Keeping Prysmian in the lead with digital technology

Carlotta Dainese, head of the Digital Innovation Lab, talks about the latest projects currently being tested or about to be launched

Carlotta Dainese
Carlotta Dainese

Voice-activated digital assistants like Siri and Alexa are making it easier to do all sorts of tasks at home without lifting a finger. Why not use them in the office? At Prysmian, 20 managers taking part in a test project are doing just that. Instead of asking Siri or Alexa, they ask Crystal. They can use Prysmian Data Talk, or Pry Talk, vocally to access real time business data regarding sales, clients, plants, products to help them make quick decisions on sales strategy for clients.

This pilot project will wrap in mid-October and may be augmented the perimeter next year working with platform provider iGenius. It is one that is conceived and managed by Carlotta Dainese and her team at the Prysmian’s Digital Innovation Lab, set up in 2017 within the Digital Innovation Department to find ways that digital technology can add to Prysmian’s core business and as well as part of the Innovation Steering Committee from this year.

The goal is to keep Prysmian in a leadership position in a future where digital technology will be part of every business, even a hardware business like Prysmian’s. Becoming a solution provider means adding a layer of software to its current product offering. And that means using digital applications, she says. 

“Our goal is to become recognized in the world as a digital leader,” she says. “We can do this in many ways: Improving the quality of our products, or the performance of our plants, with digital solutions. Or by getting closer to our clients by knocking down barriers with digital technology.”

Robotic process automation, augmented reality and image recognition are among the tools being tested by Digital Innovation Lab to help improve productivity by harnessing data in offices and on the factory floor. The Lab works transversally across all departments of the group to develop medium- and long-term revenue generating projects that are scalable across the company. It also works with Corporate Hangar, an external accelerator partly owned by Prysmian that supports the group’s innovation.

Its most recent project launch is PG Connect, an in-factory remote collaboration system combining a state-of-the-art head-mounted camera with a cloud-based extended collaboration software. After connecting the headset to the Internet, the onsite user can interact with remote colleagues in real time, sharing content (videos, pictures, documents) and work instructions. PG Connect is now operative in North America, Brazil, Italy, Northern Europe, Oman and Romania. More locations such as Argentina, China, Australia, UK and South Europe are planned to start PG Connect by the end of the year.

“PG Connect is changing the way people interact, and brings the company closer to its customers while aiming at creating a new digital world that is more sustainable, reliable and efficient,” said Carlotta Dainese

Factory data forms the basis for Predictive Quality, a project that was successfully tested at the optical fibres plant in south of Italy and will be extended to other optical fibres plants around the world. It uses sophisticated statistical and artificial intelligence algorithms to crunch data collected from the factory’s machines in order to predict the quality of optical fibres cables increasing the plant performance. This enables Prysmian to reduce scrap, optimize costs, optimize procedures, and improve cable quality.

Next year the method, now implemented in a selected plant, may start to be exported in other different  plants using a replicable approach .


“What I like to do is keep pushing people to think outside the box,” she says. “My goal is to get people to change from ‘this is impossible’ to ‘let’s do it.’”