mission & rules for listing

BABLE’s Goal

The main purpose of BABLE is to support the sustainable development of cities in Europe and beyond. We want to create liveable, future proof and sustainable cities based on innovation and collaboration

  • We strive towards a carbon free future
  • We aim to increase efficiency in resource consumption
  • We build on data, connectivity and the IoT
  • We aim for processes that benefit the best solutions not the loudest or cheapest actors
  • We strive to provide future-proof solutions for sustainable cities

BABLE’s Mission

  • We work as a Fraunhofer Spin-Off that upholds scientific excellence and neutrality.
  • We strive to deliver cutting-edge innovations to cities
  • We help overcome the barriers to implement innovations for cities.
  • We bring connected technologies & services into cities
  • We connect cities and industry (private sector) in a community of friends and partners
  • We help companies to understand how their products match urban demands
  • We help our customers to innovate and create new solutions for cities
  • We accelerate the market
  • We reduce transaction costs for cities & companies
  • We moderate the links and processes between cities (public) and companies (private)

Why is BABLE necessary?

Smart City technologies and connected solutions represent a large potential for creating sustainable environments, efficient municipal services and increasing life quality in our cities. Intelligent solutions that connect a range of technologies for a larger benefit not only have the potential to drastically increase efficiency and reduce emissions, they also produce a range of additional benefits for many different actors.

Smart city solutions in essence face three challenges that have prevented a full and swift market uptake in the past: innovation, complexity and a local context:

  1. Innovation means higher risk: Most Smart City solutions are based on either innovative technologies or have an innovative component to it. Often the innovation lies within the integration of several different technologies (e.g. sensors, smart phones, cars, charging stations, electricity grid, smart meters, lampposts etc.) in an interoperable system that runs on connectivity and the Internet of Things. From an investors perspective, innovation means higher risk and this is associated with higher prices.
  2. Complexity means higher transaction costs: A substantial USP of smart urban solutions is the interlinked and connected nature of the systems that are able to achieve the positive effects sketched out before. The more actors there are in a transaction, the higher are the costs that occur when organizing and governing the transaction. And the higher the amount of interactions between objects (e.g. sensors, pv panels, street lights etc.), the higher are costs for calibration, testing and operation / maintenance. A Smart City Project will only be successful in the long run, if each single actor in this complex constellation understands his or her individual benefit that stems from a smart urban solution. A smart waste management system – for example – will only be successful if the waste company, the workers, the municipal waste department, the investor, the supplier of sensors, smart bins and IT systems and the users who dump or recycle their waste feel that they profit from the new system. If either of them loses w.r.t status quo the investment will not happen. Negotiating stakeholder agreements that achieve a positive cost-benefit relationship for all stakeholders involved in a smart city project is an arduous task and consumes time and resources. It raises transaction costs of smart city projects during project development but also during operation.
  3. Priority of local context means a fragmented market: Solutions and technologies in smart city projects need to be adapted to local circumstances. These are multiple: geography, existing infrastructure, size of district, and amount of expected users, specific national or local regulations etc. This circumstance puts higher costs on solution providers since standardization is only possible in a modular way – fully standardized smart city solutions that function like “off-the-shelf products” and can be sold to Trondheim, Zurich or Malaga in the same way are very rare to find. In addition, procurement & project development are subject to local political cycles, which makes it difficult to align investments of several cities – e.g. in joint tenders - and by this create a larger demand side for single solutions and products. Cities also tend to support their local innovation ecosystem: through procurement of innovation and involvement of local SMEs in smart city tenders very similar solutions (e.g E-Bike sharing platforms or smart lampposts) are procured in a rather small amount from several different market players in different cities throughout Europe at different times. These effects lead to a fragmented market where scale-effects are scarce and solutions stay expensive. They are the reason why the Smart City market is strongly innovation driven but not yet very attractive to investors.

BABLE offers a platform to help overcome these challenges for smart city solutions.

  • A standardized, modular and neutral description of socio-technical innovations provides transparency about functioning smart city solutions and through this mitigates the risk and helps reduce complexity.
  • It directly supports the design of tenders and project development
  • A large database of use cases helps understand costs and benefits of smart city technologies and services. References are the best way to show the market that a solution is working. They also reduce risks of investments.
  • A direct promotion of products and services along with smart city use cases and solutions helps create transparency about the market and – partially – defragment the market.

BABLE Rules for Listing

BABLE helps promote products and services that comply with the above stated mission and that contribute to a sustainable development of cities. All products and services listed on BABLE shall contribute to one or more of the following core goals of the BABLE mission:

  • reduction of resource consumption
  • reduction of energy consumption
  • reduction of emissions (CO2, other climate gases like methane, or toxic substances)
  • reduction of social imbalances
  • meet security of supply
  • creation of stable, long-term-oriented economic structures
  • increase of social well-being and life expectancy
  • increase of human health
  • increase of health of natural urban ecosystems
  • increase of resilience of physical infrastructures and social networks
  • decrease of the societal and physical vulnerabilities of urban societies

In addition to the sustainability goals of BABLE we aim to promote products that are interoperable, based on open standards and meet latest standards for data security and protection of personal data. Listing products and service via BABLE is subject to our Standard BABLE Fees.

  • Companies that offer products or services in the area of Smart and sustainable cities are invited to promote their products and services via BABLE and engage in direct dialogue with cities and other procurers of urban solutions.
  • A growing pool of preconfigured, standardized and neutrally described and smart city solutions will help companies relate own products and services to solutions that become the basis for tenders and procurement processes of cities. You can relate your products and services to preconfigured solutions through product categories when uploading new products to BABLE. Wherever a product category seems to be missing, you will be able to suggest a new category and even a new solution.
  • BABLE will make sure that the classification and mapping of products and services is done according to the inner logic of the solutions, providing the most adequate allocations for listing and promotion of products and services of the BABLE customers.

By uploading products and services to BABLE you consent to these rules for listing. We reserve the right to reject products and services that are not in line with the BABLE mission or defy the BABLE policies as set out in the Terms and Conditions.

BABLE Ethics

  • We are neutral and do not favour any stakeholders.
  • We are 100% transparent in what we do.
  • We are non-discriminatory w.r.t products and implementations
  • We stay independent from industry (no industry shareholders)
  • We have no stakes in the products that are implemented in projects which stem from the BABLE marketplace
  • We conceive ourselves as facilitators of urban development processes. Not as vendors
  • We encourage service providers to offer their services on the platform
  • We use data only in the way our customers have agreed with
  • We ensure highest standards of data security