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

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.

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.”

Unlocking Global Interoperability: CommuniCity and the Role of MIMs

In a world increasingly reliant on data and technology, the need for seamless interoperability between cities and suppliers has become vital. The answer to this challenge lies in Minimal Interoperability Mechanisms (MIMs), versatile tools endorsed by the Open and Agile Smart Cities (OASC) that serve as the linchpin for harmonizing data, systems, and services worldwide.

MIMs, despite being grounded in shared specifications, can manifest differently in technical implementation. Their ultimate aim is to streamline collaboration between cities and enhance the efficacy of urban services. The CommuniCity project, taking the lead, actively integrates MIMs while contributing to their development in specific domains.

The heart of CommuniCity’s innovation lies in its creation of MIM5, known as “Fair and Transparent Artificial Intelligence.” MIM5’s mission is to ensure that algorithmic systems conform to fairness, trustworthiness, and transparency, aligning technical capabilities with these essential principles.

CommuniCity seeks to launch three open calls, each defining technical requirements for pilots to be executed in its partner and replicator cities. This initiative primarily seeks to prepare the European Union for emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) by leveraging MIMs to facilitate global replication and scaling of solutions, with particular emphasis on MIM5 and Virtual Learning Labs.

To facilitate these goals, the CommuniCity toolbox has been introduced. This toolbox compiles concrete software components and services, providing developers with essential technical tools conforming to project specifications and the API layer. The toolbox is set to expand throughout the project to adapt to the requirements of each open call round.

Additionally, the CommuniCity project has established a cloud-based testing environment, the CommuniCity sandbox, where open call developers can test their services for compliance with project technical specifications. This sandbox not only accelerates learning but also provides a safe space for experimenting and testing toolbox components in various use cases and domains.

While the initial open call round focused on setting general technical requirements, the following rounds are expected to be more specific, in alignment with the project’s overarching mission of achieving fair and transparent artificial intelligence, in compliance with MIMs specifications. Although the exact technical requirements for the second round are yet to be defined, the participating cities and tech providers are exploring options for integrating elements of compliance. This aligns with the core ethos of MIMs: replicating and scaling solutions to serve replicator cities.

The CommuniCity project and its embrace of MIMs represent a significant step toward fostering global interoperability and harnessing innovative technologies responsibly and transparently. With MIM5’s evolution and the ongoing enhancement of the CommuniCity toolbox, this initiative holds the potential to reshape urban landscapes and set new standards for interconnected smart cities.

Kasmoni Savings and Credit Cooperative – A Challenge from Amsterdam

In Amsterdam’s Challenge 4, CommuniCity invites tech developers to contribute to the creation of an innovative application for the Kasmoni Savings and Credit Cooperative in Amsterdam. Serving as the pioneering host for Challenge 4 within the CommuniCity initiative, Simion Blom has recently partaken in an interview, in which he explained why he submitted this challenge. Here are a few of the topics addressed:

Interviewer: “What is the background of this challenge?

Simion Blom: There are a lot of talented people who don’t have much money in their hands. It is crucial that these entrepreneurial and creative people get a better financial position to do something with their ideas. The Kasmoni Savings and Credit Cooperative wants to fill this gap. Our Cooperative is inspired by circular thinking and community well-building.

Interviewer: “Why is this a good moment for this challenge?”

Simion Blom: “Many entrepreneurs have struggled in the past three years due to coronavirus and high gas prices after the outbreak of war in Ukraine. I think entrepreneurs need more support. And then not from the “me” perspective. I think we should focus more on the community and a local financially healthy “ecosystem”. An economy for the “we” so that the community can grow as a whole.This neighbourhood has felt the effects of capitalism in recent decades. There are many large enterprises in the Southeast, but the money is extracted from the area. Per square metre, Southeast is one of the richest neighbourhoods in the Netherlands, while the local population sees little of that.”

Interviewer: “Why a digital solution?

Simion Blom: “A digital solution is accessible. Almost everyone can use digital tools. The tool needs to be accessible and easy to use, but professional and reliable, as it involves money. Kasmoni is Surinamese for cash. The system is found in many parts of the world. Especially many women use it. Kasmoni has been a way women arranged important things as a collective since the 19th century. It is a project with deep roots and history.”

What are MIMs?

As cities go through digital transformation there is a constant struggle for initiatives to offer successful innovative solutions to all. One of the main challenges to providing territorial cohesion is to unify the different sets of standards developed to address cities issues. The OASC and Living-in.eu support the interoperability of data among cities as a tool to foment integrated solutions worldwide. In this context, the Minimal Interoperability Mechanisms – MIM comes up to help cities and communities in this journey. MIMs are the minimal sufficient capabilities need to achieve interoperability of data, systems and services between buyers, suppliers and regulators across governance levels around the world.

This approach has in mind to establish a set of mechanisms across several domains and geographic areas, without having to specify everything in detail, and without requiring complete implementations or eventual compliances with other stakeholders. As a result, a minimal common ground is the work reference, which leads to reduced risk, increased investments, and innovation, among other benefits. With the European Commission support and OASC coordination, some MIMs are already in widespread use, setting the technical foundation for urban data platforms as well as solutions to cities and communities while pushing the space for Local Digital Twins and the CitiVerse to flourish.

To learn more about MIMs’ potential in scaling digital solutions and the MIMs that have been formally adopted check the OASC website: MIMs – Open & Agile Smart Cities (oascities.org/minimal-interoperability-mechanisms/).

First Open Call Piloting Teams Announced

13 pilots running in three European cities to improve quality of life of marginalized communities

CommuniCity project has awarded the first 13 piloting teams. In total, 42 applications have been received for the first round of Open Calls. As a result of the evaluation phase, 13 pilots are being executed by the winning teams with the support of the CommuniCity partners and cities. Five pilots are running in Amsterdam, four in Helsinki, and four in Porto during the summer and autumn of 2023.

CommuniCity is a 3-year Support Coordination Action funded by the European Commission’s Horizon Europe Framework Programme. The project, through a calendar of three Open Calls, addresses the needs of European cities and communities and finds innovative, digitally inclusive, and sustainable AI and XR solutions. 

For the first CommuniCity Open Call round, 42 applications were received. All eligible applications were evaluated by expert jury members nominated by each piloting city: Amsterdam, Helsinki, and Porto. Each winning team was awarded a grant of 12.500 euros. In addition to this grant, other resources, such as in-kind contributions, can be allocated to the piloting teams.

13 pilots running in the three main pilot cities of  Helsinki, Amsterdam and Porto

During the first round of open calls, each of the partnering cities have identified city-specific challenges that the awarded teams are addressing with their technological solutions.

The City of Amsterdam awarded five applications. Pilots are run by Tolkie, WeSolve ApS, Garage2020, Switch AI, and XS2Content. They focus on the challenges of offering opportunities for youngsters with criminal records; enabling non-Dutch speakers to communicate in their own language in local authorities; accessibility of healthcare information through AI; and two “Wildcard” applications concentrated on empowering low-literate citizens with the help of AI and on piloting assistive robots for parents with disabilities.

Four pilots have been selected by the City of Helsinki. The solutions come from the companies CTRL Reality, Palko Interactive Oy, Aiedus, and Stereoscape Oy and are related to the challenges of improving disabled citizens skills; homecare clients’ safety; the integration of long-term unemployed citizens into working life and the encouragement of non-Finnish speakers into integrating society and services.

The City of Porto named four pilots as winners, three related to the challenge of decreasing the loneliness of the elderly and one to increase the autonomy of the senior population. From the winning teams of Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto (FEUP), Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS, WeSolve ApS, and Hoivita.  

Co-creating solutions for the cities and communities

The pilot stage of the first CommuniCity Open Call round will last until September 2023. During this period, teams will work in close collaboration with city officials and citizens in order to validate their solutions, using the co-creation principles that are the basis of the CommuniCity project.

On the CommuniCity website, you will find information about the technical framework, a set of assets such as specifications, software, approaches, etc. that teams can follow in order to support the design and development of innovative solutions. The first version of the framework will be publicly available in July.

The next round of the Open Call will be published on September 12, 2023. In this second round, more cities will join, presenting more challenges and leading to more pilots.

Please check further information about the winning teams at the Pilots section of the CommuniCity website, and follow up on all the piloting stage news on our social media channels:

Instagram @communi_city

Twitter @communi_city

LinkedIn CommuniCity

For further information, please contact:

City of Porto / Porto Digital
Adeeb Sidani
CommuniCity City Admin

City of Amsterdam
Neeltje Pavicic
CommuniCity City Admin

City of Helsinki / Forum Virium Helsinki
Silja Peltonen
CommuniCity City Admin

CommuniCity Project Coordinator
Josephine Di Pino

CommuniCity in the News – Amsterdam Challenges at ZuidOost TV

Last week, CommuniCity was featured at the local broadcaster from Amsterdam Southeast, ZuidOost Tv, showcasing two challenges from the First Round of the Open Calls.

Soraya Semmoh, from the City of Amsterdam, talks on the importance of challenges 3 and 4 for the Southeast community. To help young citizens with legal problems and to insert them into new work opportunities, and the wildcard opportunity to create a solution with a technical component.

The applications are now closed, and the results of the selected pilots will be revealed at the end of April 2023.

Watch now the interview and promo video about the Amsterdam challenges of the First Open Call:

CommuniCity First Round of Open Calls has started, granting up to 18 Technical Solutions for Cities and Communities in Europe

CommuniCity is a 3-year project funded by the European Commission’s Horizon Europe Framework Programme. It will launch 100 tech pilots through a calendar of three Open Calls to address the needs of European cities and communities through co-creation and co-learning processes.

During the first round of Open Calls for CommuniCity project, launched on February 28th, citizens, universities, organisations, companies, associations, and tech providers are welcome to participate co-creating and proposing innovative, digitally inclusive, and sustainable solutions for social, technological, economical, and urban challenges to meet the needs of marginalised communities in the cities of Amsterdam, Helsinki, and Porto.

This first Open Call will award up to 18 pilot projects, and each pilot will be granted 12.500 Euros. In the first round, each city chose specific topics: Porto will focus on Elderly loneliness and Decreased autonomy of the elderly; Amsterdam will be looking for Solutions for non-Dutch speakers, Accessible healthcare information, Opportunities for young citizens with criminal records, and Community solutions; Helsinki aims to find Solutions for adults and young adults with disabilities, Elderly citizens and homecare, Digital skills for Immigrants, and Rehabilitative work activities.

A Matchmaking Platform is also available to help find partners for pilots. The Open Call proposal, submission, evaluation, selection, and approval procedure ensures a simple, transparent, and competitive proposal evaluation and selection process. The process is open to all legal entities that can guarantee performance and fulfil the criteria stated in the Open Call Guidelines.

The submission of proposals is open from February 28th to March 31st through the CommuniCity website. The awarded teams will be announced in May and the pilots will start thereafter. All pilots must be finalised by the end of September and a new calendar for the second round of Open Calls will be available.

All information about the First Open Call Round: https://communicity-project.eu/first-open-call/

For more information contact:

Anne-Mari Sandell

CommuniCity Open Call Lead

Forum Virium Helsinki