Sandro Zilli is a manager and entrepreneur with more than twenty years of professional experience in multinational companies operating in the ICT sector, and in different types of markets such as manufacturing, construction, media and entertainment. He has held a variety of senior positions in both startups and large international enterprises, and is currently the Manufacturing Sales Development Manager at Tech Data Italia. He holds an Executive MBA from LUISS Business School, and is an active Board Member of LUISS University Alumni EMBA, driving key projects in collaboration with a top Italian startup incubator. We spoke to him following the latest edition of the IoT360 Summit, at which he participated as a speaker on the subject of readiness for (private) funding.
The 2014 edition of IoT360 focused on a multitude of different themes related to IoT. The red track was a deep investigation of online innovation platforms and communities that can take an idea all the way to the market. Which specific issues would you like to be discussed at the next edition of Summit?
I appreciated the themes related to the Internet of Things a lot, because they represent the future of ICT and digital life. In my opinion, it would be very useful to increase the number of cases and best practice examples presented. In addition to that, it would be very useful if IoT360 became a point of reference, networking and training for new companies, students or researchers that have to face the market in order to launch their startup.
In your opinion, as an entrepreneur and an active Board Member of LUISS University Alumni EMBA, how can academia and industry work together to build the future know-how in the ICT field?
I think that the best way is transferring academic experience and knowledge into the real world of startups and new companies through mentoring activities that would help academia enter the market and promote innovation in a proper way, using industry skills and best practice.
Which challenges do ICT startups have to accept in the era of the Internet of Things?
New technologies – cloud, mobile, social enterprise, and big data – allow startups to effectively respond to the needs of citizens. The Internet of Things is useful for making sense of information, and having the correct information and dynamic data, but the goal is to offer solutions that are translated into specific improvements of the quality of people’s lives. The potential uses of this information are almost unlimited. It can be used for modelling and predicting how changes to a system will affect other systems, reducing the risks of change, and accelerating the return on investment. It can be used for developing new business models in partnership with private and public companies, and may be useful for directing new projects for the benefit of the community.