Smart City and IoT: Harvard has chosen Turin as an urban laboratory model

The first online appointment of “Smart Cities” took place last Thursday 27th, organized by the Harvard Alumni Entrepreneurs – HAE (an international organization of Harvard alumni, distributed in 75 countries, with a focus on entrepreneurship and innovation). Turin was the first stop on a journey that will go around the world.

It was about the transformation of smart cities and the role that communities of local innovators have in change process. The organization has shown its interest in the recent experiments developed by the Torino City Lab and for a future collaboration in smart mobility.

Marco Pironti, Councilor for Innovation, said that is a great honor to collaborate with Harvard Alumni Entrepreneurs and to be able to imagine with the smart city working group of the US university an innovation trajectory between Turin and one of the world’s epicenters of knowledge. “I hope that this event is the beginning of a prestigious new axis of international innovation that sees Turin projected as an intelligent city and a hub of global innovation. I am proud that our integrated smart mobility model, which embraces smart road, urban air mobility and space mobility, has been identified by Harvard’s international alumni network as a particularly innovative and significant example for the future development of cities “.

But what are smart cities?

Smart city: sensors and data analysis for city life.

Defined by Carlo Ratti, Architect of MIT in Boston, Sense-able City, a city able to feel – that is able to monitor and manage the many aspects of life in an urban center – smart cities use resources in an intelligent become increasingly sustainable and energy self-sufficient.

Among the main characteristics of these cities, we find high connectivity between elements, (semi) autonomous driving cars, intelligent traffic lights and information exchange via the Internet of things, but also large green spaces, fluid traffic and sustainable mobility (bike sharing, car sharing, hybrid and electric cars).

Collect data to improve citizens’ lives.

The sensors scattered throughout the territory and connected by IoT allow to collect a large amount of data in real time, favoring an increasingly efficient management of the city: from air quality measurements to traffic monitoring through integrated video surveillance systems to machine learning technologies to read and analyze license plates and vehicle flows.

The ultimate goal of a smart city is to improve the lives of citizens and those who live and move around the area: many research have shown the benefits that smart cities bring to people’s lives (increase in health levels, reduction of pollution, more job opportunities and even a return in terms of financial gain). Projected global revenues for smart city technologies, products and services are projected to reach $ 129 billion in 2021.

The ICity Rank 2020 ranking sees 10 cities with a very advanced level of digitization (Florence, Bologna, Milan, Rome, Modena, Bergamo, Turin, Trento, Cagliari and Venice) followed by another 15 at an advanced level and 23 at a discrete level.


The ranking is calculated using the digital transformation index, an arithmetic average of the eight parameters analyzed:

  • online accessibility of public services,
  • availability of apps of public utility,
  • adoption of digital platforms,
  • use of social media,
  • release of open data,
  • transparency,
  • implementation of public wifi networks and intelligent network technologies.
Overace-news-smartcity-ICity rank 2020

Today the digitization of administrative activities and the relations with citizens are improving, but the spread of digital culture is still slow. It will be necessary to focus on models of responsive and adaptive cities, that collect and use information in the best possible way, involving all available actors.

This is what the city of Turin is doing right now, and thanks to the new collaboration, will lead it to become an increasingly global innovative pole and intelligent city.

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