The CEOs of some of the leading Italian corporations in the infrastructure and energy sectors review progress on the application of new technologies and their impact on industrial processes
Rome, 21 May 2019 – Today saw the inauguration of ACEA’s Innovation Day, a full day dedicated to the new frontiers of artificial intelligence and data mining which are changing how business is done. The event was inspired by the desire to share the experience accumulated by the ACEA Group, which over the past two years has undertaken a process of continuous innovation in all sectors of operation (water, energy, environment and gas). Via this initiative, the aim of the Rome based multiutility operator is to bring together businesses and startups interested in the theme of innovation and describe its daily commitment to the research and development of innovative solutions under the banner of sustainability.
Taking part in the proceedings, which opened in Rome’s Spazio Novecento with a round table on “Innovation and sustainable future of multiutilities: artificial intelligence, data mining and new organisational models”, alongside ACEA’s CEO Stefano Donnarumma, participants included Luca Valerio Camerano, CEO of A2A, Luigi Ferraris, CEO of Terna, Paolo Gallo, CEO of Italgas, Elisabetta Ripa, CEO of Open Fiber, and Vincenzo Loia, full professor of Management & Innovation Systems at the University of Salerno. During the meeting – which was also attended by students from the ELIS Institute in Rome – the six protagonists outlined the scenarios and changes that will be produced by innovation and artificial intelligence within the economy and society, particularly in terms of organisation and employment. The ongoing challenge, for businesses concerned with the management of energy or telecommunications networks, consists in placing the opportunities offered by the new technologies at the service of their industrial vocation. On the one hand, in fact, there is the need to proceed with the implementation of artificial intelligence and data mining in the network control and management processes; on the other, it is necessary to bear in mind the main role of infrastructure operators, namely to constantly enhance the efficiency, safety and resilience of their assets.
All the topics discussed during the course of the Innovation Day round table will be gathered into a ‘position paper’, prepared by ACEA, setting out the innovative solutions and new organisational models proposed by each corporation, together with the theme-related contributions and visions as anticipated by the CEOs who took part in the event.
During the afternoon session, the theme of artificial intelligence and data mining was presented in an intervention by CEO Donnarumma, followed by contributions from Massimiliano Garri, head of Innovation Technology and Solutions at ACEA, Fabio Fregi, Country Manager of Google Cloud Italia, Giovanni De Lisi, CEO of Green Rail, and Diva Tommei, CEO of Solenica.
Of the projects presented by the Rome based multiutility, it is worth mentioning the smart street lighting, involving video cameras and sensors for monitoring air quality and weather conditions, as well as the drones for thermographic inspections, which can be used to record leaks in district heating pipelines, and a series of instruments with high technological value designed to ensure the real-time monitoring of the entire network of business services. Also presented were the Water Management System, used to analyse and monitor the vast quantity of data and information originating from the water network and the new Digital Control Room which remotely controls, in real time, over 1800 facilities and more than 7000 kilometres of water supply network.
Ample space was dedicated to the collaboration, initiated by ACEA over the past year, with the world of startups, which gave rise to over 15 experimentations involving various Group Business Units and Industrial Areas. For example, with Agesic and Mobileye, two projects are underway concerning the safety of field operators. On the other hand, thanks to the collaboration with Pedius, ACEA extended access to the ACEA Energia call centre also to hearing impaired users. Together with Askdata and Combined, solutions were implemented for the use of artificial intelligence in data and business performance analysis. Moreover, under evaluation via the “Prosumerchain” realised with Apio is the use of blockchain technology in energy exchanges between the network and users and between the users themselves. Lastly, together with Fly wallet Pay wearable biometric authentication solutions are being assessed.
All of these projects come within the growth strategies considered in ACEA’s 2019-2022 Business Plan presented in Milan on April 2nd last, which envisaged the allocation of 500 million Euro for investments in innovation and technology.