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View from India: Chug along to keep pace with the IoT times

Image credit: Dibyendu Sekhar Das on Unsplash

20 million devices will be connected and 50 billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices are expected to connect by the end of 2020. This proliferation of IoT technology is expected to open out a world of never-before-tried options.

The IoT platform includes analytical tools and sensing devices. IoT means connectivity with everything, both wired as well as wireless, along with edge and fog computing. “As a technology, IoT gains significance due to its convergence. This raises the bar for its diversity. IoT’s convergence quotient is particularly useful because the physical world is moving closer to a virtual world. This enables machine-to-machine (M2M) communication. Hence, IoT becomes Internet of Everything (IoE),” said BS Bindhumadhava, centre head, CDAC-Bangalore. 

Organisations are relying on the convergence of technologies. In an effort to lower shop-floor injuries, Tata Steel has rolled out a smart watch for its factory workers. “The watch gives critical real-time safety data as it detects gas in the air and sends out alerts. The safety watch is supported by Tata Consultancy Services’ (TCS) cloud-based analytics platform, designed by Tata Elxsi and is manufactured by Titan,” added Nitin Pai, chief marketing and strategy officer, Tata Elxsi Ltd.

As a design consultant to the Kochi Metro Rail, Tata Elxsi has built a passenger experience. “The Kochi Metro has digital systems and uses IoT in its functioning. Overall, the metro has been designed for different language users,” explained Pai.

3D printing is another example of the convergence of technologies. 3D printing has been in technology for over 30 years, but it is a recent entrant to the construction industry. Chennai-based Tvasta is one of the early startups to whet opportunities in 3D printing in the construction industry.

“As viscous concrete is required for 3D printing, we made sure that the concrete is print-able as well as fluid. We have developed software which enables vertical and horizontal reinforcement and at the same time leaves gaps for printing,” explained Adithya VS, co-founder, Tvasta. The startup has created a 3D-printed toilet structure in the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras, where Adithya and the three other co-founders studied.  

3D printing in construction can lower costs and save labour along the construction value chain. Judging by the work done at IIT Madras, the team hopes to make home construction affordable.

Technology is transforming many dimensions of the construction sector. “L&T Next, a digital company, came up because the construction part of our portfolio wanted to digitalise its equipment on a common platform,” added Kishore S Nambiar, global head of discrete manufacturing, L&T Next.

A lot can be achieved through digitalisation, especially in the case of the transport sector - for example, railways. The average speed of the trains is 25km/hr, which could potentially be doubled with infrastructure, digitalisation and technological support.

“The Government has already taken the decision of allowing 100 per cent FDI (foreign direct investment) in railway infrastructure as a significant policy shift to adopt global best practices of world railways and to attract massive investment from all over the world. There will be a substantial increase in the capital expenditure and Indian railways would be investing over Rs 10 lakh crore in the next five years on various projects,” said S.K Mishra, executive director (Infra), Ministry of Railways.

The Railway Projects include doubling or multiple tracks to decongest the saturated network. 14,000km of work is in progress, with a projected date for completion of March 2024. It’s also intended to complete 100 per cent electrification of broad-gauge track by December 2021. “By March 2023, we will be completing the upgradation of speed to 130km/h on 18,000km of busy routes,” explained Mishra, throwing light on key initiatives planned to accelerate growth of railway Infrastructure.

These discussions were part of CII EXCON 2019.

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