Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Snam partners Microsoft on IoT improvements

Steve Rogerson
June 18, 2019

Italian natural gas utility Snam has signed a memorandum of understanding with Microsoft to develop cloud-based and AI services to improve the development and management of energy networks using the IoT.
The companies will collaborate on key drivers of innovation and digital transformation, including cloud, artificial intelligence and paradigms of the IoT. They will design intelligent and transformative products and services for the energy network and infrastructure sector. These innovations are expected to have a positive impact on territories and communities, by enabling potential services related to the circular economy, environmental sustainability and security.
They will use the Microsoft Azure Cloud platform, services and tools for the IoT, including Azure IoT Central, and for the secure management of devices, such as Azure Sphere, Microsoft’s platforms for data and artificial intelligence, as well as the HoloLens holographic viewer.
The signing of the agreement was witnessed by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Snam CEO Marco Alverà, Microsoft Italia CEO Silvia Candiani, and Snam executive vice president Cosma Panzacchi.
“Thanks to this agreement, we will join Snam on its journey towards what Satya Nadella defines as a tech intensity era, an era in which investment in new technologies will combine with constantly evolving expertise to promote a new digital culture at all levels,” said Candiani. “We will work with Snam on various digital transformation drivers, including cloud, AI and IoT, with the aim of making energy networks increasingly efficient and safe. We will also contribute to sector innovation through smart cities, which will benefit us all.”
Snam operates in Italy and, through subsidiaries, in Albania, Austria, France, Greece and the UK. The company has the first gas transport network (about 32,600km in Italy, over 41,000 with international subsidiaries) and storage capacity (16.9 billion cubic metres in Italy, over 20 with international subsidiaries) in Europe. Snam also manages the first liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal built in Italy and is a shareholder of two other strategically positioned terminals in the Mediterranean.
“Snam’s digital transformation is a key element of our strategy and of the Snamtec project, which we will invest €850m into by 2022,” said Alverà. “This investment will pave the way to building the energy company of the future, which will be more digital, sustainable and closer to the communities in which we operate. Moreover, thanks to partnerships with major operators such as Microsoft, we aim to seize the opportunities offered by new technologies to drive energy transition and optimise network intelligence. Cloud, AI and machine learning will also be used in new generations of sensors to optimise infrastructure monitoring and management.”