Cracking the IoT Code in SE Asia and beyond
Han Tiong Law
Manufacturing Lead, Asia Pacific & Japan
Technology, Innovation, Digitization, Manufacturing
During a recent visit to Thailand for a customer, I had the chance to engage with ASEAN business leaders in the manufacturing space, about their IoT vision and initiatives. Yes, some were still figuring out what their future IoT roadmap was going to be. However most of the manufacturers had stories to share about how they too had jumped on the IoT bandwagon, aggressively kicking off studies and pilot projects. A share of them will fail, but a substantial number will be wrapped up within the year and labeled a success. It struck me that IoT is often described as a ‘vision’ or ‘mission’. But in fact, IoT is in use today, in large-scale projects right here in ASEAN and beyond.
We recently surveyed 1,845 business IoT leaders in the USA, UK and India, and found that 60% of IoT initiatives stalled at the proof-of-concept stage. Of the 40% of IoT projects that survived into the pilot stage, only 26% were deemed successful by business leaders. Was I just hearing my share of boasting in Thailand? Or are South East Asian IoT pilots more prone to success?
What is certainly true is that ASEAN manufacturers face the same challenges with regards to IoT as their peers in the rest of the world, namely real-time integration complexity and a lack of IoT talent or expertise.
To address the first - most industrial operations are so-called Brownfield, which means they are on their first step to smart manufacturing. IoT projects blend existing machines - some as old as 30 years (!) and operating without interface – to existing network platforms, data gathering tools, as well as computing resources. Not to mention integrating completely new products and services, in order to put the right data in the right hands at the right time, at scale and at speed.
I’ve seen some companies build their own fundamental technologies in a vacuum. And while I applaud the DIY and risk-taking mindset of these project leaders, data shows that it’s a dangerous path. Kicking off an IoT project without an expert vendor can lead to a variety of issues, including
- Lack of success connecting, securing and managing diverse devices due to complexity
- Data remaining locked inside its sources
- Limited or no programmatic way to move the right data to the right apps at the right time
- Limited or no software control to enforce data ownership, privacy and security
Second – lack of internal expertise. As the pressure from the CEO and/or government agencies to drive more business innovation and outcomes through IoT heats up , manufacturers need teams with new skills. IoT projects are fundamentally complex and today there aren't enough experienced people around to support them. That makes the hand-off from project creation to integration a difficult transition. I see plenty of manufacturers oversimplifying integration complexity by adopting 2nd Tier IoT architecture, which puts their operations and IT at risk.
The answer? More robust and flexible technology tools and platforms, better OT-IT teams in place to handle external upsets, and a much better understanding of how we should run enterprise-scale Industrial IOT projects that deliver real business outcomes. Lucky for us, Cisco’s Kinetic IoT Operations platform ticks all of those boxes.
I’m excited to introduce the platform at IoT World Asia in just a few weeks, at Marina Bay Sands Convention Center 2-4 October.
Cisco Kinetic includes three components.
First, Connection Management at scale, which makes it easier to spin-up and maintain huge fleets of connected devices from unified applications.
Second, Fog Computing; to make sure that data processing and device control happens at the right place for each job, especially as the needs of jobs change in real-time.
Finally, Data Delivery; to help manufacturers collect, collate, and act on the data these systems are generating. Scalable tools for filtering and distribution will ensure the right data streams go to the right networks, applications, data stores, and people.
All three Cisco Kinetic components are built upon a strong foundation of security through Cisco’s Threat Defense solution. And to round out the system, we looked at how communications between machines and humans could be integrated better into environments.
Cisco has been working to solve what has been holding manufacturers back for a while now, behind the scenes. With Kinetic, I believe we’ve cracked the IoT code.
General availability of Cisco’s Kinetic starts later this year.