The goal of the Future Centre is to identify new opportunities of business for telecommunications and because of the ever broader pervasiveness of telecommunications in many environments. The telecommunications fabric is one of the reasons why these environments take the shape of ecosystems. On the one hand the Future Centre studies how the telecommunications can foster the evolution of ecosystems and on the other hand it studies new business models that can be applied to these ecosystems.
Which is the reason why Telecom Italia, a telecom operator living on technologic applications and technology innovation, is devoted to the study of ecosystems?
The question is definitely obvious. In particular because one intuitively understands in general by the word ecosystem a biological environment, meaning the natural ecosystem.
However, the word ecosystem is more than often borrowed from the natural world, and associated to the world of technology and business. So we are nowadays talking of business ecosystem and technological ecosystem, and these systems are the subjects of studies and projects being developed by the Future Centre.
Presently there are five projects, focussing on applied areas
Atoms and bits: connecting the physical and the virtual world
Take an object, any object. In a few years it will become commonplace to capture the essence of an object, its identity, using a cell phone and from this identity be able to connect to related information and services. The technologies for identification keep evolving and decreasing in price; at the same time there are more and more ways to capture these identities, cell phones with NFC (Near Field Communications) embedded, maps having the inventory of the objects…
How can we leverage on these possibilities? How can we transform this technology advance into a business opportunity?
Market of One
The convergence of microelectronics and micro mechanics within sensors, the ubiquity of communications, the rise of micro-robotics, the customization made possible by software will significantly change the world of production.
New objects, physical ones, will become part of the Web, in a new paradigm called Web 3.0, marking the seamless integration of the physical and the virtual world.
The goal of the project is to understand what will be the impact on the industrial production, on the distribution chains (and related logistics) and the role of telecommunications.
Life and lives in bits
Our life generates a shadow made of bits. This shadow is getting a standard partner of our life, accompanying every moment of our existence, and gets more and more detailed as time goes by. This will be multiplied by million of times, for the million of people having such shadows. And this represents a tremendous value both for the single person and for the community.
How is the ecosystem of digital lives evolving? What will be the types of information that will be used as a platform to generate new services?
The future of retail
Selling “stuff” is as old as the human race.
Attracting the attention of a potential buyer is the first step, but that has to be followed by convincing him/her to buy, keeping him/her satisfied to increase the probability of fidelity and so on.
At the Future Centre we feel that the future will reshape significantly the retail structure and the shopping experience.There are a number of reasons to sustain our feelings: to name but two, the negative impact of the Web and the positive impact of technology evolution.
How is the ecosystem of retail? What will be the actors? How are the product and the store evolving?
How is the clients’ experience changing?
The future of E-learning
The internet culture and the social networks are bringing about a deep change in learning procedures.
On the web, on satellite TVs, and IPTV more sites and channels have been created on various knowledge areas from music, to technology, physics and maths, etc.
In addition to an instant access to a world of information there will be the opportunity of virtual experimentation owing to the possibility of simulating complex phenomena, travels to far away locations in time and space, and situations evolving dynamically.
How may an innovative learning model, a personalised, interactive and interdisciplinary method become successful?
Which will be the technologies, content and multimedia supports of a innovative on-line platform for services?
Which the actors that may take part in such an ecosystem? And which will be the business opportunities for telecommunications operators?
Ecosystems: methodology and modelling
Ecosystems stemming out from a technology innovation can represent potential areas of business for a Telecommunications Operator as long as it is possible to play a role and be part of the overall business model. Acting in this environment requires an understanding of the ecosystems and of its rules.
What does it mean to study an ecosystem?
This project runs across the other projects and it is focusing to study and create a methodology to represent and interpret ecosystems from an economic standpoint. It aims at identifying “behavioural models” connecting these to technology roadmaps and market evolution being studied in other groups.
In addition there is also a research area dedicated to explore adaptive technologies related to distributed and pervasive processing models
Network of Networks
In the future computation, storage and communication services will be highly pervasive and distributed: people, smart objects, machines, platforms and the surrounding space (e.g., with sensors, RFID tags, etc.) will create a highly decentralized common pool of resources (up to the very edge of the “network”) interconnected by a dynamic “Network of Networks” (NoNs).
Which networking and computing paradigms and technologies will enable the NoNs?
How to optimize allocation, sharing and management of pervasive resources, to guarantee the best Users’ experience whilst reducing the systems and Operators’ costs? How to ensure the sustainability of the entire ecosystem?