Report from the AMB'11 workshop on
Support for companies developing Ambient Assisted Living solutions to achieve the market breakthrough
An event taken place on 07-Jun-2011 in Brussels with 42 participants including 20 representatives from private companies
AMB'11 was organized by AALOA  and eInclusion  and supported by AALA 
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The European Commission and the AAL Joint Programme have funded several activities in the area of innovative AAL solutions for some years. In particular, objective 7.1b of FP7-ICT-2009-4 targeted the consolidation of cutting-edge R&D results towards a single European platform for AAL that has led to funding the project universAAL . However, it is not clear what guarantees the success of this policy? How about the other initiatives  that continue to propose their own innovative platforms for AAL? It seems that additional measures, such as stress testing, are needed towards delivering the evidence that candidate platforms are effectively applicable in real production settings and can achieve breakthroughs in terms of widespread availability and deployment of AAL solutions.
In alignment with the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing, the main motivation behind the workshop was to evaluate the idea of funded European projects for partnership in porting a wealth of applications to candidate platforms as an instrument to have such platforms show their practical usefulness, to spread the knowledge, to create an initial portfolio that helps to penetrate the market, and to seek consolidation opportunities.
Some barriers identified by the participants were:
- R&D projects are not sufficiently driven by a demand-supply approach
- SMEs would not be able to invest if there is no stable ecosystem giving them the chance to survive
- The desired ecosystem has not emerged yet due to interoperability problems; open platforms must deliver the evidence to have addressed this effectively
- Technology and operation cost should be sufficiently low so that investment concentrates on creating products and services that stimulate the market
- IPR issues could be an obstacle to open source approaches unless appropriate governing rules apply, e.g. when contributions are provided voluntarily and the results are exploitable freely by all
- Sustainability of the open source community. A suggestion was made to fund a foundation for managing a global community that works on the maintenance and further development of an open source platform for AAL. The foundation is supposed to be responsible for ensuring a level of compliance that would guarantee quality and trust.
The discussions led to the following conclusions:
- Research programmes lack support on pre-commercialisation and R&D for ecosystem building. There is need for funded activities that bridge the gap between R&D and product launch / deployment (particularly for SMEs), including the following aspects: ecosystem design, stress testing of platforms supporting such ecosystems (e.g., in living labs), ecosystem compliance and interoperability tests, ecosystem marketing, tool support, lean development process and life- cycle management of products, and education and training for developers and installers.
- The demand-supply approach should be applied to separate ecosystems, for instance:
- the social ecosystem where demand is represented by care providers, carers, and end users, supply is represented by application developers and service providers, and public authorities and insurances may act as catalysts; and
- the technology ecosystem where demand is represented by application developers and integrators and supply is represented by platform technology providers.
- Open AAL platforms will create more market opportunities by a true cross-application approach (allowing the combination of assistance with eHealth, energy efficiency, safety & security, mobility, etc.) in coordination & cooperation with standardization bodies, and by providing a certification programme.
- Benefits of porting projects were confirmed; the idea of horizontal projects in funding programmes, in particular in the AAL JP, was born; the community is supposed to document this idea and propose it to the policy makers.
It was agreed that the community should continue to discuss in order to agree on a set of proposals with concrete action points that would be ratified during the AAL Forum in LECCE (26-28 September) so that the results could be provided to the policy makers, more concretely to the EIP-AHA steering group, European Commission, and AAL JP.
Presentations and detailed minutes
- Saied Tazari (Fraunhofer IGD) with this presentation used stepwise throughout all sessions
Recorded video (Note: audio frequently missing)
- The AAL Open Association.
- Short for the ICT for Inclusion sector of the DG for Information Society and Media of the European Commission.
- The Ambient Assisted Living Association.
- Short for UNIVERsal open platform and reference Specification for Ambient Assisted Living under the grant agreement no. 247950.
- As a non-exhaustive list of platforms, here are those that registered to AMB'11 in due time:
- Platforms presented in session 3:
- 3.1 OSAmI-Commons: http://www.osami-commons.org/
3.2 AAS-Platform: http://www.aas-platform.com/
3.3 universAAL: http://www.universaal.org/
3.4 openURC: http://www.openurc.org/
- Platforms registered to session 3 but not presented due to time constraints (with many thanks for their understanding):
- 3.5 andago: http://www.andago.com/areas_de_negocio/salud-bienestar/oferta/
3.6 LinkSmart: http://sourceforge.net/projects/linksmart/ developed within http://www.hydramiddleware.eu/