With 500 employees the Fraunhofer Institute for Open Communication Systems (FOKUS) is one of the largest Fraunhofer institutes. FOKUS develops urban IT infrastructures and counsels industry, public administration and organisations in the conceptualisation of complete IT strategies, the selection, engineering and deployment of appropriate solutions as well as the drafting of legislation in the IT context. FOKUS was founded in 1988 as an institute of the Society for Mathematics and Data Processing (GMD). In 2001, GMD and the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft merged and FOKUS became the Fraunhofer Institute for Open Communication Systems. In 2012 the three ICT institutes FOKUS, FIRST and ISST-Berlin were merged into Fraunhofer FOKUS.
The 10 competence centers at FOKUS are designed to cover the complete chain of development of urban IT infrastructures right from requirements engineering, risk analysis, architectural design and modelling to middleware and communication platforms right up to concrete applications. This enables the digital governance and ensures that critical infrastructures such as traffic, power supply and medical help continue to function reliably and secure, round-the-clock.
In this context, “smart cities” have become one of the Institute’s main research areas. “Smart city” concepts by FOKUS capitalise on the notions of flexible consumption and availability of scarce and fluctuating resources by transforming the requirements of urban quality of life into user-friendly and interoperable IT infrastructures. These will allow to dynamically harnessing energy, space, environment and time by use of e.g. urban data platforms, participatory support or flexible control systems. FOKUS is involved in all ICT intensive fields of smart city research, including public safety, smart mobility, smart energy, eHealth and eGovernment.