The Lecce Declaration

[1][.1]The European Council endorsed the European Commission’s proposal for an Innovation Union in February 2011 [1], [.2]in particular the launch of a pilot European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing [2] .3]as well as the new Joint Programming Initiative of European States “addressing a global megatrend” called “More years, better lives” [3].

[2][.1]In response to this proposal, we, the signatories of this declaration, would like to call for complementary political measures. [.2]In this declaration, we provide our views on certain priorities [.3]that aim to achieve an Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) market breakthrough, sustainable ecosystems, and interoperability.

[3]1 Bridging the Gap between R&D and Product Release

[4][.1]In spite of numerous measures and actions in the past few years, [.2]including the launch of R&D programmes such as IST FPs, AAL JP, and CIP ICT PSP (see the background info below), [.3]which were designed to complement each other, [.4]breakthroughs in terms of widespread availability and deployment of AAL systems are yet to be achieved. [.5]Moreover, many of the R&D activities focus on heterogeneous proof of concepts without sufficient attention to regulating their co-existence.

[5]Based on an analysis of market barriers investigated in [4], we, the signatories of this declaration,  emphasize that in order to improve this situation,

  • [6][.1]new funding activities should be directed at bridging the gap between R&D and product launches (for SMEs in particular), [.2]e.g., by promoting the convergence of similar results into established and reusable concepts [.3]then relating the established concepts to each other in order to provide coherent views on AAL systems. [.4]Consequently, new programmes should include items such as stress testing competing technological enablers (e.g., in living labs), providing tool support, and facilitating lean development process.
  • [7]Such funded activities must be directed at building sustainable ecosystems through targeted work on ecosystem design, ecosystem compliance and interoperability tests, ecosystem marketing, and life-cycle management of products and services.
  • [8]The above measures must be included in education and training in order to reduce the long-term uptake costs for the stakeholders.

[9]2 Developing Ecosystems around Common Open Platforms

[10][.1]Current AAL research programmes are characterized by a lack of proper interaction between demand (seniors, professional and familial caregivers, insurance companies) and supply (innovative industry, SMEs, research). [.2]This results in counter-productive efforts in current R&D projects where not all stakeholders can be represented properly. [.3]Experience in similar domains has shown that the use of common platforms and ready-to-use enablers helps demand-supply interactions grow into a full ecosystem of artefacts that regulates itself in a self-organizing way. [.4]For example, it is inconceivable that the PC market would have reached its current state if POSIX had not provided a reference specification for operating systems, [.5]and if UNIX/Linux, Windows and MacOS had not reached their levels of popularity. [.6]Similarly, the Apache Server as a reference implementation for Web servers played a decisive role in the emergence of the Web, as well as the standard specifications for HTTP and HTML.

[11][.1]Building upon the AALOA Manifesto [5], we, the signatories of this declaration, call for measures in AAL research programmes [.2]which facilitate the creation of an AAL ecosystem based on open common platforms, [.3]while ensuring interoperability, financial sustainability, and overall support of end user needs for the resulting AAL products and services.

[12]3 Ensuring Interoperability

[13][.1]Given the complexity and diversity of the domain, interoperability is a challenging feature of AAL systems. [.2]Moreover, AAL solutions are currently provided in a fragmented market [.3]in which the AAL industry cannot yet rely on a well-established community of major industrial stakeholders [.4]that invest in and agree upon common standards.

[14]We, the signatories of this declaration, call for the following measures to help build interoperability:

  • [15][.1]Building blocks of the envisioned common platforms should be open and available.  [.2]Their interfaces should be public, and interaction protocols should be known and agreed upon in the ecosystem.  [.3]In addition, it should be possible to use technology building blocks developed elsewhere in the framework programme (e.g., Future Internet PPP [6]). [.4]This would require the coordination of multiple existing platform initiatives [.5]so that the AAL community can avoid the trap of relying on isolated technology [.6]that is incapable of being integrated into the wider realm of future technologies.
  • [16][.1]Applications on top of the common platforms should be interoperable. [.2]To achieve this, a long-term consensus building process is needed, possibly for decades, [.3]which takes into account the evolving nature of applications.

[17]4 Background of the Declaration

[18] 4.1 AAL: Social Necessity and Economic Opportunity

[19] [.1]AAL systems can be understood as intelligent, accessible and user friendly systems [.2]that help people lead healthy and independent lives while ageing [.3]and facilitate the sustainability and efficiency of the related social systems [2]. [.4]They should mitigate the escalating costs [.5]which are expected to result from ageing populations, [.6]especially in Japan, the US and Europe (see, for example, the OECD forecasts in [7]). 

[20] [.1]AAL systems can help support older people in various application domains [8]: [.2]at work, they can remain active and productive longer, with an improved quality of work; [.3]in the community, they can stay socially active and useful; [.4]and at home, they can enjoy a healthier and higher quality of daily life while maintaining a higher degree of independence, autonomy, and dignity for a longer time.

[21] [.1]With a growing market potential in terms of both demand (a growing population of customers) and supply (a large variety of applications), [.2]AAL systems constitute a significant economic opportunity in addition to being a social necessity ([.3]cf. also estimations in [7], e.g., about the wealth of Europeans over 65 having a revenue of over € 3000 billion, and about the market for smart home applications to triple between 2005 and 2020) .

[22] 4.2 AAL: Integral Part of the Digital Agenda for Europe

[23] [.1]AAL systems are integral parts of the Digital Agenda for Europe [9]. [.2]Further to the 2006 Riga Ministerial Declaration on e-Inclusion policy [10], the European Commission defined an ageing well action plan [11] and a European strategy in ICT for Ageing Well [7]. [.3]The result is a series of measures that involve more than one billion Euros in research and development between 2006 and 2013: [.4]the Seventh Framework programme [12] funds longer-term R&D, [.5]the AAL Joint Programme [13] is dedicated to market-oriented R&D, and [.6]the ICT Policy Support Programme within the Competitiveness and Innovation framework Programme (CIP ICT PSP) [14] supports initiatives with deployment priorities.




Changes compared to v3 from 1-Aug-2011:

– almost all comments considered, especially used Reza’s suggestions to restructure the text, Joe’s comments about sounding like a “declaration” (strong enough to be called a “declaration”), and the discussion between Saied & Antonio to reduce the stuff on ecosystems and limit it to “ecosystems around platforms”.

– finally, the resulted text was sent to Barbara for the proposed proof-read; most of her corrections have been adopted.