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Intelligently leveraging disparate data sources
July 2017, This Week's Editor's Pick, Integrated Solutions, Industrial (Industry)

Over the past 255 years we have experienced three industrial revolutions. The first industrial revolution saw the transition to new manufacturing processes in the period from about 1760 to sometime between 1820 and 1840. This included a shift from hand production methods to machines, and capitalised on the increasing use of water and steam power, the development of machine tools and the rise of the factory system.

The second revolution (the technological revolution) took place in the period between 1870 and 1914 and involved the increasing use of steam power and the early use of electrification for manufacturing.

The third revolution, which is still ongoing, is the increasing use of computers and the introduction of automated processes in manufacturing. However, says Bernard Senekal, Naxian Systems’ director, there is a fourth industrial revolution happening concurrently, which entails taking everything in the physical realm and moving it into cyberspace. Welcome to Industry 4.0!

“We are seeing an increasing move towards digitising via the Internet or networks. This is a conduit that allows interoperability of systems, and the benefit to businesses is enormous. Naxian Systems has now reached a point where the IoT (the Internet of Things) and collaboration provides us with prevention and prediction tools or the ‘key to the castle’, if you will,” says Senekal.

“It is a known fact that most businesses that are not connected and digitised are, by natural consequence, reactive. They therefore cannot prevent things happening, because they cannot predict that these things will happen. One has to connect and ensure system collaboration for proactivity and predictivity to occur. And this ability benefits much more than just the realm of security systems,” he adds.

Collaboration and integration

Naxian Systems makes use of standalone security systems together with other business systems. An example is found in the traditional supply chain and logistics channel where PSIM (Physical Security Information Management) and IT collaborate. This results in an increased bottom line and efficiency levels.

The challenges faced by non-connected businesses could best be characterised by finding the proverbial needle in a haystack, but long after the fact. Senekal points out that mistakes in a process that should have been followed, syndicates operating in businesses and missing parcels are just some examples of the challenges in a logistics channel.

Typically, businesses in these scenarios have been extremely reactive towards these challenges because they operate each business element as a standalone silo. Senekal suggests connecting the CCTV surveillance system, access control system, weighbridge, RFID and scanning systems, warehousing system and elements such as licence plate recognition (LPR), SAP, Google Maps and weather platforms.

Implementing these changes means that Naxian’s systems can now intelligently leverage data they receive from these disparate systems by using an IoT platform. Picture this: A truck arrives at a company. The CCTV camera records the truck’s licence plate; the security guard scans the drivers licence and the truck registration disk.

The IoT platform then checks to see if the truck and driver are actually expected during that particular time period. The system has inherent flexibility/elasticity and therefore undertakes checks on both the current weather and traffic conditions to allow for some leeway in arrival time. The platform then queries the truck’s VIN number and the LPR system matches the licence plate number with the visual image on the surveillance camera. Checks are performed with the South African Police Services and eNaTIS databases for verification.

Once these verifications are approved, the driver enters the premises and proceeds to the weighbridge where the truck is weighed and the threshold of the expected mass on departure is automatically calculated via the IoT platform. If an anomaly occurs, this will trigger a real-time response.

Added to this, warehouse management systems provide details of the number of parcels/items expected for delivery and the platform will alert management, should the delivered quantity not be in accordance with this predefined quantity.

The advent of Naxian’s smart service offering means that businesses are provided with sensible information that allows preventative behaviour to occur in real time. Senekal notes that while logistics was used as an example, the company’s smart services expand into a number of additional areas such as communications towers, as well as the prevention of locomotives colliding on train tracks.

Deep learning

Naxian Systems makes use of its Synapse platform, which acts as a conduit for data and allows for the assimilation of various data sources. Synapse is the graphical interface and Annie, Naxian’s AI (artificial intelligence) element, resides within this platform and performs the deep learning.

By connecting data historically, analysing trends and depositing this into Naxian’s intelligent agent, businesses have access to real-time and post-forensic information. The result is that such a service drives profitability, minimises risk and adds extreme efficiency.

A major advantage that Naxian brings to the table is that the solutions were all locally born and bred in the South African environment. “As we are all aware, South Africa has extreme challenges in terms of security, which far exceed those challenges experienced in most other areas in the world. We have therefore made our system very robust.”

Another benefit to users is that the framework used sees anything that is connected as a different signal. Therefore, Annie can easily differentiate between access control, surveillance and weather systems and can categorise these. “We stand behind our claim that nobody can integrate things into an IoT platform at the speed Naxian can. IoT is an automated process, but with deep learning it changes the business process because of the granularity of the information it can provide on disparate data sources, thereby providing trends. In essence, IoT without AI is just automation,” says Senekal.

For more information contact Naxian, +27 (0)87 820 0620,,

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