The IEEE Smart Cities Initiative in Trento - Italy:
Highlights of Inaugural Workshop Trento 10-12 Dec 2014

Dario Petri & Andrea Guarise


Figure 1
Trento’s motto: Qualità dela vita e impegno attivo e consapevole dei cittadini (Quality of life, active and aware engagement of citizens)

This contribution briefly describes the organization and the goals of the inaugural workshop of the IEEE Smart Cities Initiative in the city of Trento, Italy. The initiative is focused on quality of life through active and aware involvement of citizens, enabled by big data and open data technologies. The advantages provided by these technologies in five application domains (e-Government, Health and Wellbeing, Energy Efficiency, Integrated Tourism Services and Mobility) were analyzed during the workshop.

The three-day event was held from 10th to 12th December 2014 and marked the official start of the IEEE collaboration with the city of Trento. It was located in the beautiful “Palazzo Geremia”, a renaissance building that hosts the town hall (see the picture below), and was jointly organized by the IEEE Smart Cities Initiative, the IEEE Italy Section, the Municipality of Trento, the University of Trento and the innovation catalyzer Trento RISE. The workshop was arranged in two main parts: the first one was a technical kick-off meeting involving more than one hundred invited experts and local stakeholders, while the second one was mainly addressed to the public, so as to share the initiative with Trento citizens.

Figure 2

Palazzo Geremia, venue of the Workshop in Trento

The Trento initiative is focused on Quality of Life through the active and aware involvement of citizens. Being selected by the IEEE Smart Cities Initiative is a great opportunity for the city of Trento, and a challenge at the same time. The Municipality of Trento commits itself to be part of this initiative, which has the global goal of creating a database of technological excellence and a worldwide network of real-life laboratories that are expected to become a best practice for all urban areas interested in the Smart Cities paradigm.

It is essential to emphasize that the objective of the local administration in Trento is to look after the needs of all citizens, with a special focus on those in fragile social conditions. For this reason, in the vision of Trento, the urban intelligence should support inclusiveness and social cohesion: the Smart City is an environment where technologies are at the service of all citizens, and where information technology is used to reduce the gap within the city's social fabric.

The Smart City vision of Trento is at least one decade old. In year 2000, Trento designed a medium-/long-term strategy to rethink itself and to redefine the future urban planning. The implementation has been continually evolving since that time, also in collaboration with the national Observatory on Smart Cities established by ANCI (the National Association aggregating all Italian Municipalities).

At the center of its vision, Trento Municipality sets out three major objectives:

  • environmental and social sustainability;
  • the ambition to become an “immaterial factory”, with the objective to become a knowledge-based society;
  • development and promotion of “what is already in place”, leveraging on the strong points and historical vocations of the territory.

Strongly convinced that the identification of a city vision must be the outcome of a shared process involving all stakeholders, the potential partners invited to set up a strategy for the city evolution by the Municipality of Trento are depicted in the Figure below.

Figure 3

Trento’s Smart City strategy and stakeholders involvement

Certainly, it is essential to build the shared smart city vision on top of both the current status of the town and the plans already defined in the different specific areas: social integration, health and welfare, mobility, energy, sustainability, security, citizen safety, and so forth. These plans shaped the structure for the inaugural IEEE Smart Cities Initiative workshop in Trento.

The first part of the workshop consisting of a kick-off meeting involving experts and local stakeholders, which took place from 10th to 11th December (see event program in appendix). The workshop began with a plenary session where Gilles Betis, chair of the IEEE Smart Cities Initiative, explained its general objectives. The specific goals and organization of the Guadalajara, Mexico pilot initiative were illustrated by Victor Larios, leader of the initiative in that city. This was followed by a presentation on the main features of the vision of Trento (intended not only as a town, but also as the whole territory in which Trento plays a major role). After the introductory session, Working Groups (WGs) broke out to discuss and critically review the city objectives in the following parallel tracks:

  • e-Government;
  • Energy efficiency;
  • Health and well-being;
  • Integrated tourism services;
  • Mobility;
  • Open Data and Big Data, which permeate and enable all the above application domains;
  • Strategic table, dedicated to the members of the ANCI Observatory on Smart Cities.

The first five WGs pertain to specific application domains that can be enabled by modern technologies. A specific WG was dedicated to the pervasive Open Data and Big Data technologies. The strategic WG was explicitly requested by Trento Municipality to discuss about possible evolution trajectories of the smart city paradigm in Italy with the members of the ANCI Observatory on Smart Cities.

In each parallel track, the strategy of Trento in the implementation of the Smart City paradigm was defined and the main targets to increase the quality of life of citizens and their engagement were highlighted. The invited experts were asked to critically review Trento’s approach, so as to propose new ideas and to provide suggestions to improve it. The most important remarks were highlighted in a closing wrap-up plenary session. The WGs’ outcomes will be reported and integrated in white papers to be published on the IEEE Smart Cities Initiative website, which we hope will be valuable for other cities around the world.

The second part of the event, which took place on 12th December, focused on the dissemination of the outcomes of the kick-off meeting to citizens. IEEE and local experts illustrated the smart city concept to high-school students. A separate session was devoted to common citizens to present them the Smart City fundamentals, both as a general paradigm and in the specific vision of Trento. In addition, an exhibition of selected advanced technologies was organized with the aim of increasing the awareness of both students and citizens.



Dario PetriDario Petri is a Full Professor with the Department of Industrial Engineering at the University of Trento, Italy. Dr. Petri is currently chairing the Italian Association of Electrical and Electronic Measurements (GMEE). From 2012 to 2014, he chaired the IEEE Italy Section. Dr. Petri has been the VP for Conferences of IEEE Instrumentation and Measurement Society from 2011 to 2013, and is the VP for Finance of the same Society since 2013. He is a member of the IEEE Smart City Steering Committee since 2014. Over his research career, he has been author of more than 250 papers published in international journals or in proceedings of peer reviewed international conferences.


Andrea GuariseAndrea Guarise received the Master’s degree in Telecommunication Engineering from the University of Bologna, Italy. In 2001-2007 he worked at Centro Ricerche FIAT in Trento as a software architect and project manager. In 2007-2012 he moved to Innova Group in Rome, as a consultant on R&D strategies, technology transfer and innovation. Currently he is working at Trento RISE as a technologist and research policy expert. He is an IEEE member and a member of the staff of the IEEE Smart Cities Initiative in Trento.



2015-01-29 @ 7:32 PM by D, Ollencio

Congratulations! How did you get city official buy in?

2015-03-22 @ 9:13 PM by Rossetti, Rosaldo

Becoming an IEEE Core Smart City is indeed a very special recognition by IEEE and a great achievement for Trento. The city has also received important recognitions from EU, such as EIT ICT Labs, and decades of EU projects on fields of interest to the IEEE Smart Cities Initiative greatly contributed to Trento's successful application. It's also important to mention the IEEE community in Trento is very active and committed to help Trento become a reference smart city.

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