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China-Finland ICT Alliance November – December 2013 Update
ICT Alliance as a Showcase in the OpenChina-ICT Final Conference on Strengthening Cooperation in ICT Research between Europe and China
The conference gathered about 100 experts from industry, business and research both from China and Europe. Its first session was on EU-China collaboration perspectives, second session was on cooperation priorities in ICT among the two regions, and third session provided recommendations and suggestions for EU-China successful ICT research cooperation. Key discussion topics focused on:
- what will be the impact of Europe’s financial pressure on European funded international research?
- what Horizon 2020 will mean for Europe-China R&D&I cooperation?
- what are concrete perspectives for cooperation on ICT research under Horizon 2020?
- what way global grand challenges that both regional areas face can be tackled via joint R&D&I activities?
- should the European Commission have a stronger role in the coordination of bilateral cooperation activities of European Member States?
- should Chinese-European ICT research concentrate even more on actual industry needs and mutual market access of Chinese and European value chains?
ICT Alliance in the Horizon 2020 ICT Work Programme Kick-off Conference
- ICT work programme for 2014;
- Investing in key enabling technologies;
- ICT applied to social innovations;
- Women in ICT business;
- Open data and digital content;
- Smart home and smart living;
- Cloud computing; and
- Future Internet.
- Call 7: Advanced Cloud infrastructures and services;
- Call 8: Boosting public sector productivity and innovation through Cloud computing services;
- Call 13: Web entrepreneurship;
- Call 14: Advanced 5G network infrastructure for the future Internet;
- Call 15: Big data and open data innovation and take-up; and
- Call 16: Big data – research.
Horizon 2020 ICT Work Programme Kick-off conference proved to be highly relevant event for assessing the current status and the new initiatives of China-Finland ICT Alliance. The on-going ICT Alliance projects and the new initiatives match Horizon 2020 ICT Work Programme and the broader EU-China collaboration objectives well. Likewise, the OpenChina‐ICT recommendations of the six optional and complementary routes for future cooperation between Europe and China are taken into use in ICT Alliance as it carries out jointly defined cooperation in R&D projects that involve researcher and student exchanges and are industry-driven – involving also SMEs and innovative start-ups. It provides input both to bilateral and EU level dialogue and is involved in City level collaboration when addressing challenges facing urban societies. Some of the key thematic topics and forthcoming calls are highlighted below.
The key thematic topics discussed in the Kick-off conference are active in the ICT Alliance cooperation. Examples include Smart home and smart living; Cloud computing; and Future Internet. Open data is also gaining attention in particular at City levels for enabling citizen-driven and third party service innovation. Smart home and smart living topics have been on the agenda in ICT Alliance since 2012. For example, the “active life home” services have also been developed and jointly piloted for example in Beijing and Shanghai, and an ecosystem activity on elderly care and active life (ECAL) has been launched by DIGILE. Also, the work in preparing an open mobile and embedded ecosystem (OMECO) aiming at developing open software and open hardware platforms that would help linking “everyday sensing” and common consumer platforms to create highly scalable horizontal solutions has selected “Smart Home” as one of the first potential application areas. The “everyday life” data collection also plays an important role in these activities.
Calls in the ICT Work Programme 2014-2015 include areas where, in the ICT Alliance context, there is a track record of active joint work as well as newly launched projects between China and Finland and with other EU countries being linked. These projects relate among other things to:
- Call 7: Advanced Cloud infrastructures and services where current projects e.g. “Everyday Sensing” have activities.
- Call 8: Boosting public sector productivity and innovation through Cloud computing services, where a new initiative is being prepared, involving also ICT Alliance, for launching a large scale real-life experimentation environment for development of future public digital services across Europe that are well trusted by citizens as well as by public and private service providers and that enable service roaming.
- Call 14: Advanced 5G network infrastructure for Future Internet, opportunity for a joint proposal is being studied. A strong proposal and consortium can be built on the several years of joint research partnerships in ICT Alliance in wireless access and energy efficient networking projects since 2009. From the Chinese side active parties involve e.g. WiCo (the Coordinator of ICT Alliance China side), Huazhong University of Science and Technology (HUST) and other key universities, with positive feedback also from the NSFC. The Finnish active research partners include VTT, University of Oulu, Aalto University, and Tampere University of Technology. A preparatory joint China-Finland/EU workshop has been proposed for Q1/2014 in Beijing with ICT Alliance involvement on Advanced 5G.
- Call 15: Big data and open data innovation and take-up; and
- Call 16: Big data – research, relate to ICT Alliance Phase II projects, like “Everyday Sensing”, “Sensing City Traffic”, and are focal areas in the enterprise cooperation discussions with entities like Z-Park / Zhongguancun Science Park. Open data plays particularly important role in the citizen and 3rd party driven innovation of public services as mentioned above. ICT Alliance is active in jointly identified services area with entities developing services for Cities like Beijing and Shanghai. New initiatives in real-time economy and novel financial services to boost innovation are in preparation phase in the ICT Alliance, and will be making extensive use of the big data approach. Likewise, in the various areas of everyday sensing and demand responsive (services for) cities these techniques will be developed further and employed.
ICT Alliance cooperation activities have been developed in areas such as open mobile and embedded software and hardware platforms and tools. The “City-on-Demand ” concept is being developed to introduce service architecture thinking that includes both design of the physical urban environment and the digital service environment for creation of demand driven service solutions. Examples include mobility in urban areas, configurable spaces and access flow, and other services enabling better resource sharing and sustainable solutions. Complementing the activities in specific technology and application areas the ICT Alliance has taken active role in developing R&D&I cooperation in the horizontal area of education and training. The work covers new technology enabled solutions and ”Education-as-a-Service” concept. These are being developed, among other, by launching EDUTECH ecosystem activity (prepared and coordinated by DIGILE) to support the Sino- Finnish Learning Factory cooperation launched in 2013 by Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture working in cooperation with the Chinese Ministry of Education, and with the key academic, public and industry entities in both countries. Following the open international approach of ICT Alliance the above areas are open for cooperation not only for Finnish and Chinese partners but also for involving the relevant and interested international partners in Europe – and elsewhere.
In summary, during 2013 China-Finland ICT Alliance has taken steps to become a recognised open platform for business-oriented R&D&I also including pre-market pilots and experiments. Simultaneously, important dialogues with actors more oriented towards basic research, such as the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), has developed to a level where potential areas for international bilateral and multiparty collaboration have been identified, and events such as workshops are planned for 2014.
In addition to research activities, ICT Alliance has been recognised for its potential role in contributing to the creation of new comprehensive solutions that go beyond specific technologies. This is now taking place in the preparation of so called “business ecosystems” as well as in cross-sector initiatives involving Finnish and Chinese parties. The creation of business ecosystems, like those coordinated in Finland by DIGILE, can be a viable approach for involving Finnish and Chinese companies and other entities as partners and/or business pilot owners for creating relevant solutions with adequate momentum and access to (piloting in) the market. The ecosystems are open for other interested and contributing international partners as in general in all ICT Alliance activities.
Horizon 2020 is a timely and prominent framework for supporting EU-China R&D&I cooperation and there is a strong interest from Chinese partners to launch joint projects although funding for Chinese partners is not at the moment provided by Horizon 2020. Chinese partners are positioned today also to take active role as key contributors reflecting China’s interest in open international R&D&I while simultaneously ensuring boosting its own innovation and design capabilities.
In December ICT Alliance was one of the key topics when the DIGILE management visited several EU Cabinets including Research, Innovation and Science, and the Digital Agenda. The China-Finland ICT Alliance, recognised in the OpenChina-ICT and other international cooperation forums, is ready to take an active role in helping to create some of the strong and high impact joint EU-China research proposals – for “Co-creating the Future”.
Visit of Ms. Pia Viitanen, Minister of Housing and Communications, to China in November
As the Finnish coordinator of ICT Alliance, Matti Hämäläinen participated some of Minister Viitanen’s business delegation meetings in Beijing and Shanghai, including meetings at Zhongguancun High-tech park, with whom China-Finland cooperation is in progress, Zhangjiang High-tech Park, with whom Golden Bridge and the City Espoo recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding, and BesTV. Topics in joint discussions include Smart Home – Smart Life and potential role of Finland as a ”hub” for global digital businesses as the relevant infrastructure decisions and investments are now being made. As a result, these topics are now being jointly examined as potential initiatives in the ICT Alliance cooperation context. In addition, the possibility of developing a ”virtual science park” by Finnish and Chinese innovation system actors was suggested (by Reijo Paajanen, DIGILE) and is to be investigated at the moment.
Visit of Ms. Krista Kiuru, Minister of Education and Science, to China in November
4th Sino-Finnish eBusiness Education and Research & Collaborative Innovation Forum 6-7 November 2013, Haikou, Hainan
In December 2013, the network covers many of the prominent services and e-business research institutions in China, and it also has active cooperation via its expert network with other key partners such as Tsinghua University and Tongji University. As Hainan is a nationally recognised tourism industry region in China a special summit during the Forum was organised by Hainan Normal University involving local industry on ubiquitous services and e-tourism. For example, a Sino- Finnish project is under planning for 2014 for developing cruise ship related technologies and services. The e-tourism area is also seen as a potential area of wider EU-cooperation, in particular as the European eBEREA partners include Italy (Trento) and the Netherlands (TU Delft). This preparation is, at the Finnish side, driven by University of Turku and Åbo Akademi.
More Information on China-Finland ICT Alliance and DIGILE
For more information, please visit the China-Finland ICT Alliance website www.ictalliance.org, DIGILE website www.digile.fi or contact Mr. Matti Hämäläinen and Mr. Jani Kaarlejärvi (firstname.lastname(at)digile.fi).