Thursday, October 27, 2011

Welcome to eChallenges

We’ve just arrived in the beautiful city of Florence for this year’s eChallenges event.

Although the weather is not the best (umbrellas are a must-have item) it looks like it’s shaping up to be a pretty busy conference. We’ve already had quite a few visitors over to the EGI/e-ScienceTalk stand to find out more about grids can help researchers in their country, and we’ve been doing our best to spread the e-science word.

The sessions today have covered a range of topics. eGovernance is quite a big topic so this morning’s plenary started off with how Florence and Tuscany are trying to use ICT to provide services to their citizens. Later on Klaus-Peter Eckert continued the discussion with a talk on how Germany is using cloud computing in the public sector. Eckert said that instead of migrating existing applications onto the cloud, a better way of demonstrating their benefits would be to start with novel applications to show that certain services can be provided in better, more secure, innovative ways.

Cloud computing is a bit of a buzz word nowadays, along with ‘smart’ – the topic of Julia Glidden’s presentation. Glidden spoke about how smart cities and living labs can drive innovation. Living labs bring together SMES, citizens and public administrators to design products and services. They take the model of product innovation and apply it to public services. However challenges so far tend to include that outcomes are hyper local, which don’t get shared across Europe and are non-scalable.

Anyway that’s just a taster of the conference so far. We hope to bring you much more over the next couple of days, so stick around! (We’re afraid the conference internet is not quite up to uploading videos but we promise to put them up as soon as we’re back.)

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