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How Manufactures Can Protect Themselves Against the Potential Dangers of IoT and Algorithms

The future of manufacturing, a suite of digital technologies grouped under the name Industry 4.0, will be led by the Internet of Things smart devices and powerful algorithms. But although manufacturers need to embrace those technologies, they need to take care when deploying them, because they can pose serious dangers if not handled properly, warns the Gartner report, “How Things and Algorithms Change Manufacturers’ Business Models.” In this blog post, I’ll cover those dangers as outlined in the report, and offer Gartner’s advice about how to handle them.

Manufacturers must take care when deploying new technologies or they can pose serious dangers if not handled properly,Overall, the report warns, “Implementing these technologies involves risks such as data privacy, security, usage, and flaws in data or algorithm logic that can affect companies in unexpected and even unwelcome ways.”

It points out the dangers of relying too much on using algorithms to make decisions, particularly when the underlying data on which the data is based is problematic or inaccurate. The report notes: 
“There is an ongoing debate in many parts of the world, particularly in the United States, about using algorithms for everything, from predicting consumer buying habits, to determining race and gender correctly, to flying military drones. A flaw in those algorithms can have life-changing impacts on customers, product designs and society at large.”

As one example, the report says that a healthcare vendor’s algorithms “had produced erroneous and unsafe cancer treatment recommendations in multiple cases. The company determined that the flaws could be traced to ‘synthetic’ data — engineers had trained the AI on hypothetical data rather than on real-world cases.”

Beyond that, the report pointed to algorithms that were used to cheat on emissions standards for diesel-fueled cars, and that led to a plane crash.

The report recommends that to make sure that problems like these don’t recur, manufacturers should take care to take “bias and statistical significance” into account when creating algorithms. It adds, “It’s always good to double check with a statistician, an actuary who deals with risk and uncertainty, and subject matter experts, depending on the dataset, to avoid mishaps.”

Smart devices and their associated data can cause problems as well, the report says. It says: “Devices and data may not be secure, may be hacked or may reveal more information than originally intended.”

To lessen the likelihood that may happen, the report says manufacturers should “Protect your company from liability and exposure by implementing strong data security policies that include data ethics.” And it adds that manufacturers should “Establish strong internal data governance policies by addressing what information should be collected, how it should be stored, analyzed and retained, what decisions should be made based on its analysis, and by whom/where.”


Further Reading: IoT-CMMS Integration is the Future of Manufacturing


Choosing the Best Secure Platform for Moving to Industry 4.0

Manufacturers can also avoid these kinds of problems by choosing a secure development platform for moving to Industry 4.0. Alpha TransForm (for non-developers) and Alpha Anywhere (for developers) are well-suited for that. Alpha TransForm and Alpha Anywhere can work independently or together as a single platform and are ideally suited for digital transformation.  Alpha TransForm helps business users craft online or offline mobile apps in minutes that utilize the latest mobile features (camera, GPS, etc.) for fast, accurate data capture. Alpha Anywhere has the unique ability to rapidly create mobile-optimized forms and field apps that can easily access and integrate with any database or web service and can exploit built-in role-based security or robust offline functionality. Learn more about Alpha TransForm and try it free for 30 days

Why Mobile Apps Are Ideal for Modernizing Your Warehouse
Announcing Alpha Anywhere 4.6.1.3

About Author

Amy Groden-Morrison
Amy Groden-Morrison

Amy Groden-Morrison has served more than 15 years in marketing communications leadership roles at companies such as TIBCO Software, RSA Security and Ziff-Davis. Most recently she was responsible for developing marketing programs that helped achieve 30%+ annual growth rate for analytics products at a $1Bil, NASDAQ-listed business integration Software Company. Her past accomplishments include establishing the first co-branded technology program with CNN, launching an events company on the NYSE, rebranding a NASDAQ-listed company amid a crisis, and positioning and marketing a Boston-area startup for successful acquisition. Amy currently serves as a Healthbox Accelerator Program Mentor, Marketing Committee Lead for the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge Launch Smart Clinics, and on the organizing team for Boston TechJam. She holds an MBA from Northeastern University.

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