Control who can access, and more importantly who can control, the object.

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IMG 20230213 WA0000 1

By 2025, it is estimated that over 30 billion connected devices will be in circulation worldwide, representing an average of 4 IoT devices per person. We know that anything connected to the internet can be hacked, and connected devices are no exception. Protecting this vast attack surface is no small feat.
Control who can access, and more importantly who can control, the object. This issue can be particularly strong in the automobile sector, for example, to prevent remote takeover of connected cars.
In a context where digital threats are omnipresent, there are, in reality, as many security challenges as there are IoT projects. Each case has different and unique characteristics to consider. was a media partner of the Barcelona Cybersecurity and IOT Solutions congress which took place from January 30th to February 2nd, 2023 in Barcelona. We were able to interview several speakers and will be proposing a weekly interview of each on the challenges of cybersecurity and IoT.
Mr. Julien Bertolini led a conference on the “Deliver Smart Factory: An Industry 4.0 Implementation.

Julien Bertolini has seen the evolution of the IoT market (from M2M to IoT) from the beginning (~15 years). At Volvo, he animates the IoT community (more than 200 people) and he is involved in the IoT deployments of the Group as an IoT expert. He is super proud to be part of the Industry 4.0 journey! 

1 – What do you see as the biggest challenge in animating an IoT community of more than 200 people?

Definitely, the biggest challenge is to build an “autonomous community”. So people communicate together spontaneously, they produce content (not only consume) and they don’t need any “animator” anymore.

2 – How do you approach the task of educating and engaging a large and diverse IoT community?

The first thing is to provide e-learning material with different levels. Some quick and easy to understand content, and some deeper training. Then several channels to communicate quite often (so people don’t forget the community” :

  • A monthly newsletter to share news on the IoT domain
  • A Yammer channel to share the latest IoT initiatives and also to ask questions (forum)
  • A SharePoint site to share the “official news” on the IoT @ Volvo – The last release of an application in Production for example, or a new feature of the IoT platform that is now available

We have understood that the video is a great way to communicate. It takes time but it is worth it !

3 – Can you discuss any successful strategies that you have used in the past to increase participation and engagement within an IoT community?

A big challenge of driving a community worldwide is to have at least one “leader or PoC” (Point of Contact) in each country. So you can ask each of them what are the latest news in IoT in their country.
It takes time to build relationship with these local PoC, but it is a must to :

  • gather the news globally
  • encourage people to participate

To increase the participation, we have presented the IoT strategy to some big Volvo events (more than 800 people), and encouraged people to subscribe to the Yammer and the newsletter.
As a IoT expert, my strategy was also to ask people to send questions on Yammer instead of sending me an email.

4 – How do you manage and resolve conflicts within a large IoT community?

It did not happen for the moment (Maybe because we are a Swedish company.)

5 – Can you share any lessons learned from your experience with IoT community building?

The biggest thing is not building the community, is keeping it alive 😊. It is more a marathon than a sprint. You should build trust, and it is an endless task !
So my advice would be : find people that likes to communicate/animate and be sure that they can find time (at least few hours every weeks) to always provide contents to the community.

6 – What are some of the common obstacles faced in IoT deployments and how do you overcome them?

Building an IoT solution requires a lot of type of talents (IoT developer, IoT architects, enterprise architect, cybersecurity expert, IT purchaser, sometime the legal department, and of course the business!) à The biggest challenge is to have enough availability of all these people at the right time!

7 – Can you discuss a particularly challenging IoT deployment that you have been a part of and how you approached it?

One of the first IoT deployment was a solution to monitor AGV (Autonomous Guided Vehicles) batteries in a factory. It was challenging, mainly for 2 reasons :

  • it was the first deployment so we have started from scratch and a lot of validations were required : from enterprise architects, from cybersecurity, from network specialists, So a lot of time & effort
  • it was risky, because :
    • we could not give any guarantee on the benefits
    • we could potentially interfere with some production tools (like wireless nut runners).

The approach was iterative with the state of mind : “THINK BIG, START SMALL”. So we have started the project as an Industrial solution, not a PoC (Proof of Concept), and little by little, we have built reusable bricks, for example :

  • An architecture blue print validated by the Volvo Group, that we can reuse in a lot of other IoT solutions
  • A process to deploy a private LoRa network in a factory in a secure way
  • A standard UI/UX (User Interface/User Experience) reusable in most of our IoT applications
  • A secure way to access our IoT platforms from a Mobile phone

At the end, it was a big success !

8 – How do you ensure that IoT deployments are secure and comply with data privacy regulations?

We have a legal department that is taking care of the compliance topic. We have to fill GDPR documents for some deployments.
For the security, on one hand, we have a IT security department (cloud servers) and one the other hand the IoT team is handling the security of the IoT part (device + network).

9 – How do you balance the need for innovation and scalability in IoT deployments with the need for reliability and stability?

Our strategy is to have several IoT platforms instances … Some are for the mature solutions (stable and reliable) and the some other are for the more innovative (less mature) deployments. We called them “Citizen development” platform. So we don’t expect the same level of requirements (to follow good practices). But frankly, it is difficult to keep performances and stability when you don’t follow the main best practices …

10 – Can you discuss any notable IoT deployments that the Group has been a part of and the impact they have had?

We have build a solution to geolocate trucks from the end of the assembly line up to the dealer, and deployed this solution on 17 trucks factories.
It saves a lot of money, because operators don’t waste their time anymore to find trucks on our huge factory yards. But it brings also a lot of benefits for our logisticians to estimate the Time of arrival at our dealers.
This kind of solution is a booster for the Digital Transformation of our Industry.