More than 300 senior executives from many of Italy’s leading firms and public institutions participated in Hitachi’s Social Innovation Forum recently in Milan. They witnessed how a collaborative approach and in the integration of IT, operational technologies and the Internet of Things (IoT) are changing peoples’ lives.

Impressive examples of social innovation abounded at the event.

A full-scale model of the HRI Caravaggio/Rock electric train car captured the spirit of social innovation. Energy consumption per passenger-km is expected to be 30 percent lower than other recent designs of train in operation in Italy. Passengers will enjoy new levels of comfort with a spacious interior design and ergonomic eco (recycled) leather seats. A framework agreement between Hitachi Rail Italy and Trenitalia, part of Rail Europe, provides for the possibility to supply up to 300 trains.

FIAMM Energy Technology SpA, a Hitachi Group Company started in Italy 70 years ago,  showcased its Ecoforce AGM and AFB batteries for vehicles equipped with start and stop systems and a prototype of Li-Ion battery Type C for Mild Hybrid cars. A full-scale model and demo of the FIAMM RES (Residential Energy Storage) solution opened eyes about practical ways of storing energy from renewable sources to reduce home electricity bills.

Participants learned how Big Data is being used to help a major Italian refinery optimize operations and significantly improve energy efficiency, minimize blackouts, maximize energy transfer capability and implement predictive maintenance practices.

Overall, the demonstration IoT projects in the fields of manufacturing, infrastructure, transportation, healthcare and energy clearly inspired all us about the power of innovation to answer society’s challenges.

In addition, the keynote speakers and panel discussions provided a variety of practical and inspirational insights. In the spirit of co-creation, we are particularly grateful for the participation of such luminaries as Luisa Arienti, Managing Director of SAP Italia; Aldo Bisio, CEO of Vodafone Italia; Carlo Calenda, the Italian Minister of Economic Development; Valerio De Molli; CEO of The European House – Ambrosetti; Stefano Antonia Donnarumma, CEO of Acea, one of Italy’s major, multicity utilities; Massimo Inguscio, President of the Italian National Research Council; Gerd Leonhard, CEO of the Futures Agency; Maurizio Melis, author and radio host of the daily program, “Smart City;” Renato Mzzzoncini, CEO of the Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane Group; Giuliano Poletti, Italian Minister of Labour and Social Policies; Alberto Sanna, Director of the Center for Advanced Technology in Health and Wellbeing at the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan; and Fabio Vaccaronno, Managing Director Italy, Google.

The next Social Innovation Forum will be held in London on Nov. 28. Click here for more details.

You can also review content from past events in China, the U.S., India, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines and Australia.