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 😉

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!

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.

The Internet of the Things is taking industries by storm. This network of devices combined with their ability to connect and exchange data is proving itself to be a brilliant tool when incorporated into businesses and consumer’s lives alike. Up to this point, IOT has been most well-known for its integration in the manufacturing and industrial industry. Its benefits are apparent through the machinery on the factory floor, and its connectivity has built an essential bridge between the floor and the offices upstairs. It has reached a level of optimal efficiency that is changing corporations. IoT has now stretched its uses even further, as people have found ways to utilize it in a new industry: healthcare. The industry is huge, but the technology has found a way to dip its toes into every aspect.

Personal Healthcare

As of right now, remote health monitoring is the main function of IoT integration, in terms of spending. The IoT devices designed for consumers are plentiful, all imaginative yet useful. There’s an array of them on the market, from closed-loop insulin delivery devices that pairs with a diabetes app, to a Bluetooth coagulation device that tests how quickly your blood clots. In addition, there is an activity tracker that looks at the effects of different cancer treatments, and an Apple watch application that monitors cognitive function for signs of depression.

More and more systems and devices are being invented each day. For example, researchers have been developing contact lenses with sensors in them that they hope will be able to measure a person’s glucose levels, in addition to possibly correcting presbyopia, a condition that deteriorates the eye’s focus. These devices, along with different type of wearable sensors, have granted consumers the ability to monitor themselves within the comforts of their own home. The benefits to the consumer is plentiful. However, we are becoming more of a business driven world, and businesses and corporation alike have discovered how to utilize IOT to the best of their abilities as well.

Pharmaceuticals

Every year, according to the Internet of Things Institute, there are 125,000 unnecessary deaths in the United States alone due to patients not taking their medicine correctly. Over 100,000 people die from these mistakes, and there are so many more than this number that end up hospitalized over the same situation. IOT software offers up a solution: smart pill bottles. These smart pill bottles monitor the dosage being taken, or if it’s even being taken at all. It’s a way for patients and doctors to keep tabs on treatments and ensure that they are being taken and administered responsibly.

The Pharmaceutical sector didn’t just stop there with their incorporation of the Internet of Things. They have integrated the technology into their production cycle the same way the manufacturing industry has: monitoring the machines, checking the safety, and collecting data in order to ensure the utmost efficiency.

Healthcare Building Facilities

There has begun a crucial transition from IOT positively impacting consumers in terms of healthcare to businesses in the industry. IOT and its effects are most concretely apparent in hospitals and doctor’s offices. The connective technology has created a new age of “smart hospitals”, places filled with predictive maintenance and advanced equipment. As the site i-scoop wrote, “If there is one place where the various building parameters…temperature, humidity, air regulation, specific environmental controls, security, and so forth need to be optimal, it for sure is the hospital.”

Being reliable is vital for a hospital, and IOT software is just that. Reliant. Rooms equipped with smart beds would have the technology to routinely check and monitor vitals on its own and alert the necessary personnel based off of those vitals. Smart hospitals will have sensors that detect the climate of the room and can adjust it based off the specific needs of the individual patient. Operating rooms will have the same features; the ability to control the elements to set themselves up for ideal operating conditions. It’s smart and it’s efficient and it’s saving lives.

Healthcare Insurance

Going hand and hand with saving lives is saving money. The combination of IOT with the Health Insurance industry is doing just that. This software collects data, and data is extremely valuable to insurance companies. The most important characteristics of this data is that it is truthful and accurate. According to Forbes, these technologies will work to “reduce inefficiencies and waste in the healthcare system”. Companies will have the ability to use data to have surveillance on their patient’s medical behavior and will get patient reports that are truthful and not just subjective.

This continuous, real-time data will save insurance companies money because they have been proven successful in the early prevention and control of treatments and diseases. In addition, things like the smart pill bottle will cut down on company costs because they do not have to pay for unnecessary hospital bills that are caused by incorrectly taken medication. The self-testing nature of the software cuts out unnecessary doctor visits and hospital bill, making it a win for the patient as well as a win for insurance companies that would otherwise have to foot the bill.

The Future of Healthcare and IOT

According to the KAA Project, spending on healthcare IOT solutions is projected to reach $1 trillion by the year 2025. I-Scoop declares that by 2019, 87% of healthcare organizations will have adopted these IOT technologies. Why is this projection so large? IOT software makes healthcare “personalized, accessible, and on-time”. Money, time, and lives are being saved with these devices and this software. It’s changing the face of health, one connected device at a time.

 

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Cloud solutions, and cloud-based ERP systems, have become much more popular in recent years – especially among small and midsize businesses – but there are many reasons why firms continue to choose traditional, on-premise systems.

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