Current Internet-of-Things (IoT) applications are based on multiple architectures, standards and platforms. This has led to a highly fragmented IoT landscape specifically in the area of smart cities. Smart cities typically comprise several different IoT deployments that have been developed and deployed independently, e.g., for smart homes, smart industrial automation, smart transport, and smart buildings. These technological silos are in many cases caused by organizational silos in local government, e.g., the separation of law enforcement from the department of transportation.

There is a pressing need to remove these silos, allowing cities to share data across systems and to coordinate processes across domains, thereby improving sustainability and quality of life. In response to this need, VITAL realizes a radical shift in the development, deployment and operation of IoT applications. It introduces an abstract virtualized digital layer that will operate across multiple IoT architectures, platforms and business contexts. Added-value services on top of this layer will provide higher level functionalities like e.g. data filtering and complex event processing that integrate services of existing IoT systems. This will allow solution providers to (re-) use a wider range of data streams, thereby increasing the scope of potential applications and enabling a more connected approach to smart city development. Applications will be able to integrate data and services between different organisational units as well as between different smart cities, reducing the amount of necessary infrastructure inside a city. Application developers will be able to reuse their applications in different cities, greatly reducing development effort and time.

Six main challenges have been identified as fingerprints of this project.

1

How to use ICO data and services in an IoT platform/agnostic way to enable the practical development of smart cities applications in an integrating way that eliminates existing silos.

2

How to migrate existing IoT platforms and ICOs to the VITAL virtualization paradigm, thereby boosting backward compatibility of existing IoT technologies and applications.​

3

How to provide platform agnostic added-value functionalities like discovery, filtering and event processing on top of such a virtualized interface. 

4

How to enable business process management and orchestration for ICO driven business processes taking into account the uncertainly and/or lack of accuracy associated with these processes.

5

How to enable integrators to easily work with different IoT architectures and ecosystems, thereby increasing the scope of potential applications, as well as the scope of the use of the ICOs in IoT services.

6

How to ensure that application and technological silos for smart cities (which were developed in FP7 and ICT-PSP) can be alleviated in future European projects, e.g. in the scope of Horizon 2020.