Engineering: leader della Digital Transformation

Augmented City

Five questions to...
Stefano De Capitani

The President of Municipia Stefano De Capitani talks about the challenges of the Augmented Cities for 2021. And he explains how Cloud, Data driven governance and Public-Private Partnership can innovate the citizen experience.

1.

COVID-19 MADE THE YEAR 2020 A REAL STRESS TEST FOR ALL SECTORS: WHAT WORKED AND WHAT FAILED IN THE WORLD OF CITIES AND ADMINISTRATION?

The coronavirus crisis made local authorities acutely aware of the importance of providing rapid responses to citizens and employees in all areas of local public administration, backed by adequate and technologically advanced tools: from the digitalisation of processes to workplace safety, and from the continuity of services (including remotely) to data management and protection. However, many local authorities were not prepared for this situation, which brought to light the delays accumulated over the years and the lack of planning. This is no longer acceptable.

We are at a turning point, and municipalities must seize all the opportunities on offer in the digital sphere, in addition to new European funding. These funds represent some significant numbers, which, if well exploited and accompanied by an innovative strategic vision, can completely transform the public sector, making it live up to citizens' expectations, responding to their needs and prioritising progress.
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2.

THE LAST FEW MONTHS HAVE SEEN A MAJOR DIGITAL ACCELERATION. 2021 COULD (AND MUST) BE THE YEAR IN WHICH DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION EVOLVES FROM AN URGENT NEED INTO A CONCRETE SYSTEM. WHAT ARE THE 3 FUNDAMENTAL STEPS THAT THE SECTOR MUST UNDERTAKE TO ACHIEVE A NEW NORMAL THAT COMBINES INNOVATION AND SUSTAINABILITY?

First and foremost, we should all be thinking Cloud. Adopting this type of infrastructure in local public administration would allow us to improve the operational efficiency of the systems, cut costs, simplify processes, ensure data protection and speed up the delivery of services to citizens and businesses.

But in order to offer accessible services to users, local authorities must be able to target their actions to a real (and not presumed) audience of beneficiaries; they must predict and anticipate instead stopping ongoing emergencies, taking into account the effects on the community and the environment. This is where Data-Driven Governance comes in, based on the ability to make decisions according to information derived from data processing: the second vital step towards a new normal.

The third and final step is tied to our ultimate priority, citizen experience. At the end of the day, citizens are at the heart of everything, which is why we need to focus on the quality of services and user satisfaction. A satisfied citizen has confidence in their local authority and contributes to the improvement of society.

3.

ECONOMIC SUSTAINABILITY, A GREEN APPROACH, ATTENTION TO HUMAN RIGHTS AND DIVERSITY: HOW IS FOCUSING ON THESE NEW VALUES TRANSFORMING COMPANY ASSETS IN THE SECTOR?

Substantially. Just look around: administrators are dealing with health emergencies and growing support needs, increases in energy and water consumption, air pollution, and a new concept of urbanisation. Municipalities are at the centre of everything. In this context, technology must represent the means, not the end, to help citizens, the environment and the local economy.

Unfortunately, the effects of the Covid-19 crisis are spilling over onto millions of citizens around the world, as well as negatively impacting the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. With adequate investments and synergies between public and private sectors, we can contribute to the creation of more inclusive economies, thereby addressing the global challenges we face in crucial sectors such as welfare, mobility, energy efficiency and waste management.
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4.

HOW IS DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION CHANGING CITIZENS' EXPERIENCES OF TOOLS AND SERVICES?

It is simplifying their daily life: from the app to find and pay for parking in just a few clicks to the multiservice portal that moves meetings between public authorities and users online, just to give some practical examples. People want rapid responses in definite time frames and access to services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, without having to go to the municipal counters at specific times or days. And the same thing goes for the payment of IMU, TASI and TARI taxes. Thanks to new technologies, all this is possible. Digital transformation also extends to other areas of intervention: immersive and personalised experiences for culture and tourism, welfare with support for the most vulnerable, and even security.

Making services accessible to all means more than just believing in innovation. It means taking concrete action to break down the digital divide and overcome distances, language barriers and any sensory and motor difficulties.

5.

HOW WILL ENGINEERING SUPPORT AND ASSIST THE VARIOUS PLAYERS IN TRANSFORMING CURRENT DIFFICULTIES INTO OPPORTUNITIES TO OPEN UP NEW SCENARIOS AND NEW STRATEGIES?

At Municipia, we have a unique tool at our disposal: the Public-Private Partnership through which we work alongside municipalities to create value in the local area, providing projects of interest to the community in these unusual social and economic times. It is therefore possible for local authorities to limit the impact on public spending without assuming financial risks, in addition to shortening timelines, obtaining greater efficiency from a management point of view, and raising quality standards in all phases of the process. As the private partner, we can also provide a wealth of knowledge, experience and technological solutions that would otherwise be inaccessible to the public sector, always ensuring complete transparency.

The result is a more technological, resilient and innovative city at virtually zero cost to the local authorities.
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Stefano De Capitani

With over 20 years' experience at the helm of major state-owned companies specialising in innovation and digital transformation, Stefano has also worked at various national bodies responsible for providing local finance and innovative services to local authorities.

He is currently the CEO of Municipia, an Engineering Group company that operates all over the world, fostering the digital transformation of cities of all sizes. The company offers a new vision of urban centres, Augmented Cities, with the aim of enhancing the way citizens use their time and space, improving their quality of life and promoting projects characterised by sound economic and financial sustainability.

Stefano is also one of the authors of the White Paper "Augmented City" and contributed to the Instant Paper "Our Post-Covid View on Augmented City".

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