Can IoT save remote Roman ruins?

29 August, 2017 - 13:36

Archeologists concerned about the state of an underground site discovered below the Opera House in Rome turned to Politecnico di Milano, one of the most important technical universities in Italy, for an automated solution. Although physical access to the site was limited, archeologists needed to determine whether humidity, temperature, and other environmental factors were destroying the ancient friezes and sculptures. 

The project offered the perfect opportunity to showcase embedded sensor technology that Politecnico di Milano had developed. It also could provide an example of how technology designed to solve complex business problems could be scaled down and applied on smaller-scale IoT projects. 

The team’s goal was to create the system, as simply as possible, with existing technology—preferably using tools straight out of the box.

One of the senior advisors to the team, Luca Mottola, Associate Professor and Director of the Networked Embedded Software Lab at Politecnico di Milano and senior researcher at RISE SICS, says, “We tried several solutions and found that many cloud-based IoT platforms are overly complicated for what they do. Among the possible options, Azure was the best choice to get this done.”

Many cloud-based IoT platforms require several levels of specialized expertise. Mottola says, “We had to involve so many different components, each with its own documentation, internal logic, and specific way of working. You had to put together so many pieces of the puzzle to do something that is actually very simple. That was one of the major sources of complication that Azure solved.”

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