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A little chat with the Research and Development Director Alfredo Astori

A little chat with the Research and Development Director Alfredo Astori

Good morning Alfredo, tell us something about yourself…. 

I am 56 years old, from Bergamo, married and with two children.  I love outdoor sports and nature, but music is certainly one of my main passions.

The passion for technology, especially electronics, grew up in me in me since I was a kid. I remember spending hours and hours dismantling and reassembling objects found at home. I must say that, in the end, all this helped to make me want to understand the technical solutions adopted.

You have been working in LSI LASTEM for 35 years and you are a point of reference for the company. What was the human and professional route that led you to LSI LASTEM?

At the end of my military service, I immediately wanted to find a job that could provide a meaning to my 5 years of study as an electronic technician and to my passion for the first home-computers available on the market (Sinclair ZX-80 and Commodore Vic-20 in primis). Strengthened by this enthusiasm, in 1985, I applied for a job post at LSI Lastem. The company, at the time, was strongly focused on the development of new products based on the use of microprocessors and proprietary multi-tasking operating systems. What to say: for me, being able to enter those offices, or rather laboratories, was a dream that became reality. I must add that all of this happened in response to a single post found in the first newspaper purchased, almost by chance, in a seaside holiday resort. Some would say that this was sign of a destiny already written; I would define it, being a more practical and “earthly” person, in another way …

As the company’s Research and Development Director, how do you play your role, what are the challenges you face every day?

In all these years spent “getting my hands dirty” with technology, the main challenge is always the same: the need to make quick technical choices in order to get a product ready as soon as possible collide with the need to have a longer term vision. The choice of the most effective technological solution made today (I am referring to those of electronic components but also of operating systems, communication protocols and development languages) must represent also a solid basis for the products that will be developed in the years to come.

Before globalization and Internet, the job was probably easier, although the availability of information was not as wide as it is today. Nowadays there are a multitude of technological solutions of all kinds available. It is essential to evaluate them wisely, since many of them are the result of hasty, and sometimes incomplete, developments of potentially winning technologies which then, for collateral reasons, change violently or even disappear in a short a time. For these reasons, the choice of the best technological solution is never trivial, especially if you aspire to have a long-term vision. From this point of view, there is no doubt that quality always pays off, as the benefits last over time.

My experience confronts and sometimes collides with the visions of the younger technicians who work validly alongside me. Their visions and proposals are characterized, as it should be, by a more instinctive approach, sometimes of contingent or not rational enough opportunities. All this translates into a few words: necessary evolution, concrete quality, open-mindedness, passion, humility.

 What do you like about LSI LASTEM and your work? 

I get the greatest satisfaction in my work when our project becomes the solution that concretely solves the needs of our customers. In this sense, providing valid help to those who work on environmental issues, whether it is aimed at the protection of nature or the well-being of man, gives me profound satisfaction and a meaning of what I do, day by day.

The great variety of application markets in which LSI Lastem operates constitutes, for those who work like me on the technical development part of the products, a great opportunity for growth, having to deal with the most varied issues relating to environmental and artistic protection, but not only.

In all these years I have faced very different application problems. Some related to the industrial world, such as temperature monitoring in refrigerated trucks, or to safety at work, with the detection of dangerous conditions due to wind conditions in commercial ports, or to well-being in the workplace. Others related to the artistic world, with the monitoring of the rooms of museums displaying works of art among the most iconic and representative of human culture, or even the monitoring of the water temperature and the height of the waves detected at the oil platforms in the Adriatic Sea.

Probably the most exciting experience was the commissioning of the highest weather station in the world, in one of the most inhospitable places on the planet, at South Col on Mount Everest, at an altitude of 8000 m.

I remember that day when the team of climbers, assisted by the Sherpas, installed our station after an exhausting ascent and the strong pathos that generated in all of us the live communication with the technical staff operating at the Ev-K2-CNR pyramid in Nepal.

The very moment the power was turned on, the telecommunication system located in the Pyramid bounced back to the LSI Lastem offices in Italy the meteorological data collected from the highest meteorological station on earth. I cannot forget the shouts of joy and the applauses spreading in our offices when the environmental parameters were correctly measured and perfectly received by the telecommunication systems placed in the Pyramid.

The experiences I gained in all these (many) years of passionate work in LSI Lastem and the results, and satisfactions that I have drawn from them, make me certainly aware of having contributed, in some way, to the improvement of human existence. This is, from my ethical point of view, one of the most important motivations that each of us should look for, every day, in our work, beyond everything else.

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Valeria Menichini

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