- Factana is an IoT engineering company that is into providing industrial IoT platform and smart devices for SMB Industries
- Combination of Cellular Network /NB-IoT and LPWAN will help to meet global IoT Implementation informed Hariharan
Hariharan Ganesh, founder of Factana, in an exclusive conversation with Profit From IoT shed light on how the IoT sector is evolving in India. He is of view that while software is India’s strength when it comes to IoT implementation, the country needs to do more work in terms of hardware requirements for the same.
Here are some more interesting excerpts from the interaction
Q. In your opinion, which are the top three technologies that are shaping the future of IoT? How are they influencing the future of IoT?
A. The future of IoT is going to be an Advanced IoT by combining the 5G Network, Edge Computing and Artificial Intelligence. The combination of these three technologies will turn anything into a highly intelligent system.
The revolution of 5G brings lightning speed of connection between any things across the globe, Edge capabilities add localized data processing capabilities to any things, AI enhances the intelligence to handle situations autonomously. The power of these three technologies will make any machine much more self-intelligent.
Q. Between the cellular and NB-IoT/LPWAN families of wireless technologies, which one are you betting upon? Why?
A. I believe both cellular and LPWAN wireless technologies add unique capabilities to address specific needs of communication. It cannot be compared to which is best. The Industrial IoT use cases require a high speed IoT network for faster data communication and actions. But remote sensing or multi-node requirements need NB-IoT/LPWAN wireless technologies for longer life.
The combination of both will help to meet global IoT Implementation. This is why we built our Fogwing Industrial IoT Platform to support both Cellular networks as well as LPWAN/LoRaWAN network. Our customers can build IoT solutions by combining both wireless capabilities.
Q. How’s the development of standards (or lack of it) affecting the adoption of IoT?
A. This is one of the biggest challenges that customers are facing today. IoT is complex to implement as it requires industry grade sensors, IoT devices, wireless communication network, data aggregation, data processing, intelligence and user interfaces. Since there are a variety of sensors, devices and wireless communication standards available, it mandates end to end capabilities to be adopted successfully.
There is no single standard to address all the above technologies. There is no single player who addresses all the above. We fill the gap by providing Industrial IoT Platform, tested devices and private wireless networks through our partners. We simplify it by providing all as a single package for our customers as plug and play models.
Q. How ready is India’s tech eco-system to develop and deploy IoT solutions?
A. In our opinion, India’s tech eco-system is strongly equipped to provide the software side of the IoT implementation. Our core strength is around building the software technologies. However, we are not fully equipped in manufacturing IoT related hardware components such as sensors, IoT gateways and LPWAN Nodes.
We are heavily depending on the hardware components imported from China or Europe. We have been hunting for the right partner who can manufacture and provide advanced quality of sensors and IoT gateways at a reasonable cost, however we have not come across vendors who can provide both quality and cost effective IoT hardware supplies for our IIoT platform.
As of now, we have partnered with IoT hardware manufacturers in China to provide cost effective solutions to our customers. Yet, the IoT gateway and Node costs are higher, as a result the adoption rate is slower in the India market.
Q. Do you foresee India’s tech industry developing its own IP and branded products/solutions in the IoT arena?
A. India has been showing strength in the world’s SaaS market as a leader, similarly India’s tech industry is the most promising provider of IoT based products and solutions to meet global demand. The world has recognized our talents in software services, if we use our talents to work for our own IoT products and innovations, we would become a world leader in IoT technologies.
With this dream, we started our company as Industrial IoT Platform and IoT SaaS product company to help build the future of technologies. India has great potential to lead the world if we are ready to invest for our own growth.
Q. Do you see the Open Source phenomenon play an important role in the IoT arena?
A. Open sources are the foundation of many successful software products; many successful unicorns started as open source in earlier days before becoming the leader in a specific technology. But we believe that this formula may not work well in the IoT space due to complexity and challenges involved in combining both hardware devices and software platforms. As mentioned earlier, there is no single standard for end of end IoT implementation, if so, having single open source addressing the entire IoT implementation is remote. IoT Security is another big challenge to overcome, so the grow if open source IoT is very limited.
However, the combination of many open source providers could be combined to deliver IoT. But the possibilities are still in the wait and watch stage.
Q. How do you see the role, technologies like AI/ML will play in the evolution of IoT solutions?
A. 99 per cent of IoT implementation intends to collect data from devices or environments is what we assume. We observe IoT has been seen as only data aggregation technology, however this is changing in industrial use cases. We are providing an IoT based automation solution by combining the AI/ML technologies.
The future of IoT is evolving as not just collecting the data, but also understanding the data to take intelligent action. AI/ML plays as the backbone of the intelligence capabilities added into IoT solutions, known as Edge Computing.
Q. What’s your opinion on the state of security available for IOT solutions? How do you see the evolution from here-on w.r.t threats and counter-measures?
A. IoT security is the top of the list in today’s tech talks. Today’s digital world is going through enormous security threats and challenges. This challenge is doubled in IoT solutions due to the nature of remote device communications. Even though devices and wireless communication can be secure through existing security standards and protocols, it still depends on the device capabilities, compatibility and communication network.
This is why we encourage our customers to go with Private IoT Network Servers instead of relying on the public IoT network to mitigate the risk of security vulnerability. But still we have to innovate to completely address this challenge.
Q. W.r.t. edge vs cloud–where do you think will we see faster development in the next year or two?
A. This is really unpredictable now due to the technology evaluation in both 5G and Edge network. The primary purpose of Edge Computing is avoiding the all data aggregation in the cloud and leads into communication failure. However, 5G adoption will address the communication challenge and make the cloud near to us.
In our view, both Edge and Cloud are important for any Industrial IoT use cases; The appropriate approach would be by combining both technologies together to accommodate faster data processing locally with edge and longer storage in cloud. At Factana, we are investing in providing both capabilities in our Fogwing IIoT Platform.
Q. What are the key technologies missing, which when made available, will accelerate adoption of IoT across the globe?
A. Many customers are providing significant investment in Proof of Concepts to identify the perfect blend of IoT hardware and integration. So, we believe that the biggest missing piece in the puzzle is IoT hardware standardization.
It is very complex to handle IoT implementation with various hardware and networking technologies. The standardization in devices and networking will bring the uniformity in IoT solutions and would result in faster adoption.
Q. Any thoughts on where to go edge versus where to go cloud?
A. As discussed earlier, edge and cloud are both required for the future of Industrial IoT. The combination of both gives well balanced and cost effective Industrial IoT solutions. Either case, IoT adopters can approach us for both requirements. Fogwing IIoT Platform both by providing Edge SDKs with Cloud Platform to build the best of breed solution.