Open Fiber’s commitment to the program “RESearch and innovation on future Telecommunications systems and networks, to make Italy more smART”

RESTART is a comprehensive program, that aggregates and integrates the main stakeholders of the Italian Telecommunications sector, allowing the realization of specific research projects, with concrete and measurable results, to be jointly carried out by universities, research centers, companies and public administrations, in an overall framework that provides a long-term vision, transversal and supporting actions and adequate tools and enablers. 

The current fragmentation of research and development is addressed through actions of coordination and synergy between project initiatives, with specific attention to the definition of actions that cover all phases of the path that leads from ideas and research to technological innovation and services, and then to the birth and growth of companies: transparent and verifiable project initiatives, with high economic impact, able to produce long-lasting and sustainable results beyond the NRRP.

RESTART promotes and enables TLC science and technologies advancement, including all kind of related systems and networks, for both human and non-human users (e.g. 5G/6G; high-capacity fixed infrastructures, IoTIoT The ‘Internet of things’ is the idea of networking any device with a power button. Paradoxically, this can be anything, from mobile phones to coffee machines, washing machines, refrigerators, vacuum cleaners, headphones, lamps, and wearable devices. This also applies to internal machine components, such as sensors in a car. This immense network of connected objects could improve many aspects of our lives: imagine a refrigerator which, by reading the barcodes of the products it stores, could tell us what is about to expire and what has run out, allowing it to suggest a shopping list. A coffee machine that switches on at the right time knowing the alarm time set on your smartphone, a car that suggests the best route to take based on traffic information sent by other cars., edge/core-cloud); applications and services in the most diverse sectors: agriculture, commerce, energy, finance, industry, media, health, safety/security, transportation. 

TLC are not only necessary in almost all applications, but can make processes more efficient and flexible, achieving energy savings in other sectors in the order of 10-15%, with a corresponding reduction of CO2 emissions, more than compensating the energy and CO2 footprint of TLC themselves, and with significant positive effects on the economic system as a whole. 

RESTART has been designed to be fully in line with the objectives of the NRRP. RESTART provides enablers that set virtuous circles and an entire sector in motion, leaving concrete and lasting results at the end of the plan, specifically:

  • Structural improvement of research and development in the sector, with a long-term vision;
  • Strengthening of the link between scientific excellence and business;
  • Ability to use TLC in the most diverse sectors;
  • Specific initiatives targeted to industrial districts and to the South of Italy, including the support to the design and creation of technological islands and ecosystems, such as private 5G/6G networks with associated edge clouds and services (including also networkNetwork In computer language, the term network defines a set of hardware and software devices which, when linked together, enable the exchange and sharing of resources, data or information. In a computer network, the devices that generate, route and terminate data are called network nodes. and services for national security and civil defense and protection); support to the design of TLC resources enabling also small or peripheric communities to smart working and accessing world opportunities and markets. As made clear by the pandemic, it is not always necessary to live in large centers and regions of high development to perform and exploit high-skill technical work. TLC offer an opportunity to facilitate everyone to access global resources and to develop one’s own potential, to allow intelligences, experiences, professionalism and entrepreneurship differently located over the national territory to all contribute to the relaunch of the country, avoiding emigration; we need to fully reverse emigration and attract people back, and funding;
  • Evolution of the concept of 5G slice from that of a quality-assured virtual (cellular) network to that of a virtual (general) infrastructure/platform that automatically runs and manages distributed applications of verticals, such as Video Distribution Systems, Smart Cities/IoT Platforms, and Edge Learning Architectures; importantly, this can lead to the creation of new business models characterized by the interaction of multiple service providers and infrastructure providers, revitalizing the market for mobile network operators, which are typically Italian/European companies, by expanding their portfolio with vertical/over-the-top services, and encouraging the entry of new SMEs into the market, by reducing their CAPEX;
  • Digital transformation of industries/administrations and business efficiency;
  • New business models and cost sharing models towards a fairer and enlarged contribution to investments in telecommunication networks;
  • Creation of new companies;
  • Increase in the average size of companies;
  • Increase in the number of TLC students, researchers and professionals; improvements of their skills and reduction of gender and north-south gaps in the TLC sector;
  • Overall social and economic impact that justifies the investments made. We also need to dedicate effort on communication and dissemination activities, to evidence and testify the role of TLC in our society, especially to the younger generations, and to promote a better understanding of this technology. 

TLC must be perceived by the general public for what they are: an essential resource, which is strategic for national interests and that needs to be addressed with suitable policies and a long-term vision, involving all related stakeholders, including: research/education institutions, operators, vendors, integrators, application and service providers, SMEs, public administrations, financial institutions. 

Only with a national and concerted effort can we stimulate the interest of prospective students and investors and incentivize and facilitate the design and use of TLC applications and services, reducing digital illiteracy and divides. 

Without programs such as RESTART, not only will we not have sovereignty or independence in the TLC sector in Italy, but we will not have the ability to contribute to the development of other countries’ TLC, and we will even jeopardize our understanding of the technology, relegating ourselves to the role of unaware buyers of other countries’ products. For all the above, we deem RESTART to be a critical initiative of strategic value for Italy.