In an exclusive interaction with Dataquest, Channabasavaraj Raravi, Senior Solutions Architect, Product Engineering Services, Sasken Technologies Limited, and Mohammed Gayaz Ali Asghar, Assistant Manager, Digital Transformation Services, Sasken Technologies Limited, talk about how industrial IoT enables digital transformation, emerging technologies in the area of Industrial Automation, Excerpts:
Q. How is Industrial IoT enabling digital transformation with the increase in proliferation of industry 4.0 technologies through industrial products and smart wearables?
Industrial IoT is transforming organizations digitally through new value creation made possible by massive volumes of data from connected products, and the increased ability to make automated decisions and take actions in real time. The key business opportunities are found around: Improving operational efficiency, improving worker productivity, safety and working conditions, driving aftermarket revenue and Innovating business models. Industry 4.0 technologies that are enabling this transformation are: Sensorization making assets IoT enabled, Interoperability making devices of different make and model talk to each other and to the Cloud, Edge Intelligence to perform data cleaning and aggregation, complex event processing, machine learning and custom analytics locally, Cloud-based IoT Platforms for data assimilation and real-time processing and analytics, Web & Mobile applications for user interface. Additionally, Smart Glasses through Augmented Reality applications are facilitating interactive field service collaboration.
Q. What are Sasken’s views on emerging technologies in the area of Industrial Automation, given the rise of IoT and AI in the technology-led industry?
Data collection from devices is the most critical piece in the adoption of Industry 4.0. Devices communicating independently with one another, irrespective of the manufacturer, the operating system, the hierarchy and the topology requires the interplay of OT protocols (Modbus, Profibus etc.) among themselves and with IT protocols (HTTP, XML etc.) via IoT protocols (MQTT, AMQP etc.). Connectivity platforms and solutions that leverage proprietary protocols, classic OPC, OPC UA and IT protocols (including MQTT, REST, ODBC, and SNMP) to provide users with a single source for industrial data will be at the forefront of Industrial Automation.
Open and collaborative networks have made systems more vulnerable to attack. Solutions providing end-to-end security using a layered security approach that enforces security policy from the edge of the cloud will have tremendous potential to enhance safety, improve operations and reduce costs.
Organizations are looking to access device data securely while minimizing the integration time and cost associated with IIoT application development. Protocol converters, gateways, and middleware could be bypassed and communication with other devices and to the cloud could be simplified through embedding RESTful server in controllers and enabling communication via APIs.
Organizations are beginning to realize productivity gains from the integration of plant and enterprise operations. AI will bridge the gap between plant-floor and enterprise by unlocking data and contextualizing it. Larger use of AI would be found in optimizing industrial facilities & operations through intelligent data analyses, finding possible problems and inefficiencies and prescribing possible solutions
Advancements in digital technologies, significantly lower costs and improved computing power is enabling organizations to have a complete digital footprint of their products from design, build through operate phases. Digital Twins will help organizations realize value through speed to market, improved operations and new business models to drive revenue
Q. The adoption of IoT and advancement in M2M communication are driving the industrial control and factory automation market. What are some of the challenges and tomorrow’s opportunities you see in this era of Industry 4.0?
Though many companies are trying to grab the benefits of the Industry 4.0, there are some challenges making this process slower. Some of them include but not limited to (1) The right business case (2) Addressing legacy devices (3) Cyber Security risks (4) Many technologies to choose (5) The user experience change (for Operators and Maintenance Engineers). There are many opportunities to collaborate with Tier-1 and 2 companies (automation providers and Manufacturers) to explore different areas like connected factories, cybersecurity, legacy device connectivity and provide different connectivity mechanisms (protocols, modems etc).
Q. Can you elaborate on some of the data security measures and energy efficiencies that companies should take into account while investing in smart building and home automation services?
Data security is a very important aspect. There are few general guidelines for embedded and cloud/server and they differ based on many factors. Data security, at rest and while in transition, is an important aspect. The embedded could have basic Hashing, encryption mechanisms & could use hardware accelerators. The cloud might have inbuilt security from providers or it needs to build advanced mechanisms like disk encryption, application specific methods, data masking, timestamp, OR combinations of these. There are some International standards (E.g.: IEC 27001) and laws (E.g.: Data Protection Act) on data protection.
The energy efficiency is important for home automation products. This might be because some of the sensors could be battery operated and some of them could be wireless or combinations. The energy rating is also the factor while installing products in home and commercial buildings. This involves choosing right hardware components and implementing better software to use low power modes and have periodic communication instead of continuous wherever possible. There is also a need to manage to build energy efficiency by providing the better product configuration features (E.g.: Thermostat, HVAC, Lighting etc)
Q. Sasken has been actively enabling customers to leverage Industrial IoT and help accelerate their physical to digital transformation. Could you highlight some of the key offerings and technologies that Sasken will be majorly focusing on in the next 2-3 years to make the most of today’s IoT- driven industry?
Sasken has been leading the way in partnering with Industrial Automation providers to provide technology services to Industrial OEMs and Manufacturing organizations enabling them to improve operational efficiency and drive revenue growth through aftermarket revenue streams and new business models. With a strong pedigree in product engineering, Sasken helps organizations in:
IoT Enablement of devices – sensorization and device interoperability to begin capturing data from devices
Gateway Intelligence – hardware agnostic gateway software extending cloud intelligence at the device to enable real-time decisions
IoT Platform – IoT platform for real-time data ingestion, Complex Event Processing, Monitor & Manage devices remotely and Real-Time Notifications
Real-time data analytics – Big Data platform, Machine Learning based Analytics, Digital Twin and Vision Analytics
Data Monetization – API Enablement to offer Data as Service and Product/Maintenance as Service
Visualization – Microservices based reusable widgets, Dashboards, Native/Hybrid Mobile Apps
Sasken would focus on Cloud Services, Machine Learning and AI technologies to continue digitizing industries for a connected future