SpliTech2017: Growing and Being Different

By Joel J. P. C. Rodrigues - Inatel/UNIFOR, Brazil, Instituto de Telecomunicações, Portugal, Katarina Vukojevic - University of Split, Croatia, Luigi Patrono - University of Salento, Italy, Petar Solic - University of Split, Croatia, Sandro Nizetic - University of Split, Croatia and Toni Perkovic - University of Split, Croatia

During the popular tourist season and time of a famous music festival, from 12–14 July 2017, the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture (FESB) hosted the SpliTech2017 conference that was technically co-sponsored by IEEE ComSoc. A total of 10 scientific sessions were held, four professional sessions, a tutorial on “Interaction of Humans with Electromagnetics Fields,” and a one-day Workshop on Internet of Things (IoT) organized with partners from industry in collaboration with the University of Salento, Italy. As part of the IoT Workshop, companies such as Amplifico, #InClude, Plurato, Ericsson Nikola Tesla, SIEMENS, STMicroelectronics, SensorID, SofThings, Selmet, and CAENRFID presented the main challenges and results they encountered on the way to implementation (and standardization) of their products. This event offered the opportunity to students and all other conference participants both to get acquainted with the newest products characterized by a high technological level and to explore very interesting opportunities for collaboration, practice and employment.

In addition, the conference hosted 10 invited lecturers. Within the conference, a Smart City round table was organized, discussing the guidelines for the development of the city of Split, Split-Dalmatia County, and the Republic of Croatia, with the aim of developing or deepening cooperation between academia and industry and encouraging public-private partnerships. The round table moderator was Toni Perkovic, assistant professor at the University of Forensic Sciences in Split.

At the opening ceremony the participants was welcomed on behalf of the organizers of the conference by Prof. Sven Gotovac, the Dean of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture; Prof. Zoran Dogas, the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine; Prof. Simun Andelinovic, the Rector of the University of Split; Deputy Mayor Jelena Hrgovic, Damir Brcic as a representative of the Split-Dalmatia County; and Prof. Maja Matijacevic from the University of Zagreb, FER. Finally, general chair Prof. Sandro Nizetic thanked the sponsors and pointed out that this year SpliTech had an increase of 35 percent more papers compared to the previous year. More than 100 papers were submitted to the conference, out of which 49 percent were accepted for publication, which also guarantees the high quality of scientific publications. After the opening ceremony, a plenary talk was held by prominent world scientists: Petar Popovski from Aalborg University in Denmark on the topic “Wireless Communication Challenges in 5G towards Transforming Vertical Industries” and Jiri Jaromir Klemes from Brno University of Technology in the Czech Republic on the topic “Energy and Process Integration Research: Present Situation and Development Trends in Future Research.”

The technical conference program featured 10 conference sessions related to Smart Cities: Hardware, Systems and Applications, Engineering Modeling for Computational and Applied Electromagnetics, Energy, Power Electronics, Smart Grid, E-health, Internet of Things, Internet of Things–Architectures.

The conference program featured five invited talks by recognized researchers and institutional representatives as follows: Challenges Development of Energy Services in the Digital Technology Era, Vlasta Zanki, HEP ESCO d.o.o., Croatia; Computational Modelling of Fuel Cell Electrodes, Ned Djilali, University of Victoria, Canada; Status of Fuel Cell Technologies and Their Applications, Frano Barbir, University of Split, Croatia; Multiscale Computational Fluid Dynamics Modeling as an Aid to Surgical Planning–Some Applications to Palliative Treatment of Congenital Heart Disease, Alain J. Kassab University of Central Florida, Canada; Architectures of Next Generation Wireless Networks, Pascal Lorenz, University of Haute Alsace, France; Understanding Hydraulic Fracturing and Associate Seismicity–Advanced 3D and 4D FDEM Micromechanical Modelling, Giovanni Grasselli, University of Toronto, Canada; Smart POIs: A New Way to Interact and Live in Smart Cities, Antonio Jara, University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland (HEVS- HES-SO) & HOP Ubiquitous, Switzerland.

The round table was attended by employees from Ericsson Nikola Tesla, Split-Dalmatia County, Split City, Parks and Plantations, Marjan Park Forest, Split Parking, Amplifico, SELMET, Soft- Things, and employees of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture. Discussions noted that by 2030, two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities that occupy 2 percent of the planet’s surface. This will increase the number of megacities (cities with more than 20 million people), which now number 28 and by 2030 could be 41. This trend is leading to very important challenges focused on the management of cities in terms of services, livability and quality of life. A consolidated and common approach to face them is to invest a lot in “smart cities,” which is a comprehensive tool for solving goals of sustainable development.

On the other hand, the United Nations adopted the Sustainable Development Program by 2030, which contains 17 sustainable development goals with a view to eradicating poverty, tackling inequality and injustice, and addressing climate change issues by 2030. Implementing the concept of “smart city” means smart economy, smart environment, smart state policy, smart mobility, smart people, and smart living. The roundtable began with a lecture by Nuno Lopes, a researcher from the University of Minho, Portugal, who delivered a lecture on “Smart Cities for Sustainable Development.”

After a presentation from Nuno Lopes, the moderator of the roundtable, Toni Perkovic, invited the audience to present their thoughts, suggestions and questions related to the topic. The roundtable participants referred to the following:

  • As part of a “smart city,” greater attention should be placed on industry that presents a very important segment of the development and security of every city, since smart cities must contribute to the safety of its people. Nuno Lopes stressed that the industry should definitely be involved as it provides answers to the question of the city’s needs and people in it, while security is exclusively related to the quality of life, which is one of the cornerstones of a smart city since without security residents cannot achieve quality of life.

  • Participants have also expressed doubts whether it is better to develop megacities or a larger number of smaller cities, but practice shows that the trends are going toward an increasing number of megacities.

  • It was emphasized that the “smart city” must primarily meet the needs of the people living in it.

  • A city representative of Parks and Plantations stated that there is an economic barrier to the development of a smart city, that is, a lack of investments. Politics does not recognize the problem and does not invest in smart people without which a smart city cannot exist nor develop.

Nuno Lopes concluded his intervention, taking into account some requests about useful suggestions focused on the City of Split, asserting that it is necessary to detect the needs of the inhabitants of Split. Then it is necessary to recognize the risks and challenges and we need to have a vision. According to these factors, a plan needs to be developed. The solution should involve the local population, not entities from the outside, because if the local population develops then the city develops itself. Support at the national level is also very important. At the end of the discussion at the roundtable, the moderator Toni Perkovic thanked the participants for active participation and, as a conclusion, stated that there was a need for an independent national strategy to be implemented in cities through the local population, since the local population knows their needs and can respond to them, by setting up startup companies, the collaboration of the University with industry and in general, viable and active communication of all stakeholders.

The complete conference program included a total of 67 scientific/professional papers published in the conference proceedings, of which 50 papers were sent for publication in IEEE Xplore, the most influential global database in the field of electrical engineering and computing, which the conference encompasses and which are the source knowledge for future research. The conference was attended by approximately 250 participants from 15 countries.

Published papers were submitted and accepted in important international journal such as Thermal Science, JMIS, RACNT, IEEE Access, JCOMSS, etc.

The Multidisciplinary Conference of SpliTech 2017 covered challenging areas related to the extremely topical issues of the development of society such as electronics, computing, IT technology, medicine and energy management, and represents one of the most important advances in the functional integration of the University of Split, where all components work together on common problems. The idea of the conference was to link the University of Split on a high level with the profession in order to achieve long-term cooperation with concrete results, that is, to make life easier and more enjoyable for everyone. As result, next year, in addition to the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Naval Architecture, the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Civil Engineering, Architecture and Geodesy, we plan to actively involve other Faculties and departments from the University in the organization of the SpliTech conference.

More information about the SpliTech 2017 conference may be found at http://splitech2017.fesb.unist.hr/