Innovations should become a point of growth of India-Russia relations

In the current situation, there are not many examples of the introduction of completely unmanned running.

India and Russia are looking not just to expand defence partnership but attempting to put in place partnership in areas of Artificial Intelligence and Innovation. India is of great interest to companies in the field of Industrial Internet of Things where Russia has developed expertise, Igor Bogachev, CEO of Zyfra, (Russian firm that specialises in Artificial Intelligence based solutions) told ET’s Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury.

Is there an opportunity for cooperation between Russia and India in the field of innovation in general and on the Industrial Internet of Things in particular? How promising is the Indian market?

India is of great interest to companies in the field of Industrial Internet of Things. According to analysts, the economic effects of the introduction of such solutions for the country may exceed 400 billion US dollars in the coming years. Innovations should become a point of growth of Russian-Indian relations. We see significant potential for introduction in such industries as machine-tool construction, mechanical engineering, metallurgy, chemical industry and the oil and gas sector.

What is the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) ?
Evolutionary development of industry from mechanization to industrialization, and then from automation to Industry 4.0 is characterized by the massive use of various sensors for the collection and exchange of information integrated with intelligent systems.

The Industrial Internet of Things in our understanding is a computer network consisting of elements of industrial equipment, scientific tools, equipped with technologies of interaction with each other and the external environment. The goal of the Internet of Things is to change the technological and business processes in such a way as to increase their efficiency and significantly reduce the need for human participation in making routine decisions related to the management of objects in such networks. In a general sense, IIoT can be equated to fully automate digital production.

The most adequate scenarios for the application of IIoT occur in those areas where the speed of the appearance of new information exceeds the ability of a person to analyze incoming signals. Over the past six months, we have traveled dozens of industrial enterprises in Russia, Europe and Asia to understand what tasks are now facing them, and what digital technologies will help solve them. As a result, we identified six most promising areas: a digital assistant based on AI, real-time repairs, quality management of finished products, tracking and analyzing events at the junction of technological and business processes, digital duplicates of equipment and enterprises, shared economy and management of free enterprise resources.

The introduction of such technologies will enable enterprises from different sectors of the economy to increase the efficiency of the use of production assets, for example, by reducing the number of unplanned outages, forecasting and preventing emergency equipment failures, increasing energy efficiency through more economical use of energy, guaranteeing stable output quality, and ultimately increase productivity.

What are competencies of your firm and projects?
We are focused on the introduction of IIoT technologies, that is, connecting to the Internet machines, industrial robots and units to create a single information space in the enterprise. Our park of "connected" equipment is the largest in Russia – more than 6000 machines. The total economic effect of connection is more than 8 billion rubles per year. Among the more than 200 enterprises we work with, there are the State Corporation Rostek, Roskosmos, Transmashholding and many others.

In our experience, for the discrete industry, the BRICS mill is now primarily concerned with the tasks of connecting industrial assets. This is necessary in order to accumulate a sufficient amount of data on production, in order to further introduction ofmachine learning and artificial intelligence. Especially for the European and Asian markets, we developed MDCPlus, a monitoring system for equipment and personnel. This product was created by the best Russian mathematicians and programmers, but taking into account the unique features of foreign customers. In Europe, this system is already being implemented at enterprises in Helsinki, now we want to find partners in India and China to increase industrial productivity in these countries. In plans for this year is to begin to predict possible equipment breakdowns and tool wear.

For metallurgy, petrochemistry and chemistry, we have developed "digital assistants" based on AI technologies. The recommendation system is additional software that analyzes already accumulated and collected data in real time. An example of a project implemented in conjunction with a metallurgical company. We reduced the time of the EAF under current from 1 hour to 41 minutes. Our client felt that reducing the time for melting gives him a 5% increase in efficiency. Further, we decided that if all EAFs in Russia will work according to the new technology, the economic effect in monetary terms will be around 6 billion rubles. These figures speak for themselves. Now we are piloting a number of such systems at enterprises in Russia, Europe.

How do you assess the state of the IIoT market in the BRICS countries?
According to Accenture's forecasts, in 2030, Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) will achieve an annual GDP growth of 0.2 percent by joint efforts, and with the strengthening of support measures and 0.5 percent through investments in IIoT solutions.

The BRICS countries are similar in structure of the economy. We are united by a relatively high proportion of the population employed in industry, so our countries are particularly interested in technologies that directly affect the development of this industry.

At the same time, the specifics of the development of the new economy are such that no country can claim absolute leadership. Let's say the element base is better developed in China, R&D in Western countries, and the main economic effect of IIOT will be given to countries where the share of real production is high. We could exchange real production cases for the use of digital technologies.

Solutions developed in Russia for the analysis of large volumes of data and predictive analytics in industries such as metallurgy, chemical industry, automotive industry and others can easily be scaled in the markets of other BRICS countries. Similarly, solutions developed in other countries will find their application in Russia. In particular, in the near future we plan to introduceour solutions for metallurgical companies to the India and Chinamarkets.

Are developing countries like Bangladesh ready for deploying projects on Industrial Internet of Things?
Mass application of IIOT technologies became possible because the costs of the necessary infrastructure do not constitute a significant load. There are approved IIOT solutions that increase labor productivity for light industry and agriculture (the basis of the Bangladesh economy) without significant capital expenditures.

In India and Bangladesh, does automation mean job cuts?
In the current situation, there are not many examples of the introduction of completely unmanned running. Such technologies are quite expensive and require regular maintenance costs. Automation of production can actually lead to a reduction in employment, especially in highly hazardous areas (toxic, high-temperature, traumatic, etc.), but in this case, released workers can also be used at checkpoints to monitor the the operation of existing equipment. In addition, automation will lead to a reduction in the so-called "routine" occupations in those industries where artificial intelligence will replace a person in the performance of repetitive tasks. At the same time, new industries will appear and minimize the effects of job cuts.

How is IIoT used hydrocarbons and renewable energy?
In the energy industry, the introduction of intelligent technologies is of fundamental importance, since it allows to significantly reducing operating costs for maintaining the operability of networks that constitute significant part of the costs for companies. This will allow, in particular, to move to network management "by state", and not to carry out repairs in accordance with strict regulatory deadlines, especially taking into account the considerable length of electric networks.

There are many obstacles that limit the introduction of IIoT in the industry – large amounts of worn equipment, many different protocols that require unification, there are many safety issues.

To date, the greatest development of the "Internet of Things" in the power industry has been "smart" or "intelligence" networks (smart grids) and meters (smart meters). We are discussing with some of our clients the creation of a joint laboratory "DIGITAL ENERGY" with the use of modern digital technologies to solve industry problems that would bring additional profit or will be able to optimize the current processes of energy companies. The first "smart" distribution networks appeared in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Kazan, a little later in Irkutsk.