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The HNSciCloud tender material speeds up the tender material preparation of the “SELECT for Cities” Pre Commercial Procurement
On February 2017, the SELECT for Cities initiative launched its call for tender for the development of an open, standardized, data-driven and service-oriented Internet-of-Everything (IoE) platform. SELECT for Cities is a joint pre-commercial procurement (PCP) sponsored by three European cities (Antwerp, Copenhagen and Helsinki) and co-funded by the European Commission under the H2020 programme.
We asked Hugo Tamagnini Gonçalves, SELECT For Cities Coordinator and project development manager at Forum Virium Helsinki, to tell us more about the organisation’s experience with the PCP and to describe how the HNSciCloud tender material has facilitated the SELECT for Cities tender preparation.
Good morning Hugo. Can you tell us what the scope of the SELECT for Cities project is and why you decided to use a PCP instrument?
To date, the Internet-of-Everything progress has been slow due to a number of barriers such as a lack of common standards, a fragmented marketplace, and a lack of ways to systematically test and introduce new solutions in the cities. Development and testing is mostly done in random ways in existing organisational silos. This modus operandi has raised many issues. This is why the SELECT for Cities PCP envisages the building of an IoE platform for European cities to enable large-scale co-creation, testing and validation of urban IoE apps and services.
The platform has several requirements, components and features currently unavailable in a single solution (either as interoperable separate components), or (automated) testing and validation of -related services. A lot of Research and Development is needed for the building of such a platform, therefore the PCP instrument is most certainly the best appropriate funding schema for this kind of project. Additionally, I have already experienced a PCP process. My organization, the Forum Virium Helsinki, is part of the Silver PCP Project which was recently completed. Of course, it is still experimental and in the development phase, but it has a big potential.
How did you find out about HNSciCloud?
During the 2016 Annual Concertation Meeting for PCP projects back in March 2016, Bob Jones, CERN & HNSciCloud Coordinator, gave a presentation on how the PCP instrument has been adapted for the HNSciCloud tender and the results achieved so far. It was really interesting to understand the work done by the consortium, to write the tender and successively promote it. The results of HNSciCloud were impressive: more than 200 downloads of the tender material and around 30 proposals from 12 countries submitted during a 3 month period. That’s why we decided to have a look at the HNSciCloud tender and re-use the available material as much as possible.
How did the HNSciCloud tender material support you?
We used the HNSciCloud tender documentation both as a “baseline” to write our own material and as a source of good practices, such as the way it describes the PCP process and evaluation stages. We found it very detailed and we used the same language and presentation model. We also took inspiration from the timeline and the general structure of the tender documentation.
Additionally, it has been very useful to have a recent example of a project that it is a procurement of digital tools and solutions, therefore within similar domains as our project. Like HNSciCloud, we want a product that is capable of integrating many different products and services. The smart cities infrastructure is constantly evolving, the network conference in the cities is always growing, technology changes, there are different software and procedures to access data, and also a huge amount of privacy rules… so, it's very complex.
Do you have any lessons learnt that you want to share with us on the tender writing?
Well, surely one lesson learnt is that using existing knowledge and good practices makes you save time and resources. I would definitely recommend to everyone approaching the PCP process to look around and reach out to other PCP project managers. This knowledge sharing is also encouraged by the European Commission.
Now your tender is out. Have you already got any feedback?
So far the tender seems to have been quite well received. In our first Q&A webinar, which was attended by over sixty participants, people asked very clear questions and seemed to be on top on the requests that we made in the tender. To further facilitate the bidding process we also published a Pre-Commercial Procurement handbook to guide bidders through the application procedure.
To close our interview, can you tell us what are your expectations for the upcoming months?
We hope to get a good number of interesting bids (I remind all the interested companies that the tender submission deadline is the 14th April 2017 at 10am CET), so to be able to choose among the most innovative and positively surprising proposals.
Thanks Hugo, we are looking forward to seeing the results of the SELECT For Cities Tender and PCP!
Who's behind HNSciCloud?
HNSciCloud Pre-Commercial Procurement is driven by ten leading research organisations from across Europe.