COMMECT will adopt a twofold approach toward digital inclusion of rural communities: (1) easy access to fast and reliable broadband Internet (making it affordable for all, and able to meet different end-user needs), and (2) educate rural communities and business toward the adoption of the digital technologies.
COMMECT will design innovative, cost-effective, and energy-efficient (5G, last mile, and edge) connectivity solutions that can increase the attractiveness of the rural remote area to businesses and individuals. COMMECT will enhance the communities’ capability to create and innovate business models to impactremote rural area socially and economically in a sustainable way. New forms of entrepreneurship in agriculture and forestry, based on environmental and social values, will also be promoted.
The choice of the most appropriate technology is dependent on economic, geographic, and technical factors, as well as the type and number of services required, infrastructure already available, etc. COMMECT will validate such concept in five Living Labs, deployed in five different countries, with different regional, socio-economic, and environmental conditions. Technical and non-technical actors will closely work together in the Living Labs, exchanging their complementary knowledge (scientific and practical). COMMECT will develop a DST that advises farmers, forestry, municipalities, and decision-makers on the best connectivity solution, according to not only to technical requirements but also to the foreseen socio-economic and environmental impact.
Connectivity solutions will be designed considering criteria such as energy efficiency, climate change impact and total cost of ownership to improve their sustainability performance. The benefits of the connectivity solutions (i.e. Green ICT and ICT for Green) will also be assessed and compared to sustainability targets (European Green Deal and Fit for 55 package) for the agricultural and forestry sectors (e.g. reaching climate neutrality by 2050 in the EU). The socio-economic and environmental indicators will be included in the DST to guide the end-users towards more sustainable choices.
COMMECT aims to support the specific needs and opportunities of rural areas and their populations, helping them overcome current challenges. To this end, COMMECT will set up five Living Labs that bring together heterogeneous actors, resources, and activities, and combine (end)-user-centred research with open innovation. COMMECT will leverage the results of past and current EU H2020 projects that pioneered developments in 5G Network Infrastructures, integrated satellite-terrestrial IoT networks, edge and cloud platforms, IoT interoperable platforms and services for smart agriculture, etc. COMMECT will investigate existing connectivity solutions in the rural context, and assess their socio-economic, and environmental impact. COMMECT will contribute to the Green ICT by designing energy-efficient connectivity solutions, and by adopting low-power IoT devices, local renewable energy, and edge computing. With the improvements produced by the COMMECT results (e.g. reduced transport, pesticides use, increased yield) COMMECT will support the reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and thus contribute to the climate change mitigation. Ecosystem-centric, collaborative business models will be developed together with the communities, to fully adhere to their needs and to enhance their capabilities in this area. Leveraging on all the lessons learned from the Living Labs, COMMECT will define a set of criteria for selecting, based on end-user needs the most appropriate connectivity, according not only to technical requirements but also to socio-economic, and environmental conditions. A tool, namely Decision-Making Support Tool (DST) will be offered to the end-users, supporting them in moving toward digitalization and competitiveness.