Design for IoT and Industry 4.0: a talk with Gabriele Montelisciani, CEO at Zerynth and speaker at BLAST 2017

by | May 9, 2017

Hi guys! We had a chat with Gabriele Montelisciani, CEO at Zerynth and speaker at BLAST 2017. His workshop, hosted in the Startup Academy, will be focused on “Design for IoT and Industry 4.0: improving the resilience of the startups of this industry through design”. Don’t miss the chance: listen to Gabriele, we’re sure that his experience can fit your business goals. Book your pass, meet him at BLAST!

Let’s start talking about you: who is Gabriele Montelisciani?

I am the CEO of Zerynth, a startup funded in Italy and US that works in the Internet of Things development field. I am 30 years old and I hold a PhD in Management Engineering. I’ve been always fascinated by the relationships between technological innovation, design thinking and entrepreneurship. I had the amazing chance to deepen these topics in Academia, during my PhD Studies, as well as in my business journey. I am the co-founder of Fablab Pisa, the digital fabrication lab of the city and I am the Project Manager of ENDuRE (European Network of Design for Resilient Entrepreneruship), a cutting edge project aimed at supporting European startups overcoming the “valley of death” of entrepreneurship using a design-centered approach.

Would you tell us more about Zerynth?

Zerynth is the middleware for smart devices, IoT and Industry 4.0 applications. We like to call Zerynth “the Android of the Embedded World” as it aims at the reducing the barriers for developing IoT applications. The same philosophy that Android conveyed to mobile developers, enabling them to develop amazing apps without being experts of mobile electronics and operating systems.

Reaching beyond professional embedded developers, Zerynth also offers high-level programmers, product designers and IoT cloud developers a complete set of high-quality development tools to create interactive smart devices and connected solutions.

Zerynth technologies are tailored for designing embedded applications and IoT connected devices using any 32-bit microcontrollers and connecting to any cloud infrastructure. All in Python & hybrid C/Python language.

Our modular set of software tools enables to create flexible, scalable and customizable IoT solutions, reducing the time to market and the overall cost.

How did this adventure start?

We come from a dynamic and heterogeneous research team based at the University of Pisa. We worked in the products and processes design field and after some years in the field we found out that engineers, designers and artists approaching the Internet of Things world are more interested in having their prototypes and products work properly, rather than in learning and implementing a time consuming programming language like C++. This is why Python language is becoming very popular in Arts, Interactive installations and in scientific data analysis and software development too. We realized that there was an enormous crowd of professionals skilled in using the Python programming language to develop the software for the “next big thing” in IoT. That’s the reason that pushed us to develop a software called VIPER (the former name of Zerynth) and launch it with a crowdfunding campaign on Kicktarter in March 2015. The 22579 dollars collected from around 400 enthusiasts allowed us finalizing the development and releasing in one year the 1.0 version of the software.

There were two years full of satisfactions for Zerynth: a successful Kickstarter campaign, more than 6000 users worldwide…can you talk about the results you achieved?

Besides the numbers, the main result we are proud to have achieved is that we have contributed to make the Internet of Things technologies more accessible for commercial applications to not embedded engineers and small-medium enterprises wanting to provide a digital soul in their solutions. Zerynth software is up and running in commercial applications for retail, commercial refrigeration, waste management, and smart devices.

What about your next goals?

In January 2017 we launched the 2.0 version of our software along with a pre-ordering campaign for the professional version (Zerynth Studio PRO), that will be launched in June 2017. This will enable the development of even more powerful IoT solutions, including the possibility to easily update the products firmware in the after market.

During the BLAST 2017 tech event, in our Startup Academy you’ll speak about “Design for IoT and Industry 4.0: improving the resilience of the startups of this industry through design”. Would you anticipate something about this workshop?

First of all we will show how smart IoT devices can enable new business models in the industry through the “hardware as a service” approach.

We will introduce the concept of PREtotype and we will see how this approach together with functional analysis tools and the Zerynth software can support product design of IoT and Industry 4.0 solutions

What is your opinion about the current situation of the IoT and the Industry 4.0 in Italy?

From a market point of view, this first part of 2017 gave positive signals about the commitment of small, medium and large enterprises in investing in the Industry 4.0 approach. The feeling is that the market is getting mature enough to understand why these innovations are crucial for competing in the global market. From the point of view of the solutions providers, there are many Italian startups that are doing great, and my suggestion is to ride this moment of enthusiasm to push the go-to-market and develop industrial application, rather than just focusing on venture capital investments. This needs of course a radical shift in most of the medium and large companies mindset: innovation needs substantial investments, and startups cannot survive developing free of charge Proof of Concepts!

What do you see in BLAST? Which is the reason why you decided to become a speaker of this event?

I like the philosophy of BLAST as an event that faces innovation and technology in a holistic way. While vertical initiatives in specific business sectors still make sense, events like BLAST represent a great way to represent the horizontal scope that innovation and new technologies have nowadays. It is fundamental to bring together practitioners and actors that have different points of view and that operate at different levels along the value chain.

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