Machstatz is a Bangalore-based IoT company serving Industry 4.0 as a creator through Quasar, its complete Industrial IoT package, smart edge computing device, gateways and analytics. In an exclusive interview with Electronicsforu, Mr Sameer Patnaik, Co-founder and CEO, Machstatz, discusses the technology trends in the IoT industry and gives an insight into the IIoT end-to-end solutions.
Q. In your opinion, which are the top 3 technologies that are shaping the future of IoT? How are they influencing the future of IoT?
According to me, IoT Hardware, Event Stream Processing, Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are the top 3 technologies that are now helping in shaping the future of IoT.
IoT Hardware – It simply implies smart sensors and devices that can connect the existing machines or things to the internet. This is the foundation pillar for any IoT architecture. Sensing the data and connecting it to the internet is the first and foremost step for every IoT company.
Event Stream Processing – When we talk about things connected to the internet, there will be streams of huge datasets. Event streaming plays a major role in processing these data sets and implements a scalable solution for the analysis in real time.
Machine Learning & AI – Machine Learning is still at its nascent stage. There are many IoT companies who have already achieved wonderful results with the adoption of these technologies. I think, over time, this technology will evolve and become the most critical factor in shaping the future of IoT. Things will become smarter and weirder, but people will still be using it because they will solve their problems in no time.
I think these three are the quintessential technologies that will eventually shape the future of IoT. So manufacturing and consumer appliances are the two most important fields where the adoption rate is high and they will pick up the pace in the future. Examples can be smart homes, smart manufacturing and smart cities, where the traffic lights will probably be connected to Google maps for real-time updates. The sky is the limit when we talk about the future of IoT.
Q. Between the cellular and NB-IOT/LPWAN families of wireless technologies, which one are you betting on and why?
I think NB-IoT could be a breakthrough technology in the IoT market for the fact that it consumes low power and has high connection density. In terms of deployment, we must look at the cost of these technologies with regard to 2G/3G/LTE based communications. If the unit cost is within the acceptable range, it will be a good substitute for deployments. In terms of feasibility, I think it will be great if we implement it successfully in any of our deployments.
Q. How is the development of standards (or lack of it) affecting the adoption of IoT?
IoT has been in the market for almost 5-6 years but its adoption rate is very low. If we talk about development standards, the solutions being deployed are not scalable. There are too many legacy-based systems, data security, etc. At Machstatz, we are trying to address these issues in a simpler way.
Q. How ready is India’s tech eco-system to develop and deploy IoT solutions?
At present, I think India is ready and the IoT market is booming. Our potential clients are aware of what this technology is and how it can help them. Maybe today we have to educate them a bit more on the Return on Investment (ROI) perspective, but overall, I find a great response in terms of implementation and taking things forward.
Q. Do you foresee India’s tech industry developing its own IP and branded products/solutions in the IoT arena?
Yes, we have encountered a lot of potential in the startups in recent years. We have seen a paradigm shift in terms of research and development. At Machstatz, we are in the process of building a product which can be patented and established as a brand in the IoT market.
Q. Do you see the Open Source phenomenon play an important role in the IoT arena?
Yes. There are so many open source platforms out there that can be leveraged enough to build IoT products. In my opinion, these open source platforms will play a pivotal role in how we build our products and how we position our products in the market. With the constant evolution of technology, there will be a time when we will see an open source platform for almost every new technology being built.
Q. How do you see the role, technologies like AI/ML will play in the evolution of IoT solutions?
Like I explained earlier, AI/ML has already reached our day-to-day life like google maps. If we talk about Amazon Echo, in a few years, it may behave as Jarvis (AI Assistant from Iron Man). In the industrial scenario, machines might talk to one another and improve themselves through self-troubleshooting. I think AI/ML will be the frontrunner in shaping up the future of IoT.
Q. What’s your opinion on the state of security available for IoT solutions? How do you find the evolutions from here on w.r.t threats and counter-measures?
Security is essential for every IoT solution. In our present deployment, our topmost priority is to ensure that the data is secured. The adoption of IP-based connectivity used to communicate between multiple industrial devices has increased security risks, as has the growing use of sophisticated microprocessors in industrial equipment. This makes the industrial control systems (ICS) one of the most vulnerable targets in the industrial world. Somebody might hijack an IoT device, disrupt an incoming data source, manipulate any existing data point or skew any result because everything is connected to the internet. For these reasons sometimes, we deploy our solutions within the plant premises which makes the data safe and secured.
Q. W.r.t. edge vs cloud, where do you think will we see faster development in the next year or two?
I think Cloud deployments will be faster. Cloud deployments involve less intrusive methods and are very scalable across industries. So when we talk about adaptability on cloud or edge, the cloud will have faster deployments. IoT companies should work more on smart data rather than big data. This will give them an edge over the other competitors.
Q. What are the key technologies missing, which when made available, will accelerate the adoption of IoT across the globe?
In my opinion, smart sensors, wireless power supply, high rate of transmission wirelessly unbreachable data security platforms are the few things missing and adopting these would surely accelerate the adoption of IoT across the globe once available.
Q. Any thoughts on where to go edge versus where to go cloud?
I would recommend edge deployments for smart analytics rather than the cloud. Cloud can be used to act on the data sent from edge devices. A smart combination of edge and cloud will be a great architecture for Industrial IoT deployments. My thoughts – for converting huge chunks of data from machines into smart data use edge devices and cloud can be used for other machine learning-based algorithms.