SENERGIC OD APPS IN SERVICE TO THE SOCIETY
Art. 7 - by Branka Cuca - POLIMI (Italy)
Launched in the 2009, the strategy Digital Agenda for Europe (DAE) is the first of the seven flagships initiatives under the "Europe 2020" strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. The overall aim of DAE is in fact “to deliver sustainable economic and social benefits from a digital single market based on fast and ultra-fast internet and interoperable applications”. In particular, the Pillar VII “ICT-enabled benefits for EU society” highlights the need of smart solutions for a vast number of users and for everyday purposes.
Similarly to classic categories, human and financial resources, ENERGIC OD also recognises the data as a key asset for the economy and the services requested and needed by our contemporary society. Data is in fact increasingly intended as “an innovation currency” for numerous innovative products and services. As suggested by the EU Open Data Communication (2011) these latter could range from “decision support system for businesses, location based services and car navigation systems to weather forecasts and other “apps” for our smartphones”.
When it comes to this new “currency”, including also geo-data, two issues are to highlight: 1) it is extensively collected, produced and financed by public administration and 2) certain data should be freely available for use and re-use following the Open Data concept. In this sense, an EU Directive on the re-use of public sector information (PSI Directive) provides a common legal framework for a European market for government-held data (public sector information).
In such a dynamic policy framework, ENERGIC OD aims toput the requirements of Europe's businesses and the priorities of the public sector on the spot, especially in the field of geo-information technologies and new services and products. The core concept can hence be translated as the need for technologies and innovative technological solutions to be strictly related to the necessities of our society in order to guarantee real social benefits.
The extensive analysis of the ENERGIC OD APPs done within “WP4 Requirements and specifications: SDI, data harmonisation and applications addressing user needs”, shows that they mostly regard landscape/environment scale and urban/city scale. This potentially reflects a new trend of geo-information being relevant and applied not only on a geographic scale but also on a more local-city scale, closely related to the citizens.
Several topics such Climate change, Agriculture, Health and Reflective Societies seem mostly applicable for ENERGIC OD APPs, revealing several main concerns and the main current focus of public attention. On one side, there is a strong awareness of the ongoing and upcoming climate change phenomena and their affects and the need for new services that could help to mitigate those changes. In particular, several specific socially relevant fields are on the spot: agriculture, food production and security, changes of landscapes and agri-landscapes, health services. Some other APPs also underline the utility of open geo-information for a variety of services that cover flora and fauna protection domain, biodiversity and ecosystems.
Another strongly covered category regards Smart Cities given that many ENERGIC OD applications tackle the some primary citizens’ needs such as home and wellbeing in urban areas as well as health emergency issues. Furthermore, most of the applications identify as relevant the Reflective Society challenge that is to say responding to the needs of more inclusive societies that could use, benefit from and potentially voluntary contribute to products and services of Information and Communications Technologies.
The study of ENERGIC OD APPs and the objectives they intend to tackle, reflects a clear link between DAE Pillar VII (benefits of ICT to the society) and the societal challenges. This approach shows a tendency of APP developers towards a concrete creative awareness and it highlights the strong potentials that Virtual Hub could have in this perspective, tackling a handful of societal matters that are currently some of the top priorities of the public agenda.