ENSURING LONG-TERM IIOT SUCCESS ENSURING LONG-TERM IIOT SUCCESS What to know and ask when...
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88 www.elevatorworld.com • October 2019
FOCUS ON EMERGING TECHNOLOGY
ENSURING LONG-TERM IIOT SUCCESS What to know and ask when considering digital transformation
by Guneet Bedi
The benefits of undertaking a digital transformation for building-transportation professionals are well-known and cannot be overstated. From enhancing operational efficiency and predictive maintenance, to creating new revenue streams, implementing technologies like the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has the power to significantly improve the way one does business.
By now, most people know what the IIoT is in the abstract, and many companies are moving to implement it. While building-transportation suppliers and maintenance organizations can see real benefits from these technologies, it’s not as simple as setting up some sensors and pushing a button. In fact, deciding to undertake a digital transformation is just the first step of the process. Before any sensors or technologies are in place, one must first define the desired business outcomes for their organization, as well as identify return on investment (ROI) expectations.
To Buy or Build? One of the first questions a business should reflect on is if it should buy or build the solution. In other words,
does the business have the time and resources to build it in-house, or should it work with an experienced third-party partner? According to a Forbes “Insights” report, it took businesses, on average, 1.25 years longer to develop and deploy IIoT platforms than those that worked with expert partners. And, unfortunately, many companies realize they require additional expertise during the development phase, when it’s more difficult to pivot.
To fully understand the elements needed for successful implementation, there are four key areas to evaluate during the decision-making process: 1) Do I have the time to undertake the project internally? Regardless of the size, any IIoT implementation takes
time and planning for how it will impact your business in the short and long term. Beyond the orchestration of the technologies, there will also be ongoing support and maintenance of systems. Be sure to take all of this into account, along with how you would manage staff-training expenses and possible glitches or setbacks along the way.
2) Does my team have the necessary skills and expertise? From pilot programs to full transformations, you’ll need a dedicated team from the start to ensure functionality and stability of your technology. This includes solution architects and software and hardware teams, all the way to the technicians installing technologies in shafts or buildings. After installation, you’ll also need a team to ensure the security of your infrastructure and
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that the cloud connectivity and edge solutions are functioning correctly.
3) Do I have the resources on staff to conduct the project (and can I afford to take those resources off current initiatives driving business results)? While the IIoT can have transformative results, many companies underestimate its complexity. Even if your team has the technical skills to build, install and maintain your IIoT infrastructure, be sure to consider if you have the bandwidth to pull them away from their regular responsibilities at the core of your business.
4) Can my IIoT solution scale and keep up with ever-evolving technology? IIoT solutions are never truly finished. It’s crucial to build your solution so you can adapt it to new advancements over time, as well as scale it throughout your organization. This is especially true for elevator management and service providers; implementations typically involve retrofitting elevator cars and shafts with highly technical sensors intended to detect even the slightest anomalies in noises, vibrations, luminosity, temperature and power supply. As new buildings are erected, and technology advances, it’s vital your solution is flexible enough to keep up. For companies that specialize in inspections and long-term
management of elevators across hundreds — if not thousands — of locations, it can be difficult for an IIoT infrastructure computing on the edge to continue supporting one protocol as the number of connected lifts increases. In addition to ensuring compatibility, middleware sustainability and network limits, unless one has the required resources, most do-it-yourself solutions can’t accommodate the sheer amount of data produced and the resulting complexity.
How Long Should Digitization Take? One of the biggest concerns for businesses on the
cusp of implementing the IIoT is the risk factor. Not only does the IIoT involve significant time and financial investments, but for many in the building transportation industry, it also represents uncharted waters. Some companies are OK with a total transformation and completely switching their business models; others prefer to mitigate presumed risks by taking smaller, more incremental steps.
While there are insurance-backed solutions and warranties that act as a safety net to guarantee your desired business outcomes, the IIoT isn’t “one-size- fits-all” and takes into account many variables specific to a company. Whether you press the reset button and shift quickly, or roll out changes in phases, consider breaking down your business objectives into micro- goals. This offers a case-by-case basis to reassess, measure progress and make any adjustments, if needed. It also allows companies to show success to internal stakeholders.
To establish the most practical micro-goals for implementation, one must start by determining the critical elements needed to help them reach their business objectives. This will be a roadmap, which can be used to plot out specific milestones.
For example, let’s say a business maintains a variety of elevator models and units that are all in different conditions and across several locations. The desired business outcomes are to increase revenue by predicting maintenance needs so the business can deploy service teams as needed. When deployment starts, however, what works in one location, or with a different type of unit, may not have the same results in another building. By including micro-goals in a timeline, one can account and pivot for these types of hiccups.
Starting the Journey The benefits for building transportation companies to connect
existing units to be able to identify problems and necessary maintenance issues in advance are clear. But it’s important to remember that this is not just bringing on a tool or a quick fix; this is the beginning of a journey. Implementing IIoT can be a complex and time-intensive process that requires many resources. Therefore, it’s essential to approach any IIoT implementation from all angles and be sure to ask the right questions from the beginning.
Guneet Bedi is vice president global sales, general manager – Americas at relayr, which supplies complete solutions for risk-free digital transformations. He oversees the company’s sales, business-development and revenue- generation efforts. Bedi can be reached at email@example.com.
Not only does the IIoT involve significant time and financial investments, but for many in the building-transportation industry, it also represents uncharted waters.
90 www.elevatorworld.com • October 2019
FOCUS ON EMERGING TECHNOLOGY
INSIDE THE MIND OF A HACKER These days, computer misdeeds are most often
perpetrated in a businesslike manner.
by Mark Hearn
This article was first presented at the 2018 International Elevator & Escalator Symposium in Istanbul. For more information on December 3-4, 2019’s event in Las Vegas and to participate, visit www.elevatorsymposium.org.
“Inside the Mind of a Hacker” sounds a bit like the title of a psychological thriller. You can picture the main character as a lone wolf, up in the early hours of the morning, crafting the perfect hack to wreak havoc across the world. Reality, however, is very different. Criminal hackers work like any other business, as part of commercial — albeit illegal — networks, with clear business models. We have come a long way from the lone hacker stereotype.
The hacker business is booming. It seems there is not a day that goes by without reports of private data leakages, botnets, ransomware attacks and zero-day vulnerabilities being discovered. There are many factors at play, which together form the perfect storm: 1) Increased connectivity between a multitude of devices, ranging from cars to pacemakers, is creating more
opportunities for hackers to get in. In many cases, internet connectivity was simply added to these devices without much thought for the security risks — either to the device or ecosystem in which it operates.
2) Along with this increased connectivity is the proliferation of devices outside a traditional information technology (IT) security infrastructure. These devices make up the edges of the Internet of Things (IoT) networks but are easy for hackers to gain access to. Once in the hands of the attacker, they have lots of time to apply their tools and techniques and find a scalable attack into the device.
3) Networks such as the dark web, or even just the internet, have become a platform for hackers’ businesses, because they remove the complexity of mounting an end-to-end attack. Instead, cybercriminals can specialize in a part of the value chain, such as creating a botnet and selling it to the highest bidder.
4) Standardization of common chi