Centre of Excellence in Intelligent IoT Sensors: An Initiative for Self-Reliance in Sensors

Introduction

In the present times of highly competitive electronics and ICT sector, manufacturers are constantly challenged to find ways to bring outcost-effective, faster and smaller electronic devices. An important aspect of meeting these challenges is the development of advanced materials, innovative products and technology. The ability to produce new materials is extremely crucial in the electronics & IT industry, and are also the key elements of continued technological advancement – a major reason for India to support research and development in this field. 

 

With advancement of communication technologies and digital connectivity, the concept of Internet of Things (IoT) has made inroads in a big way. With the connected devices through IoT, it has become easy to monitor and control any system sitting remotely elsewhere in the world. One of the major components of the IoT system is the sensors. The IoT sensors essentially find applications in diverse sectors of health care, environment & agriculture, manufacturing, energy management, home automation, smart cities, military & space, transportation, etc. A variety of IoT sensors including Light sensors, Accelerometer, Position sensors, Temperature sensors, Proximity sensors, Humidity sensors, Pressure sensors, Infrared sensors, Chemical sensors, gas sensors, gyroscope, etc. are required to cater to the whole spectrum of applications. Asia-Pacific region including India accounts for 51% of the world’s market share for industrial sensors.

 

Background

 Globally, the Electronics System Design and Manufacturing continues to grow with an estimated market size of $2 trillion. At present, the Indian Electronics market is about $120 billion, contributing 2.5% to GDP with exports in 2018-19 at about $8.8 billion, generating direct and indirect employment to 13 million people.

 

The Internet of Things (IoT) is one of the major drivers for this growth, propelled under the initiativesof‘Digital India’, ’Smart City’ and ’Atmanirbhar Bharat’. . In the next few years, possibly by 2025, the Electronics System Design and Manufacturing sector in India is expected to grow to $130 billion.. However, presently the domestic manufacturing unit only contributes to 30% of the need, and the rest of it is imported. In this context, aligning with the national policy of AtmaNirbhar Bharat, it is essential to develop a manufacturing ecosystem for IoT sensors, in India, with design and technology capabilities for the sustainable growth of Indian industries.

 

To make and brand the Indian sensor market as self-reliant and globally appealing, we have initiated a project to establish a Center of Excellence (CoE), which would specifically target at Intelligent Internet of Things (IIoT) sensors. Traditionally, majority of the companies in India used sensors for data collection, with data transmission not having any in-built intelligent processing. However, with the advent of Industry 4.0, the use of intelligent sensors is on the rise, with most sensors requiring self-correcting units and intelligent data processing getting offloaded to the sensor nodes. This, we believe, is a fast-growing market with substantial demand in Industry.

 

CoE in IIoT sensors

The main objective of the project is to establish a Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Kochi, adjacent to Electronics incubator facilities of Maker Village, by utilizing the complementary sensor research, development and applications expertise at Centre for Materials for Electronics Technology (C-MET), Thrissur, and Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management-Kerala (IIITM-K), Trivandrum. The project is funded by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), Govt. of India and State Govt. of Kerala in association with the electronics industry .The application domains of the CoE would be developed with support from industry partners, including start-ups at Maker Village as well as those in the Kerala Start up Mission ecosystem. The initial thrust would be:

 

·         To translate the research on sensors (temperature, humidity, pressure and acoustic) to commercially valuable products.

·         To create the state-of-the-art facilities for: (a) sensor manufacturing, (b) intelligent sensor system hardware and AI software development, and (c) comprehensive compliance testing.

·         To implement innovative products and solutions for the industry that are specifically tuned to cater to the industry needs.

·         To provide a common facility to industries for pre-qualification of the electronic products for obtaining the certificate of conformity and compliance.

·         To provide business and mentorship support to Startup companies along with the facilities to realize an industry standard product solution with Intelligent IoT sensors.

·         To promote innovation and entrepreneurship through design challenges, outreach programs and incubation grants.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Broadly, all these efforts accumulate towards the “Atmanirbhar Bharat” mission to be self-reliant and self-sufficient in the Intelligent IoT sensor space. The overview of activities planned in CoE in IIoT sensors is given in the figure below:

 

 

Overview of CoE in IIoT Sensors

AS mentioned earlier, the CoE,which would be strategically located in an ecosystem next to the Maker Village at Kochi, Kerala, is in close proximity to the integrated start up complex. This proximity is expected to provide cross-fertilization of ideas from the startups and the research community working in the areas of intelligent sensors and IoT.

 

The CoE has already developed a few sensor products with IoT capability, and is in the process of developing many more with close interaction with industries and end-users.

 

Some of the IoT sensor devices developed at CoE in IIoT sensors is given below.

 





Smart Digital Thermometer

Absolute Humidity Sensor

Industrial Fire Alarm Sensor

CO2 Sensor

 

Features

 

Temperature range: -50oC to 50oC

Accuracy:± 0.5oC

Wireless connection (Wi-Fi)

NTC thermistor probe enclosed in SS316

Rechargeable Battery


Features

 

Range: 0 to 130 g/m3

Operating temperature: 0 – 100oC

NTC thermistor based

Excellent immunity to contaminants.

Ability to operate at high temperatures

Can be used in cloth dryers, microwave oven and in many industrial processes.

Features

 

Alarm above pre-set temperature

Accuracy:± 0.5oC

Wireless connection (Wi-Fi)

NTC thermistor probe enclosed in SS316

Rechargeable Battery


Features

 

Range: 400 to 5000 ppm

Accuracy: ± 150 ppm or ± 3% of Reading

Optical based sensor

Wireless connection (Zigbee)

Rechargeable Battery

 


 

The CoE is engaged in developing various IIoT sensors including temperature sensors, humidity sensors, pressure sensors, strain sensors, proximity sensors, pH sensors, gas sensors, etc.

 

Conclusion

 

The CoE in IIoT sensors is intended to develop an ecosystem in our country for the Intelligent IoT sensors and devices, by synergizing the capabilities of research institutions, academic institutes, manufacturing industries and end-users. In this respect, it is expected to establish a common facility centre, a pre-compliance test laboratory and an incubation centre. These facilities would help to evolve many more start-ups and MSMEs in the electronic component manufacturing and device integration area. This would, in turn, boost the sustainable economic growth of Indian sensor market and enabled carve a niche for itself on the world map.

 

 

(The Author is Scientist, Centre for Material for Electronics Technology, Thrissur, Kerala)

 

 

Box: The CoE in IIoT sensors is intended to develop an ecosystem in our country for the Intelligent IoT sensors and devices, by synergizing the capabilities of research institutions, academic institutes, manufacturing industries and end-users

 

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