TIM showcases 5G for smart tourism in 2019’s European Capital of Culture

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Telecom Italia (TIM) is acting as the primary IT partner as the ancient city of Matera begins its year-long reign as European Capital of Culture.

The city of Matera is perched on a rocky outcrop in the region of Basilicata, in southern Italy. It includes the Sassi area, a complex of cave dwellings, including the church of St. Lucia alle Malve, with its thirteenth-century frescoes. TIM will provide various ICT technologies to enable new forms of cultural engagement in Matera and promote the city as a hub for start-ups.

For example, TIM is working with the Basilicata Region’s Culture and Tourism Office on the ‘Immersive Matera’ project, which uses 5G and a cloud-based platform to digitalise cultural assets so that more people can access them.

Alongside local partners, TIM has already launched the Matera Content Pool. The Pool will contain a catalogue of high-definition images, 4k and 8k videos, 3D reconstructions for virtual reality (VR) and 360 videos, covering various aspects of Matera’s cultural history.

“Innovation is culture”

Speaking at the opening ceremony held in Matera’s ‘Cava del Sole’, TIM Chairman, Fulvio Conti, said, “TIM is in Matera today to show that innovation is culture too. We are especially proud to link our brand with the city of Matera, supporting it at this historic time to help bring out the best of its priceless artistic and cultural history.

“Thanks to technology, these riches can now escape the bonds of space and be enjoyed by anyone, anywhere. It’s a new way of ‘doing culture’ that can also be emotionally engaging, offering both information and an experience.”

The Matera 2019 project also aims to inspire cultural and creative start-ups and to help traditional businesses.

Infrastructure for the underground city

TIM says it has already invested over €3 million in new fixed and mobile technologies in Matera, which is known as ‘the underground city' because of its network of caves. For example, TIM’s fibre-optic cabling programme has connected 23,000 homes in the municipal area.

Matera is also one of the leading 5G cities in Italy. TIM, Fastweb and Huawei held 5G trials in the city earlier this year. TIM was on track to achieve 75% 5G coverage in Matera by the end of last year and is aiming for full coverage by the end of 2019.

A statement from TIM said, “The hard work over the years has meant that ‘the underground city’ now has cutting-edge infrastructure, capable of handling advanced services and therefore adding further impetus to the digital transformation of Italy.”

Tourism has been a longstanding area of interest for TIM, with previous demos in Bari, Turin and San Marino.

Last week, TIM issued a profit warning as the company faces an ongoing dispute between shareholders.