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Open & Agile Smart Cities

A non-profit, international smart city network that has the goal of creating and shaping the nascent global smart city data and services market.
Open & Agile Smart Cities
Leadership team

Davor Meersman (CEO)

Karl-Filip Coenegrachts (Chair)

Martin Brynskov ( Tech Lead)

Jaime Ventura (Technical Advisor)

Headquarters
Brussels, Belgium
Region served
Worldwide
Year stablished
2015
Address
Rue du Luxembourg 19-21 1000
Social Media
Summary

Open & Agile Smart Cities (OASC) is a dynamic, non-profit organization that serves as a global hub for smart cities and communities seeking to harness technology for the betterment of urban life. With a mission rooted in openness, interoperability, and transparency, OASC is at the forefront of shaping the emerging global smart city data and services market. Currently uniting over 150 cities across 31 countries, OASC facilitates collaboration among municipalities, industry partners, and experts to drive innovation, standardization, and digital transformation at the city level.

At the heart of OASC's initiatives are the Minimal Interoperability Mechanisms (MIMs), a set of practical open technical specifications that empower cities to replicate and scale smart solutions on a global scale. OASC's dedication to citizen engagement, experimentation, and implementation sets it apart, ensuring that urban communities remain at the centre of digital progress. Through its network, workshops, annual conferences, and various projects, OASC plays a pivotal role in shaping the future of smart cities, where technology serves as a catalyst for improved quality of life, sustainability, and economic growth.


History

In the ever-evolving landscape of urban development and technological innovation, a remarkable journey began in March 2015. It was a pivotal moment when a group of visionary individuals, driven by a shared passion for smarter, more connected cities, embarked on a mission to transform the way cities interact with technology and data.

This journey gave birth to Open & Agile Smart Cities (OASC), a non-profit, international network with a lofty goal: to pioneer the global smart city data and services market. Fueled by a profound belief in open standards and interoperability, OASC sought to break the barriers that held back the potential of smart cities, transforming them from isolated experiments into a global community of innovation.

The early days of OASC were marked by challenges. Cities were grappling with the realization that innovation resulting from publicly funded projects often hit a roadblock after funding ceased. It was a "chicken-and-egg" scenario: no widespread deployment because there were no standards, and no standards because there was no deployment. OASC recognized this dilemma and became the catalyst for change.

A coalition of forward-thinking cities, the "front-runners," rallied behind OASC's vision, and the movement began to gain momentum. These cities understood that true innovation could only be realized by sharing solutions, even while respecting their unique cultural, economic, social, and technical contexts.

With the support of founding partners, including Aarhus University, Business Tampere, Connected Places Catapult, and imec, OASC made a transformative transition in late 2017, becoming a not-for-profit organization committed to standardization and interoperability.

OASC's influence soon transcended borders, connecting 117 smart cities globally, organized within national networks spanning 24 countries and regions. This diverse community of cities, from Argentina to Japan, formed the backbone of OASC's mission to create a common technical foundation for cities and communities worldwide.

At the heart of OASC's strategy lay the concept of Minimal Interoperability Mechanisms (MIMs), a set of standardized mechanisms that bridged the gap between smart city systems. MIMs encompassed common APIs, context information for data structuring, optional data platforms, and more. These mechanisms transformed cities into open, collaborative ecosystems where innovation flowed freely.

OASC's commitment went beyond theory; it was rooted in practical implementation. The organization deployed prototypes to address cybersecurity challenges and provided a platform for cities to exchange ideas, needs, and best practices. OASC became the place where cities turned ideas into reality.

Annual conferences, such as the Connected Smart Cities Conference, and workshops became hubs of knowledge exchange and networking, strengthening the bonds within the OASC community and empowering cities to embrace digital transformation.

Crucially, OASC represented its member cities on the global stage. It advocated for their interests before international institutions, forums, and standards development organizations. OASC ensured that the voices of its member cities resonated in the shaping of global standards and regulations.


Goals and Purpose

Open & Agile Smart Cities (OASC) is a dynamic international network with clear and ambitious goals and purposes aimed at advancing the smart city movement. At its core, OASC is driven by a mission to leverage technology and data to create more efficient, sustainable, and citizen-centric urban environments. Here are the key goals and purposes of OASC:

1. Fostering Interoperability: OASC is committed to promoting open standards and interoperability within the smart city ecosystem. Its goal is to ensure that various smart city solutions, technologies, and systems can seamlessly work together, facilitating collaboration between cities and reducing the fragmentation that often hinders innovation.

2. Building a Global Smart City Community: OASC serves as a global hub for smart cities. It aims to connect cities and communities from around the world, creating a collaborative environment where knowledge, best practices, and innovative solutions can be shared. OASC recognizes that the challenges faced by cities are often similar, regardless of their geographical location, and seeks to capitalize on this shared experience.

3. Empowering Mid-Size and Small Cities: OASC recognizes that not all cities have the same resources or technical expertise to implement complex smart city solutions. Therefore, one of its primary purposes is to empower mid-size and small cities, which might otherwise struggle to keep up with technological advancements. By providing accessible tools and standards, OASC ensures that these cities can benefit from the advantages of smart city initiatives.

4. Bridging the Gap Between Technology and Municipal Needs: OASC is dedicated to bridging the gap between the technology industry and municipal needs. It facilitates collaboration between technology providers and cities to ensure that solutions are designed with the specific needs and challenges of urban communities in mind. This approach promotes the development of practical, citizen-centric applications.

5. Supporting Data-Driven Decision-Making: OASC recognizes the power of data in improving city operations and services. Its purpose includes promoting data-driven decision-making in cities. By establishing common data standards and mechanisms, OASC enables cities to collect, analyze, and utilize data more effectively to address urban challenges.

6. Encouraging Citizen Engagement: OASC places a strong emphasis on citizen engagement. Smart city initiatives should not only benefit residents but also involve them in the decision-making process. OASC's goals include creating platforms and services that facilitate citizen participation and ensure that smart city projects align with the needs and preferences of the community.

7. Advocating for Cities: OASC acts as a vocal advocate for cities on the global stage. It represents its member cities in discussions with international institutions, forums, and standards development organizations. This advocacy ensures that the interests and perspectives of cities are taken into account when shaping global standards and policies related to smart cities.

8. Continuous Improvement: OASC's work is characterized by a commitment to continuous improvement. It seeks to evolve and adapt its standards, tools, and services based on feedback and evolving technological trends. OASC recognizes that the smart city landscape is ever-changing, and its purpose is to remain at the forefront of innovation.


Impact

Open & Agile Smart Cities (OASC) is involved in various projects and initiatives that aim to advance smart city technologies, digital transformation, and sustainability. Here's an overview of some of the key projects that OASC is part of:

Intelligent Cities Challenge (ICC): The Intelligent Cities Challenge is a program by the European Commission that supports cities in leveraging advanced technologies to address the challenges posed by the pandemic and drive green, sustainable growth. OASC's involvement in this program contributes to improving the quality of life in cities and creating new opportunities for businesses.

CommuniCity: CommuniCity is a transformative project funded by the European Commission under the Horizon Europe program. It focuses on citizen-centred solutions and aims to launch 100 tech pilots addressing the needs of cities and communities through co-creation and co-learning processes. The project collaborates with companies, tech providers, and citizens to overcome digital and urban challenges.

CyberSec4Europe: This project is a research-based consortium consisting of 44 participants across 21 EU Member States and Associated Countries. It serves as a pilot for a Cybersecurity Competence Network, testing and demonstrating potential governance structures for a network of competence centres. The project draws on best practices and expertise to enhance cybersecurity in Europe.

dRural: The dRural project's goal is to co-develop and implement digital solutions that deliver multiple services to rural citizens while promoting economic growth and improving the quality of life. It aspires to become a service marketplace for European rural areas, ensuring sustainability and replication of successful solutions.

Data Space for Smart Cities and Communities (DS4SSCC): DS4SSCC is a preparatory action funded by the Digital Europe program. Its aim is to create a blueprint for a data space dedicated to smart cities and communities. Working closely with stakeholders, the project gathers input for governance, specifications, and a roadmap to realize the data space.

DyMoN: The DyMoN project enriches digital nudging for sustainable mobility behaviour with data sources. It leverages data such as weather, environmental, infrastructure, and traffic data to design effective nudges for promoting sustainable mobility within cities.

Go Li.EU: Go Li.EU supports the European way of digital transformation by coordinating multi-level governance cooperation. It aims to develop trustworthy solutions, technology, and standards, fostering cooperation among ecosystem players and with other EU initiatives.

NetZeroCities: This project, part of the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme, supports European cities in achieving climate neutrality by 2030. It assists cities in overcoming barriers and provides socially inclusive solutions for climate neutrality.

ODALA: ODALA focuses on improving data management in cities. It involves European cities and regions, private companies, and research institutes leveraging open-source technologies for data lakes and digital transformation.

OMEGA-X: The OMEGA-X project aims to implement an energy data space, including federated infrastructure, data marketplace, and service marketplace. It facilitates data sharing among stakeholders and demonstrates its value for energy use cases while ensuring privacy, security, and interoperability.

PRE-PAI: Pre-PAI is involved in the development, deployment, and operation of the European AI-on-demand platform. It aims to provide a blueprint for building and consolidating the platform, catering to different stakeholder groups and enhancing European leadership in trustworthy AI.

These projects reflect OASC's commitment to advancing smart city technologies, sustainability, and digital transformation while fostering collaboration between cities, communities, industry partners, and research institutions to address urban challenges and create innovative solutions.


References
Open & Agile Smart Cities
Leadership team

Davor Meersman (CEO)

Karl-Filip Coenegrachts (Chair)

Martin Brynskov ( Tech Lead)

Jaime Ventura (Technical Advisor)

Headquarters
Brussels, Belgium
Region served
Worldwide
Year stablished
2015
Address
Rue du Luxembourg 19-21 1000
Social Media