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Introduction

Smart Systems affect every walk of life. They are bringing diagnostic instruments to clinics. They are bringing automatic safety systems to cars and public transport. They are becoming embedded into consumer goods, into the networks that power and inform society, and they are underpinning the efficient provision of public and private services. Increasingly they sense their surroundings, operate autonomously and collaborate with other Smart Systems.

Smart technologies promise to break the “faster, smaller, cheaper” whirlpool that has for decades now characterised hi-tech commerce and forced the migration of commodity manufacture towards low-cost economies. The reason for this potential break is that Smart Systems extract and condense human skills and knowledge to add not only functionality but also value into products: value that is the skills, knowledge and historical genius of European culture.

A stand-alone Smart medical diagnostic instrument encapsulates the skills and expertise of a whole laboratory to provide value far in excess of its component parts. Likewise Smart safety systems and Smart networks deliver a wealth of expertise, care and attention continuously, tirelessly and invisible to the user.

Smart Systems Integration is a set of technologies that build products from components, that combine functions in products and systems, that connect and network systems to other systems, and, importantly, enable systems to receive and store a “knowledge base” – the software that makes them “Smart”.

Bringing this set of technologies together is far more ambitious than the “faster, smaller, cheaper” objectives of the past. It needs a concerted effort from education, and on through research and development, product design and manufacture, all the way to the development of new business models and markets: a whole “Ecosystem” to nurture competitive advantage for the European Smart Systems community.

European SSI Ecosystem

The connection between Smart Systems and the many application sectors that they serve has been emphasized in the Strategic Research Agenda (SRA) of the European Technology Platform on Smart Systems Integration (EPoSS).

The EPoSS SRA is a reference document that provides an Executive Review of the main issues around Smart Systems, then continues with 10 self-contained “Mini SRAs” describing the particular issues, prospects, timescales and research priorities of 7 application sectors and 3 cross-sector domains.

The 7 applications sectors are Transport & Mobility; Health & Beyond; Manufacturing / Factory Automation; Communications; Energy; Aerospace; and Smart Systems for the Environment. The 3 cross-sector domains are Safety, Security & Reliability; Technologies supporting Smart Systems; and Production Processes for Smart Systems.