Webzine di Tecnica e Società

Building the Smart Community

Digital platforms for collaboration are changing the way we live and work, a conversation with the authors of the book: “H2H. Human Revolution”

Digital innovation and collaborative platforms are opportunities to create a new and modern form of human cooperation powered by smart communities. This is the thesis of the book “H2H. Human Revolution”, written by Gianni Lodi, engineer, corporate manager and co-founder of EI4Smart, and the architect Gianluca Cristoforetti, responsible for Mappe d’Italia, a nationwide project of the Istituto Nazionale di Urbanistica (National Urban Planning Institute).

Platform tech

The digital economy is the great transformation of our time and, as the authors argue, represents a new «socio-economic ecosystem created by the sharing of both human and physical resources in a context defined by digital technology».

In this context, digital platforms such as Airbnb, Uber, or Kickstarter play a leading role.

«The platform, accessible online and via mobile telephones, regulates interaction and collaboration between people – explains Lodi – and its effect is a radical change whereby relationships between people can be transformed».

The intelligent community, embodied in such forms as a condominium board or communal purchasing group, not only can use a digital platform to pursue goals of collaboration and sharing, but can also manage it in a cooperative way. Various solutions already exist on the market, Lodi notes. But what is missing is «a platform available directly for people» without the need for an intermediary like Uber.

Collaborating benefits

There is a clear and fundamental value to those who take part in the new platform-driven collaborative ecosystem. The crisis, explains co-author Cristoforetti, has forced people to look for alternative ways to solve their problems. And one of the roads that has been most successful has been «sharing, which technology has made much easier and more pervasive» allowing very tangible benefits.

A report for the European Union estimates the costs of failing to enter Europe’s 572-billion-euro collaborative economy: annual per capita spending that could be replaced by sharing economy ranges from 1,100 euros for Bulgaria to 14,600 euros for Luxembourg to 7,200 euros for Italy.

Invisible become visible

«The platform – according to Lodi – allows you to measure both the value and savings of collaborative behavior». For instance, having a way to record and calculate activities being shared (energy consumption, laundry services, condominium care) a condo can see the benefits (lower costs and redistribution of profits) that it gets from the sharing economy.

But with the platform, even virtuous behaviors that create collective benefit can be measured and rewarded, Cristoforetti explains: «What so often remains invisible, the virtuous behavior of the individual is now visible».

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