From Roman Ruins To IoT

Stacy Ries

As a college student, I was fortunate to study abroad in Rome. It is an awe-inspiring city with layers of history, from the Roman ruins to the recently renovated Trevi Fountain.

As in many cities around the world, technology has created a digital dimension to daily life in Rome. This digital dimension is increasingly driven by the Internet of Things (IoT), which consists of invisible sensors that interact seamlessly. The IoT enhances the consumer experience by transforming how we do things. For brands, it creates more loyal and more valued customers.

Here are a few examples of how companies are using IoT and how we benefit as consumers:


Anyone who has been to Rome has no doubt noticed the Vespas that swarm the streets in the center of the city, gliding over cobblestone streets as smoothly as surfers on waves. Today, these Vespa drivers can use IoT technology to find their vehicle, monitor their fuel level from their phone, and more. Luca Sacchi, SVP and head of strategic innovation, Piaggio Group—which manufactures  Vespas—shares more examples is this video:

Piaggio Video


One of the most popular shopping areas in Rome, the Spanish Steps, is also the site of many fashion shows. Designers are using IoT for everything from mirrors with suggested outfits to wearable designs offering biofeedback. The immersive experience that IoT can provide is key to creating brand loyalty and driving consumers to shop. More on this topic from the Business of Fashion event panel:

Business of Fashion Panel

Household appliances

Cappuccinos are one of Italy’s most famous exports. With the IoT, you can make sure you never run out of coffee at home. Nestlé’s Nespresso Prodigio, the first Bluetooth-connected coffee machine, lets you do everything from scheduling brew time to ordering brew capsules and managing machine maintenance from your smart phone.

Nestlé’s chief digital operations officer, Filippo Catalano, shares more on the company’s strategy here: “We started Nestlé’s journey into personalized consumer and customer experiences, and we are orchestrating this complex digital ecosystem on the foundation of SAP solutions for customer engagement. This enables us to engage our brand prospects throughout their own unique journey, from insights to advocacy, building our great brands further via real-time, tailored interactions, on a suite of scalable solutions that better serve our digital ambitions.”

Do all roads lead to IoT?

Like the saying “All roads lead to Rome,” these examples got me thinking: Do all roads lead to IoT?

Many consumer experiences can be improved with IoT functionality. While some of the examples here may seem like “nice-to-have” services, they are examples of how digital transformation is driving growth for their brands. This digital dimension is what consumers are looking for in the brands they choose.

Nestlé, the parent company of Nespresso, is using digital transformation to improve its financial results by applying the Nespresso model to other parts of the business. As CEO Paul Bulcke explained in Diginomica: “The business model of Nespresso is actually e-based. We deployed one group-wide e-business strategy that embraces digital marketing and e-commerce at the same time. It is inducing permanent learning and execution in this fast-moving area everywhere in our company.”

As Piaggio, Nestlé, and other brands harness the power of IoT, we’ll experience more and more consumer benefits. And if I am lucky, I’ll get to go back to Rome!

For more on how IoT technology is transforming life in cities across the globe, see 8 Things You’ll Do Differently When You Live In A Digital City.

About Stacy Ries

Stacy Ries is the Global Media Relations for Consumer Industries at SAP. Her specialties include social media, media relations, demand generation, media relations and marekting.