Tech giant Cisco has signed a memorandum of understanding with Snam, a major European natural gas utility, to work on research, development and innovation in the industrial internet of things sector.
Among other things the agreement, which was announced Tuesday, could look at new connectivity systems with the aim of ensuring that energy networks are more efficient and intelligent.
Other potential areas of interest include smart sensors to optimize how infrastructure is monitored and maintained.
Chuck Robbins, the CEO of Cisco, said the company would work with Snam to "enable its digital transformation, supporting the company in making its energy network increasingly sustainable using cutting edge technologies, IoT (internet of things), 5G and artificial intelligence."
The European Commission has described the internet of things as merging "physical and virtual worlds, creating smart environments." Breaking it down a bit further, think of devices that are connected to the internet and able to "talk" to one another. One example would be a thermostat in your home that you are able to control with your smartphone from your office.
The industrial internet of things broadly refers to manufacturers and businesses that use the technology to boost productivity. For its part, GE Digital has described the industrial internet of things as being "the network of a multitude of industrial devices connected by communications technologies that results in systems that can monitor, collect, exchange, analyze, and deliver valuable new insights like never before."
Marco Alvera, the CEO of Snam, said the company's agreement with Cisco marked a further step forward for its "digital transformation process."
"Our goal is to seize the opportunities offered by new technologies to drive the energy transition, making our network increasingly intelligent through IoT systems, machine learning and the use of drones, satellites and sensors to optimize infrastructure monitoring and management," Alvera added.