The EPN Consulting Newsletter - 087 - November 2017
Dear Colleague,

The other day I came across an article on the Bloomberg Businessweek website analysing the new trend in bike sharing services arriving from China: it is now possible to hire a bike parked anywhere in those cities that decided to try this scheme.

I remember when the concept of bike sharing was an innovative transport solution at the beginning of the 21st century: those people who didn't a own a bike and were either travelling to or living in another city could finally ride a bike by subscribing to the local provider and enjoy cycling for very little money.

Many transport "gurus" argued that this system wouldn't have much future as in small cities residents already have a bike and, if they had to travel to other cities, they would have caught a taxi, used local public transport or walked.

Well, after not so much time, bike sharing has become very popular in many part of the world ( Wikipedia reports as of June 2014 there are 50 countries in the 5 continents offering this kind of service) contributing to reducing polluting emissions and congestion and in the same time encouraging physical exercise.

It is now common in many cities to find bike stations where, once registered to the service, one can unlock a bike usually by tapping a smart card on the station reader and get the bike for the time needed. There are several business models (first 30' o 60' free, then little money for a number of hours of use). At the end of the journey, the bike will be returned and locked to another bike station and the system will charge the credit card provided with the total fare.

In some cities there is a higher density of bike stations while in others the number of stations is lower than expected, however the concept of station is key to the system.

Now, as the article describes pretty well, there could be an "invasion" (?) of free-floating bike sharing fleets: it is possible to take or leave the bike wherever in the city (some limitations in distance from the city centre apply).  The unlocking process is very easy (reading a QR code with smartphones) for registered users.

This is certainly a wonderful solution which should encourage even more use of bikes for our urban trips. BUT, this great service made possible by the current technology has to deal with the degree of civilisation of human beings.

Yes, as a matter of fact, potentially these bikes can be left anywhere so we could see tens of bikes on pavements, in squares, in front of shops, in parks, etc. which not only would limit walking, running, but it would also spoil the livability of our cities.

In addition, these freely parked bikes could be easily stolen (they cannot run when locked but they can be lifted and loaded on vehicles) or vandalised like it happened in Milan last month (news in Italian).

Are we going to be invaded by fleets of cheap bikes parked everywhere (see the picture of this editorial taken from the Bloomberg article)? or the system will be unsuccessful because there is not enough culture of respect?

This could lead to open discussions that may go beyond the pure technical and transport issues and need to include experts of other disciplines such as civics, psychology, teaching respect, law enforcement...and what more?

EPN Consulting Ltd.
Founder, CEO

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Horizon 2020 & other calls close to deadline

The new Horizon 2020 work programmes for the 2018-2020 period were published a couple weeks ago. Soon you will find deadlines of the 2018 calls on the EPN Consulting website. In the meantime you can find them here.

We would like to highlight the 1st cut-off dates for the SME Instrument and for the re-introduced Fast Track to Innovation schemes:
10 Jan 2018 -  SME Instrument - Phase 2
08 Feb 2018 -  SME Instrument - Phase 1
21 Feb 2018 - Fast Track to Innovation (FTI)

EPN Consulting is happy to help SMEs and any kind of organisations assess their project ideas, convert their ideas in robust and valuable proposals and manage the entire project cycle once the proposals are eligible for funding.

Get in touch for a FREE consultation.

The C40 Fossil-fuel-Free Streets Declation

23 Oct 2017 -  The mayors of some of the world's great cities committed to transforming them into greener, healthier, and more prosperous places to live.  Streets must be safe and accessible for everybody and the air must be clean and free from harmful emissions. 

They envision a future where walking, cycling, and shared transport will be how the majority of citizens move around our cities. This means to implement a transition to Fossil-Fuel-Free Streets by: 
1) procuring, with their partners, only zero-emission buses from 2025
2) ensuring a major area of their city be zero emission by 2030

Horizon 2020 - 2018-2020 work  programmes published

27 Oct 2017 - The entire 2018-2020 Work Programme builds on the success of Horizon 2020 so far, and takes account of the extensive interim evaluation of the programme.

This Work Programme has allocated EUR 30 billion (the entire Horizon 2020's value is EUR 77 billion) and aims to respond to the European Commission's political priorities and paves the way for its successor programme. The new features include measures to support market-creating innovation, highly-integrated activities called focus areas, emphasis on better dissemination of results and a focus on open access to data.

The Work Programme also includes measures to increase simplification (e.g. lump sum funding), to widen participation from less performing countries, and to address skills mismatches.

The EC will invest EUR 6bn in Digital Research in 2018-2020

27 Oct 2017 - The EU agreed to invest 30 billion on Research & Innovation whose EUR 6 billion will be allocated to ICT-related projects covering the full innovation chain, from basic research to market uptake.
The "Digitising and transforming European industry and services" Focus Area will account for EUR 1.7 billion and forms the core of ICT calls. This focus area will be set together out of several parts of the programme, mainly the Leadership in Enabling and Industrial Technologies (LEIT) and Societal Challenges (SC) pillars.

Cybersecurity, as one of President Juncker's key priorities, will have an additional share in the Boosting the effectiveness of the Security Union focus area (EUR 1 billion), whilst a call dedicated to the implementation of the Digitising European Industry (DEI) strategy will boost investment and will help companies, researchers and public authorities to make the most of new technologies, such as 5G and the Next Generation Internet.

These 10 Cities are the most prepared for the Future

08 Nov 2017 -  In 2017 being a "smart city" isn't just about having fast internet.  Officials around the world are gathering all types of data - on traffic, pollution levels, and energy use - to make their cities safer, healthier, and more efficient.

The definition of a Smart City has recently broadened to include environmental sustainability, affordable and reliable transit, access to education, and a local economy with businesses that explore new technologies.

EasyPark Group, a startup that tracks city parking data, has come out with its 2017 Smart Cities Index, which explores which cities are the most prepared for the future.

The company analysed 500 cities around the world, and ranked them across 18 categories, including public transport, clean energy, waste disposal, education, the tech startup ecosystem, the number of Wi-Fi hotspots, online access to government services, and environmental protection. 
Read more
The EC launched new European Digital Transport projects

09 Nov 2017 - The European Commissioner for Transport and Mobility Violeta Bulc launched 15 projects co-financed by the Connecting Europe Facility programme (CEF) at the Digital Transport Days in Tallinn.
The projects are expected to develop digital solutions and upgrade the European rail, road, maritime and air transport network.

These projects were selected for funding via a competitive call for proposals that will in total invest €2.7 billion in 152 key transport projects across the EU.

"Digitalisation of transport and mobility for passengers and freight will fundamentally change the transport sector. New digital technologies will help to respond to the pressing need to make transport safer, more efficient and sustainable", said Dirk Beckers, Director of the European Commission's Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) in his official grant agreement signature ceremony opening speech.

Read more
EPN Consulting Limited

EPN Consulting News  

Last 26-27 Oct 2017 in Brussels #EPNconsulting attended the "Cities of the Future 2017" event organised by the "Turkey in Horizon 2020" Project and TUBITAK, the Turkish national research centre.
The event brought together about 400 participants from Europe and Turkey, coming from both research and industrial communities and municipalities in the domains addressed. The two days offered a unique opportunity to connect not only with Turkish and European participants, but also with highly qualified research-performing SMEs.
It was an excellent platform to expand our professional network and create new partnerships for the 2018 calls of Horizon 2020.

In November 2017 #EPNconsulting celebrates its 8th anniversary and we started the process of revamping our corporate website. In a few weeks a new, fresh layout will be available along with new services: visit often to be among the first to enjoy them!

Upcoming Professional Events in Europe

27-28 Nov 2017 - Rotterdam (NL) -  ENE+ENV+TRA  -  CITIES FORUM 2017
28 Nov 2017 - Brussels (BE) -  ICT THINKDIGITAL.EU
28 Nov 2017 - Brussels (BE) -  EUP -  EUROPEAN TOURISM DAY
29-30 Nov 2017 - London (UK) -  TRA -  11th ARTIC SHIPPING SUMMIT
29 Nov - 01 Dec 2017 - Helsinki (FI) -  ICT+INN+ITS+TRA -  SMART CITY 360' International Summit
29 Nov - 01 Dec 2017 - Bratislava (SK) -  ENE+EUP -  SET PLAN CEEC 2017 - Central European Energy Conference
30 Nov - 01 Dec 2017 - Brussels (BE) -  EUP+ICT -  DIGITAL INFRASTRUCTURES FOR RESEARCH 2017  

The Website of the Month:  IUC

Funded by the European Union, the International Urban Cooperation (IUC) programme activities will support the achievement of bilateral policy objectives as well as major international agreements on urban development and climate change, such as the Urban Agenda, the Sustainable Development Goals, and the Paris Agreement. 

The IUC programme will engage with major international financial institutions and partners to link city decision-makers with potential funders. EU business will be an important partner for activities under the components on sustainable urban development and innovation cooperation for local and regional development.

Target countries include China, India, Japan, Canada, Mexico, USA, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Peru. For component 2, South Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and all countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region are included in the programme.

The EPN Consulting Galaxy

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Based in London. Engaged with Europe.