The R&D Lab in GreenVulcano is one of the most active “Made in Italy” technology research environments around. For more than 20 years, the research group has been extremely active in both the IT and tech innovation spaces. All this with a keen eye focused on the world of IoT and software integration.

Today, we will interview Mario Stefanutti. Mario has been the CTO of GreenVulcano for approx 3 years now and he also oversees the Rome R&D Lab. A charismatic figure with more than 20 years of experience, he has contributed significantly to the growth of large groups such as Telecom Italia and Reply

Hi Mario, welcome and thanks for being here.

Although at the end of 2019 the trends foreseen by Gartner and others for 2020 all centered around Automation, Traceability, Artificial Intelligence, Personal Profiling, Digital Medicine, and Augmented Experiences, the sudden global Covid-19 pandemic found some of the relevant actors unprepared. How did a highly innovative company such as GreenVulcano capture the opportunity to apply technologies and innovative paradigms in a suddenly digitized context?

I sharply recall that in the ‘90s, “work-from-home” was already a buzz-word and I remember the discussion regarding how quickly work habits were about to change in the upcoming years. However, that change never really happened and in the years to follow, everyone assumed that working from home could never be adopted on a large scale.
Unfortunately the pandemic has imposed this decision upon the world. We realized that we’ve been technically ready to change for some years. We have audio/video communication platforms, cooperation tools and adequate, efficient, and mature technological means that play a very important role.
Mankind will necessarily make good use of this work-from-home experience. It will become an increasingly important tool in the future even after the emergency.
For GreenVulcano – having offices in Naples, Rome and Boston – experimentation and adoption of collaboration tools were already underway. The lockdown has just accelerated the process, making everyone more aware of how important these tools are.

Has there been a particular impact on the US branch and how are the circumstances developing under the Trump administration?

Still too early to make a call. Cases are still high in the US and all over the world. We shouldn’t forget that many businesses were affected by Covid19, transports, tourism, hospitality, events, fairs, congresses, security, and so on. As a service company we work with these sectors, in a hyperconnected world and with complex interdependencies.
At the moment, GreenVulcano hasn’t been affected too harshly but we have to wait a little longer to correctly evaluate the pandemic consequences. I think the key to good living in this context is the ability to rapidly adapt to changes.
As for political issues during this historical period of time, I think that all of the world leaders have been called upon to make difficult choices, with enormous consequences on the economy and the wellbeing of people.

Within GreenVulcano, did the “nerd branch” of the R&D department get affected by the changes in the customers’ internal processes?

It’s been a significant change and it impacted almost everyone across the company, even clients and suppliers. We all adapted to this new situation, to this new way of sharing and working together. I think people reacted well to it.
As for the “nerd branch”, the R&D departments… Well, I think they were the least affected ones of all. Somebody should call to notify them that something significant in the world has occurred during the last few months!
I’m just joking obviously, the question about the “nerd branch” made me think about the historical meaning of the term nerds. Someone “with solitary tendencies and with a somehow reduced propension to socialize”.
Nowadays everything’s different, but some professional categories always had the propensity to embrace these kinds of tools.

As for the Service Line – Mobility, Utility, and Telecommunications – did the pandemic and the lockdown entail a greater effort in the technical department, due to new customer requests?

We’ve seen a general increase in activity caused by pandemic-induced changes. We had to adapt the systems in use to the new conditions and train people for the new workflow and information sharing procedures.
Many sectors were affected, each in its own way. As for Mobility, besides the new initial setup of the systems and the almost total halt during the lockdown, we’ll just have to wait and see how the circumstances evolve. For example, car sharing or shared mobility in general. This market was exploding in the last few years. It had an exponential growth and was invading our cities. What’s going to happen from September onward? How long can big companies or startups that invested in mobility during a prolonged lockdown or limited service conditions survive? Is it going to be different if we talk about alternative vehicles, maybe electric cars, scooters, mopeds, bicycles?
We believe that once the emergency has passed, sharing mobility will come back even stronger than before. But companies will have to better evaluate the service costs of the systems and adopt more flexible and efficient solutions. Even installation and maintenance costs must become flexible.

Currently GAIA, the ESB foundation of GreenVulcano’s integrations, is OpenSource in its version 4.0. Is there any development coming soon? What are the new features you are studying for the next release?

The product has evolved with us over time, always focusing on the best ways to anticipate the next IT forthcoming novelties. Changes such as cloud technologies, microservices, and IoT – the latter, a field that we are paying much attention to lately.
In the version 4, we worked on miniaturization of the product, so as to use it in the cloud on microservice-based architectures (like Docker or Kubernetes) and to deploy GAIA ESB into Edge substrate inside IoT architectures too. In these situations, optimizing the CPU and the memory usage is essential.
In the next release, IoT and AI will still guide the product evolution. But we’ve got much more on GAIA’s roadmap, for a number of reasons. For example, we’re aiming to deliver the product as an iPaaS, with a pay-per-use availability. That’s an evolution of the “hybrid pattern” models that allows new infrastructures to talk with the more legacy ones. With this solution we can overcome legacy assets still relevant in big utilities or companies.

Coming out from the critical stage of the pandemic, what would you like to bring with you in your professional future?

Among the many things, I will bring with me the maturity and ability to adapt that I’ve seen in all of my colleagues. Even while struggling with the home-work life balance, they always acted in a professional manner both among their coworkers as well as with our clients during a really challenging time.

Thanks a lot, Mario!

Mario Stefanutti is a CTO with more than 20 years of experience with complex IT infrastructures and systems. Experience gained on major companies like Telecom and Reply, where he’s covered roles from Solution Architect to Technical Project Leader.
At GreenVulcano he manages the R&D Lab in Rome and he’s responsible for the strategic definition of technical developments of all GreenVulcano products.

With a strong internal organization and innovative core, GreenVulcano has been able to face the Covid19 emergency head on. With our new work from home reality, GreenVulcano had to change the way we approached our customers projects and activities, all the while keeping the health and safety of our people at the forefront. This has been an incredible effort coming from a new mindset, in addition to a lot of work with regard to maintaining the morale of all involved.

Speaking of which, we’d like to suggest you to read our Gianfranco’s 10 tips for a highly-performing home working.

Among the many activities that we didn’t stop was our tech recruiting process. A new process that we recently developed to leverage the power and reach some of the new social frontiers. This is the subject of today’s interview with Maurizio Fiumara, Senior Manager and head of the Human Resources department for the branches of Rome and Naples.

Hi Maurizio, thanks for being here with us!

What was the impact of the Covid19 pandemic on an international company such as GreenVulcano with regards to human resources?

We immediately prioritised the most relevant issues. That would be the needs of our colleagues’, customers’ and suppliers’. We adopted a work-from-home methodology to ensure that our teams respected the deadlines as well as the contracts we already had in place with our customers and suppliers. Although inconvenient at first, this became the new normal, supported by constant contacts and feedback from both colleagues and customers. This also allowed us to promptly respond to any and all potential issues quickly. At the same time, we tried to stabilize the revenues and to redesign our business model to get in line with the evolution of the market’s demand as well as to identify new growth opportunities.

Did the work from home formula work?

As a company, we did not hesitate to respond to the emergency allowing our teams to work from home. We already had similar experiences in our past, thus we were able to trust in our colleagues’ sense of responsibility and collaboration during these challenging times. I can definitely assert that the work-from-home methodology worked. All our colleagues kept working efficiently and willingly, fully supported by the company board. Not just for working matters. We also organised virtual coffee breaks and periodic meetings where we could discuss various topics and have fun.

Does it continue to work?

We were afraid that with the beginning of the second phase, the overall effort would decrease. Instead, now that we’re in the third phase, I can easily say that working from home is an effective solution, for two main reasons. First, working from home makes the employees feel safer. Second, one does not have to live with the stress of commuting every day.

Are you thinking about implementing this process in the future as well? We’re starting to see this with other big IT companies.

Surely we do not intend to go back to the traditional working ways. We are planning new modalities with a higher flexibility we want to kick off in September.

We know that in GreenVulcano you are always searching for new professional personal for the teams of both Rome and Naples. What are the fundamental skills a new employee must have besides the technical skills required to fill the position?

We’re always looking for new resources willing to face the new tech challenges with us. We are looking for talented people, but they should also have passion for the IT world. Similar to a new graduate willing to grow in a dynamic environment, keen to growing professionally.

2019 has been the year of hiring, while 2020 is the year of the covid. However, GreenVulcano keeps looking for new champions in the ocean of potential candidates. How many new resources entered the team in the last 12/18 months and how many are still to arrive?

We’re constantly looking for a potential candidate. During the pandemic we hired 5 new people. In the last 18 months we welcomed roughly 25 people counting all contractors and employees. We plan to hire another 10 people by the end of the year.

The University has always been GreenVulcano’s preferred channel when it comes to choosing new candidates. The marrying of our company’s culture to higher education has created some strong roots. However, this last year has challenged us to create some new methods in searching for senior professionals in the development field and not simply relying on our traditional academic channels. We’re talking about highly-skilled, sought-after professionals. Finding the best fit is often a complex and lengthy process. How much did the new digital marketing tools of Facebook and LinkedIn help GreenVulcano in finding qualified candidates?

To GreenVulcano, digital marketing tools meant a continuous and direct contact with a wide range of tech skills and profiles. Everyone from experienced professionals to the newly graduated looking for their first job.

In 2019, you launched two important recruiting campaigns via LinkedIn. For what roles? How many applications responded and what were the results?

Thanks to the LinkedIn recruiting campaigns for Senior and Junior Java and Angular Developers, we received more than 50 applications. We interviewed 40% of these and hired 10%.

Let’s try and do a bit of analysis: all in all, according to the 2019/20 data, would you recommend social recruiting?  

Yes, interacting with social networks is an integral part of our culture and daily life. Social recruiting is in line with our times. It allows us to gather more information about the resumes we’re analyzing, identifying behavioral and psychological aspects as well. It makes available a wide range of profiles, from professionals to fresh grads looking for the first job.

Are you planning to launch a new 2020 recruiting campaign for the branches of Rome and Naples?

Definitely. As I said, we are planning to hire new people by the end of the year and we’ll do this by launching new social recruiting campaigns by the first half of September.

Thanks Maurizio!



Maurizio Fiumara is a Manager with a twenty-year experience in an international environment. He developed his skills managing strategic projects for companies such as Poste Italiane, Telecom, INPS, and ACEA. At GreenVulcano, he’s been a manager for departments and projects such as Funding Project BU, Consultancy, and Recruiting since 2017.

I realize that much of the world is currently dealing with the new reality of trying to work from home. I have been working from home now for about 16 months, and with the exception of a handful of trips to meet with some of our business clients, a couple visits to GreenVulcano Technologies offices as well as some re-energizing visits with my family in the beautiful country of Italy.

I too had to go through some adjustments in order to not lose my sanity. I have learnt a few things even before the Covid-19 crisis that I would love to share with you.

#1 Commit to your space

First it is important to pick and create your new workspace. Whatever location you chose, make sure it feels like a dedicated and functional work area. When creating this new space, there are several factors to consider. You should invest in the right chair; your lower back can be under constant amounts of high stress which could create fatigue and possibly discomfort over time. Make sure that the lighting is adequate and oh, one side note here…  if normally you need to wear glasses to read, please do so. People on the other side of your webcam will notice if you tend to be blind like me and you’re not using your glasses! Do a nice job with the wiring of your laptop and chargers. Purchase a phone stand (less than $10 on Amazon), it will change your life and plus you will know where your phone is at all times.

#2 Get dressed up!

I never changed my routine, except for maybe the time that my alarm clock is set to wake me up in the morning. One benefit with the new reality is I get to wake up a little later since I don’t have to assist the children before they would normally leave for school. Pros: I sleep longer and my migraine count is much lower. Cons: you get the temptation to lay in bed for hours. Just don’t! I take my shower and get dressed up as if I had to go to the office. I usually wear my jeans and the company hoodie as much as I can.

# 3 Videoconferencing with style

Don’t forget to check your background.I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate…” (cit.) 😊 Always use the earbuds: they will help you to focus on the videocall/meeting. They will also help you to hear and be heard by all the participants who don’t use them.

Follow the golden rules:

  1. Mute yourself when not speaking.
  2. Be on time.
  3. Check if all works correctly.
  4. Fully engage remote participants.
  5. Choose the proper software and hardware.
  6. Wear work-appropriate clothing.
  7. Frame the camera correctly.
  8. Have the right light.
  9. Look into the camera.
  10. Pay attention.


#4 Spoil yourself

Make sure the fridge has your favorite juice or sparkling water. Set some time for a quick and healthy snack (I prefer fresh fruit, but I also drink a lot of expressos in those few minutes between meetings: please don’t judge me😊). You should build your dream office as if you were (and you are) your own CEO.

Buy some plants with flowers and consider some wall hangings with the pictures of your best friends and family members to remind you of why you are working in the first place. Try using scented candles.

#5 Agree on the rules

One of the things that make the current situation a bit different than usual is that with the majority of the world under lockdown, there’s a good chance that you are not alone in the home office. It’s possible that your kids and spouse are dealing with some of the same challenges: home schooling, remote working, chatting with friends via internet, etc. This can all work ok if you agree ahead of time on some basic rules and scheduling. There is a time to work, a moment to break, there is lunch possibly together and time to be quiet. At night we will all celebrate together and have fun, but during the busy times we all need to be courteous to the rules. Not surprisingly, children adapt faster than grown-ups do to these new situations. You might find that your biggest confrontations will be with your husband/wife and not the kids. Be patient!

#6 Declutter

Clean your desk of the historical clutter. Trash the things you have not been using for ages and move anything non-essential somewhere else. You will be so proud.

7 Exercise

I am very lazy. I used to play soccer back in Italy twice or three times a week. Here in Boston there’s no such a thing as having futsal fields every other block. Plus, the weather can be terribly cold. Since gyms are also in lockdown, I try to walk almost every day or anytime it is possible. Thirty minutes of walking helps to remind me that there is a real world spinning around my desk. Moreover, I alternate the walks with my wife and one of my children to catch up a little bit more with our little life stories that I share with my kids or those moments of intimacy (or what remains of it) that can be shared with my wife. The kids really love the one on one time and will probably be one of the things that they remember the most when they look back to these days in the future!
Also, I am also told by my good friend Michael D., who is the opposite of lazy, that there’s a lot of yoga on Youtube and that may help with your back. Since I am out of excuses, I will have to give it a try.

#8 Keep up the small talk

We always start every meeting with 5 minutes of pure fun. Share with your colleagues what happened to you the day before and let’s laugh together. Don’t be shy, open up. It will make for a better meeting and a good time with good people who you get to know a little bit better each day.

#9 Tech support

There is nothing worse than a slow laptop or a hesitating mouse pointer on your screen. Your laptop or desktop is your companion. It needs to be in good health. If you need support, contact your company magicians for they can help you! Spend some time cleaning your folders. If you’re not currently working on the cloud, make sure to backup your important stuff. Uninstall all the unused software from your disk, and don’t forget to keep the anti-virus software updated.

Oh, by the way, clean your keyboard and your screen with a proper spray and cloth. It will shine like brand new!

#10 Think positive

I smile as much as I can. I am among the few who can work from home and I am fortunate to be able to make a living from it and for that I am grateful! Offices, restaurants, airports, bars will reopen one day soon and things will return to a place that we all desire to see again but until then we are simply working from home in our new reality and we are surrounded by the people we love. Remember, postponing a trip today doesn’t mean we are cancelling it forever.


I found more time to talk to my mom and my brother even if they are 4,089 miles away and ironically, in some way, we are now closer than ever.

Live long and prosper.

Gianfranco

PS: thank you, Michael DeJadon, for editing this in proper English 😉

When dealing with the world of IoT, one might think of a nebulous quantity of notions and innovations, which only share the idea of connectivity, originality and more broadly a connection with the Internet

This is not entirely wrong: in its strictest meaning, we can say that the Internet of Thingsconsists of any device with an on/off switch connected to the Internet”.

How did we get here?

The meaning of Iot, however, changed with the times. Since the core definition of an IoT device consists of a physical component, we can even allude to the idea of a “pre-Internet” IoT. This would involve devices that could connect to each other, although without the use of the Internet – as the electromagnetic telegraph or apparatuses used to send Morse code lines.

With the advent of new technologies and, above all, with the very first computers, IoT changed its meaning to something closer to our perception. Machines didn’t need a second user at the other end, but they worked as operators themselves.

It’s the age of Olivetti, of evolutions that would use the early TCP/IP protocols to connect an IBM computer to Romkey’s toaster, the implementation of Arpanet, and most significantly the World Wide Web. It is with the transition of wireless devices through the Net that we got to what in 1999, Kevin Ashot, the then Executive Director of Auto-ID, called “the Internet of Things”.

Today, IoT developed extremely quickly, covering a wide range of subjects and sectors. From security to the environment, from urban development to biotechnology, IoT allows us to apply the most creative methods in the research to tackle many of the yet unresolved problems we endure today.

Stepping away from the strictest infrastructural applications, one should only think that at the Queen Mary College of London and at the University of Padua, teams of researchers are working on a bio-IoT. According to them, bacteria can be regarded as devices with all the characteristics of a mobile, operating machine, with integrated sensors and engines – and, hence, hackable to serve our pharmaceutical goals.

Moreover, as we already wrote in a post last year, IoT can help us tackle climate change, as well as many other worthwhile fields from both a scientific and a financial point of view.

Cities change – or better, they improve

Today, more practical examples and logical integrations of IoT occur in cities and urban environments, with the so-called smart cities. New York and London already implemented IoT solutions to reach a higher environmental sustainability. Some examples of this can be seen in Bird Street in London or smart sidewalks and the 2020 plans of the New York city administration. Meanwhile, in Japan, Toyota announced its plan to build a brand-new smart city.

GreenVulcano is carrying on innovation in this field in Italy too. Last year, for instance, it partnered with Alan Advantage to work on the Oracle’s project Proxima City. Or yet, with its Project SPARTA. In this project, GreenVulcano is researching an innovative sustainable solution to city traffic and congestion, one of the main causes of urban pollution.

The future walks up: IoT and Blockchain

Adoption of the blockchain system – with all the industries it is renovating – could not happen if not supported by a hardware as solid as one the IoT can provide. Storing and processing of data, sharing, computation and, especially, blockchain security could not be possible if not relying on a sound, performing physical layer.

For instance, Sybil – a solution developed by GreenVulcano for maintenance and control of industrial plants, bridges, tunnels, viaducts, and so on – harvests and shares data on a blockchain-based system. It does this in order to provide the highest control on the phases of storage and transfer of data on a safe, unhackable chain.

Dynamic Energy

Energy is, perhaps, one of the fastest changing industries.  From autonomous oil off-shore platforms to smart lightbulbs for consumption control, IoT is helping to reduce the waste of energy and the relative costs, both for the individual citizen as well as for big companies. The infrastructure provided by new, creative solutions already proved its effects to all the grid linking the diverse operational and productive units.

Surely, in all these three cases, the problem is always the same: security – be it the protection of personal data or the most basic health and safety norms of machinery. Cameras and sensors in a smart city or the encryption of data on a block of the blockchain could become a threat to users’ privacy. As well as malfunctions or harmful events for energy plants or extraction pipes. In the future, auditing systems will become increasingly necessary for advanced IoT devices.

Conclusion

Innovation in the IoT industry doesn’t seem willing to stop in the short run and most likely will continue to strengthen in the long run as well. An increasingly smart and tech-savvy clientele gives the IoT a wide range of growth in the market, where the improvement of customers’ and companies’ daily life has a pivotal role.

Gartner foresees that in 2021 there will be 25 billion devices connected to the Internet, revealing the exponential growth awaiting the IoT down the road. Financial internal movements in the market – as the acquisition of Nest Labs and the proposal for Fitbit, Inc. by Google – let us further understand how big players don’t want to lose such a profitable chance.

With the adoption and the improvement of these technologies increasing in unison with their associated costs decreasing, consultancies such as Gartner, McKinsey, and PWC stress that this industry could see an ROI in the trillions of dollars by 2025.

2019 was an important year for GreenVulcano Technologies! We have come of age and celebrated 18 years of success.

We have grown a lot thanks to a magnificent and increasingly numerous team, constantly working in Rome, Naples and Boston.

We have improved the technological core of our products and have undergone an important restyling.

Our IoT solution for complex infrastructures has been deeply updated in terms of sensors, security, cloud platform and its many features and is today on the international market with the name Sibyl!

We then launched GAIA: rebrand of our historic ESB architecture, now in version 4.0.

It was an intense 2019, full of things done and great satisfaction.

The coming one will be a special year for GreenVulcano, we have many new features coming up but we don’t anticipate anything!

We wish to make you our best wishes for happy holidays!

See you in 2020!

The advent of the cloud has determined a remarkable review of software and application development paradigms. Probably though, despite the feverish evolution of “Cloud” services, a non-technical user wouldn’t be perfectly able to perceive the extent of their impact on the design and development paradigm of application software.

It wouldn’t even be enough to emphasize the fact that the greatest market players are massively subscribing to cloud-native paradigms for the development of innovative applications and models.

The problem

However, symptomatic elements of the mindset change operated by developers in the realization of native cloud applications are tangible in a multitude of situations we live daily.

For instance, to read this article we are using an interface. And to get here, we have probably clicked on a series of links, thus taking advantage of a further interface designed to navigate through the various links to get to the desired destination.

Or let’s imagine we have to buy a plane ticket and find us on one of those sites that compare thousands of flights immediately.

How can a website or an application store such a large amount of data and understand what to show from time to time? It would be extremely inefficient to develop a software with a database that you have to update every day with huge amounts of data. Some information must be taken somewhere else when you need it. So how?

The Solution

Whether you are an experienced user or not, the answer is: through the API. An API (Application Programming Interface) is a ​set of communication definitions and protocols ​regulating and ​realizing the integration​ between software and apps. The main advantage they offer is a clear simplification of application development processes and a consequent saving of time and money.

This is due to API interoperability, which allows communication between products or services regardless of the knowledge of the implementation methods.

This results in a significant facilitation of the design, administration and use processes, both in the implementation of native – and the management of existing – instruments and products.

Adopting an API-first strategic approach, hence, has a remarkable value when ​scaling your ​business​.

API first

In attempt to to fully exploit the edges of the cloud-native systems, in GreenVulcano, we rewrote the designing phase of our Sibyl, Claudio, and GAIA products into a brand-new approach for the development of our applications: the API first.

Indeed, our developers needed a sort of metamorphosis, where the “API first” paradigm acquires unconditioned priority.

API first​ is, hence, a systems ​development model​ which, affecting all the stream in the developing stage, ​centers the API around the development strategy​.

Adopting an API first approach, for the implementation of native cloud applications, allows to accelerate the development process; an aspect of remarkable importance to respond to the changes of a constantly evolving market.

The greater the skills of a company to lively and rapidly adapt to the market, the higher the value it can offer to its users and its future competitive capability.

Embracing an API first approach shows that it is not the app itself to be enough for the customer experience, but rather the interoperability between applications and websites that allows to design and integrate technological resources that can be reused to meet the needs of users according to a user-centered perspective.

In a time where innovations permeate the market at great speed, increasingly revealing the difficulty of the human brain to keep up with the inflow of generated data, is still possible to ignore the need to automate some work activities? Can you be competitive in your market without exploiting the power of automation?

A FEW DATA POINTS

In 2019, the automation of “Business Processes” is on track to demonstrate the fastest growth of any business software category. In 2018 alone, this market grew by 63%.

Using current technology, 60% of professions could automate about 30% of their activities.

These numbers are symptomatic of the awareness that companies have about the potential of automation. GreenVulcano is perfectly aware of this as well. In addition to developing a highly performing business automation tool, GreenVulcano periodically organizes events aimed at promoting the implementation of new technologies within organizations. In the next installment of the Talking Tech program, scheduled for 5 December, we will be talking about the automation of processes and production. We will also be discussing the importance of data, collection, analysis as well as its use in more or less structured business contexts.

BUSINESS AUTOMATION

Business Automation (also known as “Business Process Automation” or “BPA”) consists of the use of technology to perform recurring tasks or processes in a company where it is possible to partially substitute manual effort. Corporate automation systematically replaces manual processes with ismart automation based on rules, just-in-time analysis and open collaboration. Often this is achieved with the use of business automation tools. Business automation tools simplifies and accelerates complex workflows, offering transparency and control on all parts of the process.

WHY INVEST IN AN AUTOMATION TOOL?

The potential of artificial intelligence and advanced robotics, used to perform tasks once destined for humans, is no longer reserved for spectacular demonstrations such as Baxter from Rethink Robotics, DeepMind or the driverless car from Google. Just head to an airport to find out that the automatic check-in stands dominate the ticketing areas of many airlines. Pilots actively drive the plane for only 3-7 minutes of many flights, with the automatic pilot who rules the rest of the journey.

Based upon this fact, it would therefore seem improper to talk about investment, since business automation is already a stable part of the procedural flows of many activities. However, while in the past companies wanted to automate processes to control costs and increase efficiency within the organization, today the focus of the companies has shifted from the satisfaction of internal needs to the engagement with external customers and the creation of new business opportunities. The traditional model of business automation has therefore evolved from a single focus on the rationalization of processes in the development of new strategies to the actual automation of the activity itself.

Since 1913, the year Henry Ford devised the assembly chain by making the use of technology popular as a means of automation of business processes, the business automation brings with it a widespread feeling of fear linked to a significant downsizing of jobs.

But this is not the case: according to today’s data, less than 5% of professions can be completely deprived of human contribution. Very few professions will be automated in their entirety soon or medium term. Rather, many work activities will not be eliminated as much as redefined, as happened for the professional figure of the bank teller with the advent of ATMs.

A brief introduction to Claudio: what it is and how it can automate your business activities

Previously we referred to business automation as an alternative to executing recurring activities in a company. However, often behind the automation processes are integration systems and programming activities for which specific technical skills are required. The difficulties of integration between legacy systems and new cloud-based systems are not negligible for a non-technical user.

Claudio, the business automation tool produced by GreenVulcano, allows you to integrate a huge number of complex systems and automate repetitive tasks in just a few simple steps.


A very simple graphical interface, combined with the drag & drop functionality, makes the process of creating the workflow to be automated extremely intuitive and fast. Also, the ease with which it can be integrated both on-premise and on cloud applications makes it particularly versatile and flexible.

In a few minutes you can create a new workflow and automate the established process.

FOR EXAMPLE:

We imagine wanting to automate a daily or weekly “news scouting” activity. Claudio’s flow could be built, in this case, using news catalogues, such as google news, filtered for keywords. The result would be a personalized email to each user (specific name of the user, specific topics based on past requests, etc) sent to periodic deadline.

Benefits:

  • Keep users informed about specific and customized topics;
  • Reduce and lighten the workload of employees;
  • Increase the satisfaction and loyalty of current customers;
  • Automate periodic contact with current and / or potential customers.

Why not try? Go to https://www.greenvulcano.com/claudio/, leave us your email and you will be contacted! Then come back here and let us know how it went!

And don’t miss “The Power of Process Automation“, the appointment with Talking Tech on December 5th.

The GreenVulcano Enterprise Service Bus continues to evolve and this time it does start from the name. GAIA, an ancient term for ultra-modern software. And a thought goes to Asimov and his planet “Gaia”: like our ESB, an integrated ecosystem, in perfect balance and in continuous communication between its parts.

BRAND

  • NAMING

The naming GAIA was born from the desire and the attempt to identify a unique, simple and especially coherent name with the classicism and the Made in Italy soul of GreenVulcano products.

During brainstorming, our SVP & CoFounder Gianfranco Iannello told us about Asimov’s stories, in which Gaia is a planet equipped with an ecosystem in perfect balance: “On Gaia every element has its own awareness that makes it autonomous and at the same time constantly connecting with the other components“.

This continuous contact makes it possible to smooth out the contrasts that sometimes arise between the elements in favor of the entire community.

The term GAIA is also synonymous with Gea – the Earth – a unified system. In this sense, the capability of GreenVulcano’s ESB to place itself in perfect symbiosis and unique synchrony with anyone who comes into contact with it offers the image of a single, compact and cohesive organism, despite connections and internal relationships.

The balance and harmony of the ecosystem interpreted in its entirety (Gea)  are therefore the results of the integration of autonomous systems in contrast (of programming language or protocols) favored by GAIA.

  • ACRONYM

The naming GAIA has a further meaning that we have identified in the acronym with the aim of “telling” the product by adding information in relation to the perceived own naming and trying to maintain continuity with the past: GreenVulcano Advanced Integration Architecture.

The focus was on the term “Integration“: intense expertise and product’s core. We defined “Advanced” integration to suggest an upgrade from the past and emphasize a higher quality standard than the market average. The term “Architecture” was instead used to express the idea that the product is only the foundation for a complex corporate IT system –  the backbone of the infrastructure.

  • LOGO

Once we found the agreement between the technical and commercial souls of the company on the story to be transmitted than we focused on the creation of the logo with a clear mission: to realize an original, simple and recognizable logo, which was at the same time coherent with the Corporate Identity and in harmony with product features.

The spherical form is a clear reference to the planet Gea-Gaia that wants suggest the “universality” of integration and the GAIA’s ability to integrate communication with any external component.

The result is an extremely fluid flow of data information. The numerous connections represented within the sphere – combined with the choice of a rounded font – emphasize this concept.

The red color is a visible chromatic reference – especially for long-standing partners – to the triad of colors that characterizes the GreenVulcano logo. The colors of this triad are individually associated with a product.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF OUR ESB: GAIA YESTERDAY, TODAY AND TOMORROW

The concept of Enterprise Service Bus was born and developed at the beginning of new millennium as a response to the needs of users to have immediate access to all the functions which can be provided by applications and services inside or outside the company.

  • FROM VERSION 1.0 TO 2.0

GreenVulcano’s first ESB software was based on the concepts and models described by Gregor Hohpe and Bobby Woolf in the essay “Enterprise Integration Patterns“, considered a milestone for the design of integration solutions.

They were characterized by a strong centralization of the system; a monolithic architecture developed and distributed as a single entity – usable only locally – which necessarily involved heavy installation. Also, the only way to be able to scale a monolithic application was to replicate the entire application with a consequent increase in costs and necessary resources.

  • 3.0

The beginning of cloud computing and service-oriented architecture (SOA) has made it necessary to develop a more advanced and functional version of the new integration methods.

GreenVulcano ESB 3.0 is a software Java-based with a highly customizable multi-layer architecture created specifically to support complex SOA architecture. This version was created to meet the needs of breaking down monolithic applications into a series of distinct services able to communicate with each other on the network.

  • GAIA

Market Dynamics and the evolution of integration processes that have determined the development of the ESB 4.0 version, called GAIA, are described directly through the words of our Senior Developer Rocco Lagrotteria: “The need for further granularity and operational flexibility has given rise to the approach based on microservices. This model offers greater scalability and customization, allowing complex applications to be “unpacked” into smaller, more targeted components.

GAIA is based on a modular structure that allows to support architecture in microservices.

This means that it is possible to install exclusively the modules necessary for the operation of the single-use cases.

FUTURE DIRECTION

Our CTO Mario Stefanutti told us about the possible future direction of software. In fact – simultaneously with architectural evolution – “From the language’s point of view – Java 11 replaced the previous Java 8 based version and in close future, it is likely that GraalVM will replace the current Java platform in order to improve performance and offer more functionality.

The challenges related to application integration have remained substantially the same, but the way we solve them has changed. In the future, to improve the usability of services, channel/consumer communications, in GAIA, will increasingly take place through API and will go towards the development of cloud native software with Docker and Kubernetes in order to guarantee a massive scalability of microservices”.

Aware of the challenges that the future market will reserve us and strengthen of past experiences, we are ready today – enriched in name and functionality – to offer you the best solution to integration problems.

Contact us to discover all the advantages and benefits that GAIA can bring to your company.

WHAT IS THE INDUSTRIAL IOT?

To understand what Industrial IoT is, let’s first take a step back and explain  in a nutshell what we mean when we say the “Internet of Things”.

In 1999 Kevin Ashton, a researcher at MIT in Boston, described the Internet of Things as a set of technologies that allows to control, monitor and transfer information by connecting a device to the Internet.

The Industrial Internet of Things, usually abbreviated with IIoT, is therefore a verticalization of the broader concept of IoT, focused on the industrial ecosystem and enabled by technologies such as cybersecurity, cloud and edge computing, big-data analysis, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

IIoT MARKET

According to a report signed by IndustryARC, the Industrial IoT market will reach 124 billion dollars by 2021 and should exceed 771 billion dollars by 2026. The CAGR (compound annual growth rate) in the period forecast 2018-2026, is instead estimated at 24.3%.

The key to this growth lies in the fact that data obtained in real time not only allows better management of the production process, but also better management of all company assets, offering a clear and immediate picture of the company’s performance in all its areas.

IIoT SYSTEM ARCHITECTURE

The ordinary structure of an IIoT system is a modular architecture organized in 4 Levels:

  1. Device Level: is the physical component of the IIoT system: IT hardware, machinery and sensors;
  2. Network Level: it consists of communication protocols, cloud computing and wifi networks that collect data and transfer them to the next level;
  3. Service Level: made up of functional applications and software for analysis as well as the  transformation of data into information that can be displayed on the driver’s dashboard;
  4. Content Level: it is the last layer of the stack and is formed by user interface devices.

ADVANTAGES OF INDUSTRIAL IOT

The wide availability of data collected makes it possible to monitor and maintain (also in a predictive manner) strategic infrastructures, by utilizing AI and machine learning algorithms, we are able to generate estimates, forecasts on possible risks and suggest measures to be taken before failures occur.

For example, in the infrastructure sector, IoT sensors and predictive algorithms could allow the continuous monitoring of:

  • Tunnels: to assess their deformations and convergence;
  • Bridges: to check its inclinations and deflection measures;
  • Buildings: to measure static deformations on buildings and verify their structural integrity;
  • Sewage systems: to evaluate the speed and flow of waves;

The result of industrial IoT projects is the reduction of energy and maintenance costs, as well as the general improvement of business productivity and the employees work quality.

CRITICALITY OF THE IIoT 

  • Cyber ​​security: The existing IT security measures for IoT devices are far lower, and the risks are sometimes underestimated, compared to the existing measures for more traditional computers and devices. The risk of connecting a device to a network  makes it a potential target of a cyber attack.
  • Lack of standardization in communication protocols: industrial communication protocols are the conditio sine qua non for interconnection and data exchange between machine and software. In most companies the hardware is extremely varied in age, manufacturer and technology used. This heterogeneity often requires the use of different communication protocols thus making the interconnection operation complex and expensive.

However, these critical issues must not discourage investments in IIoT projects. The long-term benefits are extremely superior to the short-term efforts in terms of human and economic resources.

IIoT IN GREENVULCANO

Well before the IoT became a research trend, GreenVulcano had already developed its own solution to offer to customers.

Leading  the integration market thanks to an experience of over 10 years, GreenVulcano has recently put Sibyl (its IoT platform) on the market: . Sibyl is a cloud based (but can also be used on premise), plug and play, dedicated to the management, remote control and predictive maintenance solution to monitor complex infrastructure systems.

Find out which could be the right solution for the needs of your company and don’t hesitate to write us for further information.

To learn more about Greenvulcano’s IoT solution visit our website and don’t miss the next article.

Nowadays customers have a wide range of computer tools. This great variety of systems, enhanced by the continuous development of increasingly innovative software, makes the process of data synchronization, among  different applications, extremely difficult.

SYSTEM INTEGRATION

Given this variety it is absolutely advisable to work on system integration.

System integration is the process by which various IT systems and software applications function as a unified, coordinated and cooperating system.
The advantages of this kind of integration are multiple, both for the customer and for the company: an improved  information flow, an increase in the product quality and on overall company performances. Together those benefits also allow to reduce costs and improve business efficiency.

POINT-TO-POINT INTEGRATION

The first phase of integration evolution, in chronological order, coincides with the model known as point-to-point.

It is an integration that involves only two systems. Since this is a rather subtle integration, some theorists disagree with considering it as system because it lacks the typical complexity of systems. The point-to-point model is a rather simple integration that involves connecting only two systems. It is through this model that much more complex systems are built of off. 

STAR INTEGRATION

Since the Star integration adopts the structure of the point-to-point model, it also inherits all of its flaws. For example with the increase of the elements involved, it tends to become more and more  chaotic. For this reason, this type of integration is also called “spaghetti integration“.

VERTICAL INTEGRATION

The model that partially solves the problems of the two previous integrations is vertical integration: here systems are put into communication according to their functionalities, creating functional entities called silos. If a new functionality has to be added, it is  necessary to create a new silo. This strategy can be suitable for companies with complex vertical infrastructures.

ENTERPRISE SERVICE BUS (ESB)

The integration that best expresses the concept of System integration is the horizontal integration in which a layer is used as a common interface between all the components. This layer is nothing more than an ESB architecture. The term Enterprise Service Bus was coined by Gartner in 2002.

In every company there are a plurality of systems and services, each with its usefulness. But if each service were to be integrated from time to time with all the new services used in the company, how many additions should we create? And would its cost be sustainable by the company?

An ESB software offers the huge advantage to  provide a unique integration for each system. ESB is capable of integrating disparate systems, connecting heterogeneous technologies and consistently providing coordination services, access security, messaging, intelligent routing, acting as a computer backbone through which all the software services and application components can travel.

ESB’s INSTALLATION MANNERS

ESB is installable through three different ways:

  1. on-premise
  2. cloud
  3. hybrid-cloud.

ON-PREMISE

The on-premise solution guarantees exclusive control over systems, data, internal management of sensitive and core data. It is a solution to be preferred in case direct data management is fundamental for business policies and in case it is necessary for the organization to be geographically localized.

CLOUD

The cloud solution ensures scalability, reliability and, above all, a quick service delivery. In fact with mobile access you can connect to data at any time, through any device

As regards the safety of the system, data and networks are protected with always backup services as well as specific security protocols to protect the integrity and confidentiality of data.

HYBRID-CLOUD

However, the storage of sensitive cloud data is often a cause of concern for companies. An excellent solution to these difficulties is offered by hybrid integration; sensitive data remain at headquarters, while non-sensitive data can remain in the cloud, offering companies the opportunity to segregate and track movements. Companies therefore decide which data to store in the cloud and which in the local.

ESB: AN OLD NEW INTEGRATION

Despite this distinction, it is necessary to specify that originally the ESB was only applied locally. The natural consequence, enhanced by the urgent need to integrate applications and on-premise data with cloud applications and data, was the identification of the ESB as a passed software that should leave the step to iPaaS solutions (integration platform as a service). However, a good software is programmed to respond to the need for updating and renewal and so we have come to the development of software, such as the GreenVulcano open source ESB, extremely lightweight that supports the APIs and integration platforms that connect to the systems legacy.

The development of software that cross the traditional approach of the SOA architecture, interpreting in an innovative way the integration of business applications (EAI), has given new life to a software wrongly defined obsolete.

ESB (2.0) is able to meet today’s needs of high flexibility, maintaining the reliability of traditional systems. In this perspective, the future of ESB seems to be positively comforting.

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