Mario Ciofalo interview on Corriere delle Comunicazioni

 This article was published by Corriere delle Comunicazioni on July 15, 2013

Ciofalo: "So the M2M Made in Italy makes objects speak"

The President of Tiesse: "We focus our  resources on the introduction of innovative technologies. Here our competitive advantage"

Mario CiofaloItalian excellence which in 15 years has established itself in the domestic market in a competitive industry such as routers and M2M devices: it is Tiesse, a subsidiary of NVD founded in 1998 and focused on corporate networking. As explained by President Mario Ciofalo, today's Tiesse routers and innovative equipment for machine to machine are installed in many of the major networks distributed throughout Italy in various sectors of the economy: payment systems, banking networks, service centers, high-speed trains , smart metering, utilities, water systems, gaming, service stations, supermarkets. Among the partners of the company based in Ivrea there are some of the italian major telecom operators and system integrators. And it is a growing reality, both in terms of turnover and workforce.

How did you start?
A group of managers and engineers have acquired a business division of Olivetti active in networking equipment for the management of payment systems. Then we decided to implement the technologies: the initial center of gravity was software, ten years ago we decided to invest in hardware-software. So we started to realize routers and M2M. And we are progressing well: last year we recorded a turnover of more than 30 times higher than the one before the acquisition, and a 20% EBITDA margin. Over the last 5 years Ebitda is always maintained between 16% and 23%. Shareholders' equity amounted to 4.9 million euro, capital and reserves, and profits, I want to say, for the most part are reinvested in the company.

Yet in your industry there are large international competitors. What cards do you have played to beat the competition?
We try to be timely in technologies, competitive in pricing and credible in the delivery process. But the numbers also speak for us: in Italy our installed based is more than 200 thousand M2M devices and more than 100 thousand routers. The M2M are installed in gaming applications (machines manage the data collection network of slot machines) and remote control, remote reading and remote management of primary and secondary energy rooms. We guarantee high speed Internet and email on the trains and broadband and 3G for payments and financial transactions. Our routers are in the service stations, where the apparatus control all the functions, from business applications to the petrol pump, from payments to VoIP. And then, back to the question "competition", we have an advantage over competitors: our network technologies are certified and distributed by the major telcos such as Telecom Italy, Wind and Fastweb, with whom we have established strong relationships. Finally, we try to focus our resources on the introduction of innovative technologies. For example we were the first to be certified on the mobile router.

How important is it to be timely in the world of innovation?
It is essential. In the course of 2013 we launched the new models equipped with LTE and with VDSL vectoring connectivities, already tested in collaboration with the telecom operators active on the ultra-wideband networks. It is reasonable that in the long term the evolution of the networks go downward 4G, but in the short and medium term there is not still a dominant technology and the game is open. Another important element is the service, which must be timely. Even so we can keep the business in Italy.

And Abroad?
We intend to expand as a symbol of innovation made ​​in Italy: we design and manufacture everything in Italy. Also for this our products carry the names of towns with a strong evocative flavor such as Imola, Lipari, Levanto, Linosa, Siena ... We have started an exploratory stage in Brazil, China and Japan. We have the financial strength to take this step but we prefer to proceed step by step.

How much you bet on research and development?
Basically ours is a company made up of researchers and designers. We have fifty employees, 30 internal and 20 in group companies, and their number is constantly growing.

This article was also published by CORCOM Newsletter on July 15, 2013 at the following address: