Started at: 01-09-2022
Ends on: 31-08-2025
Budget: € 4.886.149
Areas: Mobile Wireless Internet (MWI)
New trends such as teleworking and e-commerce, as well as the need for a further increase of digital tools in all sectors (i.e., health, education, transportation, farming, etc.) demanded by the Covid-19 pandemic, are pointing out once again digital territorial inequalities, supply-chain disruptions and deficiencies in economic opportunities that hamper resilience and prosperity of rural communities.
Accessibility and connectivity are key issues to mitigate this erosion of socio-territorial cohesion. However, identifying a common solution for equipping rural communities with increased access to services, opportunities and adequate innovation ecosystems ensuring that no one left behind is a challenging task, mainly due to the diversity of challenges and needs of different locations. In this respect, XGain fosters a sustainable, balanced, and inclusive development of rural, coastal, and urban areas by facilitating access to relevant stakeholders, such as municipalities, policymakers, farmers, foresters, and their associations, to a comprehensive inventory of smart XG, last-mile connectivity and edge computing solutions, and of related assessment methods. The XGain overall project objective is, to deliver a Knowledge Facilitation Tool, facilitating business model development, supporting decision-making in the selection of an ecosystem of technologies, consisting of connectivity options and edge processing solutions, by following a multi-actor and practitioner oriented approach, and by coherently assessing their socio-economic and techno-environmental effects, aiming at: increasing systemic resilience and energy efficiency; contributing to climate mitigation; and reducing the digital divides between different types of citizens, farms, sectors and regions.
XGain will deploy, explore and assess digital connectivity options by applying a range of technological solutions to a wide spectrum of geographical locations and sectors. The main objectives of the project are the following ones:
1. Empowering public participation and multi-actor approach in transition towards enhanced sustainability design, social acceptance, and fair solutions, through the interactive identification of end users’ needs and co-creation of XGain system and Use Cases requirements.
2. To design and deliver a user-centric, interoperable, and easy-to-use knowledge facilitation tool, for supporting actors of rural and coastal communities in their decision-making process on internet connectivity and edge technology options with appropriate operational business models.
3. To develop, establish and facilitate the selection of the most appropriate innovative business models that will include systemic level and cross-sectoral approaches.
4. To validate the outcome of the Knowledge Facilitation Tool in 6 unique fields with different technical, environmental, societal, and economical structures and needs.
5. To accelerate the adoption of XGain solutions by the wider community and ensure impact maximisation to realise sustainable, balanced, and inclusive development of rural areas’ vision.
XGain is aiming to demonstrate the developed Knowledge Facilitation Tool and each application results in series of heterogeneous use cases in terms of location, connectivity needs, local needs, edge and connectivity potential solutions and operational business models, which correspond with the following ones:
1. Rural Community Services: Catalonia, Spain (Led by i2CAT)
2. Rural Services – eHealth: Central Macedonia, Greece
3. Remote Community: Isles of Scilly, United Kingdom
4. Farming and Forestry: Lithuania
5. Aquaculture: Dalmatia, Croatia
6. Livestock and Farming: Flanders, Belgium
The initial business models provided for the use cases will also be evaluated as per the project methodology in parallel with the assessment of the proposed ecosystem of technologies.
Medium-term impacts: XGain Contribution to the Expected Outcomes
• Reduce (the risk of) digital divides between different types of farms, sectors, and regions.
• Contribute to increase the competitiveness and social and environmental sustainability of the agricultural and forestry sectors and rural areas through innovative 5G, last-mile and edge solutions.
• Facilitate decision-making, for municipalities, farmers, foresters, and their associations, in the selection of internet connectivity solutions under consideration of technical, economic, and environmental aspects.
• Increase energy efficiency through analysing and developing connectivity options and contributing to climate mitigation.
Long-term impacts: XGain Contribution to the Expected Wider Impacts
• Rural, coastal, and urban areas are developed in a sustainable, balanced, and inclusive manner thanks to a better understanding of the environmental, socio-economic, behavioural, cultural, and demographic drivers of change as well as deployment of digital, nature-based, social and community-led innovations.
• Rural, coastal, and urban communities are empowered to act for change, better prepared to achieve climate neutrality, adapt to climate change, and turn digital and ecological transitions into increased resilience to various types of shocks, good health, and positive long-term prospects, including jobs, for all including women, young people, and vulnerable groups.
• Rural communities are equipped with innovative and smarter solutions that increase access to services, opportunities, and adequate innovation ecosystems, including for women, youth, and the most vulnerable groups, improve attractiveness and reduce the feeling of being left behind, even in the most remote locations.
• The sustainable development of coastal areas including coastal protection and resilience reaps the benefits of social, digital, and community-led innovations, to deliver nature-based and scientifically validated solutions to existing coastal socio-economic and environmental threats. In this way, applications of new social, economic and governance frameworks are enabled.
• Tourism, recreational and leisure activity development in natural and coastal areas respects long-term environmental carrying capacity, and social goals.
Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.
XGain is funded by the European Union Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon Europe under grant agreement 101060294