Interview with Domenico Petrone, President VIASAT GROUP

Today, smart cities do not seem to fulfil the citizens’ expectations yet. This is what emerges from the last report of “Capgemini Research Institute”, which has involved 10 thousands citizens and over 300 officers from 58 cities and 10 Countries. Technology is the enabling factor which guarantees people the quality of life and service they aim at.

Mr President, where is the health emergency taking us?

Since the beginning of 2020, we have been living a situation that caught us unprepared. The Covid-19 pandemic has had devastating effects all around the world and revolutionized our way of thinking. Anyway, opportunities arise from crises thanks to the disruptive impact of technology; we must be ready to catch them. Today, half of the 7 billion inhabitants (3.5) of our Planet lives in cities and it will be over 60% by 2030. The challenge is to maintain the characteristic functions of urban centres without compromising the environment; for citizens of today, but, especially, for future generations. To achieve such results, we must reduce traffic and pollution, optimize our resources, ensure service accessibility and safe mobility. This is what ‘Smart City’ means.

Will Viasat be protagonist of this new scenario?

More and more frequently, cities will become interconnected environments surrounded by sensors and devices capable of collecting and processing enormous amounts of useful information, which will be turned into useful services. Viasat has already become part of the process with its on board connected devices (cars, motorbikes, bikes, trucks, commercial, building sites and trash collection vehicles, containers), which provide personalized solutions such as assistance, safety, theft prevention, fleet management, remote diagnostic, driving improvement suggestions, dangerous vehicles monitoring (e.g. those which circulate with no insurance policy or mechanical inspections). Such solutions have been designed for citizens, companies and public administration.

Smart City Concept should be redesigned according to citizens’ expectations. Should it?

Sure. Mobility modifications have become a consequence of Covid-19 social transformation. Among eco-sustainable means of transport, worth of mentioning are those which allow the maintenance of social distancing, such as motorbikes, scooters, traditional and electrical bikes. At the same time, private cars seem to have replaced public transport or car-sharing vehicles. Today, our goal is to create a common ‘space’ for all users, so that a high level of safety is ensured to everybody. In such a sense, connectivity plays a fundamental role and Viasat’s solutions guarantee the highest levels of safety, always and everywhere, regardless the type of vehicle.

Will environment sustainability be a priority in post Covid-19 era?

The health crisis exit will be a chance to start again and reinvesting in economic, social and environmental sustainability will be the heart and brain of this rebirth. Viasat intends to go along the same path and to encourage recycling and waste management, which is a milestone of circular economy. Currently, Italy’s waste management models do not exploit existing technologies at their best. Processes become slower, less efficient and, in general, they burden activities management in terms of economic resources. It is no coincidence that Viasat has decided to invest and focus on this specific business line and exploit innovative tools and devices to guarantee high-performance solutions, advanced services and constant support, to meet the evolving and different needs of municipalities and companies which work in the field of urban hygiene and maximize their efficiency and competitiveness.

The instability of this period seems to have increased safety demand. Are you experiencing this, too?

The main effect of insecurity and worries is the need of greater safety. In this sense, 2020 has marked a decisive turning point for a change that was under way in the insurance sector and underwent a sudden acceleration as a result of the pandemic. Until recently, the common perception during the purchase of an insurance policy was some kind of necessary evil. Today, customers require personalized, added-value solutions capable of responding to their real needs and expectations, safe and easy to use. The numerous partnerships that Viasat has signed with insurance policies, networks and agents follows our “Sicuri e Protetti” (Safe and Protected) direction, with a new vision of insurance telematics and tailor-made products and services.  

To download Guida alla Sicurezza: https://media.viasatgroup.it/docs/yu_magazine/21-21-GaS_2021_22.pdf

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