For the last 20 years, GreenVulcano has been promoting an all Italian innovation that aims at the development and the implementation of a stable, safe and long-lasting infrastructure. All in an effort to start a brand-new dialogue on the way we conceive infrastructure.
When dealing with the world of IoT, one might think of a nebulous quantity of notions and innovations, which only share the idea of connectivity, originality and more broadly a connection with the Internet.
This is not entirely wrong: in its strictest meaning, we can say that the Internet of Things “consists of any device with an on/off switch connected to the Internet”.
How did we get here?
The meaning of Iot, however, changed with the times. Since the core definition of an IoT device consists of a physical component, we can even allude to the idea of a “pre-Internet” IoT. This would involve devices that could connect to each other, although without the use of the Internet – as the electromagnetic telegraph or apparatuses used to send Morse code lines.
With the advent of new technologies and, above all, with the very first computers, IoT changed its meaning to something closer to our perception. Machines didn’t need a second user at the other end, but they worked as operators themselves.
It’s the age of Olivetti, of evolutions that would use the early TCP/IP protocols to connect an IBM computer to Romkey’s toaster, the implementation of Arpanet, and most significantly the World Wide Web. It is with the transition of wireless devices through the Net that we got to what in 1999, Kevin Ashot, the then Executive Director of Auto-ID, called “the Internet of Things”.
Today, IoT developed extremely quickly, covering a wide range of subjects and sectors. From security to the environment, from urban development to biotechnology, IoT allows us to apply the most creative methods in the research to tackle many of the yet unresolved problems we endure today.
Stepping away from the strictest infrastructural applications, one should only think that at the Queen Mary College of London and at the University of Padua, teams of researchers are working on a bio-IoT. According to them, bacteria can be regarded as devices with all the characteristics of a mobile, operating machine, with integrated sensors and engines – and, hence, hackable to serve our pharmaceutical goals.
Moreover, as we already wrote in a post last year, IoT can help us tackle climate change, as well as many other worthwhile fields from both a scientific and a financial point of view.
Cities change – or better, they improve
Today, more practical examples and logical integrations of IoT occur in cities and urban environments, with the so-called smart cities. New York and London already implemented IoT solutions to reach a higher environmental sustainability. Some examples of this can be seen in Bird Street in London or smart sidewalks and the 2020 plans of the New York city administration. Meanwhile, in Japan, Toyota announced its plan to build a brand-new smart city.
GreenVulcano is carrying on innovation in this field in Italy too. Last year, for instance, it partnered with Alan Advantage to work on the Oracle’s project Proxima City. Or yet, with its Project SPARTA. In this project, GreenVulcano is researching an innovative sustainable solution to city traffic and congestion, one of the main causes of urban pollution.
The future walks up: IoT and Blockchain
Adoption of the blockchain system – with all the industries it is renovating – could not happen if not supported by a hardware as solid as one the IoT can provide. Storing and processing of data, sharing, computation and, especially, blockchain security could not be possible if not relying on a sound, performing physical layer.
For instance, Sensoworks – a solution developed by GreenVulcano for maintenance and control of industrial plants, bridges, tunnels, viaducts, and so on – harvests and shares data on a blockchain-based system. It does this in order to provide the highest control on the phases of storage and transfer of data on a safe, unhackable chain.
Energy is, perhaps, one of the fastest changing industries. From autonomous oil off-shore platforms to smart lightbulbs for consumption control, IoT is helping to reduce the waste of energy and the relative costs, both for the individual citizen as well as for big companies. The infrastructure provided by new, creative solutions already proved its effects to all the grid linking the diverse operational and productive units.
Surely, in all these three cases, the problem is always the same: security – be it the protection of personal data or the most basic health and safety norms of machinery. Cameras and sensors in a smart city or the encryption of data on a block of the blockchain could become a threat to users’ privacy. As well as malfunctions or harmful events for energy plants or extraction pipes. In the future, auditing systems will become increasingly necessary for advanced IoT devices.
Innovation in the IoT industry doesn’t seem willing to stop in the short run and most likely will continue to strengthen in the long run as well. An increasingly smart and tech-savvy clientele gives the IoT a wide range of growth in the market, where the improvement of customers’ and companies’ daily life has a pivotal role.
Gartner foresees that in 2021 there will be 25 billion devices connected to the Internet, revealing the exponential growth awaiting the IoT down the road. Financial internal movements in the market – as the acquisition of Nest Labs and the proposal for Fitbit, Inc. by Google – let us further understand how big players don’t want to lose such a profitable chance.
With the adoption and the improvement of these technologies increasing in unison with their associated costs decreasing, consultancies such as Gartner, McKinsey, and PWC stress that this industry could see an ROI in the trillions of dollars by 2025.
2019 was an important year for GreenVulcano Technologies! We have come of age and celebrated 18 years of success.
We have grown a lot thanks to a magnificent and increasingly numerous team, constantly working in Rome, Naples and Boston.
We have improved the technological core of our products and have undergone an important restyling.
Our IoT solution for complex infrastructures has been deeply updated in terms of sensors, security, cloud platform and its many features and is today on the international market.
Update 2020: the IoT monitoring platform is now called Sensoworks!
We then launched GAIA: rebrand of our historic ESB architecture, now in version 4.0.
It was an intense 2019, full of things done and great satisfaction.
The coming one will be a special year for GreenVulcano, we have many new features coming up but we don’t anticipate anything!
We wish to make you our best wishes for happy holidays!
See you in 2020!
WHAT IS THE INDUSTRIAL IOT?
To understand what Industrial IoT is, let’s first take a step back and explain in a nutshell what we mean when we say the “Internet of Things”.
In 1999 Kevin Ashton, a researcher at MIT in Boston, described the Internet of Things as a set of technologies that allows to control, monitor and transfer information by connecting a device to the Internet.
The Industrial Internet of Things, usually abbreviated with IIoT, is therefore a verticalization of the broader concept of IoT, focused on the industrial ecosystem and enabled by technologies such as cybersecurity, cloud and edge computing, big-data analysis, artificial intelligence and machine learning.
According to a report signed by IndustryARC, the Industrial IoT market will reach 124 billion dollars by 2021 and should exceed 771 billion dollars by 2026. The CAGR (compound annual growth rate) in the period forecast 2018-2026, is instead estimated at 24.3%.
The key to this growth lies in the fact that data obtained in real time not only allows better management of the production process, but also better management of all company assets, offering a clear and immediate picture of the company’s performance in all its areas.
IIoT SYSTEM ARCHITECTURE
The ordinary structure of an IIoT system is a modular architecture organized in 4 Levels:
- Device Level: is the physical component of the IIoT system: IT hardware, machinery and sensors;
- Network Level: it consists of communication protocols, cloud computing and wifi networks that collect data and transfer them to the next level;
- Service Level: made up of functional applications and software for analysis as well as the transformation of data into information that can be displayed on the driver’s dashboard;
- Content Level: it is the last layer of the stack and is formed by user interface devices.
ADVANTAGES OF INDUSTRIAL IOT
The wide availability of data collected makes it possible to monitor and maintain (also in a predictive manner) strategic infrastructures, by utilizing AI and machine learning algorithms, we are able to generate estimates, forecasts on possible risks and suggest measures to be taken before failures occur.
For example, in the infrastructure sector, IoT sensors and predictive algorithms could allow the continuous monitoring of:
- Tunnels: to assess their deformations and convergence;
- Bridges: to check its inclinations and deflection measures;
- Buildings: to measure static deformations on buildings and verify their structural integrity;
- Sewage systems: to evaluate the speed and flow of waves;
The result of industrial IoT projects is the reduction of energy and maintenance costs, as well as the general improvement of business productivity and the employees work quality.
CRITICALITY OF THE IIoT
- Cyber security: The existing IT security measures for IoT devices are far lower, and the risks are sometimes underestimated, compared to the existing measures for more traditional computers and devices. The risk of connecting a device to a network makes it a potential target of a cyber attack.
- Lack of standardization in communication protocols: industrial communication protocols are the conditio sine qua non for interconnection and data exchange between machine and software. In most companies the hardware is extremely varied in age, manufacturer and technology used. This heterogeneity often requires the use of different communication protocols thus making the interconnection operation complex and expensive.
However, these critical issues must not discourage investments in IIoT projects. The long-term benefits are extremely superior to the short-term efforts in terms of human and economic resources.
IIoT IN GREENVULCANO
Well before the IoT became a research trend, GreenVulcano had already developed its own solution to offer to customers.
Leading the integration market thanks to an experience of over 10 years, GreenVulcano has recently put its IoT platform on the market.
(2020 update: the product it’s now called Sensoworks).
Sensoworks platform is a cloud based (but can also be used on premise), plug and play, dedicated to the management, remote control and predictive maintenance solution to monitor complex infrastructure systems.
Find out which could be the right solution for the needs of your company and don’t hesitate to write us for further information.
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