Studies show that only 0-24% of farmers in Europe use ICTs in their work routine, while the respective percentage in US reaches 80%*. The root for this disproportion is not the lack of technological solutions, but the European market approach. Namely, the current approach used by ICT companies is technology push, rather than user driven, so launched solutions mismatch the real farmers’ needs. That is the reason why the agricultural results are below the true potential and why there is great potential for ICTs to improve many aspects of agriculture and ensure safe and adequate food for European citizens, with minimization of environmental impact of farming activities. In order to develop solutions that will be used and applied in fields, ICT companies have to try to connect and collaborate with farmers. Fortunately, there are 25 million people employed in the European agricultural sector (Farm Structure Survey, 2010) that can be contacted. And that is the value that the FRACTALS project brings.
FRACTALS is one of the Sixteen Accelerators (A16) financed under the Seventh Framework Program that contributes to the goals of the Future Internet Public-Private Partnership by facilitating the promotion and early adoption of FIWARE Technologies. The main idea and purpose of FRACTALS is to support the community of innovative ICT SMEs and web-entrepreneurs to develop FIWARE based applications with high market potential, addressing the needs of the agrifood sector. FRACTALS started on September 1st 2014 and distributes a total grant support of 5,52 M€ to SMEs from all over the Europe. The Open Call received 270 proposals from 26 countries. After several evaluation rounds with more than 100 evaluators from all over Europe participating, FRACTALS consortium invited 43 of them coming from 12 countries to receive funding for further utilization of FIWARE technologies and creation of market applicable applications for agriculture, one of Europe’s strategic priority areas.
FRACTALS foresees support, which spreads on different levels, and focuses not only to the assistance during the life of sub-projects but also aims at ensuring their sustainability in the long run. The project provides access to a pool of end-users that will engage themselves in the design, development and validation of solutions, ensuring that developed apps meet the real need of the market that they aim to address.
One of the B2B meetings provided for exchange of knowledge, experience and ideas between ICT companies and farmers