Page 36

EETE DEC 2015

Connectivity & iot Referring to a recent conversation with German engineers, he said, “I am told that Germany is flooded with inquiries from Japan on Industry 4.0.” Japanese engineers are apparently looking for a technical standard called Industry 4.0, not realizing that Industry 4.0 is Germany’s policy. It’s not a technical spec, Sakamura explained. Japan: Good at closed IoT, but not open IoT Sakamura, during his speech, talked of revolutionary changes in the engineering world today, as the market moves from closed IoT to open IoT. “The key here is the Internet,” he stressed. As long as you keep the rules — TCP/IP protocols — intact, anyone can connect anything with the network, he noted. “No permission needed. That’s the beauty of open IoT.” Openness has become pervasive in every aspect of engineering practice. It starts from open architecture, continues with open-source hardware and open OS, open API and goes all the way up to open data, Sakamura explained. Once IoT becomes “open” in Industry 4.0, for example, he explained, deliveries of every part and component necessary for assembly will be coordinated throughout distribution channels and communicated to factory floors with unprecedented transparency. “You might ask how this is different from Toyota’s Kanban (Just-in-time) system,” Sakamura said. “This is exactly Toyota’s Kanban. The only difference is that Toyota only allows Toyota affiliates to be the part of the Kanban system.” The same applies to KOMTRAX, Komatsu’s remote monitoring TRON Intelligent Object Network system. “What Komatsu has already done isn’t so different from what GE is trying to pull off with the Industrial Internet Consortium,” observed Sakamura. The degree of openness is what separates KOMTRAX from Industrial Internet Consortium. KOMTRAX while working with Komatsu’s own machines isn’t designed to work with other machines and equipment in the world. In contrast, GE is collaborating with other leading players such as AT&T, Cisco, IBM and Intel to develop technical standards — available to anyone in the world — for the Industrial Internet Consortium. Japanese corporations, often nurtured in a closed The Kanban system maintains inventory levels environment with a closed mentality, are typically terrible at “openness,” Sakamura pointed out. They could excel in closed IoT, but not so much in open IoT. What’s even worse, though, the Japanese have little experience with developing a “mechanism for governance,” he warned. “Many Japanese engineers falsely understand that ‘being open’ means ‘being able to do whatever they want,” said Sakamura. “They must understand that open IoT is only possible when we develop rules and put the governance mechanism in place.” Japanese engineers see “making policy” for open IoT isn’t their job, but someone else’s. “Not so,” Sakamura stressed. Engineers who say IoT is “technically possible” but aren’t participating in developing use cases and rules necessary for implementing open IoT aren’t actually plowing any new ground, he cautioned. “Now is the time for change” in Japan’s engineering culture. Aggregate model If Japanese embedded engineers see “open IoT” as their wake-up call, they’ve actually seen nothing yet, according to Sakamura. He envisions the future which he calls the “aggregate model.” Under an aggregate model, edge nodes become truly bare bones — just a simple sensor, for example. Necessary computing and data processing will be carried out in the cloud, not on the edge device. “Edge devices will no longer be bloated with higher processing power, powerful graphic engine to generate fancier UIs and an increasing amount of memory,” Sakamura said. “They will become much more light-weight, thus consuming much less power.” Sakamura believes it’s time to rethink how embedded systems are designed in the IoT era. Consider, for example, such familiar products as digital still cameras, he said. Image sensors, displays, graphics engine and any other sensing devices necessary for a natural user interface - currently loaded into a camera - can be broken into separate pieces. Better UI, digital effects and more powerful image processing will be all generated and combined inside the cloud, not on the edge, he explained. “As the cost of communication gets closer to zero, this will become all feasible.” If Sakamura is right, the aggregate model will demand a huge rethinking of embedded systems designs, especially for Japan’s embedded designers whose traditional engineering chops lie in the art of cramming everything into a miniature space. Sakamura is one of the rare Japanese engineers whose work and reputation have traveled beyond Japan. Last May, he became an ITU150 Award recipient. In celebration of its 150th anniversary, ITU established these awards, designed to honor eminent thinkers who have contributed to ITU’s work. Sakamura was among a group of ITU150 Award recipients that includes Martin Cooper (the ‘father’ of portable cellular telephony), Robert E. Kahn (who has played a pioneering role in the development of the Internet with digital object architecture), Mark I. Krivocheev (who played a key role at European Broadcast Union in the development of a world digital television standard and for HDTV standards), and Thomas Wiegand (who co-chaired the development of the ITU-T H.264/MPEG-AVC video coding standard.) 36 Electronic Engineering Times Europe December 2015 www.electronics-eetimes.com


EETE DEC 2015
To see the actual publication please follow the link above