The development of the Internet of Things (IοT) has boosted entrepreneurship in a variety of market sectors, such as the sector of smart cities. IοT solutions for smart cities refer to a long list of applications, including: parking management, side road lights control, pollution / temperature monitoring, and many others. Already, some of these solutions have been implemented in European cities, resulting in remarkable energy / economic savings, and new job positions. The majority of them follow the conventional approach, where each application has its own platform, while the infrastructure of mobile networks is used as a gate to the Internet. In addition, monolithic (per-manufacturer) implementations for the smart devices (IoT physical entities) are adopted with limited potential for extension or multiple use. This approach is gradually withering for two main reasons. Firstly, it limits the potential for developing business models with no intervention of the mobile network providers, and secondly, it does not allow the development of multiple applications over the same deployment / infrastructure. In this context, Greek cities, given the protracted economic crisis, are ranked in the lowest positions in Europe on the basis of the European “smart city model”, defining a fertile area for research and entrepreneurial activity that will adopt the most innovative approaches in the IoT area. On this basis, the CityZEN project will produce for the first time in Greece an integrated IoT system that will consist of:
- Flexible, modular and affordable infrastructure
- Units for secure and efficient resource network management
- An easy-to-use application development platform with reliable and interoperable APIs
The main outcome of the project, i.e., the CityZEN system, will provide a clear competitive advantage for the companies involved in the project, since open source APIs will be developed, allowing added value to be gained through multiple use of the system. In practice, Business-to-Business (B2B) and 360° branding entrepreneurship can be developed through the use of APIs by third parties.
The project focuses on creating new job positions for people who will install and develop applications for the CityZEN system. In the same context, the active involvement of the research institutions in the project guarantees vital transfer of knowledge, needed for the training of the human resources that, in the future, will lead the fertile IoT sector in Greece.