From AMI@Work Communities Wiki
The overall objective of the CoreLabs CA is to achieve a coordination of activities towards the establishment of co-creative Living Labs as the foundation of a Common European Innovation System on several levels. The activities to be coordinated towards that goal are:
- The harmonisation of existing and emerging Living Labs
- Initiatives within current and future CWE research initiatives (primarily Integrated Projects)
- Regional, national and IST RTD programmes
- All stakeholder organisations (public, academic, civic, industry, SMEs, etc.)
This includes the co-ordinated synergic development, harmonisation and networking of regional Living Labs initiatives, research projects, the establishment of a Living Labs Certificate, the establishment of a methods-and-tools framework and the creation of a common European Roadmap and policies on relevant research topics.
The concept of “Living Labs” is relevant to the necessities of evaluating the mass deployment potential of ICT enabled Collaborative Working Environments solutions that stem from the results of research projects. Living Labs represent regional innovation environments focussing on user communities embedded within “real life”. Additionally to the technological aspects Living Labs allow insight on to the human dimension of technology, which is of paramount importance for a successful societal deployment of new technologies. As a consequence of this potential, the Living Lab approach is considered as the natural candidate for the implementation of large scale evaluation, demonstration and validation activities related to ICT RTD.
What´s the Living Lab´s approach:
Living Labs are “functional regions” where stakeholders have formed a Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) of firms, public agencies, universities, institutes and people all collaborating for creation, prototyping, validating and testing of new services, products and systems in real-lifecontexts. Such contexts are cities, villages and rural areas as well as industrial plants.
- Real-life Living Labs are superior to “closed Labs” in virtually all aspects; Living Labs stimulate new ideas, provide richer contexts of concrete R&D challenges and it becomes natural to perform early and continuous validation (not just prototype-testing at the end). Concepts are developed in full-day (user) contexts (users are not viewed as “workers”, “patients”, “travellers” or “citizens” separately).
LivingLabs look-alikes represented within the Corelabs project team are for example: Arabianranta in Helsinki, Mobile City Bremen in Germany, Testbed Botnia in Sweden, and Freeband in the Netherlands.
Existing Living Labs?
There are a number of existing regional test beds and corporate test laboratories in Europe today, which have taken initial steps in the Living Labs direction. The full fledged Living Labs will reach a much broader market than test beds do today. Through a public private and citizen partnership and the fast deployment of broadband in Europe, there are many possibilities to engage a high number of market representatives, not only on local level but on European and even global level. Opensource makes it possible to integrate different kinds of technologies, test methodologies and business innovation models, beeing the corner stones of Living Labs operations.
A European Network of Living Labs
In the i2010 Communication and the first Annual Report on the European Information Society, a European Network of Living Labs is one of the actions for the second cluster for Investment and Innovation in Research. Living Labs have a regional importance for product development that requires good knowledge of specific local markets however a broad market with a high number of citizens as test users could influence technology development to a much larger extent. A European network of Living Labs will be a strong tool for making the industry innovation process more efficient and dynamic by involving citizens in development of new services, products and societal infrastructures.
 More information
Mikael Börjeson, Centre for Distance-Spanning Technology