Automation and data-driven analytics, powered by IoT, key for industry: Aeris

Ranjeet Koul is the VP and Country Manager, Aeris Communications India Pvt Ltd. He is responsible for leading Aeris’ Business Development, Sales & Marketing for M2M IoT Solutions and Services across APAC and MEA markets. He is a recognized thought leader on emerging technologies and is contributing towards the development of IoT ecosystem with the IET- IoT panel.

Here, he talks about the latest initiatives. Excerpts from an interview:

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V&D: What are Aeris’ initiatives in the IoT and 5G sphere. How are technologies like 5G and AI playing an important role in defining IoT in a better manner?

Ranjeet Koul: The market for AI and the Internet of Things (IoT) is on rise, moving onto a stage where these technologies will soon be deeply entrenched in our lives, as proven with the dynamic shift towards connected technologies during the Covid-19 breakout. While 5G, among other benefits, brings in super speed for data transfer from connected IoT devices; AI brings in the power of advanced analytics to data models leading to more accuracy and real time information availability for sound decision making.

In the post pandemic world, businesses have no option but to go digital, incorporate data centricity for decision-making, invest in automation. All this can be done by adopting technologies such as 5G, AI, ML and IoT that bring in operational efficiencies from process to performance, yield better RoIs, increase revenue and delighted customers.

To this effect, Aeris – a pioneer in M2M and IoT and as a trusted IoT partner for clients in various sectors continuously invests in R&D for keeping ahead of the curve. Aeris has joined 5G Open Innovation Lab, and will work closely with the Lab’s founding partners, Intel, T-Mobile, and other partners, to help entrepreneurs and developers gain access to engineering, technology and industry insights to take advantage of AI, 5G, and Aeris IoT platform to create solutions and capabilities, which address new and relevant use cases for broader market categories.

V&D: How can we ensure strong energy management deployments with IoT into consideration?

Ranjeet Koul: India’s T&D losses are almost 20% of generation (Source: eia), more than twice the world average and nearly three times as large as T&D losses in the United States. Electricity losses are the result of technical inefficiency and theft and both these issues can be addressed by the using technology for building smart grids, which then translates to smart transmission of energy to end-users, i.e. consumers and industries.

Smart grid is an electrical grid with automation, communication and connected technologies, and IT systems that can monitor power flows from points of generation to points of consumption (even down to appliances level) and control the power flow or curtail the load to match generation in real time or near real time. Smart grids can be achieved by implementing efficient transmission and distribution systems, system operations, consumer integration and renewable integration.

The pace of IoT deployments have substantially increased with the launch of the ‘National Smart Grid Mission’, as approved by the Indian Ministry of Power on 27 March 2015. Currently, it has allocated 14 smart grid pilot projects across India that will be implemented by state-owned distribution utilities.

Smart grid uses sensors and IoT solutions which helps to monitor, measure and control power flows in real time that can contribute to identification of losses and thereby appropriate technical and managerial actions can be taken to arrest the losses. IoT also holds the key to convert the traditional brownfield grids to smart grids.

On the front-end, we have started the uptick in the application of smart meters which enables energy users to manage their utilisation and enjoy the flexibility of pay per use models. In addition, it also helps the energy providers to catch and analyse the leakage at the consumer level and plug revenue leakage.

For green and clean energy, such as, solar deployments, cellular connectivity is reliable connectivity, offering unparalleled uptime and geographic coverage that other wireless connections can’t match. Additionally, two-way data transfers allow for more sophisticated billing models, including dynamic pricing.

As a recommendation, solar management companies can install an Aeris global SIM at the point of manufacture, reducing both supply chain costs and deployment time. Also, by utilising Aeris’ single global access point name (APN), a solar-powered system can be deployed on a simple plug-and-play basis without the need to reconfigure to local network settings. Therefore, reducing manpower requirements and provides significant cost savings.

V&D: Where do you see the future of the IoT industry going? What is the effect of this pandemic on this industry?

Ranjeet Koul: The pandemic has again re-inforced the importance of hygiene in the physical realm, as well as the digital realm. Virtual is becoming the most effective way of managing the organisational efficiency and its role in industry starts right from the machine deployed in the factory to the consumer buying the product in the market.

In my opinion, automation and availability of data driven analytics in real-time powered by the IoT, will be the key in getting industry and economies back on track. Industry experts are already predicting a permanent uptick in IoT adoption in the post pandemic world. Businesses have been aiming to adopt the technologies that define Industry 4.0 – in particular, industrial Internet of Things (IoT) systems, combined with the cloud and analytics.

As with remote working tools, the accelerated investment in IoT solutions is in direct response to the coronavirus pandemic, but the technology will continue to proliferate post Covid-19 pandemic as it unlocks long-term efficiencies.

V&D: How does infrastructure helps drive the most demanding cold chain transport systems?

Ranjeet Koul: Inter-modal freight planning and optimisation in the transport infrastructure sector is lagging and inefficient transport logistics constrain the competitiveness and productivity of the Indian economy. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, approximately 1/3 of food perishes worldwide during transit. That number doesn’t include losses of other non-edible, but perishable, cargo like decorative flowers, a $100+ billion market on its own.

Cold-chain logistics can be made smart to curb the inefficiencies which negatively affect trade in perishable food and vegetables and other agriculture commodities and impacting farmer income as cold chains are susceptible to mechanical breakdowns, traffic delays, theft, human error, and numerous other factors. When you use IoT monitoring, cold cargo becomes ‘intelligent’ thanks to smart sensors and oversight capabilities.

Aeris has the dedicated infrastructure for the most demanding cold chain transport systems for food, pharma, and other perishable supply chains. Aeris helps create an unbroken cold chain system can track and ensure the quality of goods from manufacturer to end user.

V&D: As a step to boost the Indian agriculture, how can IoT deployment increase farming capabilities & bring down operational costs?

Ranjeet Koul: The rapidly expanding human population presents very real challenges to economic, agricultural, and communal infrastructures. Most of the farmers in India are small and medium landholders, hence, they don’t have the access to the latest machinery, which can reduce the time to market and help them in increasing/healthy produce per hector.

With agriculture predicted to contribute about $1 trillion of India’s GDP by 2022, it is imperative that India shifts its focus to revolutionizing this sector.

With new “smart farming” applications based on IoT technologies, the Indian agricultural industry has the power to reduce waste and enhance productivity. IoT-enabled precision agriculture techniques give farmers effective tools to optimize every farming task. These technology-driven practices are focused on increasing crop yields and profitability while lowering the levels of traditional inputs (water, fertilizer, insecticides, and herbicides) that are needed to grow crops.  Essentially, smart farming uses less to grow more.

At Aeris, we provide the connectivity & IoT solutions and services that are the backbone of smart farming technology. Our IoT infrastructure gives precision agriculture companies the technology to transform unconnected products into connected devices that generate and analyse important information.

With the Aeris Fusion IoT Network, all agricultural data can be organized and interpreted to achieve optimal resource utilization and efficiency at any field, anywhere in the world. Aeris farm equipment and tractor-as-a-service offerings enable farmers to plant crops in more efficient patterns and optimize travel over and between their fields, saving time and fuel.

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