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Context: A large number of European Manufacturing SMEs are extremely agile in their daily business and manufacturing process, which is paramount to their survival. However, due to lack of access to advance ICT solutions, this agility comes at a higher cost and adversely affects their productivity. Transformation process of conventional water management solutions into smart water management solutions require establishing the right organizational design and enterprise architecture that embrace convergence of many systems at once. In contrast to traditional water management, where different entities are usually specialized and focused on a minimum set of tasks, in smart water management entities are required to have significant awareness of the entire water management process and be involved in decision making according to their customers’ needs. This necessarily requires strategic thinking, simulation, planning, and re-skilling, which requires competence and knowledge that is scarce in the majority of water management SMEs. “Smart” is not without its challenges, including new data security implications, innovation relying on the combination of technical knowledge and access to finance (a greater concern to SMEs than to larger enterprises) as well global competition for higher productivity, which means that companies must invest continuously, not only in innovative products, but also in innovative production processes.
Approach: Here we will build on the FIWARE Mundus programme and approach to create an inclusive and continuously growing network of water management innovation hubs (WP6). The idea is to implement a technology transfer program to support water management-oriented SMEs in addressing the aforementioned challenges in their own value chains, while supporting system integrators (innovators) in developing smart water management solutions for addressing these challenges. Above all, the network of water management innovation hubs will contribute to a rapid commercialization of those smart water management solutions through the Fiware4Water platform for smart water management. We will consider, in the whole process, the skills required by SMEs to properly implement solutions and regulatory issues which might arise in the process such as data protection and cybersecurity. A cross-border and even global dimension is essential to make these hubs work in a systemic way, contributing to the standardization by reusability at cross border and cross sectoral levels.