Work Package 1: Preliminary study: in depth needs assessment & state-of-the-art
The first WP intended to collect relevant input in order to efficiently start up the project. This includes a clear and detailed description of the needs on the demand side: what were the firefighters' innovation expectations to improve their safety and reduce the risks during interventions? In February 2013, more than 961 fire fighters brigades across the EU completed a survey. The partnering brigades from Belgium, France and UK did an in depth analysis of their needs. The user needs that were valued highest were related to:
- Remote parameter monitoring & logging
- Measurement of environmental temperature
- Specific PPE Enhancements
- Robustness & maintainability
Additionally WP1 elaborated a state-of-the-art study on smart textiles and ICT enabled PPE, along with a patent search that described what is available on the market or close to market.
Furthermore, in order to de-risk the development of prototypes and first batch production, standardization requirements and guidelines were developed.
Finally, legal constraints and a risk analysis for the launch of the joint pre-commercial procurement tender were identified.
WP2: Innovation platform as market consultation instrument: bundling demand & supply side
Innovative in Smart@Fire is also the used mechanism to intensify the cooperation between the demand and supply side. The market consultation will position the innovation expectations against the technological capabilities of enterprises and research centers.
Smart@Fire will focus on three expressed needs:
- ICT localization systems embedded in PPE
- ICT solution for remote connectivity & visualization systems in PPE
- PPE sensors to measure vital functions of fire fighters (temperature) and their integration in smart textiles.
The thematic sessions will be organized in three different countries Belgium, France and Germany. An additional session is foreseen in each country and will deal with the integration aspects of the ICT-solutions in PPE.
After the sessions the innovation potential from a technological point of view will be determined. This allows us to refine the project scope and to decide on the procurement strategy for the next step: the joint pre-commercial procurement.
WP3: Joint pre-commercial procurement : the development of prototypes & testing
In June, after approval of the European Commission, the tender document, the challenge brief and the legal framework were sent out to 79 possible candidates. The content of these documents resulted out of all deliverables achieved in WP1 and 2. Out of these deliverables, one can easily conclude it is already clear that not the firefighter's needs are met with current solutions on the market. Research and development activities are required. This work package aims to set up and manage a joint precommercial tender with several EU fire brigades. The R&D activities are foreseen in three successive phases:
- Solution exploration
- Development of a limited volume of first batch of finalized products that will be tested by the firefighters in France, the UK , Belgium or Germany.
WP4: Preparation of the joint final procurement
If the test results of the developed innovative ICT-solutions comply with the expectations, the demand will be bundled as much as possible to the demand of European fire fighters in order to obtain a critical mass. The joint final procurement will be open not only for the consortium partners but also for each EU fire brigade willing to purchase the developed innovative PPE.
WP5: Methodology consolidation
Smart@Fire aims to act as one of the pilot projects that proves the feasibility of a joint pre-commercial procurement methodology throughout the European Union. The capitalization of the performed efforts will be summarized in guidelines, templates, tools and reference material. This could encourage other public procurers throughout the EU to engage in new joint pre-commercial procurement initiatives.
WP6: Dissemination of the project and methodology
In this workpackage the goal is to create maximum visibility at national and international level, both on the methodology of pre-commercial procurement and on the research and development of ‘thé’ smart fire suit of the future. A website has been developed with information about the project, the used methodology, an online tender service; mailings will be distributed; conferences will be organized etc.
WP7: The Consortium and management aspects of the project:
The project is unique due to the fact that its originates from a real procurement intention, chaired by several public procurers throughout Europe and aims to exploit this opportunity to create a solid working base for future use. A high level Consortium from seven different Member States, has been formed that comprises all specific required expertise to successfully complete this endeavour. An experienced management structure with administrative, financial, scientific and technical skills will take care of the day-by-day coordination.
The outstanding Advisory Board will supervise the efficiency and effectiveness of the work undertaken.
Henk Van Houtte