The Value of Testbeds to IIoT – IoTSWC 2017 Panel Discussion

The Value of Testbeds to IIoT - IoTSWC 2017 Panel Discussion

IoT Solutions World Congress (IoTSWC), produced in association with the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), took place in Barcelona on 3-5 October 2017. At the conference, Jim Morrish of Huawei participated in a panel focussing on The Value of Testbeds (1) to IIoT. This is a brief summary of the discussion.

By Jim Morrish

Participants:
• Jim Morrish (Chief IoT Solution Consultant, Europe Region, Huawei)
• Jamie Smith (Business & Technology Director-National Instruments)
• Calvin Smith (Director & Head of IoT Partner Engineering, Wipro)
• Stephen Mellor (CTO, Industrial Internet Consortium) [Moderator]

The panel opened with a discussion of the purpose of testbeds within the IIoT ecosystem. The view of the panel was that the purpose of testbeds was initially to demonstrate and prove IIoT technologies, working in combination in new and inventive ways. In the course of undertaking testbeds, participating companies will learn how different IIoT technologies interact, and the constraints of existing technologies. Testbeds can also contribute to the identification of new standards required to support the IIoT. Additionally, however, testbeds act to de-risk the adoption of IIoT technologies from the perspective of end-users. They are a real world demonstration of solutions and technology combinations that have been proven to work together, and a medium-term aim of the IIC’s testbeds programme should be to distil the learnings from its’ portfolio of testbeds and communicate these to the wider marketplace, so that others can learn from the experiences gained by testbed participants.

Following on from this discussion, all panel participants noted how critical it was for companies seeking to participate in the IIoT to first engage in the wider IIoT ecosystem. No individual company is able to deliver end-to-end IIoT solutions, and so establishing strong partnerships within the industry is crucial.

There followed a brief focus on security in the IIoT, and specifically ‘right sized’ security for any particular IIoT solution in question. The statement was made that security ‘costs’ both in terms of the monetary cost of any IIoT solution, and also the usability of that solution by end users. Somehow ‘sophisticated’ companies need to be able to make informed decisions about the ‘level’ of security that is appropriate to be implemented with any IIoT solution. This is a key area for overall IIoT market development, and it is an area that the IIC is focussing on right now.

The panel also considered the impact of geography and socio-economic factors on the viability of IIoT solutions, with the ‘business case’ for IIoT solutions often being more challenging in country markets with lower GDP per capita. The potential impact of individual country regulations relating to privacy and data sovereignty on solution architectures was also discussed.

The panel concluded with a discussion of the IIC’s ‘outreach’ programme for industry vertical participants. Recognising that most members of the IIC are on the vendor-side of the industry, the IIC is currently undertaking an initiative to garner more support and engagement from the end-user community without individual end user companies necessarily needing to become members of the IIC before they are able to participate in testbeds.

Note: (1) ‘Testbeds’ is the term that the Industrial Internet Consortium uses for a range of IoT solution demonstrations involving IIC members as partners, and undertaken under the oversight of the IIC with the goal of furthering understanding of the IIoT.

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Source: Huawei Enterprise Blog