e-News #2-2017: Running Open Calls – Our experience and takeaways

The First symbIoTe Open Call was launched in Q3-2016 and completed the evaluation and administrivia processes in Q2-2017. We planned it thoroughly with experts from within our Consortium in order to better attract IoT platforms and let them become symbIoTe level 1 compliant.

Leveraging on our experiences, we would like to share some takeaways with our community and followers, to help any team with similar task in maximising efforts and impact of their Open Call organization process.

Communication is key

We launched officially the process for submission on November 30th, 2016 and started immediately a large communication campaign to attract potential participants across the scattered IoT ecosystem. Our team had to be very active on several fronts, leveraging on various online communication channels (website, YouTube and socials). We created specific pages and information on our website, spread the news on social networks and created dedicated dissemination material to be shared at public events (conferences and exhibitions). The widest promotion of the Open Call terms and scope across the whole network of contacts of the partners in the Consortium is key to create awareness, capture interest of IoT developers and platform operators. To further guide potential applicants towards the submission we also organized a webinar to show the key elements of the symbIoTe architecture and provide clarifications on the expected focus and scope of the open call projects. Our public communication campaign has been built to give significant insights on the technical approach of symbIoTe, its potentials and how it is possible to integrate an IoT platform into the symbIoTe framework.

A good tool to manage applications simplifies your evaluation process

We used the F6S platform (https://www.f6s.com/opencall1symbiote/), a well-established tool used by Investors and Accelerators to fund innovative projects, to organize the applicants’ registration and proposal submission processes.  F6S allowed us to collect more than 260 connections among single persons and companies, thus extending our community which we will further exploit for future initiatives including our Second Open Call. The F6S tool simplified and automatized a number of tasks related to applicants management: out of the 78 opened applications, 37 were eventually submitted, 34 were evaluated. Three proposals were withdrawn from the evaluation process because were originated by applicants in non-eligible countries (Russia, US, Singapore). Two 2 proposals were exceeding the admissible budget (requesting >100k€ instead of 40k€ allowed funding), but were evaluated anyway and provided a formal technical feedback. 63% of the applications were closed on the last day (84% in the last 3 days), 50% of the applicants found their way via IoT-EPI or symbIoTe communications.

Overall, we received a total amount of 37 finalised proposals requesting a total budget of more than 4M€, coming from 14 different countries, as it follows:

symboIoTe 1st OC Number of Proposals Funding Requested (EUR)
Proposal submitted 37 4.460.429,00
Eligible proposals 34 1.412.729,00
Proposal above threshold 22 660.477,00
Selected proposals 3 119.700,00

The F6S tool has been a key enabler for the correct management of the submission and evaluation process.

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Engaging with the winners for a fast ramp-up

The first symbIoTe Open Call closed on February 28th 2017, the evaluation process started on March 2nd with a group of external experts selected by the Consortium and was finalized on April 7th 2017.

Three top proposals have been eventually selected among the 22 which were assessed above the thresholds of excellence and feasibility.

  • SaMMY, a Smart Platform for the Management of Yachting Marinas, will be integrated by OptionsNet (Greece) in symbIoTe deploy and deployed to run IoT tests in the port of Patras
  • QR-Patrol (www.qrpatrol.com), an online cloud/mobile platform for guard tour management integrating IoT devices, will be integrated by Terracom Informatics  (Greece) in symbIoTe
  • SoundMapp, a platform which targets the EU-wide relevant problem of citizens exposed to noise pollution in urban areas, will be integrated by Fincons  (Italy) in particular to monitor road traffic and civil works for eco-routing and smart mobility

To ease the kick-off of their activities, we have established dedicated Support Teams in symbIoTe for the new open call projects. Our tutors are in continuous contact with the new 3rd Parties, tutoring them on technical, security and business matters. An initial remote briefing occurred between the symbIoTe supporting team and the new partners on June 1st, 2017, followed by a face to face meeting in Poznan on July 6th, 2017 in which integration for L1 compliance and implementation of workplans have been discussed.

Further improve your strengths, fast recover from failures

To evaluate strengths and failures of our 1st Open Call process, we asked all applicants to provide us with their feedback. We structured a questionnaire with a number of questions about the various aspects and phases of the process, asking for an evaluation in a 0-10 scale. The picture reports on some key relevant aspects.

Getting and analysing your applicants’ feedback is very important to improve the preparation and selection procedure, better focus on our funding goals and eventually enrich the whole project and impact of your solutions.

The second Open Call has been launched in October 2017 and will focus on augmenting the value offerings and expanding the symbIoTe ecosystem with new IoT platforms providers, application developers and small-scale deployments.