Zulkernyne Ibne Tahasin, currently working as Program Director for 5G Digital Transformation & Technology Consulting in Ericsson Japan, thinks Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) promises the merger of operational technology with classic enterprise IT, leveraging an extensive range of tools. They range from advanced analytics to supply chain monitoring and tiny environmental sensors.
After graduation with an Electronics and Communication Engineering degree, Zulkernyne Ibne Tahasin has been actively involved with many critical telecom network design, new mobile technology introduction initiatives, and technology consulting around the world. Zulkernyne and his team did the commercial IoT launch in Japan in 2017.
Zulkernyne finds IIoT as a revolutionizing factor across all industry verticals. A couple of noticeable IIoT applications include:
- Smart inventory management: This implies using IIoT sensors to gather product data in product lifecycle stages to detect how external factors impact the final product, and manufacturers streamlining their predictive maintenance processes to mitigate unnecessary labor expenses.
- Remote Site Operation: IoT Edge is a mechanism that enables devices to operate even without an internet connection. Construction projects and plants in remote sites or greenfield locations would leverage such IoT benefits.
- Work Safety assurance: IIoT systems can connect plant exteriors and loading docks to the interior, thereby collecting and dissecting safety data on a facility-wide scale to send real-time alerts to other employees and senior management in case of a mishap. In the US alone, the total cost pertaining to work injuries amounted to more than $170 billion in 2019. With IoT penetration into industries, the scope of employee safety can be tremendously increased.
While highlighting IIoT’s potential, Zulkernyne Tahasin also suggested that IIoT technology is yet to overcome specific challenges. Key challenges include:
- Connectivity: Internet connection may not be available at a stable speed everywhere in the world thus posing operational glitches. This may be noticed in remote areas like drilling oil and extraction of gas. Further development and adoption of IoT Edge can address this concern.
- Security Issues: IoT still is vulnerable to security flaws as they are prone to cyberattacks. This can be solved by the installation of very strong firewalls to secure the overall network and bridging security loopholes.
- Interoperability and Compatibility: With many service providers, OEMs, and vendors operating, it is challenging to develop IoT interoperability. Networking and sensors continue to be the essential components of IoT. However, these networking capabilities and sensors are not available in every machine to share data. Moreover, sensors are having different capabilities of power consumption. These elements and the security benchmarks in legacy machines often fail to offer the same results. Integrating external sensors may be a possible solution. However, this can also be a challenge, considering the complexity in determining the respective parts and functions that would communicate.
IIoT is the future. Despite challenges, IIoT holds the key to future growth in almost every human area of activity. To uncover its full potential, all partners in the ecosystem need to cooperate – IoT developers need to work on existing technological shortcomings, government bodies and industry leaders need to work on global standards, security experts and manufacturers need to focus on identifying and implementing adequate security protocols. Such combined efforts from all stakeholders will lead us to the smooth adoption of IIoT in industries and accelerate the fourth industrial revolution.