Innovation for Safety

Published on Tuesday, 4 October 2016

The Enel Group, which has been active for years in the development of innovative solutions in the field of cybersecurity, has launched a competition for startups.

The evolution of contemporary society is accompanied by an unprecedented technological boom that brings with it many advantages, while constantly exposing us to the risk of cyber attacks. Electricity plays a crucial role in so-called Critical National Infrastructure (CNI), because it feeds all other infrastructures. That is why cybersecurity is a strategic asset for a utility such as Enel, as it protects both the company's intellectual property and citizens’ safety, ensuring the continuity of power supply.

The Enel Group was one of the first utilities to adopt cybersecurity measures for its assets, actively promoting the development of such measures worldwide. Our company recently organised the Enel Cyber ​​Security Hackathon, a competition for startups that encourages innovative ideas in different fields of interest. “We proposed four challenges in four dimensions which we feel are very important: industrial control systems, the Internet of things and communication between machines, guaranteeing privacy and data protection for mobile devices and apps, to ensure that their spread is not hindered by the fact that our colleagues and our customers feel unsafe when using them”, explained Carlo Bozzoli, Enel’s Director of Global ICT. “The hackathon offers a starting point to gather sustainable ideas, not a point of arrival. Enel can promote the growth of an ecosystem of developers and start-ups that do not have all the necessary means to let their ideas emerge, while facilitating the incubation of much-needed new energies in this area”.

The hackathon winners were announced in the Roman edition of the Cybertech Europe 2016, one of the world’s largest cybernetic solutions events, which for two days gathered industry experts, corporate managers and representatives of institutions. The winners of the competition – in which participants could also take part remotely – was the start-up Aperio, thanks to its recognition technology of counterfeit data that provides protection in a non-intrusive way (via operative and detection alarms).

To understand the direction in which innovation is headed and develop products and services that increasingly adapt to customers’ changing needs in advance, Enel launched a start-up hub in Israel, one of the nations with the highest percentage of innovative companies in the world. Each year, we will select up to twenty start-ups who operate in our company’s areas of interest and provide them with a mentor, putting them in contact with managers and engineers and offering them an intensive six-month acceleration programme. The first Enel Innovation Hub will be based in Tel Aviv and the project will soon be replicated in the Silicon Valley (USA) and in Singapore.