Smart Villages Network


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Farmers, policymakers, scientists, social stakeholders, the agri-food industry, and other interested partners join in Living Labs for experimenting in agricultural practices and technologies.

What is a Living Lab?

The purpose of a living lab is to create an environment where stakeholders, such as researchers, businesses, community members, and end-users, can collaboratively and actively participate in the research, development, and testing of innovative solutions.

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Living Lab

The membership in informal Slovenian SmartVillages Network is free and provides relevant and valuable opportunities for smart digitalisation of rural areas.

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Characteristics of the Living Labs:

  • Innovation and Co-creation: Living labs foster innovation by bringing together diverse stakeholders to co-create and test new ideas, products, or services in real-world settings. The aim is to address societal challenges and meet the needs of end-users more effectively.
  • User-Centric Design: Living labs prioritize the involvement of end-users throughout the innovation process. By directly engaging with users, living labs ensure that solutions are tailored to their specific needs, preferences, and behaviors, resulting in more user-centric and impactful outcomes.
  • Experimentation: Living labs provide a platform for testing and validating new technologies, processes, or interventions in a real-life context. This allows for iterative improvements and helps identify potential barriers or opportunities for successful implementation.
  • Knowledge Transfer and Collaboration: Living labs promote knowledge exchange and collaboration among different stakeholders, including researchers, businesses, government entities, and citizens. This collaboration facilitates the sharing of expertise, resources, and best practices, fostering a dynamic learning ecosystem.
  • Sustainable Development: Living labs often prioritize sustainability by exploring and implementing environmentally friendly and socially responsible solutions. They contribute to the development of sustainable practices, such as smart farming, circular economy models, or eco-friendly technologies, that benefit both the agricultural sector and the broader community.


The Smart Villages Network was launched in the context of research work on European projects, encouraging long-term cooperation and exchange of ideas, information, and knowledge between stakeholders, as well as the creation and testing of new ideas, approaches, solutions, and services. The following are some of the key projects that have complemented each other and enriched the knowledge and experience of all those involved in the Living Lab or Smart Villages Network.

  1. Start of cooperation with some local communities in Slovenia and development of Open Digital Smart Village Exchange Platform and toolbox within Smart Villages project.
  2. Smart viticulture and new business models were the main topics of Liverur project. Divina Wine Hub Šmarje was launched as a part of it, designed around young winemakers in Slovenian Istria.
  3. The concept of smart vineyards was further tested within SmartAgroGrape project.
  4. New business model of virtual wine tasting has been developed and tested with end users during the project Carpe Digem
  5. The Smart Villager Network is currently part of an international project Codecs, collaborating with 20 Living Labs across Europe
  6. SmartCommUnity project aims to provide tools for smart transition and connect smart villages in Alpine Space.

About Smart Villages Network

  • We are farmers, scientists, policy makers, agri-food advisors and enterprises committed to tackling today’s challenges around sustainable agriculture. Together we are developing and testing solutions where we combine precision farming, sustainable design, and circular economy principles in our living lab.
  • We think it is important to use an open innovation approach and iterative feedback processes throughout the lifecycle of an innovation to create sustainable impact.
  • Our activities are mainly related to smart wine production, as we focus on co-creation, prototyping, testing and scaling-up innovations & businesses, providing different types of joint value. We strive to achieve sustainable production, focusing on the three aspects: environmental, economic, and social benefits.
  • Our mission is to bridge the divide between research and practice in the field of agriculture in Slovenia, propelling digital innovation forward and crafting concrete solutions that tackle real-life challenges. We are committed to actively engage and collaborate closely with related stakeholders ensuring all perspectives shape the outcomes. By doing so, we strive to foster a dynamic ecosystem that translates knowledge into impactful actions, driving positive change and delivering practical results.

Which challenges are we addressing

  • How to use digital technology in viticulture and honey production, in order to affect the environmental, economic, and social aspects of sustainability.
  • What is the best IoT infrastructure for winemakers in Slovenian wine regions
  • We want to establish a demo IoT beehive environment to enable research on new solutions, for example how to easily find the queen in the beehive and monitor her behavior.

Benefits for farmers

  • Economic: Increase farms’ profit, improve business operations, reduce costs and help farmers work more precisely, efficiently and sustainably.
  • Environmental: To use technology in order to have less impact on the environment, such as smart water usage, less pesticide usage, soil protection and CO2 reduction. Preserve bees.
  • Social: How to retain and attract young farmers and women in the agricultural sector, by providing access to new technology and knowledge, digital skills. Retain young people in the villages, and support SMEs from agriculture.

Benefits for the community

  • Sustainable tourism
  • More SMEs in local communities
  • Keeping people in the local community and attracting young people to live and work in rural areas

Current members