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First trend: the Internet of Things

Innovation / -

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Thanks to the Internet, potentially every single object that is part of our everyday experience acquires an existence in the digital dimension: tools and commonly-used devices can exchange information via electronic components, sensors and interconnected software. Consequently, all these devices can be controlled from a distance. These characteristics open up a vast field of possible application in agricultural food production.


Cropp: a youthful app from Rome wins a prize from NASA

Innovation / -


A group of young students in Rome designed and built Cropp, an app device for agriculture. Using a sensor on the ground and data gathered from satellites, this can provide farmers with an overview of the state of their crops. It won a prize from NASA at the Space Apps Challenge.

They joined the cosmos with a microcosm and won the Space Apps Challenge, an international competition for the best apps inspired by space technologies, organized by NASA. Young engineering students at a technical institution in Rome, the inventors of Cropp (Culture Risks Observation and Prevention Platform), an application for use in agriculture, integrating a ground-based sensor gathering crop and soil data with other data gathered directly from satellites in orbit and processing an overall picture of the situation which is then transmitted to the farmer’s smartphone. This is an example of precision farming, a revolution taking place around the world. On Wednesday 17 June the team was a guest at the USA Pavilion in Expo Milano 2015, for a conference given by Charles Bolden (NASA Administrator) and Luca Parmitano (ASI Astronaut).
Grasshopper alert!
At first sight, the CROPP sensor looks like a toy, but it actually contains highly advanced technologies. The team that designed it started off from a normal plastic mineral water bottle, adding various devices to measure various parameters attached to it or inside it, powered by solar cells. It even has an alarm system for detecting invasions by crickets or grasshoppers, activated by a microphone which picks up their ‘songs’. From the soil it gathers various data, including temperature and eventual parasite presence, which are then integrated with satellite data to make up an overall picture. In practice, the farmer can check out his crops with a few clicks on his smart device.
Next goal: Cape Canaveral
Winning the Space Apps Challenge has already been a great adventure. The competition was held contemporarily all round the world, involving a 48-hour marathon to plan and implement everything. The Italian part was held in the La Sapienza University in Rome, organized by the USA Consulate. The CROPP team took advantage of every possible minute, with the final operative testing of the sensor bottle carried out on the university lawn. Then the two-team final against a team from California. And finally the victory, for the Galactic Impact section. The prize consists of the possibility of developing the app and assisting at a Cape Canaveral space launch on the occasion of the official prize-giving.

La Comanda. Order your pizza from your fridge

Innovation / -

Thanks to the Internet of Things, the Click'n Pizza button allows you to order your favorite menu with a single click.

How many times, arriving home after work, have we wished we had “a magic button” we could use to order our supper with the least effort possible? Maybe the genie has finally decided to slip out of the lamp, thanks to the Internet of Things: the startup company La Comanda has created Click’N’Pizza, allowing you to order your favorite menu with just one simple click.

We asked Carlo Brianza, founder and CEO of La Comanda, to tell us about his project.
What does Click’N’Pizza consist of?

It’s a magnetic button that can be attached to a fridge door or alternatively, thanks to its metal support, placed anywhere in the kitchen. Click’n’pizza works by battery, has a display and uses the home wifi connection. The user can use a simple web interface to personalize all their favorite food and drink menus, choosing one as their “one click priority”.  All the menus are then synchronized automatically with the click’n’pizza.
The device has three functional modes: One Click (I press the button for five seconds and my “one click menu” will be ordered); Turn’N’Click (by turning and pressing the button I quickly and easily view my various menus or write a new one); Promo’N’Click (the display flashes to indicate special offer prices: by pressing the button I can view them and, if interested, can immediately order the “special price” offer).

How did the La Comanda button happen? And who had the idea? What technology does it involve?
The idea came to the founder in 2013, and was then developed thanks to the contributions of the whole team. For its internet connection it uses wifi technology, and apart from the technological component it also has important design and user experience components, making it a product that is innovative but also good-looking and easy to use.

How many people have you got on your staff?
We have three teams working on solution development in the design/user experience areas, R&D and production, Cloud and Web. 12 professionals are operatively involved in the project.

What is your professional background?
I graduated in Telecommunications Engineering in Milan, and before founding La Comanda I was a manager with Nokia for 14 years. My associate and CFO Andrea Gaggi worked in Nokia for 18 years as financial director.
Who are your competitors? What are your strong points in terms of competitiveness?
Our first competitors are smartphone apps. In mobility, apps are fantastic in all kinds of contexts. I often compare smartphones to Swiss penknives: perfect on a campsite, but at home you open the bottle with a corkscrew, not a penknife. At home you use scissors, knives and screwdrivers. Same thing with the IoT: at home you can have better solutions… simpler, quicker and more pleasant.

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