ITEA 4 is the Eureka Cluster on software innovation
ITEA 4 is the Eureka Cluster on software innovation
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Smart communities


Each of us belongs to different communities: at work, leisure, politics, health … but the fact is that daily life is reducing physical contacts. By contrast, the numbers of digitally connected people are increasing exponentially. The challenge for the smart community is to find a way for these communities to allow more contacts with greater efficiency, more personalised and human, with more trust. Smart technology can help engage citizens, non-governmental organisations, businesses and the academic community in rising to the challenges and solving the problems, a community that is greater than the sum of its parts, a hub of innovation and economic growth, liveable, sustainable and resilient. The digital transition presents a big opportunity to invent new tools (just witness the incredible growth of the social network) to support this demand while being aware of the danger of substituting physical by virtual contacts. The art is to increase physical contacts through virtual tools.

Some facts and figures

  • The most “digitally-mature” companies have a revenue growth 6 times higher than that of the less mature companies. And beyond the strictly financial impact, it appears that the employees of the companies that are more advanced in their digital transformation feel more comfortable in their professional settings, with index levels of professional wellbeing 50% higher than for the less advanced ones. The culture of digital companies focuses strongly on the human factor: these companies understand that employees may be a source of constant improvement and even innovation. [8]
  • In April 2017, 3.81 billion people were active internet users and 2.91 billion were social media users. [9]
  • Every second, on average, around 6,000 tweets are tweeted on Twitter, which corresponds to over 350,000 tweets sent per minute, 500 million tweets per day and around 200 billion tweets per year. In Twitter's short history, they went from 5,000 tweets per day in 2007 to 500,000,000 tweets per day in 2013. [10]
  • As of July 2017, Spotify, the music streaming service originally founded in 2006 in Sweden, had 60 million paying subscribers worldwide, up from 30 million paying subscribers in March 2016. The number of active users (including free subscriptions) is even 140 million worldwide [11]. Music-streaming apps like Spotify create communities of users who share experiences, likes and dislikes.
  • Gaming communities, or clans as they are known, are organised groups of players that regularly play together in multiplayer games. Games like Angry Birds and Pokemon Go have become global phenomena, the latter having 650 million downloads February 2017. [12]
  • The modern massive open online course movement began late 2011. The spotlight on these companies has since dimmed, yet they continue to expand their footprint. In 2016, 23 million people registered for a course for the first time ever. The total of number of students who signed up for at least one course is 58 million. In 2016, 2,600 new courses were announced (up from 1,800 the previous year), taking the total number of MOOCs to 6,850 from over 700 universities [13]. is another learning platform for professional development; a global marketplace powered by over 16 million students, 20,000 instructors and 45,000 courses.

Imagine ...

Imagine being in touch with everyone and everything. The world and countless possibilities at your fingertips – no limits, no restrictions. Interacting with holograms of your colleagues, clients, friends, family. Solving problems, making plans, playing games, learning. Part of a digital community. All the options in the palm of your hand. From monitoring your health to managing stocks and shares, from watching your favourite sports to congratulating your grandmother on her 100th birthday. Neither out of sight nor out of mind. Inclusive not exclusive. "Imagine all the people sharing all the world."

Imagine what is possible when we dare to dream, when we reach for the stars in a galaxy full of opportunities …


[8] The digital journey, an opportunity for France. Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, March 2014.

[9] Global digital population as of April 2017. Statista – the statics portal.

[10] Twitter Usage Statistics. Internet Live Stats.

[11] Spotify - Statistics & Facts. Statista – the statics portal.

[12] Pokemon Go - Statistics & Facts. Statista – the statics portal.

[13] Monetization over Massiveness: A Review of MOOC Stats and Trends in 2016. D. Shah – Class Central, December 2016.

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