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Europe commits to lead the smart cities technology market

The challenge of the world's growing urbanization is generating enormous business opportunities, and Europe is committed to position itself as one of the key players in this market. Recently, at the behest of the European Commission, four technology clusters have agreed to set up a common European strategy, to boost the capabilities of this industry. Gaia Cluster is part of a group with a driving force of this project, called SmartCityTech.

With a 14 months time frame, the four European clusters, with their respective countries being Belgium, Germany, Denmark and Spain, that are part of this consortium will develop a technology and business agenda, aimed at deploying European capabilities to respond to new opportunities which are already emerging in the wake of the increasing incorporation of technology to all areas of urban life, and specifically, in embedded systems (sensors, etc.) and the use of the generated information (Big Data).

The project is the result of the success of an earlier initiative, the Clines Project (http://www.clines-project.eu/) which is expected to finish by the middle of this year. In view of the possibilities that open up thanks to a multi-territorial collaboration, the European institutions have decided to strengthen this development path, for the best use of the demand for "smart" products and services, as well as aspects of accessibility for the citizens, that are driving the development of a top notch technology industry.

Having experienced the collaboration initiated with the Clines project, the focus of activity of this consortium is now centred on the identification of international business opportunities (Asia, USA and Latin America) and on development lines across similar industries.

SmartCityTech is a consortium formed by four European technology clusters: Gaia participates in it on behalf of the Basque and Spanish EICT sector, along with DSP Valley (Belgium), BICCnet (Germany) and BrainsBusiness, Denmark. In total, the members of this project represent over 1,000 organisations, mainly small and medium-sized enterprises, and represent more than 60,000 professionals.

The growing urbanization of cities and the development of services it requires is an unstoppable trend worldwide. Based on estimates, by 2040 about 65% of the world's population will live in urban environments, and this trend will increase the need for all kinds of solutions to ensure a decent standard of living, which involves services and solutions in all areas: people, environments, mobility, governance, digital economy, etc. The challenge comes accompanied by huge business opportunities: forecasts indicate that the smart cities market will grow from 654.57 billion in 2014 to ,266.58 billion by 2019.