We had the pleasure of talking to Leandros Maglaras, a lecturer at the School of Computer Science and Informatics of De Montfort University, UK. Besides his career in academia, Dr Maglaras has participated in a number of researches and aspiring projects revolving around ICT. As he is a general chair of INISCOM 2016, we asked him to share some thoughts about the conference, and the latest trends in industrial networks. INISCOM 2016 will be the second annual International Conference on Industrial Networks and Intelligent Systems. It will be held in Leicester, UK (31 Octorber – 2 November).
What is the central topic of INISCOM 2016 and why is it important? What is this event’s vision?
The fast development of information technologies (e.g., ubiquitous computing, cloud computing, semantic web, big data and cyber-physical system) as well as all kinds of communication technologies (e.g., control network, communication network, sensor network, body area network, social network, opportunistic network, cloud-based network, etc.) has also found its way into industrial environments and critical infrastructures alike. New technologies and communication capabilities can help in increasing the efficiency and reliability of processes in industries by providing enhanced control, integration and optimization of production. On the other hand, there is also a cyber-security perspective about these developments, which is concerned with issues such as the interconnection of ICS networks with organizational ICT network infrastructures, and even with the exterior, which has brought a new wave of challenges and security problems.
INISCOM 2016 focuses on Industrial Networks and Intelligent Systems. The conference tries to cover all aspects of Industrial networks, aiming at attracting original research or innovative practical applications in areas related to Hardware and software design and development, Information processing and data analysis, Industrial and intelligent applications, and security and privacy issues.
What have been the recent developments and trends in the field of industrial networks?
Today wireless technologies still hold a small share of the worldwide industrial network market. This is about to change with the rise of the Internet of Things paradigm, with the introduction of new automation architectures and Machine-to-Machine communication protocols. In this perspective, wireless technologies are being increasingly considered for machine connectivity and control, both for field networks (as it is the case for WirelessHART) and also for data access through tablets and smartphones. However, the expansion and growth of wireless systems inside an industrial environment also inherits critical challenges. These challenges extend from system reliability, energy efficiency, energy harvesting and robotic node localization to the need of novel methods for data transmission at extreme conditions, gathering and analysis of huge amount of data under soft real time constrains and sophisticated security mechanisms.
As industrial systems progressively move within massively distributed scenarios, it will be also interesting to understand how Software-Defined Networks or Network Function Virtualization will be able to drive the introduction of innovative models for data collection, aggregation and processing.
In terms of hardware, what have been the recent advances, what do the researchers strive for?
In terms of hardware, numerous novel and prospective developments have been implemented on fields as diverse as healthcare, logistics, manufacturing process, home automation, intelligent transport systems and smart grid. The availability of flexible programmable logic (such as FPGAs), together with the wide availability of low-cost System on Chip (SoC) architectures for real-time applications has contributed to improve cost and efficiency, while allowing the introduction of new capabilities. This translates into an unprecedented level of flexibility, as applications start to catch up with these developments, which I’m pretty sure will be instrumental in coping with the specific challenges of a new generation of IoT-centric Industrial Automation and Control System.
What are your expectations for INISCOM 2016?
INISCOM 2016 main expectation is to attract researchers from both from academia and the industry that want to present their latest research and developments in the broader and interdisciplinary areas of industrial networks and intelligent systems. We hope to foster an open environment for the discussion and exchange of ideas, and also for professional and academic networking – more than a conference, INISCOM intends to become the meeting point for a community of cooperating specialists and researchers in these fields.
Learn more about the event here.