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Living Labs Global: Your Market for Mobility.

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

Since June 2008, Living Labs Global has become a non-profit membership association building on the success of Living Labs Europe. This evolution reflects the outcomes of our consultations with European members and partners since the beginning of the year, as well as the geographic growth of our initiative. New members have joined from Asia, and it is expected that we can announce activities in the Americas and the broader Mediterranean Region in the coming months.

Further, the new organisation reflects our mission to build a “Marketplace for Mobility”. Previous posts discussed Living Labs as Lead Markets, barriers to innovation and creativity. We are moved by the discovery of so many innovative mobile applications - more than 230 have been presented in our mWatch Surveys - yet few of these become available everywhere. In fact, the mobility market today is dysfunctional for a large number of reasons. We cannot change all of this everywhere, so we are inviting those cities, regions, companies, agencies and organisations committed to providing better, more innovative service to mobile citizens, businesses and visitors to join us.

Without a functioning market, our discussions on user-centric innovation and service designs often lead to frustration rather than success, as many conditions hinder export or commercialisation. Living Labs Global remains committed to putting the user at the centre, with 6,711,888,616 innovators around, we believe that we can actively create the global market for mobility, rather than wait. Understanding users helps us identify the local problems that are in fact global opportunities.

Together, we will build this marketplace, enabling innovators to become successful. We will continue to map mobility, to showcase the best services and applications and benchmark leading global regions and markets. Our Matchmaking Summits will become part of a regular activity, starting in January 2009 in Hamburg, to be followed by Summits in Zurich and Taipei. And, our goal remains to make it all happen through Highlight Projects that break new grounds by piloting and pre-commercialising solutions in our marketplace.

Find out more, by reviewing our updated website and Join Living Labs Global.

First European Matchmaking Summit on Mobile and E-Technologies, Stuttgart, Germany, 15-16 May 2008

Monday, June 9th, 2008

Living Labs Global flourishes

“Science as opposed to technology does violence to common sense!” – this provocative remark was casually slipped into the conversation by one of the participants at the networking diner Friday night. The direct implication was of course that modern theoretical physics has become practically nonsense and that we can only really understand the practical application of existing technologies. But the speaker also had a subtext, and he continued by asking: “Does any of the science and technology discussed on this conference make sense?”

This question is actually an interesting and relevant filter through which to view the conference in Stuttgart. The first European matchmaking summit on mobile and e-technologies was a unique two day event focusing on the collaboration between the public sector and private enterprises. The participants came from one hundred of the most innovative firms in the mobile and wireless sector, and together they represented over twenty European countries. Another important group was comprised by various public decision makers from city administrators to health care specialists. The third and all important ingredient in this melting pot of the new mobile market was the very active participation of the most advanced science clusters in Europe today.

On the first morning of the conference, that that took place in the appropriately high-tech convenience of the Fraunhofer Institute in Stuttgart, many people showed up early, and the place was already buzzing with anticipation and conversation, when the first speakers got ready to launch the event. Professor Jan Annerstedt from Living Labs Global welcomed everyone to the conference and proceeded to sketch out the new challenges: In opening the European markets for digital solutions a crucial key to success lies in the ability of the private and the public sector to communicate and to work together. He underlined that we can find better ways to make small and medium seized enterprises smarter in the way they approach users. Finding the best business models and opening up for new instruments such as venture capital is a step in the right direction, but to overcome the weaknesses, we must be able to create larger partnerships. Professor Annerstedt presented the Living Lab concept as an ideal network of clusters that enable faster cooperation between users and providers, and most importantly as a network that uses the city as an innovative space where the involvement of the users is always the centre of attention.

The audience were attentive, but there was a clear and positive shift in the energy in the auditory as Professor Annerstedt gave his final statements. He made clear that the whole project is only a stepping stone, and that Living Labs as a self-funded organisation will make a platform, where we will see a real model emerging. The audience knew that the European market has 70 million potential end users, and everyone were thrilled to be part of an active network where this is the main focus. These thoughts were also taken up by the next speaker, Dr Reinhart Büscher, Head of Innova, who was happy to continue on the subject of innovation and markets. He explained that Europe has too many standards today and that Innova is not going to be standard setting. But Innova is going to find which are good standards and which are bad. This will be of the greatest help to enterprises. Innovation management as a craft will have to be developed further, and the art of converting ideas into money is still very much on the agenda. There will be a strong research and science perspective, and Dr. Büscher stipulated that the public founds, time and energy that goes into these projects must be converted into value added. Therefore cluster networking alone is no longer enough, it will have to be taken to the next level, where real collaboration, professional partnerships and world class excellence is achieved. This was all well received, as the new cross-network collaboration between clusters in Europe, public sector agencies, business firms, venture capitalists and research institutions has already begun to flourish.

All of these points were summed up by Dr. Jakob Rasmussen, who stated that Europe has a leading global competence in mobile communication services – and he continued by asking the question: “What can we do in the future?” Dr. Rasmussen mapped out the huge potential in the European market, and explained how the public sector and private enterprises working together in unison can create initial demand for new services and drive the demand by functioning as advance buyers. This dynamics is being strengthened by the mClusters project, and people were happy to learn that Living Labs Global will continue to map out competences in Europe, will continue to establish partnerships of trailblazers, will continue to make innovative showcase projects that can be exported.

But most important of all – and the point that everyone nodded their heads at – Living Labs Global will continue to hold matchmaking sessions of supply and demand in the future.

At no point during the two days was it forgotten that this was a matchmaking summit, and Dr. Rasmussen’s speech served as the perfect link to the lunch and to the following matchmaking sessions that continued for the duration of the afternoon. The participants were divided into three groups and they spent four and a half hours discussing mCities, mLearning and mHealth. In the first part of the sessions an expert panel comprised by exponents from the public sector, private enterprises and from universities told about their own projects, and they showcased interesting examples for the whole group to dissect. The second half of the sessions saw the further splitting up of the groups, as people were put together in small teams of four or five members. These small teams now had to make an assessment of the killer applications that already exist – then they had to brainstorm about the coming trends, and finally they had to “dream up” their ideal applications of the future. These interactive workshops really livened things up, and it was clear for all to see that the participants began to enjoy themselves while learning interesting and important things from their colleagues and potential partners.

It proved quite a task for the group moderators to stop the eager participants, who were now deep into heated discussion and complicated explanations, but all good things come to an end, and Fraunhofer laboratories had generously arranged for everyone at the conference to visit their research facilities before the grand networking dinner started. When people began to arrive at the dinner there seemed to be widespread jealousy towards those who had gone to the interactive driving simulator, and there was much joking about the fairground experience provided by Fraunhofer. All social ice was now broken, and as it’s so often the case in situations like these, everyone were beginning to communicate actively – the real matchmaking had begun. Evening turned into night to the tones of a small jazz ensemble, and no one can deny that this was the most valuable hours seen from a networking perspective.

On Friday, the last day, there was a short introduction and an interesting speech by Ulrike Daniels on the European Satellite Navigation Competition 2008. Then three new groups were established and three new subjects were introduced: mLogistics, mTourism and mPayment. The same procedure as on Thursday was followed, but this time there was a lot of participation and discussion from the beginning. When Jan Annerstedt held the closing note just before lunch, it was only natural that he should be positive and happy in his evaluation of the event; all participants were enthusiastic about the time that they had invested in coming to Stuttgart, and there was a genuine spirit of expectation, when Professor Annerstedt made a promise: “This is only the beginning.”

The speaker, who made the cheeky question about science and technology at the networking dinner, was referring to the speculative discussions about future trends at the interactive workshops. But he continued and gave an answer himself. He was impressed with what was being achieved and created on the conference, and for him too, this was only a beginning.

Living Lab Grythyttan - A Story of Taste

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

The small Swedish village of Grythyttan in the municipality of Hällefors should most likely have been a non-distinct place sleeping quietly many miles from the rush and life of Stockholm. It used to be a mining town and its population is just around 1200 people, but instead of disappearing into complete obscurity the town has turned into one of the most exciting and entrepreneurial projects in Europe today. Beginning in the seventies Grythyttan has developed an expertise in the field of food and taste and it has been the goal to become one of the leading centres, when it comes to the world of resturanteering and cooking. Covering all aspects of the meal experience this specialisation has been a great success and it has allowed Grythyttan to go even further. Today Grythyttan has become the site of a truly unique university campus, where the students are able to follow such courses as Chef and Culinary Arts and Meal Science. As a part of the larger Örebro University the campus in Grythyttan offers the only education of its kind in the world and there are programmes ranging from bachelor degrees all the way to PhD level. Simultaneously there has been a significant increase in fresh business developments that are related to the new profile of the village.

But the huge success of this educational innovation has posed Grythyttan with some real challenges. The number of students is going to increase from 450 to 750 and housing and communication will have to be more thought through. On a grander scale if Grythyttan is to maintain its position as a leader in its field, the university and the region must be able to collaborate with institutions and businesses from other regions and countries.

Interlace-Invent and A Taste of Media have worked closely with the university, the students and the village council to find a way to meet the challenges, and in the fall of 2007 Interlace-Invent launched the mStudent project in Grythyttan. The whole village has gained seamless access to the internet and Interlace-Invent has made communication between students and the university possible on a whole new level. The technology allows students to use a free SMS service and the student organisations are now able to push information to all its users. The university can make announcements to the students on this platform and administration of such things as applications will be swifter, making communication open and easy.

It has been the ambition to make the mStudent Grythyttan a user-driven project, focusing on the needs and interests of the energetic and creative students. In collaboration with the important student organisations Interlace-Invent located the areas where communisation between the students could be better and it has resulted in a livelier social climate, where all the extracurricular activities have seen an increasing interest.

By engaging in this dynamic evolution of new mobile technology, Grythyttan has become a part of the network of European cities, universities and innovative firms that are know as Living Labs. These centres of interactive design are interconnected and as a unit they function as a market place between some of most influential cities and regions in Europe today. This means that the free student services in Grythyttan are now not only supported by a professional infrastructure – they also have a common interface with a wide range of universities in the region and across Europe. At the heart of Grythyttan campus stands the impressive House of Tastes, where eager students are seeking excellence in their art. The large building was the Swedish pavilion at the Expo in Sevilla in 1992, and it is only fitting that it gets to represent Sweden once more, as Grythyttan joins the avant-garde of European innovation.

Opening European markets for digital mobile & wireless services and products

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007

mClusters Event in Tallinn December 6-7 2007 

After the tremendous success of Estonia in the mWatch Surveys, receiving the prize for the most innovative mobile region, this meeting looks behind the scenes of these successes, and asks the question about the future of mobile & wireless services clustering. Estonian experts and entrepreneurs will in particular discuss the issue of internationalisation and access to European markets.

mClusters conference in Kalmar & Västervik, Sweden, 9-10 September 2007

Tuesday, October 9th, 2007

Transformation of the Kalmar Region

The Kalmar region has since 1997 been a pilot region in reorganising the public sector, through the use of IT and new technologies for collaboration between the public sector and private enterprises to enhance the offerings for citizens in the Kalmar county.

Håkan Brynjolfson of the Kalmar Regional Council underlined the counties strategy to provide 24Mbit fibre-based Internet structure almost everywhere in the country, and 8 Mbits Wimax in the north-eastern part of the country. The digital infrastructure is part of a wider strategy to transform Kalmar county into a leading “digital society”, focusing the resources in the county on how to develop applications and use the existing infrastructure to create a leading environment of high-technology companies to prosper in an area with a high engagement of the public sector and citizens as lead-markets.

In addition to the fixed-line broadband infrastructure, the county has also been developing wireless broadband access. The first attempt to establish WIFI was done in the 3.5 Ghz spectrum, which ran intro trouble with coverage based on the spectrum inability to properly traverse natural obstacles. Consequently, the region had to change the strategy from wireless to fibre until is became possible to build a network using the 450 MHz spectrum, which provides better coverage up to 1Mbit.

From 2007, the county has started the next phase in the regional development strategy, focusing on education, training and collaboration with industry and the public sector. It was early in the establishment of the strategy identified that a major requirement for the region was to ensure the necessary competences of the citizens to embrace the digital society. Consequently, e-learning, computer literacy and common technical proficiencies has been prioritised in both urban areas and in smaller, rural communities.

From 2008, the transformation of the region will enter its third phase, focusing on supporting concrete projects in areas such as e-Learning, mobile health care, mobile tourism, e-Democracy, administrative development (such as making the administration more cost effective), and continue making the IT-Infrastructure more advanced.

Harnessing Societal Innovation

The BIT Service / IT Greenhouse in Blankaholm was born out of the broadband projects in the region which began in 1999. It was originally envisioned as an experimentation site with user-driven innovation in broadband technology for the rural communities. In the wintertime, the computers are used for distance working and education (e-learning), and in the summer, the computers are used by tourists and visitors.

The IT Greenhouse showed the need for models supporting the uptake of technology in society, and consequently, several projects have been pioneered in the context of the Greenhouse and the requirement for computer proficiency in rural communities.

Today, as a result of the projects in the IT Greenhouse, Blekinge, Kroneberg and Kalmar counties are collaborating in the areas of e-learning in “the Learning and Development Project” part of the centre for flexible learning on how to build up learning platforms and learning structure in areas such as the Folkbildningsnet ( is part of the Swedish e-learning tools for the Swedish Associations of Folkbildning, focusing on e-learning across Sweden and in international relations with e.g. China. The National Council of Education is responsible for the Folkbildningnet. Other areas are Folk High School and National Study Circle.

In addition, new initiatives under way are distance work (for instance, 60 new houses are being build, and professionals are moving to the rural areas in Kalmar based on the ability use distance working from the service centres), and initiatives such as “Baltic Sea Bridge” are being pioneered to link tourists and learning with local information to provide a basis for new services to tourists.

Learning Centres in Rural Areas

As a consequence of the needs for developing the IT competences and diffuse broad band and new technologies to the rural areas in the Kalmar region, the region has developed learning centres in local communities.

The background for developing the learning centres are that the eneral level of education is low in the rural areas, employers have asked for better IT competences, and the municipalities are bating with high rates of unemployment. Consequently, the municipalities and regional authorities have understood that conditions for learning and development of rural citizens must improve, and thus implemented pilot project in three areas in the region; in Blankaholm it is part of the harbour, in Jamervig in conjunction with the library, and in Loftahammer is together with the mayor’s office.

The learning centres have been supported financially from the European Union, and from the Living Labs network in the development of the learning processes with links to developing new pilot projects based on user needs and user requirements. Hence, one of the main results is that communities have seen social development in the form community building for groups of citizens normally left out of new technologies, and that digital technology and knowledge are available to the citizens on a general basis. Consequently, the learning centres have involved diverse groups of citizens, and linked to existing activities in the communities resulting in a unique uptake of technology in areas such as communications, distance learning, distance working and use of software.

On the operational level, each learning centre has instructors to handle requests and assist users in interacting with the technology. In addition, the learning centres are collaborating with libraries and with each other to links users and activities in also regional virtual networks. The learning centres have thus become a cornerstone in the development towards the digital society, and are slowly evolving as an integral part of a broader system of education, employment, knowledge and entrepreneurship in different areas.

mStudent at the University Centre of Västervik

The goal of the mStudent (mobile and IT services for students) project was to develop new solutions for IT-based higher education. The project was initiated as part of the EU structural funds financing program in the period 1997-2003 to develop distance-based university education in the northern part of Kalmar region.

Currently, there are 500 students annually at the University Centre, but as a specialty there are no actual teachers / professors at the centre. Hence, the entire learning offering is based on distance learning, through links with five larger Swedish universities.

On the mobile side, mStudent applications have been integrated into the everyday operations. Originally, students in the region were invited to come up with ideas for services for students, including 3G, IP phones on wireless networks etc. 300 students participated in the resulting pilot which was up and running in four months, in which the services were tested by the students.

Services such as administration-type services, mass-communication from teachers to students and chat were very popular and are still a driver for the continued use of the mStudent services. Currently 1,500 persons are using the mStudent services in the Västervik area.

Boundless Communication

The boundless communication is a pilot project for providing language courses based on student-to-student communication, and has been designed through active user involvement in the design process. The project started as a Living Labs project, and has now been integrated into society through the learning centres, university college and other facilities.

In many of the municipalities more than 50% of the budget goes to the learning centre, and hence they want better quality in the education. Also, the businesses want to use the e-learning and online collaboration tools for cultural integration of new employees. Consequently, the boundless communication program serves part of this purpose as students and citizens have access to new language learning, and the possibility to broaden their horizon through collaboration with students and citizens in other European countries.

IT for the Elderly

The IT for the elderly program was pioneered by a need for inclusion of the especially the older generations in the use of IT in the Kalmar region. Consequently, the pilot project “IT for Seniors” at Nynäsgården was designed to provide technology for communication with relatives and information via computer for the elderly citizens in the care centre.

The aim of the project was to identify, test and evaluate new possibilities for seniors to evaluate the use and uptake of IT for the elderly in areas such as contact with relatives, email and communication, online banking, training, planning activities, entertainment and e-meetings.

The focus of the services is put on areas that improve the quality of daily life of seniors including different related other groups such as relatives and visitors. In the pilot, approximately 30 elderly, (aged 70+), 15 staff and a number of relatives participated.

Based on the results of the project, which were improved wellbeing, better health and improved communication between the involved including caretakers and relatives, the project will now be implement in 12 additional areas to test the results on a broader basis, and to investigate the potential for commercialisation and sustainability.

Applications for Elderly with Special Needs

The project “Applications for Elderly with Special Need” was started as an EU project in 1997 between Sweden, Ireland, England and Portugal. However, quickly the project entitled “ACTION Care”, led by the University College of Borås was primarily carried forward in Sweden with a focus on services for the elderly with special needs to enhance quality of life, and make life easier for the families. In 2004 Borås implemented the system together with Telie/Sonera to commercialise the system.

The program is aimed to support elderly couples in which one of the partners suffer from diseases such as Alzheimer’s or other ailments requiring care to stay onger in their homes, before they require being moved to special home for the elderly or the hospital. The program involves special computer software and video phones connected to a call centre staffed with nurses and doctors with experience from care taking, as well as a support and education system to provide support for the spouse or care taker. In addition, the program also provides a platform for the creation of a social support network for the elderly through virtual communication as well as physical meetings designed for social as well as earning purposes.

The services were developed on the basis of the feedback from the family care takers using user-driven development, as has been very successful in addressing the challenges of home care. Hence, the family carers and the elderly feel less isolated, as long as the technology is easy to use, and the family caretaker feels more competent and secure in the caretaking role. Other added benefits are that the professional carers experience improved job satisfaction, and that knowledge about caretaking can easily be documented and passed on to caretakers in the home.

For the municipalities, the average savings per year are significant, due to a reduction in the need for help in the home and requirements for expensive services in home for the elderly. The program is currently running in seven municipalities in Sweden on a pilot basis, but due to the success an increasing number of municipalities are showing their interest in the program.

Competence Centre Konstanz - Living Lab Bodensee

Thursday, July 12th, 2007

Together with Euroland Projektierungen, Interlace-Invent is implementing the Competence Center Konstanz, a Third Generation Innovation Environment. As a waterfront development along the shores of the Seerhein in the centre of Konstanz the CCK will form the hub for innovative activities in the Bodenseeland, one of the most dynamic and innovative regions in Europe bordering Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Liechtenstein. For additional information please visit

Overall, this new concept for an integrated innovation development, will include major investments into an urban regeneration to house innovative companies, as well as the Living Lab Bodensee and a Bodensee Venture Lab asa high profile programme to international talent.

The project, which began as an investors competition in 2005 which was won in 2006 by the EUROLAND / Interlace-Invent team, has followed a fully integrated process of investment and innovation planning. Today, the project stakeholders have a joint innovation strategy building on increasing the place attractiveness, service innovation, internaionalisation and entrepreneurship. Located in Konstanz, this project is anchored in strong regional support including the network of Bodensee Ambassadors, representing 150 leading businesses and institutions in the region.

Visit for updates in the coming weeks outlining the project details and contact persons.

Conference on Motives for Research Localisation by Multi-National Corporations, 5-6 June Hamburg

Friday, May 4th, 2007

What currently attracts multi-nationals to invest in research in a particular location? What can regional actors do to make their regions more attractive? A two-day conference addressing these topics will take place in Hamburg 5-6 June 2007. This conference builds on extensive interviews with more than 40 global R&D directors carried out by the Regions of Knowledge Project “LOCOMOTIVE”

Speakers include Carlos Orzoco, Global R&D director of Dow Chemicals, Francisco Escarti Europe R&D Director of Boeing, Andrew Dearing General Secretary of the European Industrial Research Managers Association as well as directors of clusters, regional development directors and researchers.

The aim of this conference is to disseminate some of the findings of the project in order to support the development of better regional policies to make Europe more attractive as a research base. It should be of interest to regional policy makers, those involved in developing clusters, knowledge transfer professionals and university staff.

Further details can be found on or by mailing

NOTE: Potential delegates are advised to book hotels early as Hamburg’s hotels are likely to be in heavy demand around this time. The venue is the Hotel Elysee in Hamburg and this can be booked via the conference web site. A contingency of rooms has been reserved until 12 May 2007.

mClusters Conference in Monaco April 18-20

Tuesday, April 24th, 2007

Introduction by Prof. Jan Annerstedt, Living Labs Global / Interlace Invent

In the mobile & wireless industry, Europe sits on a very large source of technology, with huge potential. Thus, we need a release of this resource, involving both macro and micro economics aspect, including citizens, business and travellers.


The mClusters project, sponsored by Europe INNOVA, is tasked with connecting the European innovation environments, within mobile & wireless services and solutions.

One of the main questions is whether we can actually shape innovation environments, and whether Europe is open enough to do this? The mClusters projects have so far looked at and benchmarked 21 European cities, on both hard & soft factors, to understand this dynamic, and one of the outcomes of the project is to support European cities in these endeavours to promote new models for innovation environments fostering user-driven innovation in the mobile & wireless areas, as well as to create a leading network of cities for mobile innovation.

Some of the conclusions so far: A city such as Tallinn, can be very effective in achieving excellence in new business ventures within the mobile & wireless industry, and use the networks of European innovation cities, to export the innovative solutions to other areas of Europe. Thus, the open innovation environments, or ‘Living Labs’ can help foster excellence in the innovation and commercialisation of mobile & wireless solutions, and as such work as a platform for attracting capital and talent to a region, as a mode of collaboration, and to involve users in the design and development processes. Hence, the Living Lab becomes a city-based innovation resource taking advantage of regional pools of creative talent, the affluence of cultural diversity, and unique regional resources.

One of the questions from the audience was how do you become a Living Lab? One of answers is that the driving force behind a living lab is the drive of business and users, to actively strive for pioneering mobile & wireless services and solutions in the context of a city-area, with the participation of universities, public administration, firms, users and citizens, and actively create links between the user groups. Thus, becoming a living lab is as much a question about management capacity and drive, as about set methodologies.

Jens Bley, Director Living Labs Germany, Partner Content Bridge AG

Living Labs Germany today is a network organisation, focusing on ICT and mobile & wireless services. In Hamburg, these activities have been pioneered by close collaboration with the industrial organisation of ICT companies, with the main focus on content and content-based services.

The two pioneering projects out of Hamburg, but with nationwide impact are Mobile Marketing in Urban Spaces and mTourism.

In the Mobile Marketing in Urban Spaces the urban commercial communication space is combined with mobile & wireless services. Consequently, the city has been broken into local entities, to develop the relationships with local stakeholders and thus provide a platform for developing city-wide services based on local engagement and business models. Public media provides navigation, communication and several other services, which can be enhanced by the mobile phone in the urban and mobile space.

One of the main focus areas is the urban furniture in Hamburg, in which outdoor advertising contracts in Hamburg have been tendered out, with the purpose of leveraging the multimedia aspects of the city. Although the main part of the business on urban furniture is done via traditional advertising, the future will be based on mobile and interactive services, which suddenly introduce new players to the market.

The public medium raises awareness, and the mobile phone raises the recall rate. Consequently, the business models are not new, but a known currency in the media and marketing world is being employed in a new business area. Hence, a variety of pioneering application are being developed in areas such as storefinder, live casting, event offerings, discount-coupons, public information, live voting, and interactive quizzing. For the consumers, the drivers are navigation, entertainment and smart shopping, for the marketers this is about traditional business drivers such as marketing, drivers of communication and awareness.

In the mTourism area, Living Labs Germany is taking advantages of the links to Living Labs Stockholm, signing an agreement to prototype the mobile tourism solutions developed and in use in Stockholm, in the cities and tourism destinations in Germany. This is combined with new initiatives such as Sehnsucht Deutschland or ‘Longing for Germany’, developing the emphasis on tourism initiatives in Germany in new and cross-media areas, e.g. print, online, mobile and television.


Bruno Naulais, General Manager of the European Space Incubator, European Space Agency

The European Space Agency (ESA) promotesthe idea that satellite technologies should enable end-user driven mobile and wireless solutions. What is important here is that based on the satellite data, new products, services and scientific results can be developed. Services, such as the Galileo project, are developing new technologies within navigation, position and communication with new features regarding accuracy, resolution and bandwidth. Consequently, the satellite systems are becoming increasingly involved in the communication industry linked to both US and other initiatives in space as well as terrestrial areas.

On of the main themes of ESA is the technology transfer and business incubation in the space area. Some main themes are low weight, strength and durability, efficiency and reliability, compactness, temperature, radiation and corrosion resistance for the technologies developed for e.g. space deployment. There considerations require highly specialised services and facilities, which ESA can provide in the incubators in Noordwijk, Darmstadt and Franscati.

Areas in which space technology have been used are for example composite materials for artificial limbs for the Paralympics, anti-vibration devices for skiers, ozonisers for e.g sterilisation of dentist equipment Other equipment are passive radiometers, to find water and soil moisture around e.g. dykes and dams to prevent flooding.

In the mobile area several solutions have also been developed. The company MarineNet has developed a technology for using GSM onboard e.g. cruise ships, by setting up a mini-GSM antenna, using satellite links to links to the global mobile networks. Mobiria is developing services for connecting retail, tourism services to consumers via a GNSS chip. The company Posirid is developing positioning systems using impulse radio improving positioning also inside buildings and other places not directly in contact with antennas. The company Sport Track develops visualisation of sports on the internet on mobile devices and displays. Some applications are in the boat racing industry, Tour de France and other sport events. The company Disaps creates applications for blind people to navigate in the city using satellite signals combined with WiFi, with one pilot project is running in wireless Leiden. The company Sat Sport is developing a tool for sports, where you can see your result during training using onboard telemetry, which can be compared with training patterns, form measurements and other methodologies.

ESA currently operates several initiatives to assist companies in areas such as technology transfer, technology brokering through MST Aerospace GmbH, and national technology transfer initiatives (NTTI) Business incubation, ESTEC, ESTIC and ESRIN in Netherlands, Italy and Germany, and the ESINET, which is the incubator network. In the incubators, ESA is currently making EUR 40-50M available in early stage financing. Also, ESA is involved in the Galileo Masters competition for business plans in the satellite and space area, to be kicked at the end of April, in Sophia-Antipolis.

Panel Debate

Laurent Londeix, Laboratory Director “Data services & M2M solutions”, France Telecom R&D

France telecom today employs 6000 employees in the region of C^te d’Azur, and is supporting a number of mobile & wireless projects, such as mTourism with satellite technology, GSM and other mobile & wireless technologies. 20 years ago, France Telecom thought that they could invent everything themselves, but today the company has increasingly understood the value of collaborative research. Hence France Telecom is today an active member of the 65 French clusters of excellence, and the chair in the secure communication clusters, and active in e.g. RFID and quality of communication.

Today, France Telecom is also involving SMEs to develop new technologies, and many new activities are focused on user-driven innovation, both in involving users in the innovation processes, and also to be sensitive to user requirements in the areas of services and applications.

Liisa Kanniainen, Executive Director, Mobey Forum

The common focus in mobile services is the consumer, as this is the person that has the mobile device, and will use the services. But what is the enabler or the enabling factor? In Mobile Forum, the focus is on payment, as users want to be able to pay wherever and whatever they want. Hence, the enabler is the possibility of payment, and securing the ability to pay, the necessary systems, security and integrations.

Frank Meinzer, Head of Operations, Telecom Valley

Telecom Valley is an organisation to develop collaboration between companies in the mobile & wireless industry in Sophia-Antipolis. The critical path for the future is to identify end-user solutions and to help the individual customer to get easier access to specific needs. No company can stand alone, and here also the European networks come in, as the role of the European networks is to create collaboration and to secure market access.

Jean-Bernard Titz, Programme Manager Pôle SCS

The developers are also important in the mobile & wireless context, and securing collaboration between developing companies. Some of the main markets in Sophia-Antipolis are tourism, health, and logistics. But we also want the business-side to be emphasised, as innovation is also about commercialisation. Hence, we have created thematic groups between universities, firms, researchers and users to discuss mobility and wireless. One of the main points is actually speaking with the users, for example tourism offices, about what they want to help them.

Philippe Moretto, Project Director, Team Côte d’Azur

Team Côte d’Azur was founded 22 years ago, and focuses on inward investments. The success of Sophia-Antipolis has been applications and technologies, and today the cities are becoming the focus for marketing of the region’s competences. For the region, some of the big challenges are to promote the clusters, and integrate these with the Pôle de Competitivé. The next challenges are be also to involve the satellite development, as well as other technologies such as GSM, in new application areas such as global monitoring, navigation and positioning. It will be interesting to see the new application areas such as timing and communication. Thus, our role will be to work together with the companies and associations in the region, to further enhance the region and to maintain the position amount the ten best regions in Europe. To develop this position, there must be a combination of public and private institutions.

One of the questions from the audience was whether there are mechanisms to source and support entrepreneurs. The region has among other resources, thematic groups to identify and develop technology needs, including tools such as a knowledge management platform.

Pihlippe Moretto responded that there are many new start-ups, and new competences, and hence the region is trying to facilitate meetings for entrepreneurs and the many young start-ups, to interlink investors and business angels. The more the exchanges can be facilitated, the better is the support the start-ups.

Karl-Frank Meinzer added that one of the contributions of the Living Labs is to involve the user, and to identify user needs, by connecting the firms and user-communities, in for example using lead-users or innovative users to become part of the firms’ innovation processes in order to open up to new paths for innovation by different incentive systems. Consequently, we should look at how user communities are interlinked with the firm.

Another question from the audience was when mobile tourism applications would be available in e.g. Nice or Cannes on the ordinary mobile phone.

Laurent Londeix answered that new support structures would have to be in place such as payment structures, but the status and timing of this had not been established now. mTourism is a hot topic right now in the region, and there are no technological barriers per se. One option could be NFC, and e.g. Nice airport is very keen to look at new technologies, and would be one of the first airports to use this technology. However, one of the challenges is how these services can be offered across firm standards, roaming, and identification. On top of the technology issues there are still legal, business and other dimensions which must be developed, but perhaps within 5 years this would be available.

Liisa Kanniainen added that it is not only the technological enables, but also how the business models will be on the phones. This is one of the main challenges in Mobile Forum, and this defines how fast one can go to the market. However, there seems to be common drive for the idea.

Bruno Naulais added that in the region, many technologies have been developed, but the region has been technology-driven and not user-driven, and therefore no one has the overview of which solutions have been developed where. For the EGNOS for example, the first tests have been made in the airport and are meant to spread into the market of e.g. the cities in the region.

Liisa Kanniainen concluded that as the technology and R&D is there, and the business case is being developed, it could perhaps been in even 3 years. As the name mTourism was pioneered in Sophia-Antipolis, there is a focus on this area.

A question from VTT in Finland, is whether in the future the use devices will be easier or more complex? And what kind of medicines will you have?

Jean-Bernard Titz responded that the technology has become more complex, so one of the challenges are to develop technologies that simplify the life of the user. The city of Tokyo has made a smart card solution for queuing in public transportation, so there is no more queuing. So, more application are on a convenience level, that the user chooses which technologies there want. E.g. there is an abundance of technologies, and the choice is with the users.

There is clearly a challenge for equipment manufacturers to hiding the complexity to the users, especially as we are going towards convergence, there is a strong value in addressing complexity. The whole idea of NFC is also to make it simple, but the level of abstraction is also higher for users. E.g. going from coins to mobile technology, will take time and adjustment for the users.

Matchmakers Welcome!

Wednesday, February 14th, 2007

Living Labs Catalunya, an initiative to promote innovation in mobile services and technologies by the 22@Barcelona Innovation District, the Barcelona Digital Foundation, the City of Sant Cugat and TecnoCampus Mataró held a matchmaking event on Monday to connect 14 Scandinavian companies with Catalan business and institutional partners. Coinciding with the launch of the 3GSM World Congress, 40 experts in innovative services and technologies exchanged opportunities and ideas, with the support public agencies and venture capital partners to assist new inward investments and export opportunities.

22@Barcelona marketing director Jordi Sacristán welcomed the visitors together with Christer Asplund of Living Labs Global, acting as the facilitator for the event. All participants considered Catalonia the ideal business and innovation environment for joint activities and a professional entry-point into the Mediterranean market.

Sascha Haselmayer, General Coordinator of Living Labs Catalunya, called the event a great success, with a number of promising leads that could bring new services to citizens, businesses and visitors in Catalunya and new international opportunities opened for Catalan companies. Studies such as the mWatch Europe surveys i(see previous post) into mobile readiness in 21 European cities have continually emphasised the need to place European users at the centre of service development.

Commenting on the 3GSM World Congress, he expressed the hope that in future editions of the event visitors would experience Catalonia as a ‘Cradle of Content’, through a unique range of mobile services at their disposal. Such initiatives would not only add to the attractiveness of the region, but also showcase the uniqueness of companies in the region developing world-class services and technologies.

Already on Tuesday, follow-up talks were held not only with key companies, but also representatives of Living Labs Kalmar (Sweden), to strengthen the regional collaboration to deliver new services for students, tourists and travellers.

Second Living Labs Global Forum November 20-23 2006

Friday, December 1st, 2006


The Second Living Labs Global Forum 2006 was held at the IST 2006 conference in Helsinki, Finland at the Helsinki Fair Centre located 10 minutes from the centre of Helsinki city.

Monday 20 was begun with the Living Labs Global network being present by special invitation at the Finnish Prime Minister’s launch of the Living Labs initiative as a pan-European model for innovation at a ceremony 16 kilometres outside of Helsinki in Espoo, Finland. Pre-publication copies of the mWatch Europe 2006 where handed out to the participants of the ceremony prior to the scheduled launch of the publication on Tuesday 21.

The afternoon of Monday November 20 was reserved for a short briefing session on the mWatch Europe launch and discussions on the progress of the mClusters project. Christer Asplun of Interlace-Invent / Living Labs Global went through the findings of the mWatch Europe 2006 book and the special issues it raise for European the mobile & wireless industry. In the subsequent discussions special emphasis was put on how to integrate the activities of the mClusters projecs with the regions involved, especially how the regions’ communities of users and SMEs can be involved in the networking and project activities on a pan-European level.
Tuesday November 21 was begun with the IST 2006 opening ceremony with Commissioner Vivienne Reading as keynote speaker. At 11:00 the official launch of the mWatch Europe 2006 book was hosted by Christer Asplund of Interlace-Invent / Living Labs Global. Mr. Asplund led the presentation of the mobile readiness index and the cluster profiling methodologies employed in the mWatch Europe 2006 book 21 European regions including Barcelona, Budapest, Catalunya, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Istanbul, London, Lund, Malmö, Matarò, Øresund, Oslo, Salzburg, Sant Cugat, Sophia-Antipolis, Stockholm, Stuttgart, Tallinn, Torino and Vaestervik. Several aspects of the European mobile & wireless industry and associated marketplaces were discussed in the subsequent plenary session moderated by Prof. Jan Annerstedt of Interlace-Invent / Living Labs Global. Special emphasis was put on the structural challenges of interoperability and roaming between the European countries and European telecom providers as barriers to innovation. Also, the advancement of Japan and Korea in the areas of mobile services and technologies where seen as benchmarks for the continuing progress of the European mobile & wireless industry. The plenary session was followed by the mWatch Europe 2006 award in which the city of Tallinn, Estonia was awarded the first prize for the its excellence in promoting mobile services to its citizens and firms. Helsinki took the second place, and the Swedish city of Lund came in third. A special prize was awarded for the smallest city in the mWatch Europe 2006, the City of Vaestervik, which through dedicated leadership has transformed a small community in Sweden into one of Europe’s most advanced mobile & wireless regions.

The afternoon sessions on “Helsinki region’s Advancement into a Third Generation Innovation Environment for Mobility” where moderated by Prof. Jan Annerstedt of Interlace-Invent / Living Labs Global, and focused on the question on how Helsinki region can further develop its technological and commercial leadership in a changing European context. The expert panel involved leading experts from key Finnish innovation support and intermediary institutions, research and business.

Tatu Laurila, Deputy Managing Director, Culminatum
Kimmo Ojuva, Managing Director, Dimes
Jarmo Eskelinen, Managing Director, Forum Virium
Eero Holstila, Director, Helsinki Office of Economic Development
Veli-Pekka Niitamo, Director, Mobile Work Place Research, Nokia
Risto Setälä, Director, SW and Digital Media Industries, Tekes
Prof. Tatu Koljonen, VTT

The discussions evolved around the models for collaboration and innovation support systems which have made Helsinki a world-leading cluster in the mobile & wireless industry and how these models will evolve with the new and increasing emphasis on pan-European collaboration.

The evening was ended with an official dinner at the Helsinki mayor’s office in downtown Helsinki. Invited participants where the mClusters consortium, the participating members from Living Labs Global and the participants in the expert panel from the afternoon’s sessions.

Thursday November 23 was opened with the networking session on Living Labs with the participation of leading European firms and research institutions hosted by the DG IST 2006. Prior to the networking session, Living Labs Global had by special invitation been invited as a key driving member of the DG IST’s program on Living Lab and a special advisory group had been set up to integrate the methodologies and know-how of the mClusters and Living Labs Global network into the broader context of the DG IST Living Lab programs.