Living-in.EU: Digital Transformation in the European Cities blog image

Challenges of a Smart Environment

The smart city environments are becoming increasingly popular and are being widely adopted across the globe, owing to the tremendous advancements in Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence. These environments offer intelligent monitoring and real-time decision making for optimal utilization and management of resources, and to improve the operations across the city.

The real-time analytics, transmission and storage of the data generated by the interconnected devise offers a dedicated challenge in terms of computing/storage cost and real-time response. At the same time, automated surveillance and response by the interconnected deices also introduce privacy, security and ethical issues which are difficult to cope with. Increased service level and device connectivity, resulting in a sheer amount of data, jeopardizes individuals’ right to privacy and data security. For example, a night club’s member may not want to reveal his car’s license plate information for smart entry and parking. In the same way, automated surveillance and monitoring for the provision of services and law enforcement introduce ethical, societal and legal issues.

These challenges demand a suitable balance to be set between service level and privacy-security-ethics. In addition to that, a complex city environment is also subjected to change in the spatial-temporal characteristics of the interconnected devices and other environmental alterations brought about by human actions.

Living-in.EU: The Initiative

The initiative for boosting sustainable digital transformation in cities and communities in the EU was introduced in 2019. Supported by the European Commission and the European Committee of the Regions, it is a platform to cope with the aforementioned challenges and utilizing digital solutions to make the cities climate neutral and work together on societal challenges in a ‘European Way’.

The digital solutions which the is primarily focused on include ICT-enabled government services for seamless civic experience, digital technologies based public transportation system with enhanced comfort and reliability, energy efficiency, and environmentally sustainable housing. The initiative will gradually extend its scope and will encompass almost every aspect of life. The socio-economic benefits from this digital transformation of Europe will cover all communities by substantially improving infrastructure and skills.

Privanova supports Living-in.EU: a shared benefit for its H2020 projects

Privanova was one of first ever companies to support the initiative and is, up to now, the only French company listed on its website. Our enthusiastic supporting for the Declaration on joining forces to boost sustainable digital transformation in cities and communities in the EU comes from our extensive involvement in cutting-edge, multidisciplinary innovation projects focusing on Internet of Things and related issues such as ethics, privacy, data protection, law enforcement access to data,  information security and lawful interception of communications.

Multimodal Extreme Scale Data Analytics for Smart Cities Environments (MARVEL)

The MARVEL project delivers a disruptive Edge-to-Fog-to-Cloud ubiquitous computing framework that enables multi-modal perception and intelligence for audio-visual scene recognition, event detection in a smart city environment. Our role in it is to ensure privacy, data protection and ethics compliance of the project. Aimed at improving quality of life and services to citizens while preserving privacy, security and ethical values, MARVEL copes with the challenges of data collection, analytics and storage. In this context, the “Legal” working group of the initiative is particularly interested for the project as it aims to establish, amongst other things, a network of Digital Europe Ombudsmen/Ombudswomen in each European city, to ensure a fast track in the handling of citizens’ and undertakings’ complaints, in the event that a PA does not recognize the legal validity of digital documents, processes and schemes that comply with the common European legislative framework (e.g. EIDAS Regulation, Public Documents Regulation, etc.).

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Key Facts

  • Project Coordinator: Dr. Sotiris Ioannidis
  • Institution: Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas (FORTH)
  • E-mail: 
  • Start: 01.01.2021
  • Duration: 36 months
  • Participating Organisations: 17
  • Number of countries: 12

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation program under grant agreement No 957337. The website reflects only the view of the author(s) and the Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.