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IoT Gateways are becoming an essential part in various smart grids solutions, across Industrial, Residential, and Transmission & Distribution projects. Gateways help in addressing energy conservation at both the consumer and transmission level. Here, we will discuss some of the unique features of IoT gateways like clustering, interoperability, security, and others

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A network of physical objects interconnected through computing devices like machine appliances, digital devices, objects, vehicles and uses APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) and sensors to exchange data and connect with the internet is known as IoT or Internet of Things.

IoT platform connects the virtual and the real worlds. It helps the companies in managing IoT devices, connectivity, security, linking devices to back end system, collecting device data, building & running IoT apps as well as ensuring IoT interoperability.

According to a survey, approx. 75 billion devices will be IoT enabled by the end of the year 2025. 

Also, in the coming 5-6 years, the world will witness an investment of near $ 6 trillion on IoT out of which at least $ 3 trillion is expected to be invested in the health care industry for IoT.

And why not? The experts are also of the same viewpoint that by the end of the year 2020, approx. 90 % of the health care industry will adopt IoT. Generally speaking, IoT has already made its way to the homes of general people through Google, Amazon, Alexa, etc.

Almost all the IoT enabled devices to have:

  1. A device or a sensor;
  2. Data processing unit;
  3. A connecting unit;
  4. User interface.

Challenges Faced By The Health Care Industry

The health care industry faces constant challenges. No compromise is entertained when it comes to health. 

The number of deaths occurred due to delay in treatment or delay in the ambulance approaches, in the prevalence of road jam are recurring and very common.

However, these untimely deaths can be prevented by enabling IoT in house treatment in the health care industry. 

The devices that are capable of monitoring heart rate sleep cycle, energy expenditure can be helpful in the timely detection of the problems arising in the human body.

In other cases, the risk of infection post-surgery is a real threat to the life of the patient, and the result can be anything from a prolonged hospitalization to even death.

The other problems faced by the health care industry are health monitoring, timely detection of health problems, tiresome diagnostic techniques, inappropriate ambiance, inaccurate measurements, human error, etc.

Although health care is relatively slow as compared to financial or other industries in the incorporation of IoT devices, 40 % of health care is already using IoT. 

The slow growth is due to the following reason:

  1. The methods of health care go through rigorous tests.
  2. Security in health care is still a significant concern for the devices that are enabled with IoT.

Even the hurdle remains, yet the speed and connected health care are growing each day progressively.

Health care service providers need to innovate and plan for digital transformation and reach in those areas where there are not enough health care systems and professionals. 

The industry needs a reliable communication network partner to provide mobile and cloud connectivity. IoT App Development Company should take care of this issue.

Now the question arises as to how IoT Is Transforming the Health care Industry? Following are attributes and contribution in the health care industry:

In the coming years, IoT devices such as Coagulation testing and Activity trackers will adopt the world of connected things with a common platform from handheld devices to medical equipment as well as health records. The capability of IoT is inexhaustible for these devices. 

The potential to efficiently manage the health of the patient as well as monitor and track the problems is saving valuable seconds of the life of a patient, without having to visit the hospital.

With the help of IoT, the health experts can give a distant and remote diagnosis to the patient. Also, they can track medical assets that provide quality care instantly and manages health care efficiently. 

With the help of Wi-Fi and sensors, the ability to locate the correct section in a hospital has become easy for patients as well as health experts.

Almost all the health experts who have already adopted the IoT enabled services do believe in the crucial benefits of it. 

They think that the benefits will be to control and monitor sensors and medical devices from a patient’s heart monitor to his or her temperature gauges; the real-time data exist in health care. 

Further, patients and staff can securely manage IoT data by creating an effective as well as a safer environment through a standard application on mobile devices.

Perpetual Collaboration

Continuous collaboration amongst health experts and patients is imperative for health care organizations. By providing access to non-core data and applications to them whenever they need, will boost up the productivity level and will help in enhancing efficiency.

When it comes to diagnostic accuracy, WCE short for Wireless Capsule Endoscopy comes into the picture. 

The process involves the patient to swallow a small capsule camera that can record the patient’s internal organs. 

It has the potential to capture specific parts of the gastrointestinal tract that are not visible otherwise through diagnostic procedures. 

Also, it can detect bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract, which is not possible through traditional methods.

Maintenance of Cordial and Healthy Relationships

The health experts have to take special care to manage the risk by protecting the record of patients and other crucial data against external exploitations. 

This refers to ensuring the service continuity and no disruption in the event of a breach of trust. Many experts are saying that you can combine IoT with Android & iOS apps as well.

It will help you to reach out to more and more people and also make use of this wonderful trending technology.

A Flourishing Transformation

Hence, IoT is indeed a boon not only for health care but almost every industry that is capable of enabling its services through IoT. 

Its current pace of growth in health care is hopefully best for this domain. IoT health care means an efficient and more accessible patient care experience. 

It allows staff to do their work in a better way, and this is the reason why 80 % of health care experts forecast that IoT is going to transform the industry in a better way. 

With global network connectivity and infrastructure, it is high time for other health care providers to adapt and offer IoT enabled services to the patients nationally as well as internationally.

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What if your everyday devices like washing machines, lights, speakers, TVs, and cameras could communicate with you, send information to you and work on your commands even from distant places? With technologies like IoT and Artificial Intelligence, it is possible to digitize homes and make everyday devices smarter. Read on to find out how.

 
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A few weeks ago we attended the AIPIA (Active & Intelligent Packaging Industry Association) World Congress in Amsterdam and one of the opening remarks made was: the technology for connected packaging has been available for some time now and it’s only more recently that brands have stopped watching from the sidelines and taking the plunge into enabling connected packaging for their products.

While there have been some early adopters in the space piloting some innovative projects in the past few years, the bulk of consumer brands and manufacturing companies have preferred a watch and wait approach with various concerns about initiating their own transitions from traditional packaging and systems to connected packaging and smart data driven systems. Many of which were valid concerns given IoT smart products and active / intelligent packaging is still fairly new as a key area of technology and rapidly evolving and changing every few weeks. During our conversations with various stakeholders of the industry there, two thoughts appeared unanimous:

  1. Connected packaging & digitalization of products / smart products is undoubtedly the way forward for all brands that are to compete in the current digitally connected world and is here to stay.
  2. The question is no longer if and when brands and manufacturers will invest in connected packaging but how to go about it in a smart way so as to address the concerns they may have and do it “the right way” so it can scale without hurdles and road blocks in future as the technologies themselves, continue to evolve.

As a technology enabler that has been working on both the technology side as well as understanding the business side and requirements of CPG brands and their product lifecycles, here are some of the top factors to consider (and concerns they address) while making the right choices and getting connected packaging technology right from the get-go:

Centralization Vs Decentralized Systems for Connected Packaging Applications

Consumer transparency, product information delivery, e-labeling, traceablity, product authentication and counterfeit prevention, consumer engagement, loyalty management, waste management, consumer feedback loops, augmented reality, re-ordering & supply chain optimization…these are just some of the many application areas of connected packaging. With multiple individual technology solutions available for each one of these, the concern for brands is “how many different vendors and solutions will we have to manage?”. While each application area has its own set of requirements and merits, managing having product data fragmented across different software systems has its own set of challenges. “How will we ensure data integrity across all these?” “How can we synchronize updates to product data simultaneously on all these different systems?”. From that perspective, centralization of the product / item data makes sense long term. The way we picture it is: when a physical product is manufactured and rolls off the production line, simultaneously a digital twin / digital record for that product should also be generated and tagged to the physical product. As the product rolls off the line and journeys through its lifecycle, through the supply chain, the consumer and beyond, that product is interacted with by multiple connected devices and data about the product is constantly being updated or read via the digital twin via connected devices and the various applications. This approach allows you to first connect the product, give it a digital life alongside its physical one and then build various applications and business processes on top of it rather than a decentralized approach.  

Being Immune from Technology Shifts to Activation Tags & Triggers on the Packaging.

Not very long ago, the humble UPC/EAN/GTIN 2D barcode was the only activation trigger on product packaging. You now have barcodes, datamatrix codes, QR codes, NFC tags, RFID labels, databar, invisible markers, nanoparticle markers, temperature sensors, spoilage sensors, package anti-tampering sensors and a range of different activations and triggers on the packaging. The larger concern is the rapid evolution of technologies and arrival of new ones hitting the market every few months. How do you know which one is going to stand the test of time? One of the smart moves in getting connected packaging right is to decouple the triggers or activation technologies from the product data or software system. Each of these activation tags usually have an identifier which can be used to tie it to the data. If the trigger changes in future, the flexibility to de-link it from the earlier tag and connect it to a new tag using the identifier is inherent. Whereas in a tightly bound system where the tag on the packaging and the software are linked, that flexibility to be immune to changes in tags and activation technology is lost.  

Flexible Architecture That Can Keep Up with the Pace of Change

Change is inevitable and nowhere does it hold more true than the consumer products industry. Requirements within the industries, regulations, compliance rules, data systems, standards for technology all change and get updated faster than ever before. Very often, before a company finally rolls out updates to the their system, the next change has come along sending them back to square one. The software systems used for connected packaging need to factor into their architecture this constant need for updates and changes. The flexibility to update the data model, extend attributes, maintain different versions, control the flow of data, accessibility of data and address changes in business systems, regulation or the real world are essential to deploying a connected packaging solution that can keep up with change and endure.

Ease of Integration & the API Ecosystem

Often decision makers seek out a one-stop solution provider for a specific application or solution to a challenge. For example, counterfeit prevention. This may work well as an approach for a small business but a mid-sized or large organization has highly complex systems with multiple stakeholders, systems and moving parts that need to come together when it comes to product related data systems. Manufacturing IDs and data related to products may reside in SAP or an ERP system. Ingredient information about the product in a PIM software, labeling information in another location, marketing related images and content elsewhere and so on. As a result, ease of integration with other systems both internal for gathering item related data required for connected packaging applications as well as external applications is important to factor in. Any system you select should offer API connectivity to other systems to bring in data or serve data to other systems in order to integrate seamlessly with existing systems and be compatible with the API ecosystem which is really the backbone of digitization and data today.

Phasing Connected Packaging Projects & Scalability

Connected pakaging is not a single project or end goal with a limited time line. It’s an enabler for several applications, use cases and smarter more intelligent business systems as the organization moves ahead. Getting the foundations for the system in place first along with infrastructure and processes in place first allows you to phase different applications, pilot projects individually and then scale rapidly. For example, a brand can start with enabling their packaging to deliver e-labels and instructions on how to use the product to start with. As a second phase, use the packaging  to enable digital warranty activation and later push out engagement via contests as a third phase. With initiatives such as the GS1 Digital Link, a single trigger on the packaging or a single QR code would soon be able to trigger multiple interactions with the product depending on who is scanning it, where they scan it from and other contexts. This would eliminate the need to print different triggers on the packaging every time a new interaction is introduced. The right connected packaging technology selection should enable an organization to deploy different interactions and applications connected to the product in a phased manner and also offer the infrastructure and ability to smart small, test and then scale across thousands of products, millions or billions of serial items as and when required.

All considered, in order to get connected packaging right and make the right decisions from the start, looking at connected packaging from a wide, holistic perspective complete with all the possibilities that will emerge in enabling it in a flexible way, will help invest time, money and effort the right way.

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The Internet of Things has revolutionalized the way we acquire data and store it. Storing and processing data from the physical things and even the human body has never been so easy as it has been made through the innovations in the IoT. Physical objects are connected to a database that stores the smart data captured through different sensors on the IoT-based smart devices.

Though the years, we can see the shift of IoT from information-based technology to an operational-based technology. IoT combines sensors, smart devices and a smart grid of interfaces to provide smart solutions.

 

What is Cloud Computing?

The evolution of different computing paradigms like parallel computing, grid computing, and disseminated computing into a singular advanced computing framework gave way for cloud computing to rise. Cloud computing provides three basic models for users:

IaaS- Infrastructure as a Service-
for network architect who needs infrastructure capabilities. 

PaaS-Platform as Service-
for developers who need platforms to develop their applications.

SaaS-Software as a Service-
for end-users who need to use the software for their daily activities.

Cloud computing has been pioneering the data processing over a serverless service provided through a cloud server. Data is stored, managed and processed over cloud network through intelligent machines using Artificial Intelligence and machine learning.

 

What is Cloud-MANET?

Cloud-MANET framework is a smart communication between smart devices without any centralized infrastructure. This framework suits best for the M2M network or machine to machine network as there are several devices nearby. Users can use smart devices to exchange videos, images, text, and audio with the cloud servers and minimizing the information.

MANET-Mobile ad hoc networks are a very popular network from which users can get connected anywhere and anytime. The amalgamation of Cloud and MANET provides access to the cloud in the MANET network for smart devices. In real-life scenarios, we can see users that want to use the MANET network gathering at a single place to access the network. For this group to access the cloud server, one of the users must be connected to the internet.

 

Step By Step Usage of Cloud-MANET Framework:

Step 01: Form a mobile ad hoc network.

Step 02: Access the ad hoc network in the range.

Step 03: Register your smart devices in MANET.

Step 04: Register the MANET devices in the cloud.

Step 05: Implement the IoT-based Cloud-MANET model to all the smart devices and start communicating.

 

Cloud-MANET in IoT :

The existing cellular networks do not allow all smart devices to connect without a centralized infrastructure. This approach is quite useful in increasing the capabilities of smart devices. The ad hoc network can connect all the smart devices in a decentralized framework. 


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Image Source: Middleware implementation in Cloud-MANET integration model

 

The smart devices are in a three dimensional plane on the X-axis, Y-axis, and Z-axis. The whole area is spread over the wireless network divided into several cells. They are around each cell and are fixed and the smart devices in each cell can move within this range.

The smart devices discover another smart device nearby in binary digits within the same cell area. If there is a two-dimensional plane the smart device’s detection is carried out through the Hidden Markov Model(HMM). This model is connected in the working area and the devices move inside the area and this model will help find the devices nearby.

A transition matrix is formed in the area of the wireless network, where all the smart devices are found and placed into the transition matrix.

Placing the smart devices in the range of MANET:

The smart devices are placed into the MANET networks to consider connection and coverage. At the beginning of the process, MANET is in a dynamic state or say inactive state as soon as the device starts to make a communication effort with another smart device, MANET gets activated. Any steady-state device can communicate and change the dynamic state of MANET.

Implementation of MANET:

The smart device users will use cloud service to discover the smart devices, minimize useful information like images, videos or messages in big data and can process them. A new framework as this can be used by enterprises to enhance the capability of MANET and cloud computing on the internet of smart devices.

3751310298?profile=RESIZE_710xImage Source: Routing in Mobile Adhoc Networks

 

MANET framework can be useful to leverage the 5G heterogeneous network. To make the most of this framework, enterprises can hire node.js developers that can use the prowess of the Javascript environment to form specific APIs for this framework. The smart device will be considered as service nodes. The communication between these nodes is secure and free from vulnerabilities and reliable by using of cloud-MANET framework.

The smart devices based on IoT technologies are electronic and connected to other devices or networks through network protocols such as smartphones, tablets, smartwatch, etc. The cloud computing helps in sharing resources, storage, and services using mobile applications for a large amount of smart data. 

This framework is solely focused on secure communication among smart devices in the area of Cloud-MANET. This smart algorithm is run as a mobile application and tested in the cloud-MANET of smart devices for several protocols. The results can be implemented in the framework of the internet of things in 5G heterogeneous networks over the cloud service.

 

Salient features of the framework:

  1. It uses a decentralized infrastructure for smart device communication.
  2. Easily integrated into the wireless network area.
  3. Compatible with the heterogeneous network 5G.
  4. Cloud-MANET framework provides secure and reliable communication
  5. The smart devices are considered as nodes.
  6. Smart device detection and communication can be carried out in 3D and 2D planes.
  7. MANET networks work in a dynamic state for communications.

 

Conclusion:

As the 5G networks are getting popular among the users and 2020 could be the year for 5G.  While the establishment of communication between the smart devices in a heterogeneous structure of the 5G network can be challenging, the Cloud-MANET framework presents the solution that developers have been looking upon.

A decentralized infrastructure with cloud capabilities can certainly change the IoT paradigm for better communication and data exchange among smart devices.

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In today’s digital era, people, objects and devices are connected via the internet. Consequently, a humongous amount of data is generated daily, which when processed and analyzed can provide valuable insights, which in turn can be leveraged for informed decision making. Today, ground-breaking technologies like IoT (Internet of things) has completely transformed the way people think, behave and work. IoT, which is simply an ecosystem of interconnected devices that communicate with each other while operating independently helps in performing various operations such as identifying, analysis and control mechanisms. In fact, real-time insights gained through IoT can prove to be beneficial for businesses in several ways.   

Since customer satisfaction is a prominent factor that influences the growth of an evolving business, businesses are trying to make the most of this innovative technology by integrating their CRM platforms with it. While IoT helps in driving meaningful insights across various departments including marketing, sales and customer service, the combined power of IoT and CRM can augment efficiency and visibility, which in turn will help the business respond to customer needs in real-time. 

To provide customers with improved customer service, businesses are leveraging the IoT Cloud platform for providing businesses with a complete and integrated view of customer behavior by helping connect a large number of sensors, applications, devices, etc. with billions of events. This is where you might need the support of a Salesforce consultant.  

How does the Salesforce IOT cloud Work?  

The Salesforce IoT cloud platform, which is powered by Thunder is designed to provide personalized CRM experiences to customers. This immensely scalable platform binds data from sales, service and marketing clouds and processes it to provide businesses with insights regarding customer behavior so that they can engage with them in a more relevant way. In other words, businesses can now provide their customers with the services and features they have been looking for.  

Let’s take a quick look as to how the integration of Salesforce IoT cloud with your company’s CRM can take your business to new heights:  

Informed Sales & Marketing Efforts:The two departments which benefit most by the integration of IoT and CRM are the sales and marketing department. While salespeople can cultivate a better rapport with their prospects by gaining insights from data gathered by IoT devices, marketing professionals will have the necessary information regarding customer preferences and needs to create ground-breaking strategies for brand promotion.  

Enhanced Customer Services: The amalgamation of IoT with CRM paves way for businesses to provide superior customer service, which leaves your customers happy and satisfied. By pre-determining the real-time issues of their customers, businesses can create efficient plans to prevent their customers from suffering any type of hassles, their reputation, as well as public relations.  

Updated Pricing Models: By integrating IoT with a CRM system, businesses can position their brand in the market with a competitive pricing model.This becomes possible due to insights gained from live data streaming.  

To Sum Up:  

With Customer expectations constantly evolving, it becomes mandatory to take steps that can provide your business an edge over your competitors. By integrating IoT with your business CRM, you will be able to gain significant insights regarding customer needs and preferences, which in turn can be leveraged to satisfy your customers and maneuver you from the competition. To make the most of your CRM, it makes sense to integrate your CRM with the IoT system for which you may get in touch with a reputed Salesforce consulting company.   

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“We won't stop until we see every vehicle on the road being electric,” said Elon Musk, the person who works to revolutionize transportation both on earth and in space. “China is about to ban the internal combustion engine,” said a mining financier, Robert Friedland. Tesla Model 3 needs approximately 65 kilograms of copper per vehicle. Cities are now demanding zero-emission buses. Whether it’s electric cars, buses, trucks, solar energy or wind energy generation – as we transit to a sustainable world, we need more copper, nickel, cobalt, lithium, platinum, palladium, zinc and aluminum. That’s why, mining products will be in huge demand. Nevertheless, in the present world, these minerals and other mining products are already a backbone for most industries.

However, just because mining products are vital to run industries and build a low-carbon future, it doesn’t mean that the society should turn a blind eye to the damages caused due to mining operations.

Concerns from communities and governments regarding the environmental effects of digging up the earth to extract metals and minerals is battering the sector. Also, current investors have become restless and new investors are reluctant to finance mining activities as mining operations have not altered significantly since decades. This puts pressure on mine owners to bring a change in traditional mining practices. Such a situation drives many mine owners to bring data-driven practices into their routine mining operations.

Like most industries, the technology that disrupts the traditional ways of mining will be a significant driver of change in mining. The goal is to make mining more effective, sparing, energy intensive and environmental-friendly.

From decades, the mining industry has been deploying PLC and SCADA systems for monitoring and controlling. But these monitoring and control systems are generally proprietary systems and offer limited interoperability with other systems. This is where IoT-based systems prove to be advantageous. IoT-based systems are based on open and highly connected Internet Protocol (IP) network structure. Such open network architectures enable current mining operations to move toward the next generation of smart mining.

Let's look at how IoT implementation empowers mine owners with its ability to transform traditional mining practices and:

Say NO to carelessness

Since the advent of mining, fires and explosions are serious safety issues. Specifically, in coal mines, spontaneous coal seam combustion turns into a catastrophe mainly due to carelessness. Besides, in the biggest coal producer nation like China, approximately 25.1% of their main coal mines are extremely gaseous mines, which after burning could lead to a disaster. Also, the environment surrounding mines can be vulnerable during combustion as massive quantities of toxic gases, including CO2, CO, SO2 and H2S, are emitted when a mine catches fire. Therefore, prevention and protection from fires is important for secured mining production as well as the global environment.

The mechanism of spontaneous combustion of the coal seam is like a typical spontaneous combustion, which requires oxygen. Hence, measuring the concentration of O2 is the key. In addition to O2, other gas contents, such as CO, CO2, N2, CH4, C2H4, C2H6, Rn and so forth, can be evaluated to detect spontaneous coal combustion at the surveillance spot.

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As shown in the image above, an IoT-based system continuously monitors the sensed values and displays them to remote users through a web dashboard. Besides, the system can send alerts to such users in the case of detecting abnormal values and it can activate mitigation devices (e.g., forced ventilation) to decrease gas concentrations smartly.

Say NO to waste of resources

There is an increasing demand of mining products, mining equipment and resources – such as conveyors, shearers, boring machines, hydraulic pump stations, hydraulic support stations, crushers, loaders, motor vehicles, water pumps and ventilation fans – to run mining operations continuously. Moreover, to increase profitability form the existing resources, mine owners need an effective and safe resource management platform that can bring resource wastage time to zero. In such situations, an IoT network can help mine owners or managers to know the locations of these expensive resources and its usage statistics. Further, the underground staff can also be monitored via an IoT network.

Dundee Precious Metals sets the best example for this. They have deployed nearly 280 wireless access points over 50 km (31 miles) of tunnels in their flagship gold mine placed in Chelopech, Bulgaria. The firm quadrupled production from 0.5 million to 2 million tons by using an IoT-based system to track miners and vehicles locations, monitor vehicles status and automate safety and maintenance operations.

An IoT-based system is not only helpful to mine owners but original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) as well. The open connectivity of IoT architecture enables OEMs to monitor their product performance in their lifetime, even after the product is sold. Such data can be used to initiate a new revenue stream and to improve product design as well.

Say NO to casualties

In the case of a calamity, miners are taught to escape from the mine first with handy self-rescue equipment and enter a refuge alternative when escaping is cut off. Refuge alternatives are designed to provide 96 hours of breathable air, food and water for underground staff. Although refuge alternatives are only planned for use in post-accident occurrences, so their functionality should be checked periodically to ensure that they are working as intended in an emergency. In addition, a system should be in place to signal the surface instantly when a refuge alternative is triggered after a calamity. One way to monitor a refuge alternative's feasibility status from the ground is to attach sensors, such as a magnetic switch sensor, air quality and temperature sensors to the door of a refuge alternative. These sensors detect the occupancy status, air quality and temperature to ensure that a refuge alternative always stays safe.

To sum up, whether you need to cut expenses, lessen downtime, increase productivity or reduce environmental footprint – an IoT-based system is the right choice.

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The fact that the Internet of Things technology is the future of robotics and the digital industry as a whole is far from news. And here, how blockchain will help it develop is the most relevant, hot and promising topic of the current time. So, how will blockchain help build intelligent information exchange systems?

How the Internet of Things Works

In a nutshell, the “Internet of Things” (IoT) is such a concept of the internal network for household devices and items. A kind of chat or messenger for coffee makers, washing machines, vacuum cleaners, refrigerators, and even cars, thanks to which they can exchange data on the external environment.

Hundreds of smart people around the world are struggling to create a language that will teach everyday objects to communicate with each other. And, it seems that the blockchaindevelopment by app development companies is of little use here. But this is only at first glance.

In particular, IBM is developing this concept. Combining the two concepts is supposed to help:

• track and record all changes in the network;
• create special magazines with the entire history of changes;
• Define a smart contract system for data transfer.

Blockchain, in this case, would help to unite several devices into a single infrastructure. They would thus be able to exchange parts of the property - for example, data or currency. At the same time, the blockchain itself can be used to track the time of transactions at any time.

What do the experts think?

IBM conducted a special survey among IT industry professionals to find out how promising they find blockchain technology concerning the concept of the “Internet of things”.

However, this is the main property of any blockchain, wherever it is used. In the "Internet of things" you can also adjust the level of control over the device: weaken or strengthen. Using the blockchain in this way, you can reduce the risks of hacker attacks on the data exchange system.

Dell, represented by its specialist Jason Compton, believes that blockchain could become an alternative to traditional security systems. Decentralized control will allow you to expand the scheme and make it more easily scalable - that is, you will not have to build a multi-level expensive infrastructure with secure servers that the devices would have to access to exchange data. You can connect them to a peer-to-peer network directly and in any quantity you like.

Blockchain is not only for security

Using distributed registry technologies for IoT devices can not only solve security issues but also add new features and reduce operating costs. Blockchain is a technology that works with transactions and provides interaction in the network. It is great for monitoring processes in IoT.

For example, based on the blockchain, you can support the identification and discovery of devices, facilitate microtransactions between them, and provide proof of payment.

Ways to use the blockchain for the “Internet of things”

There are at least four areas in which the blockchain can be integrated into IoT:

• Creation of a trusting environment;
• Cost-saving;
• Acceleration of transactions;
• Security Improvement.

By the way, they are already working on these technologies to use them in the development of “smart equipment” or its individual components.

Examples of solutions of blockchaindevelopment for IoT

A typical example is the support by the Hyundai industrial corporation of a startup using blockchain technology. The project was called HDAC (Hyundai Digital Asset Currency) and at the end of November 2017 raised about $40 million for development.

The essence of technology that Hyundai is developing is to adapt the blockchain for its own IoT devices. The consensus protocol will unite all devices and act on the principle of smart contracts for the exchange of transactions.

Another company, Filament, is developing an industrial chip for IoT that will automatically encode sensor data and then adapt it for the blockchain. Thus, the exchange of information from the external environment between various equipment in a peer-to-peer decentralized network will be achieved.

The third characteristic example is the IOTA project, which uses the innovative blockchain - Tangle, designed specifically for IoT devices. At the same time, MIOTA tokens are traded on the cryptocurrency market and have impressive capitalization, representing value for investors.

It is worth recognizing that the development of the blockchain for the Internet of things is still far from implementation. In particular, several security-related issues have not yet been resolved, and some legal issues have not been addressed. However, the potential from the interaction of IoT and blockchain is truly enormous.

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The automation of industry is steadily advancing into a new era – the fourth industrial revolution (4IR or Industry 4.0), where all things from machines and devices to people and systems will be digitally connected. Industry 4.0 technologies such as the internet of things (IoT), 5G, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning will enable industries to better manage their processes, improve efficiencies and boost their productivity. For many, the objectives for implementing 4IR technologies include greater control and predictability of production quality, improved safety and lower costs. Industry 4.0 also adds flexibility to an organization’s operations, enabling them to rapidly respond to shifts in consumer demand. To achieve these objectives cost-efficiently, however, requires taking a platform approach to digital transformation that is as much organizational as technological.

Industries that have been digitalized for decades, such as finance and online retail, treat IT and its infrastructure strategically — as crucial to their competitiveness. Amazon and Alibaba, the world’s two largest online retailers, for example, have invested hugely in their digital technology platforms. Ironically, Amazon’s AWS cloud business is currently its most profitable business, although it was originally only a platform for enabling its retail side. And these are not isolated examples of the importance of technology platforms in the digital era.

In industries where physical assets lie at the heart of operations, digitalization has been a slower and more complicated process. In these industries, Operational Technology (OT) organizations typically manage a wide range of production and logistics equipment — from manufacturing and assembly equipment to quality control and monitoring systems, to various hand-held devices/tools and material handling systems.

Legacy communications technologies and control protocols still prevail for these physical assets — with each supplier implementing their own customized versions of industry standards. That is why digital adoption has been slow; there are multiple layers of communication technologies and control protocols that create data siloes where exchanging of information between them is limited. This makes it difficult for operations to obtain a complete and accurate view of their production facilities.

As manufacturing and other industries are moving toward Industry 4.0, it’s becoming more apparent that this legacy communications architecture must change. Unfortunately, according to 451 Research, only 34% of industrial companies have a formal strategy to actively digitalize their business processes and assets — 10 percentage points less than non-industrial organizations. In order to fully move into an Industry 4.0 era, industrial-focused organizations are beginning to link OT with IT, embrace emerging technologies and build out digital platforms that can securely support new applications and use cases as they develop.

The building blocks of an Industry 4.0 platform include industrial IoT (IIoT), cloud, edge computing (MEC), AI and machine learning, digital twins and wireless communications — LTE/4G today, and 5G tomorrow.

IIoT systems connect all the physical assets with the digital platform. IIoT produces digital data that can be collected, integrated and analyzed across operations. Cloud computing enables organizations to quickly scale out resources for storing and processing the new, large volumes of data generated by IIoT. Edge computing, or edge clouds, distribute those parts of the processing that need to be closer to IIoT sensors and machinery for more rapid and precise response to sensor input; which is critical for automation. And as data security becomes an increasingly important part of operations, edge computing will enable critical processing data to remain within the facility premises, thereby protecting its integrity.

The sheer volume and complexity of IIoT data would be overwhelming without AI and machine learning (ML), which filter and process the data to look for actionable patterns. As a result, AI and ML create digital twins; essentially, digital models of the “virtual state” of a physical device, process or system. Leveraging the immense computing power of the cloud, digital twin technology enables these virtual representations to be used to provide predictive maintenance, conduct product or process simulations in order to optimize industrial processes before they are deployed, and in worker training to speed up competency. As a result, digital twins are the foundation component of Industry 4.0.

Given the key role that data plays in industrial automation, it’s clear why the communications network is vital as well. Unfortunately, however, the disparate communications technologies currently in use in many industries cannot provide the digital platform unification that’s required. This is where OT is learning from IT.

Because the platform has to be based on the current digital communications standard — IP — multiservice IP/MPLS networks are helping to accommodate the older communications technology use cases. Cabled networks, such as Ethernet, will still play a role, but linking hundreds of IIoT sensors, as well as mobile robots and vehicles, requires industrial-strength, next-generation wireless. And office wireless technologies, such as Wi-Fi, are not up to manufacturing performance requirements in terms of coverage, capacity, latency or security. As a result, digitally transforming organizations moving toward Industry 4.0 are leveraging IP-based LTE/4G to cover the vast majority of today’s requirements. Moving forward, 5G, with its improved performance beyond LTE, will be able to support many new use cases and applications as Industry 4.0 adoption accelerates.

For those organizations that are already investing in IIoT and cloud platforms, the importance of their communications network to enable industrial automation and the digital transformation of their facilities can’t overlook or under-estimated. To ensure that no site, employee, or system is left behind, organizations in industrial-focused fields must also think strategically about their communications platform.

Over the last few decades, productivity growth for some industrial sectors has lagged behind others where digital technologies have been widely adopted. One of the key lessons that asset-intensive industries can learn from these more progressive “digital” businesses is in the power of digital platforms to remain competitive in a fast-changing world.

 

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The term Digital Transformation means different things for different people. Some people might think of it as switching from manual processes to autonomous processes, while for others it might be about the insights that the data brings, which can help in making business decisions. What can Digital Transformation or moving towards Industry 4.0 do for the manufacturing sector? It can lead to enhanced production cycles, increased customization, a focus on reinforced products and better access to information for employees.

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The transportation and logistics industry is one of the most vulnerable sectors to cyber attackers. As more connected solutions are introduced to improve efficiency, securing these complex cyber-physical systems will require multi-layer security from Sensor to Cloud.

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Industrial automation and controls modernization can be a daunting task. Is it time to upgrade? What will this cost me? Are we ready? How will we even do this? There is a lot to consider with all those questions, and probably more, running through your head. A good starting point for developing a plan is to start by organizing the information that needs to be gathered to scope the project(s). From there, you can start talking to integrators and vendors to get pricing, budgets, timelines, and equipment lists. To develop a thorough spec, follow these steps.
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What is OPC?

The acronym “OPC” stands for “OLE (Object Linking and Embedding) for Process Control”. OLE is based on the Windows COM (Component Object Model) standard.

OPC standard is implemented in server/client pairs. The OPC server is a program that translates the hardware communication protocol used by a PLC into the OPC protocol. The OPC client software is a program that connects to the hardware, such as an HMI. The OPC client communicates with the OPC server to receive data or send commands to the hardware.

 

How does OPC work?

OPC specification describes the interface between clients and servers, servers and servers, including access to real-time data, monitoring of alarms and events, access to historical data and other applications.

The classic OPC connection scenario is a single server-client connection on a single computer, but there are more options which include:

  • Connecting an OPC client to several OPC servers. This is called OPC aggregation.
  • Connecting an OPC client to an OPC server over a network. This can be done with OPC tunneling
  • Connecting an OPC server to another OPC server to share data. This is known as OPC bridging

 

Technical Benefits of OPC

In addition to improving OPC server and client connections, the OPC DataHub can connect any OPC server or client to other applications as well, including Excel, a web browser, or any other database. And, it can be used to import OPC data into Linux or QNX.
Usage

Following OPC specifications are used in industries:

  • OPC-DA (Data Access): Provides access to real-time data. We can query most recent

values of temperature, pressure, density, acceleration, and other types of process control data from OPC-DA server.

  • OPC-HDA (Historical Data Access): This is used to retrieve historical process data for analysis. This data is typically stored in files, databases or remote telemetry systems.
  • OPC-AE (Alarms & Events): OPC AE servers are used to accept and exchange

process alarms and events.

  • OPC-DX (Data eXchange): It defines the way OPC server data is exchanged with other OPC servers.
  • OPC-XML (XML Data Access): It defines schema and data representation formats based upon XML standard. This makes it possible to share & manipulate process control data across all operating systems – Windows, UNIX, Solaris, etc.


Benefits of using OPC standard are:

  • Reduced load on the hardware device.
  • Increased scalability of the system.
  • Because of OPC server, client applications need not know anything about hardware protocol details.
  • Though device need not serve multiple clients, So Increased life for the device.
  • Interoperability (Unix/Linux and Windows – both platforms are supported by OPC)
  • Standardization

eInfochips – OPC implementation

At eInfochips, we have provided embedded solutions for OPC’s industrial automation product line for our clients in embedded solutions. This includes detailed work on:

  • BIS systems: Building Integration System , or BIS, is a software package that brings building automation, access control, video surveillance, intrusion, fire alarms and voice evacuation onto one convenient management suite. The classic OPC Server had implemented specific protocol over TCP/IP protocol to monitor and control different types of building integration system panels, which is able to interface with OPC client of the BIS system software.
  • System alerts: In OPC Server, we had implemented OPC-DA (Data Access), OPC-HDA (Historical Data Access) and OPC-AE (Alarms & Events) specifications. For controlling and monitoring panels, OPC client fires different commands to the panels by using OPC server e.g. unlock door, lock door, arm area etc.

OPC server developed by eInfochips contains the following modules, functionalities and activities, listed below.

To know more about the IoT services and solutions

  • Design, Development and Testing of OPC Classic server for different panels used in a building integration system with specific Automation protocol
  • Implementation of following group commands on OPC Server,
    • System
    • Panel
    • Door
    • Area
    • Output
    • Point
  • OPC server communication stacks integration (TCP)
  • OPC server security – Command Authentication AES 256
  • Client and status command implementation

We have also developed OPC Clients for our customers, running on Linux OS to communicate with OPC server over Ethernet. This further communicates with OPC server for Reading and Writing data/parameters. In OPC Client, we had implemented OPC-DA (Data Access), OPC-HDA (Historical Data Access) and OPC-AE (Alarms & Events) specifications. OPC Client will communicate with OPC Server for fetching data from the PLC. At the other end, it will send/receive historical and live data of temperature, pressure, density, acceleration etc. from the OPC server to the cloud for storage and analysis.

To know more about how we can help you with OPC implementation for your building automation needs, Learn more about our Industrial Automation Solutions or digital engineering services

 

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How PKI & Embedded Security Can Help Stop Aircraft Cyberattacks

 by August 27, 2019 by Alan Grau, VP of IoT, Embedded Systems, Sectigo

 

On July 30th, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) issued a security alert warning small aircraft owners about vulnerabilities that can be exploited to alter airplane telemetry. At risk to cyberattack, the aircraft’s Controller Area Network (CAN bus) connects the various avionics systems–control, navigation, sensing, monitoring, communication, and entertainment systems–that enable modern-day aircraft to safely operate. This includes the aircraft’s engine telemetry readings, compass and attitude data, airspeeds, and angle of attack; all of which could be hacked to provide false readings to pilots and automated computer systems that help fly the plane.

The CISA warning isn’t hypothetical, and the consequences of inaction could prove deadly. Airplane systems have already been compromised. In September 2016, a U.S. government official revealed that he and his team of IT experts had successfully remotely hacked into a Boeing 757 passenger plane as it sat on a New Jersey runway, and were able to take control of its flight functions. The year before, a hacker reportedly used vulnerabilities with the IFE (In Flight Entertainment) system to reportedly take control of flight functions, causing the airplane engines to climb.

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The Boeing 757 attack was performed using the In-Flight Entertainment Wi-Fi network.
 

A researcher with security analytics and automation provider Rapid7 wrote about the security of CAN Bus avionics systems in a recent blog and discussed the challenge at this year’s DEFCON security conference. He explained, "I think part of the reason [the avionics sector is lagging in network security when it comes to CAN bus] is its heavy reliance on the physical security of airplanes . . . Just as football helmets may actually raise the risk of brain injuries, the increased perceived physical security of aircraft may be paradoxically making them more vulnerable to cyberattack, not less."

A False Sense of [Physical Access] Security

The DHS CISA warning stated, "An attacker with physical access to the aircraft could attach a device to an avionics CAN bus that could be used to inject false data, resulting in incorrect readings in avionic equipment.” CISA fears that, if exploited, these vulnerabilities could provide false readings to pilots, and lead to crashes or other air incidents involving small aircraft. Attackers with CAN bus access could alter engine telemetry readings, compass and attitude data, altitude, and airspeeds. Serious stuff.

Not all of these attacks required physical access.

These risks should serve as a wake-up call to everyone in manufacturing. Any device, system, or organization that controls operation of a system is at risk, and the threats can originate from internal or external sources. It’s critical for OEMs, their supply chains, and enterprises to include security and identity management at the device level and continually fortify their security capabilities to close vulnerabilities.

Security Solutions for Avionics Devices

Today’s airplanes have dozens of connected subsystems transmitting critical telemetry and control data to each other. Currently, tier-one suppliers and OEMs in aviation have failed to broadly implement security technologies such as secure boot, secure communication and embedded firewalls on their devices, leaving them vulnerable to hacking. While OEMs have begun to address these issues, there is much more to be done.

Sectigo offers solutions so that OEMs, their supply chains, and enterprises can take full advantage of PKI and embedded security technology for connected devices. Our industry-first end-to-end IoT Platform, made possible through the acquisition of Icon Labs, a provider of security solutions for embedded OEMs and IoT device manufacturers, can be used to issue and renew certificates using a single trust model that’s interoperable with any issuance model and across all supported devices, operating systems (OS), protocols, and chipsets.

Much like the automotive industry, the aviation sector has a very complex supply chain, and implementing private PKI and embedded security introduces interoperability challenges. With leading avionics manufacturers introducing hundreds of SKUs per year, maintaining hundreds of different secure boots within a single aircraft is complex, cumbersome, and ultimately untenable. Using a single homogenous secure boot implementation greatly simplifies the model.

Purpose-built PKI for IoT, such as the Sectigo IoT Manager, enables strong authentication and secure communication between devices within the airframe. Using PKI-based authentication prevents communication from unauthorized components or devices and will eliminate a broad set of attacks.

Embedded firewall technology provides an additional, critical security layer for these systems. This is particularly relevant for attacks such as the Boeing 757 attack via the airline Infotainment Wi-Fi Network. An embedded firewall provides support for filtering rules to prevent access from the Wi-Fi network to the control network.

Icon Labs embedded firewall has been has deployed in airline and automotive systems to address attacks such as these. In both instances, our embedded firewall sits on a gateway device in the vehicle or airplane to prevent unauthorized access from external networks or devices into the control network, or from the Infotainment network to the control network. We continue to see interest in this area, indicating manufacturers are beginning to act.

From Cockpits to Control Towers

Securing connected devices in aviation is not limited to airplanes. The industry requires secure communication between everything on the tarmac, from cockpits and control towers to provisioning vehicles and safety personnel. For that reason, Sectigo provides an award-winning co-root of the AeroMACS consortium, which addresses all broadband communication at airports across the world and calls for security using PKI certificates to be deployed into airplanes, catering trucks, and everything else on the tarmac.

Future Proofing with Crypto Agility

It’s worth noting that aviation is also uniquely challenged by the tenure of its components. Unlike devices that are designed to last for months or years, airplanes are designed to last for decades. Advances in quantum computing, which many experts believe is just around the corner, threaten to make today’s cryptographic standards obsolete. Aeronautical suppliers need to be prepared for this coming “crypto-apocalypse” and to update the security on their devices in the field while the devices are in operation. Sectigo’s over-the-air update abilities provide the cryptographic agility to guard against this upcoming crypto-apocalypse (listen to the related Root Causes podcast).

The ecosystem has fast work to do. Manufacturers must secure the CAN buses in their existing, and future fleets – whether those planes idle on fenced tarmacs, or in airplane hangars. In the meantime, CISA counsels that aircraft owners restrict access to planes avionics' components "to the best of their abilities,” leaving passengers to hope security soon extends beyond their TSA experiences.

Read this blog online at https://sectigo.com/blog/how-pki-and-embedded-security-can-help-stop-aircraft-cyberattacks

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We had gone from a time when the video call was deemed stuff of the future to being able to switch on appliances like refrigerators, air conditioners, microwaves, and more remotely, i.e. from wherever you are. The latter is the outcome of this nifty phenomenon called the Internet of Things. Moreover, while a lot of us may have been struggling to wrap their head around the fact that pretty much everything can be connected to everything, IoT has already evolved to give the world with what is now referred to as the Industrial Internet of Things, a.k.a. IIoT.

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Though, IIoT is fundamentally similar to IoT; the former is differentiated from the latter utilizing the targeted environment. As the name suggests, IIoT is meant for industrial purposes. Under the purview of IIoT, equipment, including all types of machines and sensors, are connected to the internet to communicate with each other. The data generated by the connected equipment is stored and processed to deliver a plethora of benefits to companies, such as improved management of the facility, predictive maintenance, and more. It also helps companies to leverage their EHS data in a substantially better manner. To help you understand the potential of this combination, we have compiled a list of the top benefits it delivers.

  1. Employee safety: With wearable devices, including personal protective equipment, have played a crucial role in transforming how companies ensure the safety of their employees. It is done in a million different ways, such as by detecting human presence far too near equipment, sounding alerts, and switching off the machine in question. It can also be used to identify abnormal levels of specific gases, chemicals, and more via sensors on employees’ person and prevent any untoward incident.
  2. Keep an eye on equipment: Unforeseen downtime for equipment can translate into massive losses for the company. Whereas for employees, it can mean a risk to their safety. In this context, IIoT collects data on all equipment in the facility, makes use of advanced analytics and machine learning to predict faults, if at all. In addition to that, the data thus gathered can also be used to monitor maintenance schedules and even predict if a particular piece of machinery may need an unscheduled service in the future.
  3. Environmental management: Industries make use of a variety of devices that serve to help them with their environmental management-related efforts. Case in point, continuous emissions monitoring systems — they keep an eye on the emission levels of things like particulate matter, dangerous organic compounds, and more to help businesses ensure compliance with emissions-related regulations with absolute ease.

The digital world has long proven that it is a potent sea of advanced technology-based tools that can bring on transformation in the blink of an eye. IIoT is a prime example of technology’s prowess. When combined with workplace health and safety management software, businesses substantially gain access to a robust tool that will assist their endeavors in the context of gathering, tracking, and processing data that will fortify their EHS efforts.

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