An app to curtail the number of offences

16 February 2017

During the meeting Creating and Managing Social Communities in the Digital Age, held at the sixteenth century grotto in Villa Guastavillani, Securfy was presented: anapp and web based project aimed at supporting more people in becoming civic-minded and strengthen urban security.

An evening devoted to investigating the meaning of digital communities: what they are, how they develop, which rules govern them. In order to accomplish this agenda, the meeting was divided into three parts: academic introduction, business case-studies and presentation of the Securfy project, that originated within the community of the BBS Executive MBA (EMBA).

It was up to professor Andrea Lipparini to introduce and chair the evening. BBS EMBA Scientific Director and professor of Innovation Management at the University of Bologna, he explained how Organizations and Businesses in the digital era understood how to support citizens using technology. To quote an old Chinese proverb, Securfy’s motto, he recalled that “none of us is stronger as all of us”. Briefly, collaborative collectivity is at the basis of a stronger and safer society.

Sara Valentini, BBS Alumni Network Associate Dean, Professor of Social Media Marketing at the University of Bologna, talked about her experience in setting up the BBS Alumni community. “The School is growing in terms of number of enrolled students and international projects. Using digital channels as tools to spread information and ideas is no longer “nice to have”, it’s a “must” for minds to get in touch”.

The issue of cyber security is urgent and must be tackled; it forces us to leave the world of technology to face reality. “Control is a system of deterrence” highlighted Gabriele D’Angelo, Professor of Network Programming and Security at the University of Bologna. Patrolling though, as a method, is an outdated model, that up to now has produced, in terms of technology, the technology of monitoring cameras. “The Internet of Things is a reality and, in the future, control systems will change dramatically.” He’s against system centralization and underlined their vulnerability. “The participatory model is the most effective and technology is the best way to manage it.” He ended is speech with a reference to current affairs: “For voter participation, pencil and paper are still the best approach”.

The second part of the panel was devoted to the experiences of businesses. Marco Ferrando, VarGroup, saw a sort of new technological Renaissance. Augmented and virtual reality, data volumes of the Internet of Things are facts from which to start in order to produce disruptive innovation. “The problem is culture, not technology. Will we be able to manage the digital side of life when we’ll be wearing clothing with sensors connected to the rest of the world?” About community, a recurring theme of the evening, Ferrando observed that the reason to participate is to be found in value, and this value isn’t simply the brand, but for exceptional instances.

So, users are cunning, they don’t follow inputs coming from above, they themselves create the context or the product. The example was clear to Giuseppe Tabacchi, who with his company that manufactures eye-glasses, PQ, focused everything on product customization thanks to the scanning of facial features to produce custom-made glasses. The community gets established on sharing choices and individuals making proposals.

After two short speeches by two BBS EMBA XV candidates, Piergiorgio Grossi, CIO and Digital Transformation Officer at Ducati Motor Holding, took the floor. “While businesses think about updating the fleet of computers, the world around gets radically transformed. Ducati is adjusting to this change.” Over 70% of purchases occurs after an Internet search. Facebook’s algorithms know in detail about users’ preferences and interests. There are new ways to engage people in purchases. “Nowadays we have the conversational interface” Grossi explained. “Brands try to access platforms to start conversations and help customers chose their next purchase. If we’re already close to talk to automatic systems, with bot, it’s not unlikely that in the future we’ll have Facebook profiles of objects able to suggest their own use.” It’s the idea of integrative platform: a series of integrated services are created around customers and they allow them to improve their product experience. Just add journey and accommodation to the motorbike: it’s a piece of cake.

And finally, Securfy’s case: Giulia Cristofori and Davide Gazzotti discovered a credible project presented by two Carabinieri officers. The theme is the civic sense of those who wish to be active not simply in reporting what isn’t in line with the rules and urban cleanliness, but would like to convey their own proposals. “What is a platform for us? A place where shared interests allow for the exchange of information“. Giulia Cristofori, BBS EMBA XIII Alumna, clarified in this way how Securfy isn’t aiming at replacing local administrations but cooperating for a common objective, that is security for all. “Securfy is a platform and an app” the other partner, Davide Gazzotti, added “an aggregator of news on security”. As he was illustrating the app functions, he unveiled that the system had gone online the previous hour, already collecting the aggregation of territorial communities created to provide information about what happens in town. “It may be a private group or a Whatsapp list, or again a public group open to all or a group you have to apply to join it.” Retailers’ groups were the first to accept the invitation. A small-size newsroom prepares the news for the communities: information, security advice that shall multiply over the next few weeks. “We have the social walls. Local events notices, then offences and urban degradation. We collect data generated by the communities that allow us to map what actually happens in specific areas.” And also, databases gathered in one place, available for consultation. A section devoted to forms to fill in for online reporting. The app also features a rating system for security perception in the area where one lives. The ambitious target is creating a database allowing for a predictive analysis of offences which projects us all in a future already foreseen by sci-fi literature, although much closer than one could think of.


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