XS2Content Launches AI Video Avatar for Vaccination Program Enhancement in Amsterdam

To enhance understanding of the Dutch National Vaccination Programme among all citizens, including those with limited literacy and diverse backgrounds, the Amsterdam municipality collaborated with XS2Content, a Dutch startup, on a pilot initiative. This project focuses on using video content alongside traditional text to effectively communicate with people who are not so comfortable reading Dutch.

The objectives of the project were ambitious yet clear: streamline video creation processes, transform healthcare information into accessible video formats, and ensure broad dissemination across social media and web platforms. As an essential part of the CommuniCity project, stakeholders, including researchers, representatives of the Amsterdam municipality, healthcare workers, and the target groups, have collaborated in co-creation efforts. In particular, people of the target groups watched the videos and helped to choose the looks and voices of the video avatars to be used.

The primary results of this Amsterdam pilot are promising, with the target audience showing a positive reception to the video content, which underscores the efficacy of video content in conveying crucial healthcare information. Despite some challenges such as time constraints and budget limitations, the pilot has made significant strides in developing a tool capable of delivering multilingual video content tailored to diverse communities.

Looking ahead, the focus remains on refining the tool based on user feedback, with plans to expand its utility across broader health-related initiatives. The success of this pilot highlights the potential of AI-driven solutions in public health communication, while also underscoring the importance of inclusive approaches in addressing complex societal challenges.

The CommuniCity project seeks to implement 100 tech pilots all over Europe in a bid to address urban challenges and reach marginalised communities through innovative solutions. The third round of Open Calls wiill invite cities from all over Europe to join the iniative and will be launched on  September 10th 2024.


Photo: Amsterdam Intelligence

Text: Sociedade Portuguesa de Inovação

WeSolve’s Innovative Approach: Enhancing Elderly Inclusion and Quality of Life

The WeSolve, Inclusion of the Elderly project was developed in the city of Porto, representing a collaborative effort with the Association of Cerebral Palsies of Porto (APPC) to address social isolation among the elderly, fostering community cohesion through a tailored digital platform.  

The WeSolve platform emerged as a crucial element, seamlessly facilitating digital collaboration among caregivers, employees, and stakeholders. Beyond merely improving communication, it served as a hub for gathering valuable experiences from the elderly, fostering a sense of community that extended beyond the digital realm.

An integral part of this initiative was the collaborative co-creation events held in Porto, where leaders from APPC, WeSolve, Fraunhofer, Hoivita, the University of Porto, the Department of Social Cohesion, Domus Social, and the Center of Social Innovation (CIS Porto) came together. These events facilitated constructive discussions, the sharing of insights, best practices, and the exchange of innovative ideas.

APPC is enthusiastic about expanding the implementation of the WeSolve platform. The success of the project, combined with collaborative co-creation in Porto, underscores the crucial role of community engagement in healthcare. The initiative sets the stage for future advancements, ushering in a new era of reshaping elderly care through technology and collaborative community endeavours


Text: Sociedade Portuguesa de Inovação
Images: Porto Digital

WeSolve’s Innovative Approach: Enhancing Elderly Inclusion and Quality of Life

The WeSolve, Inclusion of the Elderly project was developed in the city of Porto, representing a collaborative effort with the Association of Cerebral Palsies of Porto (APPC) to address social isolation among the elderly, fostering community cohesion through a tailored digital platform.

The WeSolve platform emerged as a crucial element, seamlessly facilitating digital collaboration among caregivers, employees, and stakeholders. Beyond merely improving communication, it served as a hub for gathering valuable experiences from the elderly, fostering a sense of community that extended beyond the digital realm.

An integral part of this initiative was the collaborative co-creation events held in Porto, where leaders from APPC, WeSolve, Fraunhofer, Hoivita, the University of Porto, the Department of Social Cohesion, Domus Social, and the Center of Social Innovation (CIS Porto) came together. These events facilitated constructive discussions, the sharing of insights, best practices, and the exchange of innovative ideas.

APPC is enthusiastic about expanding the implementation of the WeSolve platform. The success of the project, combined with collaborative co-creation in Porto, underscores the crucial role of community engagement in healthcare. The initiative sets the stage for future advancements, ushering in a new era of reshaping elderly care through technology and collaborative community endeavours.

CommuniCity Online Info Session

We are excited to announce the upcoming “CommuniCity Online Info Session” dedicated to the third round of Open Calls, which will be held online on March 12, 2024, from 14:30 to 16:00 CET.

CommuniCity, a three-year project funded by the European Commission’s Horizon Europe Framework Programme, aims to address the needs of European cities and communities through innovative approaches. It intends to launch 100 pilots across three rounds of Open Calls, fostering co-creation and co-learning processes by drawing upon recognised European and national innovation programmes, methods, and platforms.

In collaboration with companies, organisations, associations, tech providers, and citizens, CommuniCity is developing solutions to address digital and urban challenges. Its primary objective is to empower marginalised communities in European cities by offering innovative, digitally inclusive, and sustainable Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Extended Reality (XR) solutions.

The Info Event is designed to provide valuable insights by offering a comprehensive overview of the initiative, with a primary focus on guiding participants through the application process. Throughout the session, attendees will have the opportunity to actively engage with representatives from participating cities, who will introduce their specific challenges and address inquiries, thereby fostering a deeper understanding of the project.

We invite you to join us for the first CommuniCity Info Session for the third round of Open Calls. Explore the project and its Open Calls in greater depth to find out if your city could benefit from participating in the next round starting in September.

To attend the session, click on the button below to register:

CommuniCity Project Spotlighted at “Become Better Connected” OASC Conference in Rotterdam

The “Become Better Connected” conference, collaboratively organised by the City of Rotterdam and Open & Agile Smart Cities (OASC) on January 16th-17th, 2024, focused on recalibrating and fortifying the global network for digital transformation in cities. Positioned at the forefront of this transformation, Rotterdam is actively constructing an open urban platform to shape its digital infrastructure, fostering collaboration with SMEs, universities, and OASC members. The conference offered an immersive experience, revealing the convergence of physical and digital realms and exploring innovative approaches to urban living.

On January 16th, Josephine Di Pino, OASC project manager, not only introduced the OASC project but also seized the opportunity to present and announce the Third Round of Open Calls for the CommuniCity project. Consortium partners Adeeb Sidani from Porto Digital and Neeltje Pavicic from the City of Amsterdam shared valuable insights into their experiences, addressing challenges and pilot programs.

The CommuniCity project emerged as a key focal point of discussion and innovation at the “Become Better Connected” OASC Conference in Rotterdam. With its groundbreaking initiatives and forward-looking approach, the project took centre stage, captivating the audience’s attention. The presentation not only provided a glimpse into the future prospects of CommuniCity’s goals but also made a substantial contribution to the dynamic discourse on digital transformation and urban development throughout the conference.

                                      For more information visit the following: https://oascities.org/event/oasc-conference-2024/ 

Text: Sociedade Portuguesa de Inovação
Images: OASC

25 Pilots Running in Seven European Cities!

CommuniCity Tech Pilots Transforming European Cities

The CommuniCity Project awarded 18 teams after the closing of its second Open Call on the
31st of October 2023. These teams are currently implementing their solutions, aiming for up
to 25 pilots in the partnering cities of Amsterdam, Helsinki, and Porto, as well as in the
replicator cities of Aarhus, Breda, Prague and Tallinn. The pilots are expected to be concluded
by May 2024

CommuniCity is a three-year project funded by the European Commission’s Horizon Europe Framework Programme launching three rounds of Open Calls for Applications during the years 2023–2025. The main goal is to empower marginalised communities in European cities with innovative, digitally inclusive, and sustainable Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Extended Reality (XR) solutions.

During this second round of the CommuniCity Open Calls, all 48 submitted applications were carefully assessed by expert jury members selected by the partnering cities and replicator cities. The winning teams were granted 12,500 Euros each. Cross-border piloting teams could apply for additional funding of 5,000 or 10,000 Euros.

Throughout the Open Call process, all seven cities have identified several social challenges that will be analysed and hopefully solved by the technological solutions developed by the winning teams. These pilots will take advantage of the lessons learnt during the first round of CommuniCity Open Calls run in Amsterdam, Helsinki and Porto. In this first round, 13 pilots were conducted from May 2023 until January 2024.

The City of Amsterdam awarded five pilots to CoTownBV, T-APPS BV, One2One.run and Highberg. One2One.run seeks to increase girls’ participation in sports and exercise in Amsterdam Zuidoost. CoTownBV will run a pilot to facilitate the creation of a community savings and credit cooperative to fund social initiatives. Highberg will develop a tech solution to transform broadcast information in public transport to text messages on phones in order to include the hearing impaired. T-APPS BV will add a chatbot to their existing ‘AI document assistant’ app in co-creation with immigrants in both Amsterdam and Prague. Additionally, Amsterdam will run a pilot with the winning applicant of Prague’s cross-border challenge on participatory planning.

The City of Helsinki awarded six applications. The winners include Ai2Ai Oy, Superflash Technology Oy, Riesa Consultative Oy, Suomen Digitaalinen Tehdas Oy, Stereoscape Oy, and Kwizie. The pilots intend to tackle Helsinki’s challenges of how to enhance the quality of life for citizens with disabilities through digital innovation. They also focus on adressing pedestrian route information with participative data collection. Another challenge is to reliably measure the digital skills of long-term unemployed citizens, and a separate one is to prevent pressure ulcers in wheelchair patients. Riesa Consultative Oy is running a cross-border pilot with Tallinn on generating pedestrian route information with participative data collection. Kwizie is also implementing a cross-border pilot with the city of Tallinn to support the recognition of competences with the help of a digital tool. Stereoscape Oy is also expected to run a cross-border pilot along with Tallin and Porto on assessing the digital skills of long-term unemployed citizens.

Four pilots were selected in the City of Porto. Associação Fraunhofer Portugal Research, GTC (Gymuri Technology Center), KU Leuven, and Stereoscape Oy. These solutions intend to address challenges such as improving thermal comfort and overall health in residential buildings and reducing school absenteeism through an innovative and inclusive educational solution. Two cross-border pilots are running in Porto, one along with Prague and Amsterdam (participatory planning) and another with Helsinki and Tallinn (measuring accurately the digital skills of long-term unemployed citizens).

The Replicator City of Aarhus awarded one pilot to Duckwise Aps which is using technology to ease the process of setting up a bank account for foreigners.

In the Replicator City of Breda, four pilots were awarded to Surplus, AR-GO-lab, XS2Content and Brainstorm en concept. All the pilots seek to address issues caused by intergenerational transmission, in other words, the way behaviours or problems are passed from one generation to the next in families. The pilots will deal with topics such as fostering healthy family relationships and enhancing youth health, making use of immersive Virtual Reality and a gamified metaverse.

Seeking to engage citizens from socially and economically disconnected places in participatory planning, the Replicator City of Prague awarded KU Leuven one pilot. This pilot will run along with Amsterdam and Porto.

The Replicator City of Tallinn shared challenges along with Helsinki and is running cross-border pilots with this city. One focuses on gathering pedestrian route information through participative data collection and another on facilitating competence recognition through the use of a digital tool. An additional cross-border pilot is expected to run along with Helsinki and Porto on evaluating the skills of long-term unemployed individuals.

The winning pilot teams of the second CommuniCity Open Calls represent a robust collaboration with city officials and residents. The core principle of CommuniCity revolves around co-creation – engaging citizens who belong to the targeted groups, alongside piloting teams, will certainly help to find the most suitable solutions to meet their needs.

The third and final CommuniCity Open Call will kick off in September 2024. Cities from all over Europe will be invited to join the project. Over 50 tech pilots are expected to be run in several European cities during the first half of 2025. For additional information please check the Pilots section of the CommuniCity website and follow our social media channels and stay updated on all the piloting news.

CommuniCity Takes Center Stage at Smart City Expo World Congress, Unveiling Innovative Solutions for Urban Challenges

On November 8th, the Open & Agile Smart Cities (OASC), a vital partner of the CommuniCity project, took the stage at the Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona to showcase some of its projects, objectives, and core values. Martin Brynskov, an OASC Board of Director and a professor at the Technical University of Denmark, joined his colleagues in emphasising the significance of inclusive technology in fostering positive changes within urban environments and communities.

The presentation also delved into crucial concepts such as Minimal Interoperability Mechanisms (MIMs), the insights that are possible to be gained from the intersection of artificial intelligence and public administration, the integration of Local Digital Twins (LDTs), and the establishment of governance guidelines as key points to push transformative citizen-centred solutions.

During this event, CommuniCity was showcased and stood out as one of the most significant initiatives dedicated to finding solutions for digital and urban challenges. Josephine Di Pino, the Project Coordinator and Project Director at OASC, along with Carla Santos from OASC, Adeeb Sidani and Sara Neves (Porto Digital), Luma Vasconcelos from Sociedade Portuguesa de Inovação – SPI, and other project partners, were in attendance. The session highlighted the role of digital solutions as valuable tools that should actively engage with grassroots input, foster the exchange of insights encompassing both successful and unsuccessful approaches, and prioritise collaborative development.

The gathering also brought together individuals who expressed a keen interest in CommuniCity’s technical framework, a robust collection of assets designed to facilitate the creation and design of innovative solutions. This framework is dedicated to ensuring interoperability between the existing IT infrastructures of cities and the solutions developed by innovators through Open Calls, with the ultimate goal of enabling pilots to overcome specific urban challenges.

CommuniCity attends the “Digital Society, Digital Cities” Conference in Bordeaux, highlighting Europe’s role in Fostering City Innovation

On October 19th, the Conference on Digital Society, Digital Cities took place in Bordeaux, France, and provided a platform for experts and local authorities to discuss how Europe supports cities and communities in innovation and transformation projects. The session, titled “How Europe supports cities and communities in innovation and transformation projects: Presentation of major action programs, by their managers and feedback from local authorities,” brought together key figures in the field to share their insights and experiences.

The event featured presentations by Nicolas Rossignol of the European Spatial Planning Observation Network (ESPON) , Christophe Colinet of Bordeaux Metropole, and Giacomo Lozzi, Senior Project Manager at the European Network of Living Labs (ENoLL). The speakers shed light on the benefits of European networks and initiatives, focusing on the role of Living Labs as open innovation ecosystems.

Nicolas Rossignol and Giacomo Lozzi introduced their respective organizations and highlighted the advantages of local actors participating in their networks. Giacomo Lozzi underscored the pivotal role of Living Labs in fostering collaboration among citizens, research institutions, businesses, and governmental agencies at the local level. He emphasized ENoLL’s extensive global reach, spanning five continents and 35 countries, and discussed the opportunities presented by the “Living-in EU” movement, which supports digital transitions in cities and regions.

Giacomo Lozzi also extended an invitation to attendees to join CommuniCity project, funded by the European Commission, which provides financial support for technological solutions addressing societal challenges in European cities.

In the second discussion round, Federica Bordelot of Eurocities elaborated on the digital contributions of cities to Eurocities and its role as a leading network leveraging EU initiatives such as “Living-in EU” and others. Marion Glatron of Rennes Métropole discussed the role of Europe in Rennes Métropole’s data projects.

The session reached its climax with a collective discussion centered on three core concepts: Europe as a source of rights, Europe as a funding source, and Europe as a collaboration space. A live poll conducted via Menti allowed attendees to express their views and share the challenges they are currently facing. The valuable insights garnered from the five main speakers provided a deeper understanding of the landscape of innovation and collaboration in European cities.

At the European Week of Regions and Cities, CommuniCity sheds light on citizen-centred tech pilots in EU Cities

On October 10th 2023, during the European Week of Regions and Cities, an inspiring discussion took place on how citizen-centered tech pilots can address the specific needs of EU cities and communities. The session, organised by the EU-funded CommuniCity project, was held at the SQUARE Brussels Meeting Centre.

With an emphasis on enhancing the quality of life in marginalised communities through technology and innovation, the session showcased how urban challenges could be met with citizen-centric tech solutions. The panel featured Joana Moreira from Porto Digital, Neeltje Pavicic from the City of Amsterdam, and Josephine Di Pino from Open Agile Smart Cities. Giacomo Lozzi from the European Network of Living Labs moderated the informative session.

The CommuniCity project offers 100 pilot grants through its Open Calls, allowing companies and associations to co-create groundbreaking solutions. These solutions harness AI and other emerging technologies to address various city and community challenges. The experience of the 1st round, which focused on the needs identified in Amsterdam, Helsinki, and Porto, set the stage for expanding the project to more EU cities in subsequent rounds. The session also offered the opportunity to launch the Second CommuniCity Open Call for 2023-2024. With the application window running from 12th September to 31st October 2023, this represents a renewed opportunity for innovators across Europe.

The experience of the participating experts enriched the discussion. Joana Moreira and Neeltje Pavicic shed light on why Porto and Amsterdam joined the project and the challenges these cities faced during the 1st round of pilots. They also gave some insights into the selected pilots, and the progress and lessons learned from these initiatives. For instance, Amsterdam tackled issues like empowering low-literate citizens through AI and creating real-time audio translations for asylum seekers. Porto, on its side, is testing digital technologies to decrease loneliness and increase the autonomy of the elderly people in its communities.

On the other hand, Josephine Di Pino outlined the overarching goals of the CommuniCity project and discussed the significant role replicator cities like Aarhus, Breda, Prague, and Tallinn will play. She also discussed the 2nd round of CommuniCity Open Calls and briefly touched on the expectations for the 3rd round, which will open its doors to all EU cities.

Finally, the session also introduced CommuniCity’s technical framework, a robust set of assets that aids the design and development of these innovative solutions. This framework ensures interoperability between existing city IT infrastructures and developers’ solutions, aiming for replicability across different cities involved in the project.

Nieuw-West – A Challenge from Amsterdam

In Amsterdam, a significant gender disparity exists in sports participation among girls. To address this issue, the city is seeking a technological solution to motivate more girls in Nieuw-West to engage in sports and exercise. This initiative is not just about promoting physical health; it recognizes the social benefits of sports, including personal growth, skills development, and the positive influence of interacting with others on a healthy lifestyle.

Amsterdam’s Challenge 3 focuses on this matter and counts on the host Floor Popkens, who works at the Sports department of the municipality of Amsterdam.

Interviewer: “What is the background to this challenge?”

Floor Popkens: “The Sport and Exercise Department has done a lot of research into why girls do or don’t practice sports and what they encounter in the city. When you live in poverty, practicing sports is sometimes a very big challenge for this target group and certainly not their priority. In almost every district of Amsterdam, far fewer girls are members of sports clubs than boys. Girls with a ‘city pass’ (a pass for people in Amsterdam with low income that entitles you to discounts and free activities) make much less use of it than boys of the same age. In general, people are often ashamed to use the city pass and many of the activities and facilities that the city provides are not used much. We focus on the areas where most progress could be made. Nieuw-West is such an area.”

Interviewer: “Why a ‘digital’ solution?”

Floor Popkens: “Many young people have an average of eight hours of screen time per day. Even substituting just one of these hours would be a valuable achievement. And then they also get in touch with people who can think along with them about this issue.”

Interviewer: “What has already been done and what didn’t work?”

Floor Popkens: “We are working primarily with schools. That is the place where all children come.

What we are offering now may be too non-committal. Those who already like sports come to these sports classes after school, and the real target group does not.”

Interviewer: “Anything else that you think may help towards a solution?”

Floor Popkens: “For girls, social life is very important. For example, they may be more willing to come to a sports class if it is combined with cooking or having meals together. We also have indications that the current sports offer is not flexible enough.”