The Algo Economy: the secret weapon to a successful business
With an expected 20.8 billion connected things to be in existence by 2020, these devices are producing data at an astonishing rate here in the UK. The Internet of Things (IoT) is having an increasing impact upon our ever-evolving lives. However, what many take for granted is the fact that algorithms are at the heart of the devices generating this data. Algorithms are essential to the running of everyday products, from the brakes in your car to trades on the stock exchange, creating our economy’s secret weapon of success and mass destruction in equal measure if risks aren’t mitigated for.
Behind the invisible cogs lies hidden value. In the wise words of Peter Sondergaard, Senior VP of Gartner: “Data is inherently dumb – algorithms are where the real value lies. Algorithms define action”. Knowledge is power, and algorithmic data analytics unlocks that power, meaning businesses are able to maximise on data driven decision management. In turn, they can keep ahead within a competitive landscape, where an ill-informed decision could be costly to both reputation and profitability.
In order to ensure the worst doesn’t happen, businesses must have experts in place who can analyse and manipulate the right algorithms to produce the most beneficial actionable data, to unlock its future success. Once a high level of understanding is gained, businesses can capitalise even further by sharing algorithm assets through open sourcing these across the market place. Many companies may be reluctant to share such assets, but sharing can be useful as this will co-dependently enable you to benefit from feedback and improve your original algorithmic assets as a whole.
An important area we must address is the fact that with the booming algorithmic economy that has been created around IoT, there also comes an increased risk of cyber attacks. Individuals with malicious attempts could tamper algorithms and essentially bring a business to its knees. Ensuring security is considered as a crucial factor when developing algorithms is imperative to preventing such situations. The complexities of today’s threats means it is no longer viable to simply add on a security layer at the end and rely on testing just before the project goes live – this is too little, too late.
Given the importance of security in today’s interconnected IT landscape, most software development lifecycle models require security checks to be present at all stages. This ensures security is baked-in from the beginning, but we also need to recognise that security is not a static attribute of quality and once software is released its security must be continuously reviewed to ensure that it is not affected by newly discovered vulnerabilities. By doing so businesses can unlock the true benefits of the increasingly algorithmic economy, whilst mitigating the risks.
Phil Codd is Managing Director at SQS
Follow @ManufacturingGL and @NellWalkerMG
Siemens: Providing the First Industrial 5G Router
Across a number of industry sectors, there’s a growing need for both local wireless connectivity and remote access to machines and plants. In both of these cases, communication is, more often than not, over a long distance. Public wireless data networks can be used to enable this connectivity, both nationally and internationally, which makes the new 5G network mainframe an absolutely vital element of remote access and remote servicing solutions as we move into the interconnected age.
Siemens Enables 5G IIoT
The eagerly awaited Scalance MUM856-1, Siemens’ very first industrial 5G router, is officially available to organisations. The device has the ability to connect all local industrial applications to the public 5G, 4G (LTE), and 3G (UMTS) mobile wireless networks ─ allowing companies to embrace the long-awaited Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
The router can be used to remotely monitor and service plants, machines, as well as control elements and other industrial devices via a public 5G network ─ flexibly and with high data rates. Something that has been in incredibly high demand after being teased by the leading network providers for years.
Scalance MUM856-1 at a Glance
- Scalance MUM856-1 connects local industrial applications to public 5G, 4G, and 3G mobile wireless networks
- The router supports future-oriented applications such as remote access via public 5G networks or the connection of mobile devices such as automated guided vehicles in industry
- A robust version in IP65 housing for use outside the control cabinet
- Prototypes of Siemens 5G infrastructure for private networks already in use at several sites
“To ensure the powerful connection of Ethernet-based subnetworks and automation devices, the Scalance MUM856-1 supports Release 15 of the 5G standard. The device offers high bandwidths of up to 1000 Mbps for the downlink and up to 500 Mbps for the uplink – providing high data rates for data-intensive applications such as the remote implementation of firmware updates. Thanks to IPv6 support, the devices can also be implemented in modern communication networks.
Various security functions are included to monitor data traffic and protect against unauthorised access: for example, an integrated firewall and authentication of communication devices and encryption of data transmission via VPN. If there is no available 5G network, the device switches automatically to 4G or 3G networks. The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and autoconfiguration of the devices,” Siemens said.
Preparing for a 5G-oriented Future
Siemens has announced that the new router can also be integrated into private 5G networks. This means that the Scalance MUM856-1 is, essentially, future-proofed when it comes to 5G adaptability; it supports future-oriented applications, including ‘mobile robots in manufacturing, autonomous vehicles in logistics or augmented reality applications for service technicians.’
And, for use on sites where conditions are a little harsher, Siemens has given the router robust IP65 housing ─ it’s “dust tight”, waterproof, and immersion-proofed.
The first release version of the router has an EU radio license; other versions with different licenses are in preparation. “With the Sinema Remote Connect management platform for VPN connections, users can access remote plants or machines easily and securely – even if they are integrated in other networks. The software also offers easy management and auto-configuration of the devices,” Siemens added.