No digital challenge will be too big for Europe’s newest network

Need help with digitalising your food production? The European network of living labs will provide easy access to everything you need.

The transition to integrated digital systems for better, safer and more sustainable food production is a major challenge for the European food industry. Many small and medium-sized producers need to know how to get started, where to find customised solutions and how to implement them for maximum competitive gain.

In the future, a new European network of living labs will provide companies with all the answers, support and technology they need.

The S3FOOD partners have teamed up with sister EU project Connsensys to develop a roadmap for establishing the living labs network.

Connecting expertise
“Some of the challenges that food companies face are too big for one technology or digital solution provider to solve alone. But each EU region has all the expertise at hand – it’s simply spread out,” says S3FOOD project coordinator Veerle De Graef.

“The idea behind the network of living labs is to connect this expertise so companies have easy access to the digital expertise and solutions they need. Most importantly, companies will be able to test new solutions before they invest.”

The roadmap includes a checklist for identifying relevant living labs to support the digital transition of the food industry. Expertise in food processing and industry 4.0 technology, research, testing and validation facilities and training capabilities are key requirements.

Seal of excellence
S3FOOD and Connsensys have identified more than 20 potential living labs within their partner countries. An evaluation procedure is currently being developed to ensure labs satisfy all criteria before being invited to join the network.

Gus Verhaeghe, coordinator of the Connsensys project, explains, “The evaluation will serve as a seal of excellence. All organisations that join the network must be trustworthy and provide quality services for the digitalisation of the food industry.”

A long-term vision
Through their own networking activities, S3FOOD and Connsensys have already laid the foundations for the European network of living labs. Once these projects are complete, the partners will continue working towards the long-term vision through the Smart Sensors 4 AgriFood Partnership.

Read more about the European network of living labs in this operational handbook.

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