pexels-photo-177625_smart cities1Through an extensive interview and analysis work, PICASSO has recently produced a comprehensive Analysis of industrial and societal needs, and of cross-domain relationships/application areas and opportunities for EU-US collaboration in non-competitive and pre-competitive areas. From a commercial perspective, the identification of key areas where it is possible to collaborate at a pre-competitive level is indeed a priority, not only to allow future reciprocal access to EU and US markets, but also to allow the sale of technology and products on the world stage, increasing the competitiveness of EU and US companies in existing and developing markets.

The work was led by THHINK, which conducted 70 face-to-face interviews with industry representatives from large, mid-cap and SME companies in the EU and US in the Smart Cities, Smart Transportation and Smart Energy sectors, and with representatives from key ICT platforms and clusters such as, for example ICT PPPs and ETPs and KIC ICT[1]. Moreover, and in order to provide a wider coverage and thus a more comprehensive industry view, a questionnaire – based on the face-to-face interview questions – was sent to 40 industrialists, both in the EU and US. Finally, PICASSO Expert Groups’ members were consulted. In total, the exercise contacted more than 150 persons, collecting 113 responses.

The interviews focused on societal challenges and the application domains, but also including elements related to technological issues, needs, trends and funding needs. Information was also gathered on both industrial drivers and barriers to exploitation, e.g. regulations, lack of standards and lack of business models. Interviews resulted in a total of 61 recommendations being identified, in relation to the following sectors: smart cities, automotive, aerospace, maritime, rail, space, energy/smart grid, chemical industry, automation, diagnostic, information technology, wireless telecoms, software development, research organization, standardization and recruitment.

The most fertile areas for collaboration were identified to be in Smart Transportation with a total of 12 areas, with Smart Cities being the next most fertile area with 6 areas identified. The area of IoT/CPS is covered by a number of sectors representing notably the Chemical, Automation, Diagnostics, and Information Technology industries plus representation also from other sectors. The area of wireless telecommunications was also a fertile area with 6 areas being identified.

As common themes put forward by different industrial sectors we find in particular:

  • The needs for standards for interoperability of interconnects, wireless communications, and protocols for data exchange.
  • An overriding message was the need for data governance, for clarity on data ownership and regulation for privacy, as well as the strong need for security.
  • A shortage of skills and a need for agreement on appropriate EU-US accreditations.

Concerning the areas where it would be possible for the EU and US to work together, the report identifies:

  • Smart cities and IoT/CPS, which are rapidly developing areas and where there are common research, regulatory and standardisation needs.
  • Smart energy and smart transportation, although here existing regulation and legislation may act as a barrier.
  • Finally many opportunities to work together were identified concerning the underlying technology for sector applications – i.e. the basic building blocks that are being developed in the 5G, Big Data and IoT/CPS areas.

A number of more pragmatic barriers were also identified at the societal level. These include a need for demonstration at scale and the funding and political will to support this. Additionally there is a need for public acceptance, which depends on developing trust in data privacy and security.

[1] SmartGrids, ENIAC, ECSEL (ARTEMISIA, EPoSS and Aeneas were all individually contacted), NESSI, ETP4HPC, BigData PPP, NEM, Networld2020, ALICE, ACARE, ERRAC, ERTRAC, Waterborne, KICEIT, EFFRA and AIOTI