Tech Briefs Magazine - February 2022 - 14

Sensing and IIoT
More data, captured successfully
and reliably from the edge, delivers
better understanding of a process.
- Aric Prost
volume by having a single sensor platform
that incorporates sensor types combined
with data aggregation, filtering,
fusion algorithms, and redundant data
deduplication at the edge. The most
valuable data volume reducer you can
have is edge processing and filtering via
a gateway at the sensor level. It's ideal for
sensors to immediately report events
and threshold
to " airgap " everything. In other words,
avoid the use of Wi-Fi sensors and
breaches when they
detect preconfigured conditions, rather
than constantly reporting trivial data at
frequent intervals. This way, a sensor system
with an edge gateway can quickly
fuse relevant data from all sensor types
and use a robust set of APIs to simultaneously
mix and match data from other
analytics systems.
Aric Prost: Manufacturers face a few
challenges because of the volume of
edge data being created. First, data in a
typical plant or facility comes from sensors
manufactured by multiple vendors
that use different communications protocols.
That data must be collected and
integrated. Second, edge locations -
even the factory floor - face bandwidth
and latency issues when transmitted to
the control room, much less to the
cloud. The ability to analyze this edge
data and translate it into insight is predicated
on its availability and reliability.
Predictive analytics or AI applications
rely on these full data sets. Any communications
gaps in data or equipment
downtime can disrupt those advanced
models. To address
these challenges,
including sensor data fusion, organizations
deploy edge computing to collect
information close to equipment, provide
processing and historization to avoid
downtime and data loss.
Tech Briefs: If facilities are utilizing
multiple connected sensors and systems,
how do they ensure that they are secured
properly to guard against unwanted outside
access?
Dean Bartles: The most secure way to
guard against unwanted outside access is
14
Cov
instead deploy hard-wired sensors and
hard-wired IoT edge devices and have all
data route through a cybersecurity appliance
that both encrypts and tokenizes
everything leaving the facility. As OEM's
continue to drive " transparency " into
their supplier's manufacturing operations,
technology solutions will be paramount.
Jeffrey
Case: While there is no silver
bullet when it comes to industrial cyber
security, network segmentation is a cornerstone
to protecting private networks
from potential vulnerabilities. Sensor
systems should be configured on a network
isolated from internal systems, and
access to the sensor system networks
should be limited to the minimum
required. We encourage all our IIoT customers
to follow cyber security best practices
on their internal sensor system networks
and/or our sensor systems, leveraging
industry standard technologies.
Brad Walters: Security must be sustained
at all communication points
between sensor, gateway, network, network
controller, and the cloud. A robust
IoT device and data security governance
initiative to enforce policies can help
protect a company's sensor network and
data. You also can't put all of your safeguards
in strongholds like firewalls but
leave the temperature sensor on the
lobby's fish tank vulnerable. If you use
one sensor management system, you
limit outside entry points. Regardless,
every system needs to be vetted for security
individually, then as a whole system.
Aric Prost: Cybersecurity is front and
center for operational technology, and
the notion of air-gapped assets is less
and less realistic as more equipment is
connected. By deploying edge computing
platforms with built-in virtualization,
OT and IT teams have the means to run
cybersecurity software close to critical
equipment alongside other industrial
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ToC
software applications. In this instance,
the edge computing platform running
security software sits between the sensors
or PLCs and the rest of the network.
Tech Briefs: In what industries do you
expect to see the greatest demand for
sensor technology in the next five years?
Dean Bartles: Significant progress has
already been made by large corporations
in aerospace, defense, automotive, food,
medical, chemical processing, etc. So, I
don't think the question should be
" what industries " as much as " who "
inside the various industries where we'll
see the greatest demand. Clearly, the
small and medium manufacturers
( " SMM's " ) have the most to gain by
adopting sensor technology into their
manufacturing operations. A recent survey
conducted by the Manufacturing
Leadership Council of the National
Association of Manufacturers ranked
" Taking end-to-end supply chain visibility,
transparency, and predictability to the
next level " as the second most important
thing for 2022. To provide OEMs with
the transparency, visibility, and predictability
in their supply chain that they
desire, SMM's will need to deploy far
greater sensor technology than they
have to date.
Jeffrey Case: As sensors become more
mainstream with improvements in sensing
technology, edge computing, artificial
intelligence, and the proliferation of
Industrial 4.0 communication networks,
the greatest demand for sensor technology
will be across all manufacturing
operations in almost all markets/industries.
Both preventive maintenance and
Industries
that
effectively
integrate smart
sensors will help
propel the IIoT
evolution into the
next industrial
revolution. - Brad Walters
Tech Briefs, February 2022
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Tech Briefs Magazine - February 2022

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