What is the added value for Use Cases to be part of a big EU project?

Kees Lokhorst

Ecosystem Chair of the IoF2020 Dairy Trial

Dear reader,

When I was writing a book chapter with the title ‘Practical experiences of IoT applications in the IoF2020 Dairy Trial’ I had to think of the added value for use cases to be part of a big project like IoF2020. The philosophy of the project is that if you want to stimulate development and to demonstrate the value of IoT based solutions you have to involve industry and end users. Use cases therefore preferably should be owned and driven by industrial partners and they have to interact directly with end users. They have the intrinsic motivation to develop IoT solutions that can be marketed. Most of the times they want to do this within the small consortium of a use case. They want to have room for this. For them it is finding balance between time for product development and testing and spending time on IoF2020 project ‘burdens’.

The IoF2020 project supported the use cases by bringing them in contact with the uses cases in the same trial. Every month a digital meeting and sometimes physical meetings were organized to discuss progress. This might feel as a pressure, but on the other hands it stimulates the use cases to have a look also to other use cases. The meetings were in general informative, but hardly resulted in extended cooperation between the use cases. Nevertheless they experienced that others have had the same issues and experiences. Besides the regular meeting with the dairy trial members there were also annual meeting where experience could be shared with the use cases from other trials. The opportunities were offered to expand the international contacts, but it was up to the individual use cases how they made use of this network.

''Two roles for the experts; support and harvesting characteristics and experiences''

In the IoF2020 project there were dedicated work packages with experts on technological, business and ecosystem knowledge. These experts had two roles. The first one was to support and help the use cases on specific issues they are faced with. Besides this one on one support the use cases were also challenged to try new tools and methods. When use cases are confronted with new tools and methods they show a natural reaction. Why should I do that? It seems to be a lot of additional work that I did not planned? Do I have time for it? They ask a lot of questions! What is the benefit for me? Indeed new methods that are not known upfront take more energy than you like. You have to gain experience in using the method and you also need good examples that it really works. The IoF2020 project gives you the room and time to experience these new tools.  

The second role of the experts form the work packages is to harvest characteristics and experiences from the uses case. They make overviews and use it for identifying priorities, lessons learned and sometimes even contribute to standardization and scientific insights. This role might be experienced by the use cases as quite demanding without seeing direct benefit themselves. The benefit is indirect, since it is the basis for new insights, standards, project and product developments.  
The overall idea is that being part of the IoF2020 in general is stimulating for the companies. Although the project sometimes seems very demanding in delivering and attending meetings, it is bringing you in contact with other companies facing the same challenges, and with all kind of experts that can help you broaden your mind. However, in the end to be successful as use case you have to make your own choices. The project should help you in achieving your own goals.

- Kees Lokhorst 

Ecosystem Chair of the IoF2020 Dairy Trial