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IoT has used the pandemic to step on the accelerator, not hit the brakes

Edge computing and artificial intelligence (AI) are enabling richer IoT at the same time as the higher speed connectivity to support data communication and analysis arrives in the form of 5G. It’s an exciting time and all the more exceptional given the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Here Paul Chawla, the chief executive officer of Eurotech, tells IoT Now that IoT organizations, instead of hitting the brakes on their digital transformations, have pressed the accelerator

How are you seeing IoT in general recover from the pandemic? What impacts have you seen?

We have seen that in some markets the pandemic has somehow been a catalyst for IoT and digital transformation projects in general. In markets where we play – those that employ mission-critical applications or heavy-duty – the time to market of IoT projects is slower, due to the complexity of the application involved.

However, we think that digital transformation cannot be neglected or delayed anymore: IoT connectivity, Edge computing and Edge AI provide companies with the tools to properly face these times of change.

Are you noticing a trend towards customers reducing the number of suppliers they use in order to simplify procurement? Are customers seeing the advantages of adopting integrated and open solutions that also reduce the risk of vendor lock-in?

Currently the IoT market is mostly made up by vendors that sell hardware and software separately. As the complexity of IoT project increases – like in mission-critical applications – so does the need to aggregate and manage multiple software layers on the same hardware and fill the gap between the OT (Operational Technology) and the IT (Information Technology).

Eurotech offers an integrated hardware and software solution to make the digital transformation process faster, simpler and safer. We provide an Edge platform that is cybersecure by design and enables easy and low-code southbound connectivity, and zero-touch northbound connectivity to Cloud services, as well as plug&play application integration to enable AI at the Edge.

There is a growing need to simplify OT/IT integration and aggregate solutions at the Edge to cut down time to market. Customers are slowly migrating towards vendors offering integrated hardware and software, even though in my opinion there is still a lot of education needed towards this.

Cybersecurity continues to be a prime concern for IoT organizations and as deployments scale, the threat surface enlarges further. Integration of hardware and software components reduces loopholes and weak points for criminals to exploit but how important do you see initiatives such as PSA Level 1 certification in setting a standard for IoT security?

Integrating hardware and software has one main advantage, and it’s related to cybersecurity, the biggest barrier of IoT adoption. Eurotech’s solution is developed with a “cybersecurity by design” approach, ensuring that security best practices are followed all the way through the process to the product, throughout the entire product lifecycle, integrating sophisticated security features both at a hardware and at a software level.

For example, our Edge Gateway ReliaGATE 10-14 integrated with our Edge software ESF has been recently certified according to IEC 62443-4-2 ad IEC 62443-4-1 cybersecurity standards. We are very proud of this certification, as it is recognized globally and helps customers to identify solution provider that think about cybersecurity from day one. Eurotech’s integrated hardware and software solution simplifies and accelerates IoT and device connectivity, and it does it in a cybersecure manner.

Is there greater awareness that having more intelligence in edge devices can be more cost efficient that having to pay for cloud connectivity and resources? Are you seeing companies engage in calculating the balance between more expensive devices versus reduced operating costs?

To fulfill the increasing demand of automation in industrial and other mission-critical applications, latency and response time must be reduced, and this is becoming the main driver for moving AI from the cloud to the edge.

Edge AI enables a new generation of intelligent devices that can process data closer to their source, driving more cost opportunities as data can be selected and filtered before being sent to the Cloud.

How do you see arrival of highspeed private networks (4G/5G) encouraging increased uptake of IoT? Are applications in need of 5G yet?

We see high-speed private networks as a catalyst for IoT adoption, both at the Edge and at the Cloud level. 5G enable to speed up and scale operations, reducing time to market and accelerating OT and IT integration.

Edge AI, analytics and predictive maintenance applications can sure benefit of the higher speed and reduced latency brought by 5G networks, enabling faster data processing at the edge and connectivity to the cloud.

What plans do you have for the further development of Eurotech?

As mentioned above, we are seeing an increasing trend towards Edge AI adoption. We enable simpler and faster deployment of AI solutions on edge devices, enabling a new generation of intelligent assets and innovative solutions in mission-critical applications.

By growing the number of intelligent devices at the edge, we enable the development of these applications at scale, allowing our partners and system integrators to deploy their AI solutions on these devices with minimum efforts, or allowing our customers to do it by themselves.

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