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SMART CITIES, DIGITALIZATION AND INDUSTRY 4.0

New business ecosystems and new business models

by Giorgio Merli

Today, Smart Cities and Smart Services are a key topic for Companies and Governments. Both are engaged in planning and implementing new realizations, interacting with different purposes and objectives in the same Ecosystem. In this article, the author considers this topic from two perspectives of Business and Government Services for Citizens, who live together sometimes synergistically, sometime conflicting. Examples and cases from both sides are included to highlight how the two parties should manage it in the best way in order to develop the Ecosystem sustainably and satisfactorily. It is also explained why the goal of having an Integrated Sustainable Plan is a priority of a Territory Government, while the understanding of the possible Business Model is the priority of the Business Organizations.

Three KPIs measuring the development of a Territory are pursued synergistically in the presented approach. GDP, (absolute and per capita), Employment and Environment. The way these levels should interact can be identified with the “Holonic” logic, which defines a «Holonic Ecosystem» as an Economic-Social-Territorial integrated system, where all the components, namely the holons, can act individually or as a whole according to the specific purpose.

It is important, for such a purpose, to have the largest possible number of Stakeholders engaged in the Planning phase and committed to the Implementation. The outcome should be the delivery of benefits to all the stakeholders, thus creating a benefit for the Community, local governments and Businesses.

Benefits for the community

The different communities (ethnic, cultural, special interests) can, thanks to ‘Holonic' make use of ad hoc services for their specific needs or interests (for example cultural or support services for some managerial autonomy), instead of having a general standard undifferentiated service for all the different communities (such as Smart school bus services, or services of smart surveillance). This is the logic designed for a project of a new Italian metropolitan city which will see the merger of ten municipalities that want to maintain their own cultural autonomy (' the city of the Towers '). In this way the individual communities will be able to maintain, and nurture cultural diversity considered to be valuable but also to contribute to the development of smart services in the territory.

Benefits for local governments

Local governments can provide citizens with smart services very articulate and flexible, designed and delivered in ' holonic ' style, thus contributing to the development of targeted value produced by the territory and responding specifically to the needs of community and citizens. At the same time, it will have a more effective and efficient administration, which is able to reduce its current expenses for the provision of basic services (lighting, waste, safety, mobility, etc.).

Benefits for Businesses

Clusters of Companies, Organizations and single Firms will be able to operate in a Smarter Network, a Smarter Value Chain and a Smarter Business Ecosystem with Smarter Services, Smarter Technical Infrastructures, Smarter Territory Environment and Smarter Government Infrastructure that will make them more competitive in the business scenario.

It will generate a more competitive attractiveness of the local territory, by better positioning the local territory in the “Territories War Scenario”.

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About the author:

Giorgio Merli, author of numerous books and articles on Management published in Europe and USA, consultant to Multinationals and Governments, a teacher in several Universities in Italy and abroad. Formerly Country Leader of IBM Business Consulting Services and CEO of PWCC Italy, he is currently Senior VP of EFESO Consulting.