Saturday, October 1, 2022

Stefano Linari, Founder & CEO of Alleantia

Stefano Linari

Internet of Thing (IoT) is a technology that will transform daily life. How does ISC software and Plug & Play integrate with any device?

What we agreed on since our inception in 2011, is an IoT integration platform, creating the tool needed to integrate industrial devices with enterprise application and cloud. It is a pretty unique proposition in the market because we neither produce data nor use it, but we are a gateway in the middle for the purpose of making the integration process as simple, fast, and as inexpensive as possible.

This can be done by creating the driver concept in an industrial space, like when you buy a $50 printer, you receive the driver inside the package or directly from a website. Every application can use this physical resource to the driver, and before Alleantia, the concept of drivers was aimed at commercial hardware not for an industrial one. Thus, we decided to propose our standard for this XPANGO format, meaning a driver which needs communication, semantics, commands, and other information that allow every application to use this industrial device independently from vendors and technology.

How does IoT help data acquisition and connection between machines? Increase speed and efficiency of applications?

This is the main objective for IoT: reducing the data input from humans, whilst someone can obtain precise and fast data about your production. As such, this is the first stage in which we are replacing human input with an automatic one. The second stage is trying to transfer massive quantity of data that humans are not able to acquire – creating big data whilst learning to understand how the machine can be optimized and how one machine can be integrated with others along the supply chain, up to predictive maintenance.

I don’t see that real implementation of predictive maintenance is able to predict a lot of failures, but the reason is not because the model is not running, but because you have to see when machines breakdown more often to configure items. It’s just a matter of time before we can accumulate our statistics and for this reason, which is our third rule, IoT can improve production by creating the database, which many companies are accumulating production data for.

Can you explain more about IoT apps and the way it helps connect IoT edge with any business application via cloud?

Let’s simplify it, we can consider our ISC software to be like the Android operating system and the gateway that ISC runs inside a machine to be like the smart phone carrying that OS. What we allow for our partners, is mainly independence of their vendor or software.

The app can be installed over the gateway together with our ISC accessing certain subsets of the whole data; just like when people install any app on their phones and it requests accessing the contacts, pictures etc. This is what Alleantia does. Then this data is streamed through this application.

The main advantage of this approach is you don’t create an umbrella environment when you get the gateway cloud platform or analytics from one tender but creating something that is more scalable. In this case, you can install an app for each specific usage.

Can IoT software prevent errors and problems from happening? And if problems are present, how can they be solved immediately?

IoT can prevent a certain set of mistakes. Thanks to a proper IoT app, when you launch a production of a certain material, all the recipes needed along the production chain are uploaded to each machine, thus the system is ready to prevent errors.

Another important thing is that what you can prevent is not really an error in terms of production but error in terms of procedure for cyber security. So you can upload files directly from the cloud to the machines.

“One click is enough to create a real revolution.” Give us more insight about the benefits of digitizing our activities?

What we are looking for is to create a simple solution that allow machines to speak with IT words in 60 seconds, in just one click. People have to select a name and an item from our catalogue then insert and click connect.

The first exercise that we suggest to our customers is when you have plenty of data from your machines, just take two of those and automatically fill them into our ISC software – that usually comes later. By just saving the data entry, which is possible in a few minutes, you can start to use other handles of data that you have. Ultimately, with a few clicks, you will change your organization.

Tell us about the XPANGO technology?

XPANGO technology is the idea from which Alleantia was born because we wanted to create a solution that really sets the standard, for the mere fact that every institution is focusing to create a common language in terms of “bit and bite”, to connect industrial devices together then connect them to the app.

No one at the moment is taking care of the semantic data, the usage of a certain value has to be treated in a certain way and this number translated from one unit to another, later transferred to all machines. All this information is addressed by XPANGO which is not just a matter of data exchange but information exchange.

How do we use the XPANGO driver?

When we have to connect the device, you have to select the proper driver like a printer for your pc and click connect; that’s it. If you have to connect to a new device that has never been connected to Alleantia, we provide driver editor and online tools for free, thus creating and distributing your driver over our public library. We are working on an ecosystem and promoting it to create drivers that are freely available.

What are the key IoT trends defining Industry 4.0?

Increase productivity for the end user and for factory owners, increase the OEE (Overall Equipment Efficiency), reduce time and activate a predictive maintenance strategy.

IoT is used to increase the topline of your balance sheet, increase revenue, save money by reducing the number of employees in factories due to the coronavirus and enabling better remote ability and enhanced maintenance.

There are even banks that are interested in this process because if you have a smart product, you would pay in a smart way. If the machine is an industrial device, you need a financial institution that helps you create a sort of labor use. Many banks are integrating IoT in their financial services.

Data security and privacy is a growing concern. What is your company’s guarantee for protecting data?

We usually address and solve such problems, but there is always the risk of data theft by cyberattacks which requires adding multiple fire walls and many tools to prevent such malicious activities.

The main problem is data ownership. When one customer decides to use Alleantia, he/she is deciding to choose “access rights” when using IoT apps and who sees the data– similar to installing an app on your mobile.

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