SensMat Integrated Software Framework, a technological shield for artwork protection

The goal of the SensMat Integrated Software Framework is, in a nutshell, to create a monitoring system and a preventive conservation strategy for artworks in museums.

SensMat is the result of a 44-month lasting European project that involved us together with 16 other private and institutional partners and was funded with Horizon 2020 funds of nearly six million euros.



In Europe we have one of the richest cultural heritages in the world. A common heritage that must be protected and defended through preventive conservation that prevent its deterioration and reduces the need for costly and invasive restoration work.

The problem

Works of art are subject to the action of time and, to be preserved, require special care and attention. For example, paintings are very sensitive to climate, UV rays, vibration, and dust; metal objects are exposed to corrosion. Not to mention stone or brick and mortar structures, which are easily attacked by salts, moisture, oxidizing gases, and pollution.

Two other aspects must also be taken into consideration: ongoing climate change and the need to ensure an appropriate standard level of protection for works when they are temporarily housed in other museums.

The Solution

Out of this analysis came the need to build an extensible and scalable technology platform for collecting, storing, processing, and publishing data and indicators in order to support museum professionals and operators in making decisions about how they can best conserve the cultural heritage entrusted to them.

In practice, SensMat provides museums with the guidance to reproduce the ideal environment for the preservation of original, delicate, and irreproducible works and therefore of priceless artistic, historical, and economic value.


The main challenge we faced was to create, together with our partners, a fully integrated monitoring system that included:

  • environment and degradation sensors;
  • predictive model;
  • data management tools;
  • decision-making tools.

Thus SensMat was born, a technological platform that provides:

  • A network of connected sensors, measuring various environmental parameters (temperature, humidity, brightness, vibration).
  • A Cloud-based information system that makes it possible to:
    • collect and structure data from sensors and thus monitor environmental conditions around artworks;
    • trigger smart alarms when environmental conditions threaten the conservation status of the artwork;
    • maintain a knowledge base of good conservation practices and suggest and share concrete actions, to promote preventive conservation of individual works or entire collections.
  • A support and consulting service to help small and medium-sized museums control their environmental parameters.

The system is designed to be adapted to any type of sensor, from existing ones to other, more specific and innovative ones specially developed within the scope of the project.


As GFM Group, we were responsible for creating the basic framework of the solution, which was to collect data from sensors and integrate it with data from BIM models.

For the enhancement of particular sensors, we implemented specific software, capable of collecting data from FLIR cameras and doing local pre-processing in terms of alarming and calibration.

Integration with BIM models required two particular activities: reconciliation of BIM data and sensors and creation of a 3D viewer embeddable by third-party software. The architecture was designed to be installed in the cloud and makes use of BigData type databases.

Here are the main technologies we used:

  • Autodesk Forge Viewer
  • Apache Cassandra
  • Apache Kafka
  • Redis
  • Posgres DB
  • Kubernetes
  • Docker
  • Angular

In this video you can see how we worked on a BIM Layer:


We are used to working on ambitious projects like this one, dialoguing and integrating our skills with those of prestigious private and institutional partners. It has definitely been a good challenge to be part of such a Team:


The project has come to an end, and now the main challenge is to exploit as much as possible the features and the points of strength offered by the platform, so that it can be successfully adopted in small local or even regional and national settings.

During the implementation phase of SensMat we have achieved excellent results, as demonstrated by several Case Studies carried out in small and medium-sized museums.

Who needs SensMat?

Museums, exhibitions, and all those who hold pieces of our artistic and cultural heritage. Master pieces to be preserved and passed on to future generations.