La Sapienza - Università di Roma

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Sapienza and Microsoft Expand Partnership

20-11-2017

At the presentation of the Italian finalist project of 2018 Solar Decathlon Middle East in Dubai at the Microsoft House in Milan, Microsoft Italy and Sapienza University announced the expansion of their established partnership from developing innovative training methods into research activities.

Sapienza will have free access to Microsoft's Cloud Computing thanks to the Microsoft Azure Research Programme.  In particular, a team of over 50 students working on a smart future home prototype for ReStart4Smart has already took advantage of this opportunity. Sapienza has received a $20,000 grant that will allow students and professors from the ReStart4Smart workgroup to use the powerful design and computing to design the Solar House's innovative automation system. Moreover, the Sapienza Team will be able to enhance the data gathered inside the building and refine the project by integrating Artificial Intelligence capabilities through Microsoft's IoT tools and cognitive services.

The ReStart4Smart Project is based on Microsoft's most advanced technologies: for example, it employs facial recognition by cameras and sensors to unlock electronic locks and monitor the geo-location of homeowners. The integration of the Cortana virtual server and BOT services will allow residents to communicate with a Virtual House Keeper, simplifying house management and improving its usability. Moreover, the ability to analyse data provided by machine learning will make it possible to use technology for learning and implementing predictive maintenance controls on interconnected devices, enhancing system efficiency. The project also includes the experimental use of the HoloLens holographic viewer and of augmented reality for the planning, design, management and maintenance of the building.

"We are proud that a project led by our best talents has distinguished itself as Italian finalist in the Solar Decathlon Middle East and we are sure it will honour our country at the Dubai Exhibition next year," declared Sapienza Rector Eugenio Gaudio. "New technologies are essential to imagine the home of the future and make it a reality thanks to the advanced solutions provided by Microsoft. The partnership between Sapienza and Microsoft is part of a broader renewal programme of the training available at our university, which has been pursuing the enhancement of the IT tools available to students and the experimentation of innovative digital modalities to support training and research."

"It is an honour to host the presentation of ReStart4Smart, a project that demonstrates how digital tools can help to shape a more sustainable future. We are proud to consolidate our partnership with the first Italian University, according to Best Global Universities Ranking 2017. Thanks to the Microsoft Azure for Research Programme, the team will employ Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality tools for the Solar Decathlon Middle East competition to create a smart home prototype, combining design and energy efficiency," commented Silvia Candiani, CEO of Microsoft Italia.

Microsoft Azure for Research provides researchers with free use of the computing, processing and archiving capabilities of Azure cloud, as well as programming tools such as Linux, Python, Java, Hadoop and Microsoft.NET and artificial intelligence, as well as machine learning features.