Padua 28 March. Simplifying people’s lives with digital services, ensuring greater transparency with new communication tools, improving the quality of agrifood products starting from animal welfare through next-generation technology, leveraging startups’ talent and innovation to keep up with the market trends. These are the distinctive features of the 28 representatives of local excellence, who will receive the Smau Innovation Award on 30 and 31 March at the 10 Smau Shows in Padua.
This edition of Smau Padua focused on innovation applied to the agri-food sector to enhance and protect Italian produce. This was the goal of Antonio Carraro, a long-standing company based in Veneto and specialising in the manufacture of compact tractors, who has created a smart tractor, which integrates advanced mechanics and sophisticated software to control traction, speed, and acceleration. This allows the tractor to work better on difficult terrain or in precision agriculture situations. Keeping up with market and climate change is the challenge undertaken by Maschio Gaspardo Group, a leading multinational manufacturer of agricultural equipment for tillage, sowing, crop care, green maintenance and haymaking. Recent climate change has affected the sowing dates that ensure optimal conditions for sustainable crop growth. That’s why the company has created CHRONO, the new sowing machine that can increase productivity by 50%, ensuring higher speed than any other model currently available on the market. The tractor is also equipped with a computer system that detects the soil’s needs and communicates them to the sowing machine. Currently, this connection helps optimise resources and improve real-time interaction between the farmer and the machine. However, in the future, CHRONO may be able to interconnect different sensors and devices to optimise sowing for a specific type of soil, considering its agronomic structure and current and forecast weather conditions. Azienda Agricola Ponte Vecchio is a company established in the ‘50s and based in Treviso. Over the past two years, they have introduced a lot of innovation that has led to Italy’s first fully automated cowshed. Robotic milking and feeding systems provide farmers with more time, more information about every single cow, and better intervention options. Allevamento Veneto Ovini, on the other hand, has introduced a new range of products, and in particular cured sheep meat products. After setting up an e-commerce website, the company has shifted from a B2B to a B2C model adding value to its initial production. Not just technological innovation but also a new mindset is what has led to the creation of Le Monfumine, a farming startup that has invested in the production of rare and ancient fruit to launch creative organic jams. A value-added product not only because it’s organic and carefully selected and checked throughout the supply chain, but also because it offers new flavours that otherwise would have gone lost.
Industry 4.0 will be the common thread of two Smau Live Shows, which will focus on the innovation introduced by local companies, such as LAGO. In 2015, this interior design firm decided to focus on the IoT with the Talking Furniture project. This project aims at creating furniture that interacts with people, thereby enhancing and improving their experience. The technology they have developed allows for LAGO Design Network customers and visitors to enjoy a series of experiences around the products. Consumers can communicate with furnishings and gain access to information even offline, such as the name of the product and the designer, description, identification code (which ensures its originality), materials, colours, dimensions, and price. They can also send questions or requests or use the LAGO Locator to find a same product in other LAGO Design Network sites. Smau will also describe the experience of Pettenon Cosmetics, a leading Italian group operating in the professional haircare industry. Every product is monitored throughout every stage of the production process and traced through a barcode system. To ensure a product with such features, the whole process needs to be monitored, controlled, and analysed thanks to the synergy between automation and specialised workforce. Another project, this time by Lima Corporate – a major company specialising in the design, manufacture, and distribution of implantable joint prostheses – was launched as part of their growth and internationalisation strategy. In collaboration with Nord Est Systems, Lima Corporate adopted a new technological infrastructure that adapts to the company’s growth ensuring greater flexibility. This infrastructure will allow them to improve their performance, reduce costs, and ensure service continuity. This system – which costs much less than the previous one – proved to be highly reliable in solving multiple issues at Lima Corporate branches.
At Smau, there will also be room for companies that have developed Open Innovation projects, such as Giordano Riello International Group, which has launched Nplus, an innovative company that designs and manufactures electronic boards for various applications and types of cabling. This startup, which currently has 15 employees and a turnover of € 1.7 million, aims at creating increasingly sophisticated applications in the electronics and lighting industries, focusing on excellent quality standards. To this regard, Seeweb also has an interesting story to tell. Seeweb is a cloud computing provider that develops solutions, products, and opportunities also by drawing from external partners through contests (which can be viewed on their blog). This way, they are able to create a lively work environment free of constraints and much more attentive to market requirements.
Several public Administrations and local bodies have also launched innovation projects to simplify the life of their citizens and employees. For example, the Municipality of Padua has decided to enhance its public administration services and streamline its procedures by digitising the lost and found procedure. Another interesting example is A.T.E.R., where the confidentiality of whistleblowers is protected thanks to a tool that promptly reports dangers at the workplace, frauds (whether damaging the organisation or committed by the organisation itself), environmental damage, false corporate communications, medical negligence, unlawful financial transactions, health hazards, cases of corruption or extortion, and many other offences. The Veneto Region has also put innovation at the community’s service, thanks to ClicLavoro Veneto, an online portal that provides services and information regarding the world of Labour, Professional Development, and Education. Similarly, the Municipality of Thiene has launched Open_City, the new town’s new online information system that gives access to the territorial bodies that compose the complex structure of the Institution and their services. City Web is one of the services implemented. It’s a platform created to send reports to the Municipality, verify their status, receive updates on the work of the various departments involved in the report, and check the list of reports that have been processed. The Municipality of Venice has also focused on accessibility, simplification, and usability thanks to VENIS, Italy’s first website compliant with the guidelines of Agenzia per l’Italia Digitale (Digital Italy Agency). These guidelines define the usability and design standards for the Public Administration and help improve the web experience making it more useful and user-friendly. Consorzio di Bonifica delle Acque Risorgive (Karst spring reclamation consortium) will talk about environmental protection. The Consortium has developed SI.MO.G.I.T, a platform that monitors and manages water supply across the territory. This platform was designed to acquire data and information from the territory to be processed and shared, protecting confidential data through a Web in Cloud interface, which can be used with any device with an internet connection. EURAC Research is also focusing on energy and the environment, thanks to Flexynets, a three-year H2020 European Project that aims at solving the main three issues concerning district heating, i.e. heat loss, the lack of renewable/sustainable energy sources, and high installation costs. To overcome these problems, Flexynets has designed a new generation of high-efficiency district heating and cooling (DHC) systems, which work at a temperature close to that of the soil (15-20 °C) and use heat pumps to exchange heat between the DHC network and the buildings. Invent is another company that focuses on energy and innovation. Invent is a leading manufacturer of photovoltaic systems who has launched a project – in partnership with Able Tech – to manage corporate flows and fully control all the processes. This system has allowed the company to improve the way they shared corporate information, cut down the time required to look for documents, organise information better, and handle data securely. A cloud-based video-surveillance system that can be easily accessed from your smartphone and that allows law enforcement agencies to police the area. This is the challenge undertaken by the Municipality of Ferrara, who has developed – in partnership with TIM and Connexxa – a new cloud-based video-surveillance system that ensures top performance and maximum adaptability. Alisea, another company among the winners of the Innovation Award, manages the integrated environmental sanitation cycle taking care of collecting and disposing of waste for seven municipalities in Veneto. Alisea has decided, in collaboration with Consorzio CBI, to provide the citizens of these seven municipalities with the opportunity to pay the landfill tax in a different way. That’s why it has added the CBILL service, which can be accessed through internet banking or other channels provided by your bank. At the moment, this service is only available in the Municipality of Jesolo, but it’s already giving great results. Over 10% of users have decided to switch to this new payment method. We’ll be talking about active citizenship also with Emergenza24, Europe’s largest community of digital volunteers, who provide emergency and civil protection response through the internet, Twitter, Facebook, and Telegram. Emergenza24 has an extensive network through which it monitors emergency events, thanks to thousands of validated sources and 25,000 digital volunteers. Volunteers are required to adhere to a strict protocol to manage information, ensure the reliability and trustworthiness of news and sources, and prevent spreading fake or inaccurate news.
We will also focus on innovation in the medical and healthcare sector, thanks to Ausilia (Assisted Unit for Simulating Independent LIving Activities), an interdisciplinary project that promotes independent living of senior citizens or people with disabilities, involving users in the solutions that are being developed. This project was developed by the Trento Province, which is also backing the interdisciplinary workgroup. This workgroup includes APSS (the provincial healthcare service agency) and the Departments of Engineering and Information Science, Civil, Environmental, and Mechanical Engineering, and Industrial Engineering of the University of Trento. We’ll be talking about digital healthcare with Arsenàl.IT, Veneto’s Research and Innovation Centre for Digital Healthcare. The Arsenàl.IT Consortium has developed the “Sanità km zero” app in partnership with the Veneto Region. This app is based on the architecture of the regional Electronic Health Record and the digitisation of medical prescriptions and allows you to receive your prescription directly on your smartphone and collect your medicines from the pharmacy without using the reminder. Thanks to this app, patients no longer have to go to the doctor’s surgery to ask for a prescription, because they will be notified directly. Smau will also give space to the challenge won by Palazzo della Salute, the private company that manages MUSME, Italy’s first Museum of Medical History. In fact, not only did they manage to provide the city with this long-awaited museum, but they also made it economically sustainable, thanks to digital technology and an innovative agreement with several public and private bodies. Thanks to this agreement, Palazzo della Salute srl can use some of the space at the former Hospital of San Francesco Grande as a Conference and Training Centre. The integration of the museum and the educational function will enhance the sustainability of this project. Two years after the commencement of activities, the company has broken even, which would be unachievable for any Italian public museum. The Smau Live Shows will also give space to Mediclinic, a private clinic that provides healthcare services, and in particular diagnostics, surgery, specialist check-ups, and rehabilitation. Mediclinic has launched a project with ETI System, a partner of Alcatel Lucent Enterprise, through which it has adopted a business intelligence platform for managing its phone booking service. This new system allows you to analyse requests day by day and organise the services provided, thereby improving performance and simplifying appointment management.
Combining tradition and innovation, physical contact and virtual experience is the goal of the project launched by PadovaFiere: an innovative integrated system that allows exhibitors and visitors to build business relations even after the trade show is over. It does so by providing various tools, such as the app of the events, smart detectors that monitor visitors stopping by at the stand through Bluetooth Beacon technology, and the creation of a social platform that connects companies and clients through advanced profiling algorithms. Digital Transformation is the focus of the Cooperativa Portabagagli of the Port of Venice. To manage the over 2 million pieces of luggage, this cooperative has created a system – in partnership with Pernix, Easy Luggage – that creates a label with a barcode and an official stamp to localise the luggage. In-House management software allows the luggage to be tracked, so you can know wherever it is in real time. This way, the cooperative has not only removed any error but also optimised organisational processes. Finding a new online credit source for invoices factoring was what inspired Emaze, an Italian company with three branches in Europe, which has been operating in the computer security sector for 17 years. The solution they came up with is the online credit platform called Credimi. Through this platform, SMEs can obtain loans (from € 1,000 to € 500,000) within 48 hours to pay their invoices. All this without any hidden costs or surcharges with respect to the costs agreed upon signing the agreement.