The titles and responsibilities of Fabio Bellifemine are quite variegated: Senior Member of IEEE and Project Manager at the Innovation Department of Telecom Italia, he is also Managing Director and Legal Representative of Energy@home, a non-profit association aiming at developing technologies and services for energy efficiency at home. At the IoT360 Summit his presentation focused on Smart Home Eco-system and various activities of Energy@home.
In his interview with EAI, Fabio Bellifemine elaborates on several issues pertinent to IoT: from its multidisciplinary essence to the changes which smart grid applications are going to bring into our lives. Mr. Bellifemine also expresses his expectations from the IoT 360 Summit 2015 underlining the need to see more commercial aspects of IoT.
The IoT360 Summit had quite a dense program with various speakers from different backgrounds. In your opinion, what is the role of the multidisciplinary approach to the future of the IoT?
Innovation never concerns just a technological matter, I would say that it rather depends on the capability of interpreting social perspectives, and I would say that it always starts from understanding user needs and implementing proper user engagement methodologies. This does not depend on the user typology in a business: whether it is a consumer, a company, or a public administration – users need to be engaged.
IoT has such a large widespread field of application that its successful evolution cannot leave out of consideration a multidisciplinary approach ranging from sensing technology up to consumer behavior analysis and business modeling. Even political involvement is relevant since we rely on political decisions to commit public funds that support specific future research activities.
As responsible for the R&D Project on Smart Grid Applications, could you describe the changes which smart grid applications can bring into our lives?
By strictly focusing on the consumer domain, a Smart Home will be able to exploit the Smart Grid into the following ways.
First of all, it will generate consumer awareness of the usage of energy and it will provide consumers with the proper tools needed to identify energy-conscious behaviors and energy wastes.
Our relationship with energy is probably going to change, and we will have more attention towards this resource: Smart Grid Applications will enable the creation of cost-reflective energy prices, where consumer prices will depend on the time of usage and the actual cost of energy at the energy markets.
It will also boost the deployment of smart appliances that will be able to process these price signals and suggest to consumers the best schedule to run, for instance, a washing machine or the defrost cycle of a refrigerator based upon the availability of green energy or the minimum energy price.
In the medium term, a connection point between the Smart Grid and the Smart Home will arise that will also enable consumers to sell their flexibility to the grid, for instance, by making time shift in a service that consumers – via energy aggregators – will sell to the energy system in order to increase its stability and sustainability.
How is the IoT reflected in Energy@home activities?
Energy@home aims at developing and promoting technologies and services for energy efficiency at home based on device-to-device communication, or, IoT. Energy@home envisages, in fact, a holistic approach, where the home is an ecosystem of connected and interacting appliances and sub-systems that coordinate themselves in order to optimize energy consumption, increase energy efficiency, and create new services for end customers. I say “home” and not “house” in order to emphasize the role of the end user and their preferences and behaviors.
We are aiming at identifying and exploiting synergies between the plethora of services of the smart home: energy management, smart appliances, entertainment, comfort, lighting control, and so on. The Smart Home is not going to be a set of vertical apps, but a world of homogeneous devices that can work together in a way that is transparent to the consumer.
In line with its mission, Energy@home pursues the development of open international standards for IoT through proactive contribution in relevant standardization organizations and alliances.
What are your main expectations from the 2015 edition of IoT 360 Summit? Which issues would you like to be discussed at the Summit?
The game is moving from a research arena to a commercial arena. The expectation for the 2015 edition is to see more emphasis on the presentation of commercial cases of IoT and on the exchange of information and views on best practices closer to the market. I also wish to observe more emphasis on business models, user expectations, and value extraction from IoT.
The 2014 edition clearly showed that, thanks also to the EU R&D support, there are plenty of IoT platforms ready to enter the market: we all hope that 2015 is the time to go!