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AI Is Gaining Momentum For IoT Applications: Karen Ravindranath, WebNMS

AI Is Gaining Momentum For IoT Applications: Karen Ravindranath, WebNMS

Vishal Chawla
Karen Ravindranath WebNMS

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WebNMS is one of the leading providers of enterprise and industrial IoT solutions. Currently, the organisation positions itself as a scalable enterprise IoT platform integrated with multiple capabilities like energy management, industrial IoT, asset management and fleet management.  

According to the company, WebNMS IoT Platform is an amalgamation of multiple technologies like machine learning (ML), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Data Analytics that work in conjunction to accelerate insights from connected things. WebNMS IoT Platform has an incredible advantage of having the most powerful Edge computing agent integrated into it; the Edge computing feature is now being enhanced to incorporate ML and advanced analytics at the device side. Another important innovation is the power usage of image processing for quicker and spontaneous visual interpretation of data.



To dig deeper into the convergence of IoT and intelligent insights, Analytics India Magazine connected with Karen Ravindranath – Director, WebNMS IoT. Karen started her journey in the telecom software space focusing on protocol stacks and tools. With more than 15 years of experience building large scale network management solutions, she took up the role of product manager for Zoho’s IoT Platform. Today as a director, she is responsible for all the IoT related initiatives at WebNMS. Karen talks on the current state of the IoT industry and the company’s future IoT strategy for the coming of 5G and edge computing. Here is an edited excerpt from the interaction — 

AIM: Specific to India, what according to you is the current state of the IoT industry?

Karen: The adoption of IoT in India is on the rise. According to a recent Nasscom report, the IoT market size in India is expected to reach USD 9 billion by 2020. With the focus on ‘Make in India’ by the government, IoT is penetrating steadily into the manufacturing sector and is used extensively to improve operations, quality of output, and customer experience with advanced and digital industrial IoT solutions. Apart from industrial and manufacturing, various other verticals like healthcare, energy, oil and gas, transportation, fleet, and logistics, etc have started to invest in IoT powered applications to digitize their operations, run efficient and insightful businesses. 

AIM: How is WebNMS creating value for the Indian IoT space?

Karen: Through it’s IoT division, WebNMS, Zoho is catering to multiple verticals like logistics, manufacturing, energy, and utility sector across India to improve their operations and business efficiency. WebNMS is working towards creating easy, cost-effective and most robust digital solutions driven by IoT across industries, and has included many features and add ons over the years. This includes advanced edge computing and machine learning roped in SI and device partners for verticals such as energy, industrial, fleet, facilities and asset management. 


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AIM: Zoho has traditionally been a CRM company. How is it utilizing WebNMS – an IoT company to help its business clients?

Karen: True that Zoho CRM is one of the best selling products from the Zoho portfolio. However, Zoho has other top-selling business productivity SaaS for various functions like HR, finance, marketing, sales and operations. WebNMS IoT platform can be seamlessly integrated into any third party applications like CRM, ERP, help desk software, etc., and achieve seamless exchange of data between multiple software platforms. This is an added advantage for Zoho users who can easily onboard IoT applications and integrate their IoT data with their existing Zoho applications. 

AIM: What impact IoT solutions will create for the different industry verticals? If you can give a few examples.

Karen: IoT will penetrate every industry vertical to create an impact on operations and businesses at large. For instance, IoT and data powered operations speed up industrial processes, monitor production, and offer integrated enterprise operations for the manufacturing companies to run an efficient and data-driven business that is much more collaborative and insightful. OEMs are being impacted with connected/smart devices which transform their service processes and bring in different data monetization models.

AIM: What impact do you see from the 5G and increasing adoption of edge computing solutions? What is WebNMS’ role here?

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Karen: WebNMS has a powerful edge computing agent EdgeX integrated into it’s IoT platform. The edge agent, ‘ WebNMS EdgeX’ provides customers with the leverage of extracting data from any hardware set up, and can also work as the local intelligent server in case of network disruptions and keep operations up and running by storing data locally, making decisions at the edge and enabling rule-based automation. Edge computing would be the most sought after feature as it is a game-changer in transforming an IoT application from a simple monitoring application to a powerful data-driven control application.

AIM: What role do AI and data analytics play in coordination with your IoT solution stack?

Karen: These technologies form an integral part of the platform that offers functionalities ranging from data acquisition to the dynamic end-user analytics. Data analytics is a critical component of the platform that enables decision-making at the device/edge side, server-side decisions, periodic data analytics, proactive alarm generation, trend analysis, data analysis for prescriptive and preventive asset management and much more.

Artificial intelligence is another important factor that is gaining impetus in various IoT applications. For instance, AI-enabled fleet management solutions can empower customers to receive proactive optimization of routes based on traffic data, driver behaviour, weather conditions, road conditions, etc. This can also help drivers to stay updated about their destination routes and help supervisors plan fleet operations efficiently.

AIM: What is your road map for 2020? Any plans for expansion or launching any new solutions?

Karen: WebNMS made a remarkable addition to its product portfolio this year with its foray into industrial IoT (IIoT) in 2019. The forthcoming year, WebNMS plans to strengthen its IIoT capabilities and cater to a wider range of manufacturing industries across the globe. The platform offers end to end IoT capabilities including dynamic GUIs and data-driven insights. Upcoming year, WebNMS is also working towards offering enhanced data analytics with charts and insights, UI compatible for all devices along with user-driven customization, image processing, and NLP for enhanced customer interaction.

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