Over a hundred European cities have agreed on ‘Minimal Interoperability Mechanisms’ defining the communication between software programmes and building blocks to allow co-creation and sharing of services. The MIMs, advocated by the Open & Agile Smart Cities (OASC) initiative, are “simple steps towards using new technology”, OACS chairman Martin Brynskov said on Thursday.
“The MIM principles of open data, open source, open APIs and open licences make possible standards-based innovation and procurement,” Brynskov said at the opening of the 'Connected Smart Cities' conference in Brussels. Openness and co-creation are increasingly important, added Olli Voutilainen, a senior officer at Finland’s Ministry of Employment and the Economy: “They are the tools for innovation.”
Through its interoperability principles OASC is spurring its members to develop software solutions that are easy to interconnect. This improves the exchange of information and data between city departments, and enables cities to connect their systems. For example, the smart-city network standardises on the use of the CKAN open data repository (CKAN itself is open source software).
In December, OASC announced 16 pilot projects to deploy data-driven city services. The projects will focus on sustainable mobility, citizen engagement, and the environment and well-being. Under the name SynchroniCity, they are are all funded by the European Union. They will combine open data, open application programming interfaces and reusable software building blocks so that other cities can reuse the solutions or services.
At the conference the city of Porto (Portugal), an OASC member, gave the example of how it used data from its municipal car fleet to decide to switch to electric vehicles. The data showed that the distances travelled and the time spent parked would allow such a transition.
The OASC network involves 120 cities and towns in 24 countries.