Welcome to the world of Infosys Engineering! It is a half a billion plus organization that takes pride in shaping our engineering aspirations and dreams and bringing them to fruition. We provide engineering services and solutions across the lifecycle of our clients’ offerings, ranging from product ideation to realization and sustenance, that caters to a cross-section of industries - aerospace, automotive, medical devices, retail, telecommunications, hi tech, financial services, energy and utilities just to name a few major ones.

May 30, 2018

Bringing Connected Transportation to India

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) as a concept, has revolutionized the way different industries have been operating, tremendously improving the operational efficiency and hence the productivity. The integration of sensors into the existing industrial environments helps in the remote monitoring of the systems, thereby reducing human intervention and facilitating real-time, non-real-time and near real time interventions. By introducing sensors into conventional systems and using the Cloud platform to gather all this voluminous data and analyzing it, the age old industrial assets can be turned into building blocks of a connected Smart Community.

One such area is the railroads network. This blog post by Vinod (http://www.infosysblogs.com/engineering-services/2018/01/all_aboard_the_smart_train.html#more ) gives an overview of the potential of such as platform. Among the different modes public transport, railways would be the best bet to implement an IIoT solution, since we already have a dependable and exclusive infrastructure in place and only a specific type of traffic to tackle, unlike the road transport.

Consider the Indian Railways, one of the largest in the world, yet one of the least safe. The official report for 2015-16 reveals some shocking statistics (http://164.100.47.193/lsscommittee/Railways/16_Railways_12.pdf ). Let's try and fit an IoT solution in the context of Indian Railways and try to analyze what it takes to turn our Indian Railways into a smarter system, prioritizing passenger safety over anything else.

There are two aspects of passenger safety - one is about the train itself (with all the passengers and their baggage) reaching the final destination safely and the other is about each passenger having a safe and comfortable journey inside a coach. Let us consider the different factors leading to both these aspects of passenger safety -

1)      A safe journey

Every year hundreds of lives are lost in train accidents, and the sad fact is that most of them are due to recurrent mistakes and human error. A majority of these accidents are due to -

a)      Manual signaling errors
b)      Unmanned level crossings
c)       Lack of timely track maintenance
d)      Sabotage

All of the above can be effectively tackled by using an integrated Cloud platform solution (E.g. EdgeLINC from GET https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20171024005536/en/GE-Transportation-Unveils-EdgeLINC%E2%84%A2-Software-Advances-Industrial). The locomotives would have sensors that continuously gather information about different parameters like speed, position, temperature of different parts etc. and send it over to the Cloud where rule based analytics is run on this data, resulting in signaling information. This information would be more accurate and can be used to automate the signaling process, with zero human intervention. It can also be used to control the unmanned level crossings. The locomotives can also have a crash hardened system (something like a black box in an aircraft) that can be used to save all the event logs for further analysis. These will give meaningful insights into the actual cause of the accidents in cases where the root cause is difficult to ascertain using the existing means.

The record of the health of tracks can be used for preventive maintenance of tracks, minimizing the chances of derailment.

2)      A comfortable journey

The safety of the passenger and baggage within a coach is another important aspect because most of the trains operated by Indian Railways run for more than 24 hours through different vulnerable areas. Major security concerns are -

a)      Theft
b)      Air quality within the coach
c)       Medical/Police assistance with minimal delay etc.

One solution could be to have cameras in the coaches that would inhibit thefts. Given the number of coaches and that there are numerous compartments within a coach that have to be monitored, the choice of cameras and their numbers should be decided considering the trade-offs. This would generate huge volumes of data, and so the duration of syncing them with the Cloud etc. has to be considered.  Cameras can also be used to discourage unsafe passenger movement in and out of moving trains.

Air quality sensors that would help check the levels of harmful gases should be installed within the coaches. The data from these sensors could be used by simple rule based analytic engines onboard the locomotive, to warn about the likely presence of smoke or poisonous gases and other potentially dangerous pollutants.

All this information about the safety features within a coach and SOS services of doctors or Police can also be made available to every passenger via a mobile app.

Safe modes of public transport is the need of the hour especially in a growing economy like ours. We already have advanced technology packaged into a solution that can be applied to railways. GE Transportation (GET), one of the world leaders in railroad transportation, is working on the idea of Transportation Intelligence which is suite of a number of IoT solutions aimed at making railroad transportation more efficient and safe. Infosys is collaborating with GET on many of these cutting edge solutions. It includes equipping the locomotives with hardware capable of storing different events, cameras to continuously monitor the surroundings and the loco pilot's cabin, high performance computing platform to connect with the Cloud, event and rule based analysis of real-time data etc. More details can be found at https://www.ge.com/digital/industries/transportation .

With proper planning and political will, we definitely can turn Indian Railways into one of the safest in the world. 

May 22, 2018

Will ACES transform the future of our mobility?

ACES - is the new acronym on the block in the automotive industry. It stands for Autonomous Connected Electric and Shared mobility. Of course, these trends are already reshaping the industry in many ways. When you think about each of these trends - they are undergoing a transition or maturity. For instance, Autonomous driving has been evolving through Passive Driver Assistive System such as seat belts to Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) such as Forward Collision Warning, Pedestrian Detection and such. Connected systems have evolved from basic safety systems (think OnStar) to advanced infotainment systems that are integrated with a larger ecosystem. Hybrid electric to fully electric vehicles, with advances in battery technology to combat driver anxiety. Shared mobility continues to evolve from ride hailing to car sharing to ride sharing with variants in each one of these models as well. 

The perspective is very different depending on your vantage point in the value chain however one thing is for certain that the future presents a tremendous opportunity landscape for all the players. The value chain itself is the palette on which many of the non-traditional players are differentiating to design and amplify the value delivered to the end 

Continue reading "Will ACES transform the future of our mobility?" »

May 11, 2018

Hannover Messe 2018: Observations, Thoughts, and Learnings

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Co-author: Ramchandra Kulkarni - AVP, Head of Engineering Services, Europe

Hannover Messe Industries (HMI) is the world's leading trade show for industrial technology. And we were glad to be there. The recently concluded event displayed an undeniable emphasis on the convergence of IT, complex mechanically engineered systems, industrial IoT platforms, and new business models. Despite an overwhelming bias favoring open collaborative systems large technology providers continued to push single technology integrated solutions. We wondered if this would cause monolithic systems to re-emerge and whether security challenges would stymie open collaboration. We came away with a perspective informed by our conversations with decision-makers and influencers, thankfully, in favor of open systems.

Solutions were the trend at the show. Though most exhibits were only technology and concept demonstrators they attempted significant integrations across the value chain. Most provided clear evidence of collaboration between technology OEMs, domain experts, and system integration partners. The emphasis was clearly on digitization which was showcased using themes that involved integration, connectivity, and collaboration. We saw exhibits that dealt with Industrial Automation, Digital Factory, Platforms and Integrated Energy Systems. Unsurprisingly, servo and autonomous drive technologies emerged as key drivers of digitized and integrated manufacturing. Smart energy systems focused on energy efficiency were also on display. An exhibit that truly impressed us was one involving a robot that worked in conjunction with a couple of 2D cameras connected to a CAD data system. Though simple in appearance this system proved the concept that digital (CAD) data could be used in real-time to direct a robotic system to retrieve physical objects recognized on the basis of their digital CAD geometry. Similarly, we saw the use of additive manufacturing to repair a large industrial die driven completely by information from the die's digital CAD data. These exhibits were fully integrated, connected, and showcased collaboration of cyber-physical systems in achieving non-trivial manufacturing results. We call these 'Hello World' applications of digital concepts - applications that bring to life, with simplicity and clarity, a complete digital interaction.

The exhibits at HMI 2018 displayed an urgency with regards to digital transformation that begun tentatively but promises to accelerate rapidly. And though this transformation cuts to the heart of how products are conceptualized, engineered, manufactured, sold, and maintained - the accelerated nature of this transformation will present bountiful opportunities only to those who are "ready" to participate. The solutions on display underscored the realization that technology is not an end, but a means to an end; it is an enabler. When used to integrate, connect, and collaborate, technology has the potential to help unlock value.

Attending HMI gave us a few interesting ideas on how we should present ourselves at future events. One is that we should bring together various horizontal service lines to develop complete and compelling digital threads. These threads would provide evidence of integrating processes involving product selection, definition, engineering, manufacturing, after-market operations, and maintenance. Such a thread will involve multiple technologies and thus multiple service lines. These jointly developed concepts can be the start of a 'go-to-market' strategy developed in collaboration with service lines, and such internal collaboration will drive success. Some themes around which these collaborations could be imagined are:

  • Solutions that address challenges of the installed base of a particular industry: The business objective here is to extend the life of past investments; also known as brownfield.
  • Solutions that demonstrate connectivity, collaboration, and integration of open technologies: Bringing together next generation user interfaces coupled with engineering and business analytics based on AI, ML and augmented by RPA can be powerful demonstrations of problem solving and our systems integration prowess.
  • Solutions that are built in a consortium approach: Next generation solutions that have business merit will be mostly built in partnership with technology partners, consulting partners, and domain experts. Exhibits that showcase partnerships demonstrate our ability to think laterally and work collaboratively. Tangible evidence to potential buyers of our evolving maturity from a pure play service integrator to a true partner.
  • Solutions built in participation with students from partner institutes: This has far reaching optical and soft implications. It showcases our investment in reskilling the work force of tomorrow. When done in geographies like the Americas and Europe we can expect a multitude of returns in the future.
  • Solutions that demonstrate new development paradigms: We must exhibit the end result of our approach to unpacking and solving problems. Each exhibit should include the outcomes of Design Thinking, the elements targeted and managed in discovery and developed in sprint, and a hierarchical view of architectural constructs like cloud, micro-services, industrial platforms, and enterprise systems. At a trade show, this demonstrates competencies at play.

We look forward to the next Hannover Messe in 2019, where we can truly showcase our brand proposition, 'Navigate Your Next' for industrial manufacturing.

January 1, 2018

All aboard the "smart" train

The Internet Of Things (IOT) is creating a massive impact across industries, and the railroad industry is no exception. The railroad industry plays a significant role in the transportation industry and commerce often referred to as the golden age of railways. Many of us don't realize that the industry itself is 200+ years old. To understand the impact of IOT, a time lens perspective is useful of how the industry has evolved - past, present and future. 

  1. The first 150 years or so was all about expansion of the rail network, building powerful and long range locomotives, improving accessibility - this was about the growth phase. The period coincided with economic growth and expansion
  2. The next wave was about increasing the operational efficiency - such as network performance, improving operational efficiency through technology investments and increasing fuel efficiency. In summary improving operations
  3. The current and future wave is to enhance customer service, maximizing the assets, optimize capacity and increasing safety across the network. The railroad industry is continuously looking at adopting technology to build for the future. 

Continue reading "All aboard the "smart" train" »

August 4, 2017

Delivering (renewable) Energy as a service

India has a renewable energy generation target of 175 Gigawatt by 2022. The ministry of new and renewable energy breaks this down by different sources such as solar, wind, biomass, hydro power. The current generation from renewable sources is 57 Gigawatt, and this clearly highlights the investments that are required to achieve the target - http://factchecker.in/modis-175-gw-renewable-energy-target-for-2022-needs-160-billion-investment/ 

Continue reading "Delivering (renewable) Energy as a service" »

July 3, 2017

Amplify connected vehicle services through continuous learning

Humans naturally are learning species - we start doing things better once we get a "hang of it". There's always been belief that we can create intelligent systems that learn and mimic human behavior. While we are still away from building a replica of the human brain, there's technology advancements to accelerate this journey. Using a simple framework of Learn, Anticipate, and Validate, I will illustrate how the connected services can be enhanced and expanded to deliver superlative seamless experience.

Continue reading "Amplify connected vehicle services through continuous learning" »

April 5, 2017

Imagining a digital twin for your connected car

The concept of digital twins is catching up fast. In simple words, a digital twin is a unique living model of a physical object that is continuously updated with real time data that can be leveraged in many ways in the entire product development lifecycle. This capability of creating a 1 to 1 model for analyzing behavioral consumption patterns has been successfully accomplished in the online marketplaces. In the industrial domain, digital twins are being created for jet engines, turbines, locomotives and are used for anomaly detection, predictive analytics and also performance optimization. 

Continue reading "Imagining a digital twin for your connected car" »

December 30, 2016

2017 Predictions for the connected car - What to look out for? - Part 1

The connected car domain is evolving fast and furious, the estimates are staggering in terms of the number of connected vehicles that will be on the road in the next 3-5 years. I have been associated with this domain for the last few years and this is my 2nd attempt to predict the focus areas for 2017 - I try and pull this together as a practitioner, as someone who has been working with our clients and actively engaged across multiple projects. I hope to get better in this annual exercise, and eventually reach a stage of acceptance - till then bear with me ... These predictions are based on my experience, understanding and conversations with stakeholders in the industry. They help me synthesize my thought processes in refining our offerings and go to market strategy. 

Continue reading "2017 Predictions for the connected car - What to look out for? - Part 1" »

2017 Predictions for the connected car - What to look out for? - Part 2

In the first part of this blog here, I outlined the framework that was used to arrive at the predictions specifically the three phases (Incubate, Develop, Implement) and two different perspectives (Producer, Consumer).

Let me now explain each of the trends, and why they fit into the particular phase. Since there are 19 of them, I've kept the commentary minimal. For each of them, we will look at - what is the trend, why do I think it's in a particular phase and what is the impact. 

Continue reading "2017 Predictions for the connected car - What to look out for? - Part 2" »

December 6, 2016

DevOps - A catalyst for IOT solution development

Recently, I presented at the international SPICON 2016 - theme of "Energizing Delivery in a Digital Paradigm". I spoke about how DevOps is quintessential for IOT solution development and the feedback was very encouraging from the audience. You can find my presentation here. I have been actively evangelizing devops as a philosophy in IOT solution development.  

There is so much material on DevOps that I wouldn't want to add to it, however a slightly different take - DevOps definition is analogous to the blind men and elephant story that all of us have heard of. Enterprises who are thinking about DevOps as a magic wand to all their problems - let me implement Chef, Jenkins and Docker and voila all my problems are gone, must reconsider and reconsider really hard. You cannot be certified for DevOps, neither are there standards or checklists for implementing DevOps. I have also heard weird things such as DevOps is what Facebook, Google, Netflix does.

Continue reading "DevOps - A catalyst for IOT solution development" »

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