Smart city means investing in better infrastructures, technologies as well as building a new system of urban and social relationship. Getting citizens closer to every day services and information and filling the communication gap with the local government authorities is a must in the idea of a functional and better city life. Better and accessible services make your everyday routine smarter more than the last tech gadget. Municipium is a startup providing information, services and connection with the local authorities in a single, easy platform. After the great success at SMAU tech exhibition in Rome we interviewed Alessandro Berti who shared with us his vision of an innovative and concrete idea of smart city, starting from our everyday life.
Why did you decide to launch Municipium and invest in this specific industry?
We’ve been in touch with several local government authorities for general information activities and we noticed the communication gap between these organisms and the citizens. So we decided to show our idea to a selected pool of municipalities in the Verona area and developed the best solution that could fit for every local system. The idea is deeply connected with the awareness that technologies have to be used to provide a precious support in our every day activities.
What’s the added value of Municipium? How are you positioning your company between the institutions and the citizens?
Our plus is to be a unique and centralized information source for the citizens providing an unprecedented service available in everyone’s smartphone. There are too many apps providing partial solutions. Municipium is the only information sources in the relationship with the municipalities and is open to future developments thanks to our direct connection with the authorities. We’d like to be the gateway between municipalities and citizens, allowing them to interact and set up a profitable information exchange in a quick, easily accesible way.
In Italy the startup environment is growing fast and dynamically, unless there’s a relevant gap with other EU countries. Tell us about your experience with the funding systems, the institutions, the other startuppers and the universe of innovative business in Italy.
Actually we’re looking forward to experience the funding system, even if we’re trying to approach these players through major contests like the Edison Start Award in which we’re competing in the Smart Communities area. We’re connected everyday with the institutions and they haven’t a proper management independence and are facing budget and law ties that often stop their innovative path towards a smarter communication with the citizens. We’re also used to share knoweledge and communicate everyday with the other startups in our industry.
How do you picture the future smart cities? What do you think about the recent increase of US startups providing revolutionary services and killer apps to live smarter in the future metropolis (like ZimRide, SideCar and many others)?
We believe that we have to go further with small and simple steps. If we won’t improve the communication between municipalities and local communities or citizens it’ll be very hard to spread innovation. Smart cities start with the constant support of the citizen in providing services for everyday routine, simplyfing red tape procedures and being constantly available.
Municipium Waste Management section is quite a good example. Here every citizen can check the digital agenda of the waste collection system in his residential area, set up a custom alarm and reminder, check out how to handle the separate collection criteria, book and manage oversized waste collection services, navigate a map of the ecologic centres in his municipal area.
Tell us about your harder troubles, the most interesting challenges, the funniest days of your business adventure.
One of the hardest troubles has always been the red tape lead time in the public authorities, with late responsiveness. However when a local authority understands how Municipium can easily improve its communication saving time and financial resources, everything becomes easier. The challenge is to deliver Municipium in every municipality of Italy and, maybe, abroad thanks to the continuous positive feedback from our users.