Digitisation, connectivity and social innovation
The themes on which projects are developed are identified on the basis of the Three-Year Technological Plan, the reference document for the Group, which provides guidelines for the evolution of the network, platform and services. Published annually, following a wide-ranging process involving all the areas of the company involved, the Plan identifies the main external factors (regulations, standards, vendors, other market operators) that may influence the company’s strategies and highlights the emerging and cross-cutting technologies in other sectors that may be of interest to the Group.
These guidelines also cover the patents project, which for TIM represents a continuous activity that is structured into numerous processes, involving various corporate departments, aimed at promoting, supporting and optimising patenting activities in the company and, thanks to collaboration with universities, more generally in Italy.
Thanks to the collaboration with Italian universities, patenting by the Group helps the rate of innovation of the country, helping “patent” the universities themselves to a greater extent and making the results of the university research more tangible. The Joint Open Labs (JOL) are part of this context. With the “company on campus” model, they encourage a natural osmosis between the academic and industrial world. TIM has launched this innovative model of cooperation, promoting the development of different JOLs distributed throughout national territory and localised within the various Italian universities.
In a world in which technology facilitates contact with people, by disseminating broadband technology and the services it enables, TIM is making a contribution to overcoming the socio- cultural barriers that restrict the opportunity to take part in the information society and enjoy its benefits. With reference to technological innovation, the following are the projects most worthy of note:
- Support for the launch of numerous LTE Advanced services at 225 Mbps, 300 Mbps and the first “in-the-field” test of LTE Advanced services at 500 Mbps, the first in Italy.
- The creation in Turin of the TIM IOT Open Lab, a distributed laboratory open to partners and companies for the development and testing of solutions for the Internet of Things world, in particular with LTE NB-IoT technology which, thanks to the low cost of the radio modules, reduced energy consumption and the excellent reception of the radio signal, means that even battery-powered objects can be connected in areas that are difficult to reach, such as gas or drinking water meters.
- e2Call: broadband mobile communication technologies represent a platform enabling new functions and services for road safety; in this context the real time communication of information on the situation of the roads and localization techniques which allow the position of vehicles to be identified with high precisions are particularly important. This is the basis on which the e2Call project has been created, with the aim of searching for innovative solutions on board vehicles and on the Internet. The scientific responsibility for the study has been assigned to a joint work group guided by the Centro Ricerche Fiat and TIMLAb of Trento, co-financed by the Autonomous Province of Trento. The project closed on 31 May 2016 with a workshop to present the results held in Palazzo della Regione Trentino-Alto Adige, in Trento.
- TIM Personal: the Group wants to play an increasingly important role in clients’ “trusted digital lives”, i.e. for sensitive services for the citizen (transport, ticketing, payments, etc.) for which it is important to have a strong user identification mechanism. The TIM Personal service combines the solidity of a digital authentication mechanism based on the mobile terminal and on the SIM (Digital Identity) with the possibility of making secure payments, all via a single app.
- TIM Market Place and TIM Open: the so-called “Network APIs”1 which allow interoperability between modules and platforms, mean the smart network can be opened up to the applications of external providers. The TIM Market Place is a tool which, using a coordinated approach with the latter, combines the intelligence and functionality of the network with external services/content, and therefore forms part of the Group’s path of transformation into a Platform Company, based on a new “shared business” model. TIM Market Place has allowed the development of TIM Open commercial services.
- TIM City forecast: given their pervasive nature, mobile terminals can be compared to a capillary network of sensors able to provide accurate data in real time on the distribution of the population over the territory and on its movements (Mobility Patterns). Mobility Patterns enable applications linked to the monitoring and management of the territory, related services and mobility infrastructures, all in respect of privacy legislation, by means of a suitable anonymous, aggregated processing of data. For example, the City forecast service predicts the real time distribution of people (by unit of area) over the territory, even where there are specific events, for example enabling the quantification of tourist presence. The solutions developed in the TIM City forecast project are used by the Mobility Services Agency, a Roma Capitale company, as an analysis tool for monitoring the presence and mobility of the population and Italian and foreign visitors, in particular in the areas of religious and tourism interest, also in connection with the Jubilee.
1 API is the acronym for Application Programming Interface.