Mind the gap: The AURORAL ecosystem for the digital transformation of smart communities and rural areas


Rural areas play a crucial role in addressing challenges related to climate change, food provision, biomass, and energy. At the same time, digital solutions have proven essential in improving safety, quality of life, and resil­ ience in daily life. However, the lower population density and the lack of digital infrastructure in such rural areas make it difficult to develop technology-driven private businesses and public services. This can negatively impact socio-economic indicators and hinder the development of new services to cover peoples’ needs. For this reason, in this document, we seek to provide a stronger focus on rural regions in digitalization efforts and create new opportunities for rural communities. For that, we analyze the barriers and needs of the rural environment and present AURORAL, a digital service platform designed to meet the needs and contexts of rural areas. This ecosystem, comprising sustainable and multi-interoperable apps and services, can help communities succeed in innovation and smart transformation, providing the necessary infrastructure to facilitate long-lasting social, environmental, and economic benefits by prioritizing openness, interoperability, and decentralization. On the principle that the full potential of these technologies can only be realized when they are integrated into societal and economic activity and organization, AURORAL aims to promote economic growth and digitalization in the rural domain and contribute to bridging the digital divide between rural and urban areas.