Modern cities are increasingly turning into ICT technology toward confronting pressures associated with demographic changes, urbanization, climate change and globalization. Therefore most cities have during the last decade undertaken significant investments in ICT infrastructure including computers, broadband connectivity and recently sensing infrastructures. Those have empowered a number of innovative services that have been extensively deployed in several cities.
Social networks and sensor networks can be combined in order to offer a variety of added‐value services for smart cities, as has already been demonstrated in the scope of a number of early internet‐of‐things applications. Recently, the benefits of social networking and internet‐of‐things deployments for smart cities have also been demonstrated in the scope of a range of EC co‐funded projects. Despite the proliferation of social networking infrastructures and sensor networking infrastructures and deployments, there is still no easy way to develop, customize, deploy and operate such services in smart cities. This creates several challenges for all the stakeholders that engage in value chains of such services. In particular:
- ICT companies (notably SMEs) that develop services for smart cities do not have tools and techniques for the rapid development and deployment of social networking and IoT services.
- The cities and their authorities cannot easily leverage services that have already been successfully deployed in other cities. Cities need to be able to flexibly identify and select existing services (in other cities) that could be successfully deployed at their territories.
- Users are increasingly requesting for media‐rich services offered under different space‐, context‐, situational and trends conditions. Mechanisms are required that integrate such dimensions within the context of service provision by utilizing next generation access (NGA) networks.
- Business and citizens residing in modern cities are nowadays faced with a host of ICT‐based services, yet they are not offered with ways to participate in the operation, evaluation and fine‐tuning of the services.
Motivated by the above challenges RADICAL will open new horizons in the development, deployment and operation of interoperable social networking and IoT services in smart cities, notably services that could be flexibly and successfully customized and replicated across multiple cities. The main goal of the project is to provide the means for cities and SMEs to rapidly develop, deploy, replicate, pilot and evaluate a diverse set of sustainable ICT services that leverage established Internet‐of‐things and social networking infrastructures.
Thus, RADICAL will ultimately introduce a whole new approach for the successful introduction and penetration of smart city services in modern cities taking into account the technological infrastructures, legal environments and socio‐economic characteristics.In the sequel we outline the main characteristics and benefits of the RADICAL approach:
Open Platform‐based: Rather than relying on the ad‐hoc integration of social networking and IoT infrastructures, RADICAL will integrate and provide a unique platform enabling the structured disciplined and sustainable integration of the target services. The RADICAL platform will also accelerate the development of services, while boosting their sustainability and technological longevity. This platform will be based on the integration of readily available R&D results from the FP7 projects SocIoS and +Spaces on social networking and the FP7 project SmartSantander (http://www.smartsantander.eu/) on IoT.
- Interoperable, replicable and customizable services – Support for Smart Governance: The RADICAL approach emphasizes the development of interoperable services that will be flexibly customized and replicated across multiple smart cities with a fair effort. To this end, the RADICAL approach will take into account the peculiarities of each city in terms of its technical/technological, socio‐economic and legal environments.
- A User‐Centric Living Labs Approach: In the scope of its requirements gathering, pilot, validation and evaluation phase, RADICAL will employ a living labs approach [VonHippel86], beyond however most conventional living labs that barely take into account representative samples in testing and experimentation of novel ICT services. The RADICAL approach will therefore be a «more than living lab approach», which will carefully select the participants (i.e. citizens and businesses/organizations) that will participate in the pilot operations and the subsequent evaluation of the services.
- Engagement of all stakeholders (Cities, City Authorities, (ICT) SMEs, Businesses, Citizens)
- Pervasive, multi‐sensory and socially‐aware services: RADICAL builds on top of two mainstream ICT advances, namely the proliferating social networking infrastructures and the internet‐of‐things. The RADICAL platform will therefore enable cities to evolve towards the vision of smart socially‐aware pervasive cities.
- Media‐oriented services: RADICAL will provide mechanisms to enable the fulfillment of specific requirements towards the platform as highlighted by media‐oriented services. The underlying infrastructure will allow NGA services to be deployed and provisioned within different contexts (as also outlined in later sections).
- Sustainable Services for Sustainable Urban Development: The RADICAL approach emphasizes on the sustainability of the services to be deployed, targeting both the environmental sustainability and the economic/business viability. Relevant indicators (e.g., CO2 emissions, ROI (Return‐on‐Investment), IRR (Internal Rate of Return, Citizens Satisfaction) will be established and monitored as part of the project’s evaluation. The ultimate goal is to enable cities using the RADICAL approach to set and monitor sustainability goals associated with their social networking and IoT services.
- Innovative and Leading edge (delivering added‐value to the cities): The RADICAL services will exploit best‐of‐ breed research results associated with the social and sensor networking infrastructures based on the corresponding background projects (SocIoS, +Spaces, SmartSantander). Therefore, it will integrate novel services beyond what has been already proposed, deployed and evaluated in modern smart cities.
- Aligned to EU and National Policies: the RADICAL vision and project activities are perfectly in‐line with relevant political and policy development initiatives at national, regional and EU levels. The project outcomes will essentially reinforce these activities, while also contributing to their improvement.