Smart technology - Interview with Marco Palazzetti, GRUPPO PALAZZETTI

Marco Palazzetti, head of research and development at Italian stove manufacturer GRUPPO PALAZZETTI, is set to give an insight into his company’s latest innovation at the 14th Pellets Industry Forum. He aims to show how technologies such as the Internet of Things and big data analytics can be applied in conjunction with pellet stoves, and illustrate how this will benefit the industry. Mr. Palazzetti gives a sneak peek at his presentation in the following interview.

  1. Mr. Palazzetti, you will be speaking about IoT and big data analytics at the 14th Pellets Industry Forum. What do these terms mean?

    IoT is an abbreviation for the Internet of Things, which describes the internet connection between different objects (“things”). When embedded with the relevant electronics, these can connect to the internet, send information to the grid, and continuously exchange information, as well as interact, with their surroundings. The aim is to create an electronic map of the real world – for a stove, this map might contain information about fuel consumption, which of the available power settings are actually being used, and how many times a day the stove ignites or is in operation.  IoT generates vast quantities of data (big data), which are analyzed based on the IoT application and target (big data analytics).

    The information acquired from these data can be used to create new services that will revolutionize and supplement conventional ways of selling products. This will benefit both the consumer using the product and related service and the company, who will no longer just meet – if at all – at the point of purchase, but now interact with one another on a continuous basis.

    Palazzetti has developed a gateway connecting the pellet stove to the internet. This gateway systematically sends extensive information about stove operation, and thus user behavior, to a server on a regular basis. This application has been on the market since 2014 and is currently being used in several hundred pellet stoves.

  2. In your opinion, how does this technology benefit the pellets industry?

    We have identified three main advantages. Firstly, this technology will benefit private  consumers. The connected world will open the door to a higher quality of life as well as increased comfort, security and also fun. Many products already offer consumers such benefits. We wanted pellet stoves to do the same because they are much more than “just” heaters.

    Secondly, we intend to use this technology to improve predictive maintenance and, by preventing malfunctions, to boost product quality, service life and security, for example.

    Thirdly, we want to use big data analytics to analyze consumer behavior. This would make it easier for us to tailor new products to real, day-to-day user behavior and adjust and regulate installed devices externally. We also want our products to detect patterns of use and, if desired, adapt to reflect consumer behavior.

  3. The technology has been on the market for a year now – which preliminary conclusions can you draw?

    It is difficult to summarize our initial results because we are still analyzing data from the first season. Our first step is to determine whether there are any regional differences, for example, in how often stoves are turned on and off, which power settings are preferred or how much fuel is consumed. We expect that any differences will be consistent for air and water-heating products. I am already looking forward to presenting the first results at the 14th Pellets Industry Forum.

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