Smart Energy can no longer be considered a niche market and a new smart paradigm is gaining momentum worldwide, opening a window of opportunity for technological transformation. Addressing potential solutions to the energy and environmental issues, new technologies have moved out from research labs and a number of convergent market drivers are leading to expanded availability and increasing revenue opportunities across the smart energy value chain. These drivers include the rising costs of maintaining the current energy system as well as the regulatory and policy initiatives in many countries around the world.

Basically the new approach relies on a different way of generating, delivering and using energy. Smart Energy solutions encompass therefore broad technology domains such as Energy Generation, Energy Storage, Energy Infrastructures and Energy Efficiency which in turn are translated into innovative technology applications. Some examples are Smart Grids, Smart Buildings, Smart Utilities, Smart Mobility and Smart Cities. The ICT applications are playing an increasingly vital role in providing energy management systems with intelligent solutions as well.

The Smart Energy market, however, appears to be at an early stage of development yet and all players – utilities, equipment providers, service providers, technical experts, consumers – need to carefully redesign their business models and value propositions. New entrants into the energy sector, including players in the ICT sector, are reshaping the competitive landscape and new solutions are emerging often as the integration of various products, technologies and services. As a result, the future technology landscape for homes, cities, electric vehicles, electricity grids will be affected by technologies that are currently at different stages of development.

Several institutions are promoting the so called innovative Green Technologies which have an important role to play in addressing climate change.  The Europe Commission, for example, has proposed a mapping of the energy technology market by means of the Strategic Energy Technologies (SET Plan).

The challenge however is to boost innovation, while enabling at the same time a broader and comprehensive diffusion of new technologies to all parts of the world. In this context, the technology transfer practices can be considered a compelling driver of growth.


In Italy, as stated in the new National Energy Strategy Plan, the energy system is expected to take advantage of the smart opportunity and to play a key role in improving the Italian competitiveness through an important structural reform of the country.  Among smart energy solutions, the development of a fully integrated electricity market represents a priority.

Since a vast number of Smart Grids solutions are actually emerging as an integration of various products, technologies and services, today the value chain is still highly fragmented and the sector is characterized by a lack of coordination in investments and business models. Players need to pursue more integration at industrial and research level through partnerships, technology transfer and M&A opportunities. Yet, the supply chain capabilities have not been fully developed and the impact of pilot and demonstrator projects has been proving to be still limited.

Given such a complex, fragmented and highly innovative background, ICM Industrial has mapped the national Smart Grid Value Chain and the IP scenario in order to support the national players in assessing attractive business opportunities and discovering state of the art technology solutions. 

We have adopted both a top-down (from market to technology) and bottom-up (from technology to market) approach and the result is the IRM® Smart Grid Technology & IP Data Bank: a structured and continually updated set of know-how, information bases and best practices which turn a vast and dispersed knowledge/information concerning the smart grid sector into valuable insights and new business opportunities.

The platform capitalizes the know-how, experiences and tools derived from several projects involving SMEs, clusters, large corporations, technology specialists in the field of sustainable energy innovation. The basic idea is to create a smart grid data bank which could foster links, coordination,  performances among the main stakeholders of the sector becoming an enabling tool of industry leaders in the smart grid landscape.