Open Source is Critical to Improving IoT Interoperability and Time to Market

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Hughes Systique Corporation (HSC) is an award-winning software solutions and services company that has been instrumental in steering the digital transformation journey of its clients from the forefront. As an R&D services and solutions provider, HSC has pioneered the digital transformation in markets such as networking, retail, media streaming, hospitality, retail, automotive and IoT.

In an interaction with EFY bureau, Vinod Sood, Head of Global Delivery and Managing Director of HSC, shares his views on a wide range of topics from key technologies in IoT to significance of industry standards and role of open source and AI/ML in IoT.

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?

Vinod Sood, Head of Global Delivery and Managing Director, HSC

Internet of Things (IoT) is an overarching domain that involves several technologies. But I believe the following three technologies are shaping the future of IoT:

(a) IoT Security Technologies such as Blockchain: IoT security is a complicated affair because end devices or ‘things’ have minimal resources which may not support sophisticated security procedures. The implementation of a blockchain decentralized approach to an entire IoT network ensure the privacy and protection of data at all levels and can help resolve scalability issues while provide an effective functioning of the system as well.

(b) AI/ML for IoT Analytics: AI and Machine Learning will facilitate advanced data analysis, especially for smart devices. IoT demands new analytic approaches to exploit the huge amount of data collected from ‘things’ to better understand the consumer behavior. Adding machine learning to Edge Networks can unlock the real potential of IOT analytics and decision making. The combination of machine learning and edge computing can filter most of the noise collected by IOT devices and leave the relevant data to be analyzed by the edge and cloud analytic engine.

(c) Distributed Stream Computing Platforms (DSCP): Closed loop responsiveness of IoT applications necessitates use of low latency and scalable DSCPs which can be hosted on cloud or edge (fog).

Q. Between the cellular and NB-IoT/LPWA families of wireless technologies – which one are you betting upon? Why?

Building a successful IoT system banks heavily on choosing the correct technology to meet connectivity needs. We are betting upon Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) technologies such as NB-IoT which are particularly well-suited for IoT system requirements such as low power consumption and long battery life. NB-IoT is best for supporting simple on-off devices that could include smart parking meters, smart agricultural sensors, electric meters, industrial monitors and building automation. However, other LPWA technologies such as LTE-M can be used for other requirements.

Q. How’s the development of standards (or lack of it) affecting the adoption of IoT?

As IoT is not a point solution, it requires an integration between multiple vendors and organizations to make an end-to-end system work together. The challenge is further exacerbated given the lack of industry standards creating confusion, complexity, risk and vendor lock-in scenarios. It may have slowed down the adoption of IoT solutions a bit, but it hasn’t been able to greatly curtail its adoption. The forecast of smart and connected ‘things’ still holds strong as industry and consumers appreciate the utility and benefits attached to IoT use-cases.

Q. How ready is India’s tech eco-system to develop and deploy IoT solutions?

Indian government has been laying the ground work for connected India via National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) and BharatNet project for quite some time now. The intention of the government to create 100 smart cities over the next few years has given a further push to IoT adoption in the Indian context. Most of these proposals/projects are based on IoT-enabled solutions.

Q. Do you foresee India’s tech industry developing its own IP and branded products/solutions in the IoT arena?

Make in India and Start-up India revolution have given a great boost to India’s tech companies for developing their own IPs and solutions in the IoT space. There are several examples of such products being successfully developed and deployed by Indian companies across the globe. At HSC, we have created multiple IPs and solution accelerators to enable quick deployment of end-to-end IoT systems.

Q. Do you see the Open Source phenomenon play an important role in the IoT arena?

Absolutely. Open source is playing a vital role in every possible aspect of IoT; be it the IoT platform, security, framework, transport or data analytics. Open source is critical for fast time to market as well as interoperability.

Q. How do you see the role, technologies like AI/ML will play in the evolution of IoT solutions?

IoT represents senses and actors, while AI/ML represents the brain of the end-to-end solution. It makes the IoT based solutions come alive, take intelligent and personalized decisions, based on the historical data. Such connected intelligence leads to several use-cases such as predictive analytics, prescriptive analytics, adaptive/continuous analytics, etc. It results in enhanced operational efficiency, safety and system reliability.

Q. What’s your opinion on the state of security available for IoT solutions? How do you see the evolution from hereon, w.r.t threats and counter-measures?

IoT interconnects all sort of devices, from home automation to industrial automation and from retail to healthcare segment. This makes it more vulnerable than ever to external threat vectors. Wrongly selected security measures can lead to serious harm of life or property. Thus, it is of prime importance that a correct security measure is taken at every node of an IoT system. At HSC, we have been working on IoT security for several years now and have created enterprise grade solutions/IPs. The entire software industry is working to address the IoT security concerns at each and every node.

Q. W.r.t. edge vs cloud, where do you think will we see faster development in the next year or two?

Edge and cloud are complementary components of a system. The edge node is responsible for processing latency sensitive operations, whereas the cloud is responsible for storing a large amount of data and processing less time-sensitive data. Due to the exponential increase in the amount of data created by IoT devices, the need to process and analyse this data faster is also growing. But cloud is still required for data aggregation, analytics and visualisation etc. Thus, we believe that a hybrid approach where edge and cloud work together shall be used more and more for better efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Q. What are the key technologies missing, which when made available, will accelerate adoption of IoT across the globe?

IoT security is one of the top concerns, which the whole industry is working to address. At HSC, we have our own solutions which provide carrier grade security to IoT systems. Another missing piece is the lack of widely accepted IoT standards. This makes the integration of IoT devices a nightmare. These two challenges, if met properly, can accelerate the adoption of IoT across the globe.

Q. Any thoughts on where to go edge versus where to go cloud?

Edge should be used where latency is of prime concern e.g. data analytics based quick actions. Cloud should be used for data aggregation, less time critical operations e.g. predictive maintenance, data visualisation, etc. But we strongly believe that these two are complementary technologies and a hybrid approach is the best approach for higher efficiency and customer satisfaction.

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