The stressful situation – health, economic and social – caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, among the many reactions and relapses, also induces growth in awareness on our country’s strengths, on our criticalities, mistakes made, correct choices, lack preparation and delays, which penalize various sectors.
Stati Generali dell’Innovazione (SGI), Italian partner of the Smart-DevOps project, offered to the Internet Governance Forum – Italy 2020  the collection of some experiences and skills acquired due to this health emergency. SGI proposed to project any lessons learned into a near-future context: the time in which the Digital Twin paradigm will spread widely in the field of land management, both in urban areas and in those rural and mountain (so-called “Inner Areas” in Italy). A time in which – it is not a forecast – it will be essential for everyone to implement crucial choices to quickly reach the era of the Sustainable Development.
Once this proposal was approved by the IGF -Italy 2020 organizers, the workshop “Internet Governance and Digital Twin of the City – Useful lessons from COVID-19” was defined and scheduled for 8 October 2020.
Description of the debate
The main highlights presented by the speakers (all members of SGI) were:
- The most important features of the digital twin concept and its application to the urban areas; an outline of the digital technologies used, including IoT, Big Data and AI, as well as references to the ethical issues (governance, privacy, security, …); presented by Sandro Fontana, CEO & Digital Architect, GT50 srl;
- The role of the data to overcome subjective phenomena perception; data enabled city; the integration data-models: the city model; Virtually planning development & Simulating situations and evaluate solutions; Urban Digital Twin: the role of the young generations within its designing: their perspectives and needed soft skills (as creativity, innovation, …); presented by Andrea Cruciani, CEO TeamDEV srl;
- The importance of (i) competences, also soft, even to contrast the social, economic, cultural, generational and gender divides; (ii) coordination of all stakeholders: politicians, managers of administrations and companies, universities, training centers, and obviously citizens; (iii) awareness of the limits, from the re-examination of the objectives and from the analysis of the data that can more clearly indicate the interventions necessary to achieve the objectives (concrete and measurable, avoiding prejudices and perceptions); presented by Flavia Marzano, Link Campus University;
- The real-world modeling: interaction between cities and rural areas (e.g. hydrogeological phenomena); availability and use of models – three essential elements: h.p. of reality, systems of measurement and awareness of uncertainty, i.e. ability to recognize and evaluate it – holistic processes; Copernicus Programme: methodologies and digital technologies, from the global to the detailed scale, from real time to the study of changes; presented by , Coordinator of the Copernicus Academy national network;
- New learning needs and experiences: (i) citizens’ training, based on collaboration between schools, PA, universities, business and civil society; school as an “incubator” for citizens, professionals, entrepreneurs; training courses in which digital is a “disruptive” element; (ii) the importance of transversal skills; availability of learning models (DigComp, LifeComp, LifeComp, EntreComp) applied to train city partners capable of glocal vision – identifying problems and suggesting solutions (Problem Based Learning, Challenge Based Learning); (iii) teachers’ skills needs (DigCompOrg) for the application of didactic research through data collection and analysis (DigCompEdu); (iv) digital learning environment as a digital “twin” of the analog training organization; presented by Sandra Troia, Local training teams Component of the National Digital School Plan – Puglia.
Taking a cue from the topics covered by the speakers, the chair of the workshop, Sergio Farruggia, vice president of SGI, introduced the objectives of the Smart DevOps project, highlighting the training choices adopted, which are in tune with the suggestions heard during the round table.
Main conclusions and recommendations for Smart DevOps project
The organization of the workshop “Internet Governance and Digital Twin of the City – Useful Lessons from COVID-19” “as part of the Internet Governance Forum Italy 2020 for Smart DevOps had a dual significance.
On the one hand, Smart DevOps had the opportunity to participate in an event of great national importance, which this year reached record numbers: 54 Chambers of Commerce and Regional Unions joined the initiative, carried out in collaboration with AgID – the National Agency for Digital Agenda, Polytechnic of Turin, University of Calabria, Stati Generali dell’Innovazione and AssoTLD – the association of Top Level Domain operators. Overall, the sessions were followed by more than 35,000 people on the various online platforms: 2.5 million users reached on the Facebook page of the Chamber of Commerce of Cosenza.
On the other hand, the panel of speakers contributed to the debate on emerging technologies in improving inclusion and new professions, specifically in the context of Smart Cities, exposing topics of great interest for the purposes of the Smart DevOps project.
In fact, if on the one side, the diffusion of Digital Twin methodologies and technologies allows the understanding of the city “life” – also thanks to the availability of huge amounts of data, on the other this technological inclusion cannot ignore citizens awareness on needed skills, but also its risks, and how to use new technologies, to understand the differences between the analogue and digital world, accepting the challenges that this entails in terms of training, and use them to create positive solutions and involvement.
The event recording is available on YouTube (only in the Italian language).
 the national initiative within the IGF global debate platform, conducted under the auspices of the United Nations