A paradigm shift is occurring towards virualisation. How can we make sure this process is just, productive and green? How does it happen at different levels, EU level, Regional Level, and local level? How does Europe find its path? Digital transformation is not a starting point for many people but it is the starting point for some very important initiatives.

Alanus von Radecki, DKSR (The Data Competence Centre for Cities and Regions), gave a presentation on Data Infrastructure for Cities and Regions. DKSR provides a neutral, open, secure and interoperable Unban Data Platform and the know-how to enable data-based solutions for cities and regions on their way of Digital Transformation. DKSR supports a fast growing market of 1000s of smart cities solutions. It advocates for Open Source Solutions (proven and robust technology) that are sovereign and standardised

Discussion – What are the next steps in a European Perspective?

Participants exchanged views on how to translate use cases and solutions into action and how to tackle the insufficient scaling up of good solutions. Suggestions from supporters included:

  • Procurement at EU level, making solutions available for use by cities and communities. Cities taking a joint approach to procuring data.
  • Greater replication of solutions in cities across the EU to continue work on infrastructure, including Cloud infrastructure and Data Spaces.
  • Avoiding fragmentation and silos as national or regional level through a proliferation of ontologies.
  • Provide additional support to smaller cities and communities which are less well equipped to navigate the digital transformation.

Eddy Hartog, Head of Unit, DG CONNECT, concluded the meeting by highlighting a clear alignment between the supply side represented at the meeting, and the Commission.

If you are an official representative of government and public administration at local, regional, national and European level in the European Union and want to join the movement:

  1. Discover the movement "Join, Boost, Sustain: the European way of digital transformation in cities and communities
  2. Download the declaration in your own language
  3. Sign the declaration (eSign or pdf/scan) and upload it, record your signature (EU Survey form to fill in)
  4. You will be part of the group and invited to the meetings, receive information, share good practices and experiences, participate in the subgroups' work.

If you are a representative of a non-profit organisation, an association, a research institute, a public administration outside the EU or a company, please become a supporter by signing the "Join Boost Sustain Declaration".  



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