The biggest benefit from any IoT implementation is the availability of real time information, which is not fed by an individual, so the information is authentic. The analysis of the data is also accurate because it is based on rules, algorithms, etc. The same information can then be made readily available in case if it is required for decision making
From an IoT perspective, there are multiple use cases being explored. Some have reached the production stage, while a few are in the pilot stage. Using IoT in the area of data centre and smart factory is in production now, while IoT as a product and in the final product segment – in the vehicle – is being tested, and is in a PoC stage. The evaluation period for selecting a cloud and IoT application provider took close to an year.
IoT use cases at Hero MotoCorp
There are four areas, where IoT is applied or is in the testing stage. The first area is the product itself. How can something be IoT enabled, which is the motorcycle in our case. The second aspect is our factory; we are thinking about making all the machines on the shop floor IoT enabled and sensorising certain areas in the factory to tap information, take corrective actions and do analytics. Thirdly, we need to monitor various elements inside the data centre and lastly, retrofitting the IoT devices into the motor vehicles, which are out in the market.
IoT for smart factory and data centre is in production. Whereas, IoT products and retrofitting IoT devices on the motor vehicles is in the PoC stage. The tests are ongoing. The pilots are also being run in some of the global markets. The application has been designed and the IoT platform is up and running. There are no products currently being launched which are IoT enabled – it will be decided later. A few of the smart machines are already live in the sense that data from the machines is converted from analog into digital data, which is then moved on the IoT platform from the sensors. Subsequently, we run analytics over this data. The data is then available in the required format on mobility devices, dashboards etc.
Cloud based IoT platform
The entire IoT application is hosted on a cloud platform. The IoT solution is bought from a startup company, and the cloud platform is from one of the four biggest Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) in India. About three other IoT solution providers were also in the race. The different criteria covered include: Whether the cloud platform can take unstructured data; from what kind of sensors can the data be uploaded – Can it take data from a wireless sensor, a 2G, 3G, 5G device, LTE, whether the data can be taken when the bike is in motion, the security features, which were added further with the specific requirements that we had. These features were again tested.
From the perspective of the mobile application for IoT, some of the considerations include, the data display type, the analytics features provided, the algorithms designed, the work being carried out by their data scientists. We also spoke with the CTO of the startup, on his thoughts of taking the platform to the next level. The startup company is nimble, and fast to respond to the requirements. When you get into projects like IoT, it results into a number of unthinkables. If the provider starts getting too trivial and says it will not go beyond a certain limit; it doesn’t work that way. The vendor needs to go that extra mile and go out of the way and work hand-in-hand with the business. They should have the hunger to make the project a success. This is the quality that won the startup the project from us.
Benefits and project ownership
The biggest benefit from any IoT implementation is the availability of real time information, which is not fed by an individual, so the information is authentic. The analysis of the data is also accurate because it is based on rules, algorithms, etc. The same information can then be made readily available in case if it is required for decision making. Thus when hitherto, the information trail used to be time consuming, now, it has been made instantaneous, without any manual intervention, which ensures data accuracy and availability.
The ownership of the IoT project is jointly taken by the IT and the business teams. In case of data centres, the administration and maintenance department, helped in giving us inputs on how IoT can be applied. The use cases include, using IoT for reducing maintenance downtime, electricity consumption, etc.
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