S4AllCities is a project driven by the end-users. It does not simply target the development of cutting-edge technologies, but it primarily aims at building advanced solutions that do meet users’ expectations. As such, users’ voice will underpin the entire project’s lifespan to ensure that once this innovation is brought to life, it will offer a platform that truly reflects users’ needs.
In advocating for a user-centric innovation approach, amongst project’s preliminary activities was the active engagement of the S4AllCities end-users, so as their existing security capabilities, gaps and needs to be adequately defined, and the potential added value of the S4AllCities solution to be thoroughly explored. This was achieved via an ad-hoc questionnaire that covers the key aspects of soft targets and crowded places security. Dedicated EU good practices and national guidelines provided useful insights on public spaces security, shaping the core structure and main elements of the questionnaire. This questionnaire was subsequently shared with project’s end-users, who are mainly public spaces owners/operators, municipalities and Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) from 5 EU cities namely Trikala (GR), Bilbao (ES), Pilsen (CZ), Valencia (ES) and Buzau (RO). End-users feedback on the questionnaire will allow for the delineation of their security challenges and can help shed light on the contextual environment within which the S4AllCities system will be eventually deployed.
Drawing on this feedback, a set of focus groups will be organized in which both end-users and technical partners will participate. The goal of this liaison activity is to enable users to share with technology providers their main security challenges, as well as to provide users with a better understanding of the main functionalities of the S4AllCities system. The scope of this information exchange is to help define tangible and meaningful goals and priorities for the project as well as a shared understanding and alignment on the objectives. The outcome of the focus groups will comprise the User Requirements document, which will cover socio-economic, technological, privacy, ethics and citizen quality of life aspects.
In subsequent project’s tasks, the S4AllCities User Requirements will drive and set the direction for all processes around system development, thereby serving as the groundwork and foundation for the design, development and realization of the S4AllCities solution. To that end, User Requirements will be translated into system specifications, allowing the development of a traceability matrix that will track the level of fulfillment for the various requirements.
In addition, in the upcoming months, external (non-consortium) security practitioners, city executives, public spaces owners, first responders and other core actors that have the joint mission and responsibility to protect soft targets and crowded places, will be engaged in the user requirements activity. Indeed, a dedicated workshop will be organized with external stakeholders to validate the S4AllCities User Requirements. The active involvement of an extended user community will allow the S4AllCities solution to be fully aligned with the expectations and needs of an European-wide target group.