Education & Capacity Building Working Group meeting: Digital Inclusion in Action: CommuniCity’s Pilot Framework

Join us for an enriching experience at the upcoming open meeting hosted by the Education and Capacity Building working group of the Living.in-EU movement. During our second meeting of the year, we will delve into exciting developments from our sister project, CommuniCity.The toolkit developed through this initiative will be showcased and participants will be engaged in a collaborative session to identify hindering and enabling factors during open calls and piloting.

Date: May 23, 2024

Time: 9:30 AM – 11:30 AM CET

Location: Online

Building upon the successes of CommuniCity, this workshop aims to introduce innovative educational tools and frameworks designed to empower organisations participating in open calls and piloting procedures to foster inclusion within their communities.

CommuniCity aims to create impactful pilot projects utilising AI and emerging technologies by tackling the challenges faced by marginalized groups. Through its multitude of innovation pilots across diverse communities, urban, peri-urban, and rural, CommuniCity is dedicated to empowering hard-to-reach groups. By integrating lessons from three cycles of calls and leveraging various innovation methodologies, living labs, and platforms, an inclusive, community-driven innovation model will be devised.

The event will be hosted by Forum Virium Helsinki, the City of Helsinki innovation company.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to be part of a transformative dialogue on community inclusion and innovation. Register now using the link below and mark your calendars for May 23rd. We look forward to welcoming you to this dynamic session!

See you there!

Revolutionizing conversations with MOKIN – An AI Interpreter for Status Holders

MOKIN is more than just a translation tool, it’s a comprehensive solution tailored specifically for interviews with status holders. Developed in response to the inadequacies of traditional translation programs like Google Translate, MOKIN addresses privacy concerns and language limitations head-on.

By capturing entire conversations in both languages and incorporating a summary generation feature, MOKIN ensures seamless communication while safeguarding sensitive information. This pilot initiative based in Amsterdam showcased MOKIN’s effectiveness through rigorous testing and user feedback. Co-creation activities, including user interviews and continuous refinement, were integral to the process. The results spoke volumes – it proved its suitability, with plans underway to scale its use and enhance features based on user needs.

In the process of co-creation with stakeholders and the target groups, the pilot team has learned about different data collection methods and has worked closely with translators to validate the quality of the data for each use case. They have also learnt how the language model could have a place in the participation and integration process with the IT infrastructure of the Municipality of Amsterdam. Finally, they have learnt that the target group, the status-holders (refugees) often speak other Arabic dialects (Syrian) which is different from international Arabic.

With Arabic (Syrian) as the initial language and plans to incorporate Tigrinya and Farsi, MOKIN is on the brink of widespread implementation. Their commitment to openness and collaboration remains unwavering as they work towards enhancing MOKIN’s capabilities and expanding its reach.

InclusiVerse Paves the Way for Disability Inclusion in Helsinki

InclusiVerse Paves the Way for Disability Inclusion in Helsinki

InclusiVerse, the groundbreaking virtual reality application developed by CTRL Reality, has successfully completed its pilot phase, marking a significant milestone in the journey towards disability inclusion. Designed to enhance the social and digital skills of individuals with developmental disabilities, InclusiVerse provides a safe and immersive virtual environment where users can engage in social interactions, practice daily routines, and explore new situations. Through real-time collaboration and customizable environments, it empowers users to navigate the complexities of everyday life with confidence and ease. Throughout the pilot phase, CTRL Reality worked with approximately 150 end users, witnessing firsthand the transformative impact of virtual technologies on their lives. From improved social interactions to increased confidence, the results speak volumes about the power of inclusion and accessibility in shaping a more equitable society. CTRL Reality remains committed to expanding the reach of InclusiVerse, to break down barriers, foster understanding, and build a more inclusive world for all.

Shape the future of your city: Join the CommuniCity Open Call

Does your city or NGO struggle with social or urban challenges? Join the upcoming open call and let the CommuniCity Consortium help you tackle these pressing challenges by utilising innovative technologies. The third CommuniCity Open Call will be launched on 10 September 2024 and it seeks technology-driven solutions to bridge the digital divide and enhance the well-being of marginalised communities. 

Building upon the success of the previous rounds, the third CommuniCity Open Call expands its reach by inviting participants from cities and NGOs across Europe. While the initial rounds of open calls focused on a relatively small group of participating cities, this final CommuniCity Open Call fosters a broader and more inclusive initiative. Therefore the CommuniCity consortium calls for NGOs and new cities to present novel challenges and join the open call as “challenge owners”.

Unlock innovation potential!

The CommuniCity Open Call presents a compelling opportunity for European cities to address pressing social and economic challenges while encouraging digital inclusion. Through a unique collaboration between city representatives, professionals, residents and technology providers, the project fosters the development and co-creation of innovative solutions tailored to each city’s specific needs. 

Participating cities gain valuable insights into supporting marginalised communities and improving the services provided by the cities. Additionally, the participating cities have the chance to replicate best practices identified in previous open call rounds, accelerating progress towards more inclusive and resilient cities. 

Ready to tackle challenges in your city? 

The CommuniCity Consortium warmly welcomes new cities to participate in the upcoming Open Call and is eager to collaborate on tackling urban challenges. Beyond cross-European networks, participating cities and NGOs gain valuable expertise in co-creation methodologies as well as future technologies including Artificial Intelligence. Additionally, the participating cities are supported with step-by-step guidance for successful agile piloting, ensuring a smooth and efficient process. 

Throughout the open call phases, dedicated digital tools and support activities are offered to participating cities, ensuring a seamless and effective piloting process. This includes bi-weekly meetings hosted by the CommuniCity project, along with tailored support provided when specific needs arise. Furthermore, cities gain access to a wide range of technical components and tools developed by the project.

The deadline for applications to the third CommuniCity Open Calls is 31 October 2024. Following this, expert juries nominated by participating cities will evaluate the applications. In December, the winning applicants can begin piloting technological solutions in their respective cities and can continue their experiments until May 2025. The CommuniCity project will grant each winning team a minimum of €12,500 Eur grant to support their solution development and pilot implementation efforts.

Pre-register and attend the Upcoming Q&As and Info Sessions

Are you interested in going forward with an urban challenge that the CommuniCity project can help to solve? If so, we encourage you to pre-register by filling out the Pre-Registration Form and sharing your preliminary ideas. This allows us to better understand the needs of your city or NGO and tailor our support.

Join the upcoming CommuniCity Open Call Q&A and Info Sessions to increase your understanding of the project. The upcoming  Q&A session will take place on 18 June 2024 14:00-15:00 CET .

During this event, you can hear more about the open call and the next steps for joining cities. Additionally, you have the unique opportunity to connect with representatives from the partnering cities of Amsterdam, Helsinki, and Porto. Click the button below to register for the upcoming sessions.

The CommuniCity Consortium would like to finalise participating city recruitment soon. Contact us or join the next Info Session to learn more! 

Empowering Low-Literate Citizens of Amsterdam with Toklie´s help​

Tolkie, an innovative AI-powered tool, developed in Amsterdam, is a pilot from CommuniCity first round of Open Calls, aimed at empowering low-literate citizens in Amsterdam. The tool has been designed to enhance reading assistance capabilities by simplifying entire texts for those with low literacy levels. The piloting process involved ideation, testing, and design iterations to refine the tool’s functionality. Key features include the conversion of text to accessible language below Dutch B1 level, presented in a user-friendly bullet-point format with a single button press. This groundbreaking innovation makes texts more accessible without imposing additional time or effort on organizations.

Crucially, co-creation activities were integral to the pilot, ensuring the tool’s effectiveness and usability through testing with the target audience. Feedback from participants has been overwhelmingly positive, with users appreciating the simplicity and effectiveness of Tolkie in bridging literacy gaps.

Tolkie’s efforts are more crucial than ever, particularly with the increasing effects of an aging population, immigration, and the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. With approximately 16% of the Dutch population reading below the Dutch language B1 level, Tolkie aims to scale the implementation of the tool, continuously refining it based on user feedback, and fostering collaboration for a broader impact in addressing literacy challenges. This development is expected to have a positive impact on society by empowering individuals and enabling them to access information that was previously beyond their reach.

PortoPilot – Digital Technologies to Decrease Loneliness/Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS

Developed in Porto, the PortoPilot – Digital technologies to decrease loneliness project has successfully tackled elderly loneliness through tailored digital technologies. Seniors were equipped with smartphones and trained in communication and entertainment applications, revealing a surprising preference for cognitive stimulation games. This challenges stereotypes about seniors’ reluctance to engage with digital solutions, highlighting their enthusiasm for technology adoption. Crucially, caregiver participation exceeded expectations, ensuring the sustainability of activities beyond the project’s duration. The project not only emphasises technology’s potential to enhance seniors’ well-being but also underscores the significance of caregiver collaboration for long-term success. As PortoPilot continues, it remains dedicated to evolving solutions that address the evolving needs of elderly individuals, further solidifying its role in alleviating loneliness in this demographic. The initiative stands as a beacon of innovation, showcasing the transformative power of technology when coupled with genuine understanding and collaboration to improve the lives of the elderly in Porto.

Photos: Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS
Text: Sociedade Portuguesa de Inovação 

Interactive DigiGuide well received by Rehabilitative Work Activities in Helsinki

Stereoscape Ltd, headquartered in Helsinki, has introduced an innovative interactive map for social services. A web-based solution called DigiGuide was developed in collaboration with the City of Helsinki’s Rehabilitative Work Activities department. It aims to transform how customers discover pertinent services and units offered by the city.

Accessible online via any smart device with a web browser, the interactive map underwent an extensive client-centric design process, incorporating feedback from collaborative sprints and user testing sessions. Developed iteratively with Stereoscape and the city department, the DigiGuide on Mapme platform facilitates seamless navigation and access to crucial information.

During the design sprint, workshops with city employees nurtured open communication, ensuring alignment with client expectations. Through user testing and one-to-one interviews, valuable insights were gathered to enrich user experiences and refine functionality.

Recognising a disparity between the initial concept and client expectations, the team pivoted towards a solution aligned with user needs, prompting the exploration of new software and platforms. This experience not only honed communication strategies but also deepened comprehension of accessibility considerations, ultimately enhancing workflows and user experience practices.

By prioritising user needs and fostering collaboration, DigiGuide pledges to streamline access to rehabilitative services, marking a significant milestone in digital innovation for Helsinki’s workforce.

 

Photo: Stereoscape Oy
Text: Sociedade Portuguesa de Inovação 

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 will invite cities from all over Europe to join the initiative and will be launched on  September 10th 2024.

For further information on this pilot click here.

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.