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IIoT Ecosystem in India Is At a Curious Crossroads

Rajesh Gupta, Director, Country Manager - India Sales, Micron, sheds light on how IIoT is transforming industries and businesses.

IIoT

The need for connected solutions is more critical than ever before, especially in response to the current situation surrounding COVID-19, which has deeply affected all manufacturing industries and supply chains. Whether there’s a need to scale, re-strategize production, or re-deploy employees, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) that refers to the extension and use of the IoT in industrial sectors and applications, has been essential in making these transformations possible.

According to Markets and Markets, the global IoT in manufacturing market size is expected to grow from USD 33.2 billion in 2020 to USD 53.8 billion in 2025, at CAGR of 10.1%. In recent years, India too is seeing a noticeable acceleration of technology adoption in industrial manufacturing.

In an exclusive conversation with CXOToday, Rajesh Gupta, Director, Country Manager – India Sales, Micron, sheds light on how IIoT is transforming industries and businesses and the opportunities as well as the road ahead for companies that are rethinking their investment strategy in this area. He also tells us how Micron is addressing the unique challenges Indian companies are facing when launching their IIoT initiatives, especially emphasizing on IIoT security. Excerpt.

CXOToday: According to you, what are the most exciting things currently happening in Industrial IoT?

Rajesh Gupta: The smart factory is reshaping the manufacturing industry powered by the IoT. This IoT revolution is expected to increase productivity and value profoundly.Apart from IoT, the other key technology include Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning, industrial robotics, big data, and IoT analytics, digital twins, and 5G.Smart Factories which rely heavily on smart manufacturing are becoming more prevalent today. With the use of data, these are highly digitalized and connected production facilities. They are designed to drive the adoption of digital manufacturing processes and create better outcomes for productivity, delivery, reduced labor and energy costs.

Industrial infrastructure requires the same data centric capability that drives analytics and AI in the cloud but delivered in rugged environments like the factory floor. Industrial systems need to react within highly accurate, millisecond control loops and fixed latency requirements, so sending data to the cloud will just not allow for industrial real-time command and control. This is driving the need for complex, edge compute infrastructure capable of sophisticated analytics, including embedded AI accelerators, embedded local storage to support multi-sensor data aggregation, and connectivity in real time. Edge compute systems that need to support machine learning inference up to GPU-level compute performance demand high-bandwidth, low-latency DRAM, and managed NAND and SSD solutions in a wide range of ruggedized form factors.

From wider temperature ranges, to smaller form factors, to embedded security, Micron has the industry’s broadest technology portfolio for the intelligent edge. Our innovation includes delivery of unique memory and storage solutions for AI such as GDDR6X to fuel fast growing workloads like AI enabled video analytics at the edge, and Micron’s deep learning accelerator, enabling new adoption of edge AI.  Infact to further help meet the demands of vast deployment usage models, Micron has created the Industrial Quotient (IQ) program enabling industry developers to tap into Micron’s more than 30-year history of delivering memory and storage solutions for rugged edge environments.

CXOToday: What is the future of manufacturing and how will technology play a role?

Rajesh Gupta: It is no secret that one of the biggest trends hitting the technology space is machine learning, promising new insights and bottom line benefits to organizations worldwide. The premise of machine learning is to allow machines to use large amounts of data to create algorithms in order to discover patterns and accurately predict future outcomes. This type of system creates a streamlined process that sidesteps the need to be programmed or reprogrammed specifically for every single possible action.

Intelligent automation is another trend that will define the manufacturing of tomorrow. Intelligent automation is driven by artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. In industrial operations, AI acts as the catalyst to increase productivity in the operations.IA connects humans, processes, and technology to boost business growth, drive revenue, reduce costs, mitigate risk, and deliver an exceptional user experience.

The manufacturing industry stands to gain the most from taking advantage of these new capabilities, ushering in a new era of smart manufacturing. Semiconductor manufacturing, with its hundreds of precise steps and sensitive processes, is an ideal candidate to leverage machine learning. By using “connected” machines to collect real-time data in factories, manufacturers can dramatically improve their efficiency and productivity by making real-time decisions and predictions.

CXOToday: What factors are driving the adoption of the Internet of Things in manufacturing?

Rajesh Gupta: The major factors driving the growth of the IoT in manufacturing market include the growing demand for industrial automation in the manufacturing industry, the rising need for centralized monitoring and predictive maintenance of assets, the increasing number of cost-effective and intelligent connected devices and sensors, the growing need for reliable, secure, and high-speed network connectivity, and the increased adoption of cloud computing platforms.

Intelligent production and machine learning strategies allow engineers to identify errors in the early stages when they are relatively inexpensive. It supports employees in more efficient planning and management of raw material inventories and provides end clients with more transparency on product ship dates. Partnerships between producers and suppliers, between groups in companies, and between businesses and standards bodies are an essential ingredient in smart manufacturing. Better production with data analysis is essential in increasingly competitive markets. This is truer than in the manufacture of semiconductors where every year the pressure mounting reduces costs, improves efficiency, and concentrates on the quality of critical products.

CXOToday: What security aspect would enterprises pay heed to when it comes to interoperability and connected devices?

Rajesh Gupta: Beyond providing storage solutions for vast amounts of new data, Micron is also crafting key innovations in an important component to the increase of IoT growth: security. As the proliferation of everyday smart devices becomes high-risk entry points for cyber-criminals, Micron’s Authenta technology provides a layer of defensive hardware reinforcements to our existing non-volatile memory sockets, without adding new components. This unique security solution has increased Micron’s value as a provider of memory for IoT devices, bolstering the company’s reputation for top-of-the-line memory innovations.

CXOToday: What unique challenges are Indian companies facing when launching Industrial IoT initiatives?

Rajesh Gupta: With billions of industrial IoT devices expected to be connected to the cloud, the IoT edge will bridge enterprise and industrial systems in markets such as factory automation, oil and gas, smart cities, surveillance, health care, and many others.

The IIoT ecosystem in India is at a curious crossroads. We have large telecommunication companies with network ownership that have the capabilities across the entire IoT workflow, but they still have to deal with several critical challenges such as standardization, interoperability, and data security. While Industrial IOT holds immense promise for India, we need to deploy governance, process, infrastructure and planned deployment for us to begin to reap the full benefits.

CXOToday: In what interesting IIoT projects/India based case studies have you been involved with?

Rajesh Gupta: Micron partnered with Tata Communications to create a worldwide cellular-enabled connectivity solution that will simplify and accelerate large-scale global deployment of IoT devices. This solution is powered by a new virtual SIM, the world’s first cloud-based embedded subscriber identity module (eSIM), which offers a flexible, scalable alternative to conventional physical SIM cards. The cloud-based eSIM is enabled by Micron’s Authenta Key Management Service (KMS), the industry’s first silicon-based security-as-a-service platform for edge devices.

Micron’s technology enables Tata Communications’ Move Global IoT Solution to offer a pervasive, end-to-end solution for zero-touch onboarding of connected IoT devices to cloud services across 600 mobile network operators across 200 countries and territories.

CXOToday: What Industrial IoT technologies will be available in the near future?

Rajesh Gupta: AI and machine learning are becoming more widely used. Every business today, around the ecosystem and larger organizations, faces the challenge of handling vast volumes of data captured in a short period. The difference between success and failure today is turning the information into useful business knowledge and then making decisions.As a result, we’re seeing a significant rise in the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence in India. As an outcome, we see our cutting-edge products, such as DDR5 or high-performance NVM SSDs, extremely high-performance SSDs, augment any deployment, which is the end goal of any machine learning and artificial intelligence deployment.

Industrial memory solutions from Micron allow industrial IoT devices to capture, analyze and share data to open and extend market insight. The adoption of IoT Systems for enterprises continues to grow from its roots as a communication machine-to-machine to its development into a complex network of web-enabled devices. In the IIoT sector, Micron continues to offer a memory and security solution to this large ecosystem, which could unlock future intelligent cities.

Micron is deriving insights from data produced by manufacturing systems using complex deep learning and AI capabilities. We recently introduced the IoT sensors, such as cameras and acoustic sensors, to collect even more data and enhance our manufacturing processes while reducing waste. Micron is introducing key developments in an important component of IoT growth, that’s security, in addition to providing storage solutions for vast amounts of new data.

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Sohini Bagchi
Sohini Bagchi is Editor at CXOToday, a published author and a storyteller. She can be reached at sohini.bagchi@trivone.com