Towards Matera Digital Week: "The city can become an accumulation point for strategic technologies"

Towards Matera Digital Week: The city can become an accumulation point for strategic technologies

Towards Matera Digital Week

Only a few days left before the opening of the first edition of Matera Digital Week, from Wednesday 22 to Sunday 26 June, for a five-day event dedicated to the experimentation of frontier technologies, applied scientific research and technology transfer. A review to which, as we have already had the opportunity to tell, contributes directly with the organization and moderation of six round tables, in addition to the presence of the director Federico Ferrazza. But there is also much more.

Protagonist on the stage of the Gervasio Auditorium since the first day, as well as scientific manager of the House of Emerging Technologies (Cte) of Matera where all the laboratories of the last three days will be presented, is Giampiero Pepe, professor of experimental physics at the University of Naples Federico II. For we met him to get some anticipation on the Digital Week, to let us explain what the context in which the event is inserted is and above all to understand what is the strategic, cultural and economic value for the territory that an initiative of this kind carries with it. Here is what he told us.

Giampiero Pepe, let's start from the beginning: how did the idea of ​​the House of Emerging Technologies in Matera come about?

"It all started with an opportunity offered by the Ministry of Economic Development through a call dedicated to 5G technology following the experimentation carried out in Bari-Matera and in other Italian cities. born this Matera project involving the National Research Council (the CNR, from which my active participation began here in Matera), the Polytechnic of Bari and the University of Basilicata, with a strong link with the territory, to give rise to the House of Emerging Technologies in Matera, the largest in terms of funding among those currently operating on the national territory. The will was, and is, clear: to bring the emerging technologies that are being developed in Matera towards a wider national and territorial context, bringing together the academic environment and above all the business world, large and small.

Giampiero Pepe

“The project of the House of emerging technologies ti of Matera began to take shape as a project idea in 2018, although it then started operationally in 2020, with the focus on objectives at a time when the city was changing administration. They have been very intense months for the organization of the CTE, the structuring of an efficient governance, for the launch of new projects connected to the activities to be carried out: compared to the other Emerging Technology Houses, the one in Matera is now building the involvement of the component industrial, because it was not foreseen in the initial rules of engagement, but despite this in Matera we are working to make this presence significant, making the skills of our technological partners available and opening up to the finalizations of our laboratories in a context of efficient open innovation ".

This is the context in which Matera Digital Week is inserted, therefore ...

"The idea of ​​creating a showcase of the activities already active or in the process of being defined in the House of Emerging Technologies of Matera was born a few months ago, then due to the pandemic and various contingencies we arrived to schedule the event in June 2022. The first two days of the event will provide an in-depth study on issues related to the cultural and creative industry, seeking a broader value and national, with a joint action already started with the Ministry of Economic Development on 12 May, when right here in Matera we hosted the first meeting of all the Italian Cte. In fact, at Matera Digital Week there will be an important contribution from the other houses, because we believe that a national network can be an important - and significant - stimulus towards the realization of new business ideas based on emerging technologies. On the days of 24, 25 and 26 June, through the six laboratories of the CTE of Matera, we will show the state of implementation and the directions on which we are moving, together with the technological partners already mentioned and with the contribution of EY, sportsgaming. win and other subjects involved: moments of thematic study should combine scientific and technological aspects using a popular language capable of framing a broad interest ".

What are the peculiarities of the House of Emerging Technologies in Matera?

"This question is relatively easy to answer, because the peculiarities correspond to the workshops we have created within the House itself, each of which is dedicated a half day of in-depth study within the Matera Digital Week. Each laboratory brings with it specificities: with the push of the local administration and in the wake of having been European Capital of Culture 2019, Matera aims at a development of emerging technologies in the development of audiovisuals and more generally in the cultural and creative industry. . One of the laboratories of the House has in fact the goal of creating a digital production studio including film, in a city that increasingly becomes a film set for important productions, which has a film school starting in the coming weeks and which belongs to to a territory that has always had a vocation in this direction.

“Always downstream of the speri 5G Bari-Matera mentation, one of the applications on which the University of Basilicata is engaged is that of the development of use cases related to precision agriculture: a very low latency telecommunication technology can be a key to further development of the sector in the area . The Cnr takes care of two very innovative aspects: the digital twin of the city of Matera, which is a candidate to be a digital tool to support the management and planning of the city, and the integration of the blockchain with emerging security techniques based on quantum technologies , in particular on Quantum Key Distribution. Again, thanks to the contribution of the Polytechnic of Bari, part of the activities of the House is dedicated to robotics, taking up a territorial vocation in the field of civil and structural engineering in a 4.0 key. The Politecnico has already recently organized a conference in Matera to consolidate skills also through links with important European institutes, which use innovative materials and technologies in the context of civil constructions ".

Let's go back to the event: what kind of public do you have? are you waiting - or are you invited to participate - at Matera Digital Week?

"In the first 2 days the topics are of national interest, with the Ministry of Economic Development and the International Audiovisual Market (Mia) bringing the main industrial players involved in the production of digital storytelling and digital film production. We hope that these presences can act as a catalyst for many startups in the sector and in any case for those looking for contacts with significant operators in the sector, making Matera Digital Week a unique meeting and comparison point. also that of strengthening mutual knowledge on the issues dear to the House of Emerging Technologies in the Matera area: having not yet entered a fully operational phase of research and development, at the moment we look shyly at this project, but at this moment it is decisive to focus on all of them. actions that can give space and voice to aspects that were not previously thought of. "

" Tr to the objectives of the House there is also training, which will follow both traditional courses (such as dedicated masters) and open innovation such as academy-type proposals. The need to shorten times and distances in building the right link between training and business is leading us to carefully evaluate the impact of these training actions: Matera Digital Week will certainly be an opportunity to give information to the community also in this direction. , with round tables that will see a strong contamination between the business world and academia ".

We talked about the past and the present, but what can we say about the post Matera Digital Week? What are the longer-term goals, looking beyond the event at the end of June?

"Today some laboratories inside the House of Emerging Technologies are already at a good level of maturity, while others are still in an embryonic phase. By the end of the year we would like to start them all in terms of hardware, to then start collecting the fruits: for this reason it is important in the coming months to push even more on the accelerator, to start the training courses and related projects, in short, by creating that induced at the local and national level that represents the real connective tissue of this initiative. another ambition is to tighten the network of relationships with the other houses, because there are themes and use cases for which the definition of common actions will certainly allow us to expand the reciprocal competences.

"Now it is all about concretizing the expressions of interest that we have received, and this can only happen by going beyond the phase of the framework agreements and starting to work on specific contents. it will also be measured on the basis of the number of startups that we will be able to launch, to name one of the decisive performance indicators. More generally, once the part of conception and dissemination to the outside represented by the Digital Week is over, we will have to aim decisively at the objectives we have set ourselves, to arrive prepared for the evaluation phase not only with respect to institutional referees but with respect to the territory and citizens ”.

As scientific director of the House of Emerging Technologies, I cannot help but ask you which technology most of all - if applied to a context like that of Matera - you consider decisive and promising. In short, which is the one you look at first?

"Of course we are betting on all those present in the Laboratories of the House of Emerging Technologies, but I think that a common denominator capable of crossing the world of digital technologies towards the development of the cultural and creative industry of the Matera area represents probably the most impactful management at the moment. In recent months the CTE, thanks also to the important contribution of our technological partners such as Cnr and the University of Basilicata, has already contributed to the success of an important European project - the European Digital Innovation Hub - linked to this trend, and we were also the first House to enter a project of this kind, receiving a very positive evaluation. We must certainly insist in this direction, picking up one of the vocations of this wonderful city ".

"As a researcher, I am also close to the issues of blockchain and cybersecurity, for which I believe that Matera can in the future ro be an important player thanks to the links with the CNR, with the Polytechnic of Bari, the University of Naples Federico II, with the Italian Space Agency which has an important headquarters here in Matera, and with all the other partners and interlocutors that we will go to to involve. Matera may not be the absolute reference center for all these emerging technologies, but it certainly may have the ambition of becoming an accumulation point for important and strategic technologies and skills, including precision agriculture. The important thing is to know how to intercept and enhance territorial vocations: after all, Matera has long been a stage for international comparisons in the high tech field, and linking this trend to local specificities serves to make this city even smarter ".

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