The New Technologies (ICT)
Digital transformation and technological innovation begin with the understanding and knowledge of new technologies: a small guide to keep up with the times
  • • Cloud Computing
  • • Artificial intelligence and Machine Learning
  • • Internet of Things
  • • Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
  • • Edge Computing
  • • Building Automation
  • • 5G

The New Technologies
An introduction to some of the new technologies that, in the business environment, are revolutionizing the processes management and the business world

The new information and communication technologies are closely linked to the business world and have become indispensable for increasing its competitiveness and making the most of its potential.

In this mini guide we present a selection of technologies that can be taken into consideration to streamline and enhance business processes.

Document Index




The Cloud Computing
The Cloud arises from the need to have a scalable, flexible, and easily usable IT infrastructure with the advantage of eliminating implementation costs, but at the same time, taking advantage of the same benefits using remote applications

The Cloud arises from the need to have a scalable, flexible, and easily usable IT infrastructure with the advantage of eliminating implementation costs but at the same time taking advantage of the same benefits using remote applications.

The cloud is a set of computing services such as servers, storage resources, databases, software, offered via the internet by a provider company and are used remotely.

Cloud Computing is not just data storage via a remote server. It is a model for restructuring all ICT resources and can redefine, starting from the basics, the way we are used to managing IT systems, making the entire ICT management more agile. This model makes it possible to simplify the management of a company's information systems by transforming physical infrastructures into usable virtual services and allows applications to be used from any device and in any place thanks to the use of an internet network.

Cloud computing can be:

  • SaaS (Software as a Service): software services are provided in this model. For example, Office 365 allows you to use your programs, Excel, Word, even online, or e-mail services such as Gmail.
  • PaaS (Platform as a Service): in this case, the infrastructures necessary to develop, test and deploy an application are provided. Microsoft's Windows Azure or Google's Cloud Platform is the PaaS model with which it is possible to process applications written with various programming languages.
  • IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service): the entire IT infrastructure is provided. Entire machines, space, network services are purchased and virtually used to offer their services and applications independently.

The cloud works like a folder, an external hard disk, a sort of virtual warehouse, a server on which to manage your files, with the advantage of accessing them from anywhere and at any time, because they are accessible through an internet connection. In this sense, when only archiving operations are managed in the cloud, it is called cloud storage, and it has the function of providing a large amount of space in which to store and organize a large amount of data.

The cloud can be of the following types:

  • Public Cloud: a provider delivers its services, hardware, software, servers, via the internet to multiple users, who, upon subscription, can use them through a personalized account.
  • Private Cloud: the services are provided to a single company and are not shared with other companies. It represents an optimal solution as far as security is concerned, but it is very expensive as it requires in addition to the hardware and its management also a data center to host them.
  • Hybrid Cloud: these combine aspects of the cloud types seen above, it is a much more flexible system since it allows you to manage some data through the private mode and others with the public one.

The reasons for moving to Cloud computing differ from company to company and according to your needs, you can choose the most appropriate cloud modes: a small business may not have the resources and skills necessary to manage infrastructure optimally. ICT, others may find it much cheaper to host their services in a provider's data center rather than implement it, other larger companies may have already built their infrastructures and therefore make their datacenter more efficient by adopting the features of Cloud computing in a Cloud private.

In any case, cloud computing allows for greater cost efficiency, reduced implementation times, and resource scalability because it gives the possibility to use resources automatically, without requiring assistance or human intervention, and can be managed on different devices both fixed. that mobile.

However, the cloud also has limitations: for example, not having full control of resources can be a problem because by using the cloud you agree to entrust control of hardware and software to the providers who provide the services; or the fact of not having a good Internet connection to use cloud services; but the main limitation is safety, for which there is no standard, so every single supplier adopts the necessary measures independently.


Edge Computing
A fast and efficient way to process data with decentralized IT architectures to obtain information in near real-time, with less latency, lower bandwidth requirements than the cloud, and greater flexibility of the business environment

Edge computing is a network philosophy focused on bringing data processing as close as possible to its source to reduce latency and bandwidth consumption. In simple terms, Edge computing means running fewer processes in the cloud and moving those processes to local locations, such as a user’s computer, IoT device, or edge server. Bringing computing to the edge of the network minimizes the amount of long-distance communication that must occur between a client and a server, which is typical of a cloud architecture.

Even as IoT and edge computing are still in their infancy, they are already accelerating digital transformation in many industries, and companies are uncovering even more detailed information and data to analyze history and predict the future.

Choosing edge computing, therefore, means obtaining faster and more stable services at lower cost, performing aggregation and analysis of big data on-site allowing you to make decisions in near real-time and future reducing the risk of exposure of sensitive data.

While edge computing offers the opportunity to harness the full value of data, the cloud remains essential as a centralized data repository and processing center combining to help companies make the most of data in every step.

Internet of Things
The IoT associates the Internet with the real things of everyday life, objects, and devices that are increasingly connected and integrated, which give life to an increasingly dense network that requires control, automation, and detection

The evolution of the Internet has extended Internet to real objects, things and places. "Things" that can interact with the network to transfer data and information.

The object interacts with the surrounding world to collect and process information and transfer it simultaneously to the network, acting as an interface between the real world and the digital world.

The term "thing" or "object" refers to many categories of equipment ranging from simple devices to systems and systems, from materials to machines, to production equipment.

The main areas of application of the IoT are represented by those contexts in which there are "things" that can "talk" and generate new information.

The sectors most affected by IoT applications are Smart Home, Smart Building, Smart City, Smart Mobility and Smart Manufacturing. In the energy sector, Smart Metering is widespread, while in the world of mobility, new opportunities arrive in the field of Smart Cars.

Through the IoT things can be controlled remotely and at the same time are able to transmit useful data on their operation and on the interaction with the surrounding objects.

The scope of application of the IoT can concern various sectors of a company, transforming it into Smart Factory and increasingly into Industry 4.0. A small sensor is all you need to have intelligent machines and make entire storage systems and production facilities independent. This generates an infinite and continuous amount of data which, if properly managed by suitable software, will completely control all the business sectors for the entire production cycle.

The IoT is closely linked with the Cloud and Edge Computing because only these technologies can provide the necessary tools to store and process the amount of data coming from the "real world".


Building Automation
Home automation and building automation can make intelligent a building, a plant, a device, a control system, or an entire environment

Home automation is a science in which different disciplines and skills of engineering, architecture, energy, electrical engineering, information technology, security, and design converge. It consists of integrated and advanced systems aimed at concretely improving the quality of life and the safety of people, animals, and things.

Whether it’s a single apartment or an entire building, home automation is an extremely complex interdisciplinary science: designing and building environments studied to improve the quality of life mean designing not only connected and communicating objects but also protocols and standardized interfaces that allow these objects to connect to increasingly converging and integrated management platforms.

The potentials are therefore very much, and the areas of application can extend to all sectors: software, sensors, machines that communicate with each other and update themselves, machines that learn, … The home automation system allows for coordinated and continuous management of all the devices that compose it.

The characteristics adopted for the construction of home automation systems are:

  • Simplicity: the home automation system is aimed at a wide audience; therefore, it uses user-friendly, safe interfaces and must not present dangers for those who do not know or understand its potential.
  • Continuity: the system must be built thinking that it will have to offer a continuous service if not immune to failures, simple, and quick to repair
  • Reliability: the system is always in operation and does not require special attention; even in the event of failures, it must be able to provide the service for which it was designed

There are many sectors in which home automation can be applied, however, today, the most established ones are Building Automation and Home automation.

The strength of Building automation lies in the fact that in a building it is necessary to provide a whole series of services to the real estate units, to improve management flexibility, comfort, safety, maintenance, costs, and environmental impact.

Smart Home is like Building Automation for a single housing unit. The term "smart home" indicates an environment "appropriately designed and technologically equipped" where equipment and systems can perform partially autonomous functions, programmed by the user or completely autonomous thanks to the programmed self-learning of the machines themselves.

The main areas of application of home automation are:

  • management of service facilities
  • management of the environment and climate control
  • management of appliances and machines
  • security management
  • energy consumption management
  • maintenance management

Home automation brings advantages not only in terms of comfort but also economic ones. Thanks to the automation made possible by sensors and detectors, the exchange of machine-environment information and vice versa takes place, so the control unit will decide how to manage a system, optimize resources, and reduce waste.

Another advantage is the remote control, with which we can act on the control unit and the individual components at any time, from a remote location or a Mobile Application.

The purpose of home automation is to make a building more efficient, both from the point of view of improving life and maintaining and managing consumption.


Business Intelligence
Business Intelligence has transformed from a tool for retrospective analysis to a tool for real-time and predictive analysis. If before we analyzed the "what happened?" today, we get to analyze the "what will happen?"

Business Intelligence refers to the set of processes, models, tools, and people used to collect and organize all the wealth of data generated by a business. BI deals with analyzing and processing these data to transform them into meaningful information for the strategic development of the company.

The task of BI is not only to validate and process the data but also to take care of their representation to facilitate their understanding by the entire company team: key performance indicators (KPIs) and company reports will be able to support management in strategic decisions and encourage a timely response to the sudden changes in the observed systems.

The best BI systems feed on data from advanced information systems that allow constant and direct monitoring of all company activities. An ERP flanked by a BI system becomes the most powerful data collection and analysis tool available to company management.

The integration naturally becomes easier if the ERP application and the BI platform can work together and the data exchange takes place directly automatically. In this context, Business Intelligence can operate without re-decoding big data to the advantage of the speed of analysis and the "freshness" of the information examined by the ERP with BI.

BI will thus be able to offer greater transparency on the strengths that drive its business and to act directly on the weaknesses, without waiting for periodic reports.

Companies that implement BI systems will be able to improve their production and commercial efficiency through Intelligence operations aimed at the Business, defining a corporate structure that sees managers and analysts engaged on a single front, projected according to corporate strategies, to achieve the set objectives.


Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning can simplify and speed up processes and can help understand data and achieve goals

Often the terms Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are confused: although they are closely linked to each other, they are not the same thing but two sides of the same coin.

Meanwhile, artificial intelligence aims to develop machines capable to make decisions with complete autonomy, machine learning represents the algorithm that makes computers “intelligent”.

We could define artificial intelligence as the science that develops the necessary architecture for machines to function like the human brain (also through neuronal networks): artificial intelligence is built to be able to recognize models, develop strategies, and act independently.

Machine learning, on the other hand, is the ability of machines to learn without being explicitly and previously programmed. Machine learning uses two different approaches: supervised, when you provide the computer with examples to use as models, or unsupervised when the computer automatically learns from the data without any “help”.

Artificial intelligence, through data analysis, can be a great help to interpret the past and monitor the present, but above all, to provide future indications for the future. The application environment has a large scope with the possibility that in short term, many processes can be automated.

If in recent years, research has made great studies about forms of intelligence learning, it is also true that much still needs to be done to perfect a series of elements, algorithms, and technical structures. The possibilities for future development of this brunch are still many, especially related to the various sectors of application, not only scientific but above all in common use.

Probably, a limiting factor to the full use of these technologies is the fear that machines may become too intelligent, depriving man of choice and freedom. However, if we stop to reflect, we could say that even if artificial intelligence is not yet used and developed to its full potential, we are already users, aware or unaware, of these technologies.


Virtual and Augmented Reality
According to a Capgemini report, virtual reality will become of common use in the next 3/5 years, according to the same study, 82% of the companies using this technology claim to have found benefits equal to or greater than their expectations

Virtual Reality is an exclusively digital environment that simulates actual reality in an intangible way and that is conveyed to our senses by devices that allow real-time interaction with the elements reproduced in it.

Virtual reality can be:

  • Immersive: the user is completely isolated from the external environment and is transported into the parallel reality reproduced and is completely absorbed in it, thanks also to a complex set of tools.
  • Non-immersive: the digital recreated environment has a lower sensory impact on the user, also due to the lower quality of the tools used (for example smartphone)

Virtual reality often tends to be confused with Augmented or Mixed Reality, the last represents an enrichment of the perception of the reality through additional digital content that allows you to enhance the real environment.

The fields of application of virtual or augmented reality can be very varied, from the medical sector to design, from assembly to sale. Videogames and simulators were pioneers of this technology, but nowadays they can be used in any field.

Fortunately, virtual reality technologies have come out of research labs and are quickly gaining ground in the corporate world as well. Proof of this is the success of the Microsoft HoloLens device, which allows for the rapid implementation of Mixed Reality solutions thanks to a large set of tools.

More and more often, we are witnessing new implementations of virtual reality for the corporate world, there is no sector immune from this transformation. From retail to tourism, from real estate to automotive: today it is possible to try on a dress without wearing it or to walk inside your home before making it.

Virtual reality is therefore also within the reach of Italian SMEs. Practical mixed reality applications are increasingly frequent: in assembly, warehouses, construction sites, maintenance, and agriculture. ICT managers and professionals have the task of exploring this new technology which has the undoubted advantage of supporting human work and minimizing error.


5G Technology
5G technology, or "5th Generation", the fifth generation of communication and connectivity technology for mobile networks can guarantee a greater speed, lower latency, and the ability to support simultaneous connections of multiple devices 

In recent years we have moved from analog technologies (1G) to second-generation (2G) networks, that is the digital ones, which regulated mobile telephony, without ever considering data transmission. Moving on to 3G technology, we also focused on mobile and high-speed Internet traffic, up to the current 4G which has seen the development of the mobile broadband Internet sector both from the point of view of speed and efficiency.

However, with the current technological progress and the needs of the new digital revolution, 4G is unable to support this technical evolution, in which the fundamental requirement is that "the whole world is connected".

According to the Next Generation Mobile Networks Alliance organization, a 5G network, among the requirements to be considered as such, must have:

  • Data transmission at a speed of at least 20Gbps in download and at least 10Gbps in upload
  • In mobility, the 5G connection must be usable and stable up to 500 km/h
  • The new network will have to allow the connection of one million devices per square kilometer

Since the goal of the digital revolution is to connect not only mobile phones but will see the operation on real systems, in business, smart homes, smart cities, and much more, the current 4G is outdated considering that it manages to receive and send data at the speed of 1Gbps. It is not just a question of bandwidth, because a marked improvement of the entire ecosystem is expected.

2020 will be the year of the affirmation of the digital revolution, the wireless one, by this date the 5G will officially debut, even if in some areas it is already in use. It is easy to understand, therefore, that the new network will no longer have to guarantee only bandwidth but also satisfy new and more complex scenarios of use. Suffice it to say that with the advent of the IoT every device will be interconnected to other devices, there will be billions of objects connected to the network at the same time all over the world: for this, it will have to be a network of gigantic scope.

Everything will be connected: smart cities, roads, traffic management, safety sensors, self-driving cars, smart homes, virtual and augmented reality, smart factories, the whole connected world that exchanges information at high speed. 5G will heavily affect every aspect of our society, it will lead to a real genetic mutation of all services and the creation of new ones.


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