Power and Energy
Natural gas infrastructure is composed of million miles of pipelines used to gather, transport and distribute natural gas, and oil from producing basins to end-use consumers. Pipeline infrastructure is one of the safest ways of transporting materials compared to road or rail. It is an extremely important enabler of economic and national security for a country.
Previously, OT (Operational Technology) and IT (Information Technology) though related were separate environments where OT industrial automation and control systems and IT enterprise digital networks were not connected. With the advent of IoT, it has become an agent for the integration of OT and IT.
As we evolve into the era of 5G, the benefits 5G deployment are inevitably on the tops of everyone’s mind. But one often overlooked topic that should not be ignored as we look into this exciting future is the role of cybersecurity. This is especially true for critical infrastructures, such as electricity generation. With grid modernization picking up speed around the world, utility service providers need to also bear in mind the evolving cybersecurity threats that come with modernization, and many already are. However, a significant challenge during the modernization of cybersecurity capabilities is identifying and utilizing IT technologies that can work in harmony with operational technologies. Modernization and interconnection are crucial to having robust security without compromising their services, which typically rely on assets not designed with 5G and modern technologies in mind.
Like most people in the developed world, you probably take access to clean water for granted. Whether in the bathroom flushing the toilet, in the kitchen washing vegetables, or outside watering your lawn, clean water is always just a faucet away. What's more, people also take for granted a clean living environment free from human waste and the nasty diseases that come with it. Unless you have watched a documentary film about wastewater treatment, you've likely had never given it a second thought on where your waste goes and where your clean water comes from. The fact of the matter is that wastewater treatment is a comprehensive and time-consuming process that requires constant vigilance and a vast network of pipes. Given its complexity, even the tiniest malfunctions, such as a leaky pipe, can cause massive disruptions to the entire process and negatively affect customers and the environment. Luckily, in the twenty-first century, we benefit from technology to help us manage the complexities of wastewater treatment and water distribution; among them are computer-based remote monitoring solutions.
Over the past few years, the manufacturing sector has undergone a revolutionary change by implementing the concept of “connected and interconnected devices” to improve productivity and cost-effectiveness. With IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) from conceptualization to now a reality, the manufacturing sector has witnessed an explosion of data generated on a daily basis. In fact, this unprecedented growth in data seems to have a continual increase due to AIoT (AI + IoT) technologies like Machine Learning, Machine-to-Machine networks, high-performance automation and robotic equipment, which all generate the mass volume of data.
Nowadays most companies in the industrial sector have established a highly connected production infrastructure, in which production-related devices and equipments such as PLCs are interconnected to enhance productivity and cost-efficiency. This unprecedented connectedness is now referred as Industrial IoT (Internet of Things) and many enterprises in manufacturing, healthcare and utility generation have taken advantage of this technology. However, when mission-critical devices are connected to the Internet, this exposes vulnerability for potential intrusions. In fact, according to recent research, over 80% of the surveyed companies have realized the expenses for being hacked, and many of them had even experienced various types of cyber-threats.
In recent years, utility plant owners have been investigating opportunities and strategies to bring intelligence into substations to enable smart grid paradigm. In a typical digitalized substation, it is obvious to see robust embedded computing gateways with high-performance compute, networking and storage have been integrated to enable control and monitoring of substations. Intelligent HMIs (human-machine interfaces) terminals and protocol-authenticating servers are used to enable communications. All these have contributed to the increasing complexity and footprint of SCADA management in substations.