- The new agreement extends the existing partnership between the two companies to the entire Enel Group in order to develop innovative digital solutions and services
- New generation of programmable networks, cybersecurity, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and coinnovation, to help build the world’s energy future
Rome, June 19th, 2020 – Enel and Cisco Italy signed an agreement to expand their partnership that was launched in 2017. Cisco becomes Enel’s Global Technology Partner to develop innovative solutions for electricity grids, to promote and spread Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technologies, to enhance cybersecurity processes, and to scout for co-innovation solutions based on Open Innovation. The partnership’s development could also include crowdsourcing cooperation, to be implemented on the OpenInnovability.com platform, launched by Enel to gather innovative and sustainable solutions. The new areas of cooperation in the agreement will apply to Enel Group companies all over the world.
In line with Enel’s needs and subject to the terms of the agreement, Cisco will implement IIoT and Edge Intelligence technologies, and will also provide Cisco network components specifically designed for smart grids, with a circular economy approach. Enel and Cisco will also work together in the fields of physical and cyber security with a particular aim on protecting critical infrastructures.
One of the main opportunities that digital innovations offer today to utilities in the energy space is the use of new generation network technologies that are extremely programmable through software and automation. Such technologies enable utilities to take full advantage of the potential of smart grids, guaranteeing their optimal management to benefit end customers.
Enel’s Chief Innovability® Officer Ernesto Ciorra said: “The partnership with Cisco confirms our commitment to the development of technological innovations that boost the energy transition. We work openly on these innovations, collaborating with numerous startups, prestigious universities and, as in this case, with innovation companies that are world leaders in their sectors. With Cisco, we will innovate in various areas: from IT security to connectivity and intelligent asset management. The energy transition poses major challenges for our planet. Challenges that we will overcome if we combine humility and open-mindedness, necessary to collaborate, with the ability to achieve radical visions of sustainable progress, with courage and passion.”
Gianmatteo Manghi, Sales Director of Cisco Italy, said: "We are renewing and extending with great satisfaction our collaboration with Enel after a first phase full of excellent results. The digital transformation in energy generation and distribution is crucial for our future: it is the key to meeting the challenge of sustainable growth, based on the use of clean, renewable and distributed sources. New automated, programmable and secure networks allow today to achieve truly innovative solutions for a critical infrastructure for the country and its citizens".
During the first three years of cooperation between Enel and Cisco, from 2017 to 2019, several co-education activities were implemented through training programs on networking technologies and cybersecurity. The two companies, together with the University Politecnico di Milano, also developed a specific training course focused on smart grids: the digitalized grids that electric utilities need in order to deal with transformations in the energy sector caused by ever-increasing use of distributed and renewable sources of energy.
Specifically, the initiative has made it possible to further strengthen the expertise of Enel technicians by involving operating personnel from all over Italy. Important technological tests have also laid the foundation for certain development lines envisaged in the new agreement.
Enel has worked with Cisco on the remote monitoring of roadside cabinets, using IIoT technologies and LoRaWAN (Long Range Wide Area Network) connectivity. To reduce the risks of damage to medium and low voltage lines due to extreme weather events, an experimental IIoT project was implemented using sensors connected through LoRaWAN communication. The sensors are capable of ice monitoring, to report lines at risk of breaking due to accumulations of ice and snow, or surge arrest, to mitigate any voltage peaks (overloads) due to events such as lightning strikes on aerial lines. Finally, studies are underway on a group of cybersecurity solutions based on Cisco platforms, specifically for IIoT applications, with the addition of other potential activities through the new agreement.