Italian creativity in the Internet of Things

Italian teams count, even in international companies. And that's exactly how the new partnership between energy and environmental software platform provider, EcoSteer, and embedded and...


Italian teams count, even in international companies. And that’s exactly how the new partnership between energy and environmental software platform provider, EcoSteer, and embedded and industrial automation product and solution manufacturer, Advantech, was forged.

EcoSteer and Advantech

EcoSteer, based in England but with offices in Italy, was founded by Italian entrepreneur and hi-tech expert Daniel Grazioli, together with British Rob Bamforth, to provide a flexible software platform to support environmental and energy monitoring needs of commercial and industrial multi-site organiations. Advantech – founded in 1983 in Taiwan – offers comprehensive system integration, hardware, software, customer-centric design services, and global logistics support.

EcoSteer Managing Director Elena Pasquali and Technology Director Daniel Grazioli met with Advantech managers Marco Barbato (European Technical Manager) and Flavio Devidè (Sales Manager Italy & Iberia) to discuss new opportunities in the Internet of Things and came up with a shared project that convinced Advantech’s board in Taiwan. The project focuses on providing a new hardware & software product that connects to any type of sensor and allows it to interact with any Internet of Things platform, with total flexibility. It’s an open, bidirectional solution. Not only is the project Italian but also is the design of the technology.

The Internet of Things

“Internet of Things” describes a paradigm where “things” – anything that can collect data via sensors and then pass that data via a connection – communicate as well as people with people or machines with machines. Such “things” may be vehicles, refrigerators, doors, locks, cameras, machines, sub systems, or entire homes or offices. The EcoSteer-Advantech partnership brings together a combination of specialist skills in monitoring large numbers of sensors and making sense of data gathered from several sites, with the ability to deliver this type of solution robustly and efficiently on an industrial scale.

“EcoSteer and Advantech together fill a gap in the IoT market”, says EcoSteer MD Elena Pasquali. “A number of IoT (Internet of Things) platforms are emerging, providing services that allow the usage of data coming from things“.

The Italian Internet of Things market in 2014 was worth 1.55 billion Euros (+28% over 2013) and made up of 8 million interconnected objects through cell connectivity (+33%), according to the Observatory on the Internet of Things of the School of Management of Politecnico di Milano. The Observatory says that 2014 was a milestone year for the Internet of Things, that has become a key element for business in Italy with the potential of growing even more crucial and disruptive in the next few years; in fact, 2015 will see further growth in Smart Cars, Smart Homes and Smart Cities.

New IoT platforms create the need for a new, industry grade field technology, capable of bridging the gap between the physical world of sensors/actuators and the data management capabilities provided by IoT platforms. “EcoSteer & Advantech together bridge this gap”, goes on Ms. Pasquali, “with a new hardware & software product that connects to any type of sensor in the field, legacy or new, from any vendor, wired or wireless; presents data from sensors to any third party IoT platform and Cloud based application; and has a consumer price. EcoSteer & Advantech provide a ready to use, industry grade ‘adaptor’ to connect any ‘Thing’ to any Internet of Things platform”, bringing their Made in Italy core to IoT implementations.

Advantech – whose Italian offices are in Milan – contributes with its platforms and solutions portfolio, covering all the 4 layers of IoT: wireless sensors, embedded IoT gateways, intelligent systems and networking devices and cloud, where Big data and IoT apps and services enable smart transportation, smart buildings, smart process automation, smart energy systems and numerous other instant-feedback real-time services.