Thus far into 2020 it has not been business as usual as companies scrambled to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic and rushed to implement a feasible work-from-home model in order to ensure a productive and secure workforce. To securely connect teleworkers to the enterprise networks, businesses must integrate multiple security functions into a single appliance, one that delivers not only end-to-end visibility for potential threats with zero-touch deployments but also flexibility for implementing security measures on the fly and simplicity for effortless centralized management.

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.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, many municipal and national governments have imposed lockdown policies, forcing their people to stay home. Companies with branches worldwide have already instructed their employees to work from home for a certain period of time. However, the cure of the pandemic is still under experiment without a definite release date, the challenges regarding working from in terms of connectivity, bandwidth and security to ensure business continuity will remain.

Retail chains all over the world have been investigating network transformation in order to improve customer experience and reduce overhead. Retail services today have evolved to be more and more diversified, including virtual fitting room in fast fashion trends, online demo video of suites in hotels and real estates, as well as real-time inventory checks for clerks and customers. All these newly innovated services need a better bandwidth, more cost-effective WAN architecture to meet customer satisfaction.

AI-based Edge Computing technology is finding its way into various application scenarios, and one of which is intelligent traffic management. AI-optimized video analytics algorithms enable traffic flow analysis, vehicle counting, license plate recognition and driver/pedestrian behavior prediction, generating tremendous but useful volume of real-time data, at the edge, that can be relayed to the traffic control center for proactive response with almost no latency, not only preventing accidents but also saving lives.

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.

The introduction of smart grid has revolutionized the conventional approaches of electrical grids in supplying and distributing electricity. Smart grid offers enhanced data communication and automation for power grid so that data regarding power generation and distribution can be collected and analyzed in a near real-time synchronization. Besides the technological benefits, smart grid offers the visibility of all the integrated subsystems and provides predictive information to the control center. The convergence helps critical infrastructure owner to save operating and capital expense.

 

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