The IoT business and research community in South-Tyrol

The Internet of Things (IoT) can be considered one of the core technological trends constituting the industry 4.0 paradigm, as well as one of the next major internet-driven economic and societal innovation. The South-Tyrolean economy and society can benefit from the wide range of IoT relating products, services and business models increasing the competitiveness of local companies while improving the quality of life of citizens. However, the achievement of such goals depends on the capacity of the local innovation system to encourage collaborations and knowledge transfer across companies, start-ups and research centres. Building a community of stakeholders operating in the IoT market represents a first step in the right direction to support the development of ideas and projects at local level. The present contribution aims at presenting the results of the research activities carried out by Fraunhofer Italia, in collaboration with NOI S.p.A. and Gruppo FOS within the framework of the Beacon Südtirol project, aimed at building a community of stakeholders favouring the continuous development of IoT and related ICT technologies in South Tyrol. The results indicate the presence of approximately 120 public and private stakeholders, potentially playing a major role in the future IoT market in South Tyrol. This growing community includes large companies, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), research centres and start-ups based at the NOI Techpark, providing specific IoT products and services in different locally strategic sectors. The main characteristics of the business and research IoT community in South Tyrol in terms of sector and knowledge areas covered will be presented. Finally, a set of guidelines consisting of selected methods and tools, partly derived from the Design-Thinking, will be introduced as valuable means favouring the interplay between research and industry, for the future development of projects and innovative ideas in the IoT sector. The guidelines are conceived to avoid fragmentation of competences and to facilitate NOI S.p.A. managing the innovation processes within the IoT community, making it an effective collector of data, know-how and project ideas supporting digital transformation in South Tyrol. This contribution is part of the FESR 2023 Beacon Südtirol project (CUP: B31H17000060001) funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) of the Autonomous Province of Bozen-Bolzano, Investments for growth and employment FESR 2014-2020.