10 Emerging Technologies in Engineering, Part 2

Mar 9, 2018

by Agam Shah Associate Editor at Mechanical Engineering magazine

In Part 1 of “10 Emerging Technologies in Engineering,” we looked at advances from 5G to blockchain encryption. Here is the remainder of the list, with a focus on securing and protecting our new technologies.

5) Security. A number of IoT devices were affected by the recent Spectre and Meltdown chip vulnerabilities, which are considered the mother of all hardware hacks. It’s no surprise that device and chip makers are worried about security of IoT devices, after all nobody wants hackers attacking smart medical devices and traffic signals. ARM talked about the best security practices – like threat assessment and implementation – from the perspective of smart water meters and asset tracking devices, which are common. Those models can be exported to other IoT devices.

Nokia’s version of a smart city control center. Image: MWC

6) Smart cities. Nokia has a new vision of how smart cities should look with new 5G, blockchain, and IoT technologies. Nokia's “sensing as a service” platform provides a way to timestamp sensor data, securely collect it, and monetize it via blockchain. The data transmission happens over 5G. A software layer does the grunt work of analyzing data, detecting anomalies, and making predictions. Overall, it's a new way of collecting data and transacting, especially in "video surveillance, lighting, parking, waste management, and environmental sensing," the company says.

Also for You: Emerging Technologies in Smart Buildings.

7) Hop-on, hop-off IoT. Uber has demonstrated the power of a distributed workforce and independent contracting in the gig economy, and machines could join the act. Nokia’s smart city concept of “sensing as a service” virtualizes IoT, adding flexibility to how plans are implemented in a given service. The modular smart-city design allows enables operators and providers to get on to smart city initiatives without being tied to long-term engagements. As an operator, you get the contract, and Nokia will deploy the sensors, site equipment and attach it to an IoT real-time monitoring platform. Once the contract is over, Nokia takes the equipment back. Operators save on buying and installing sensors, and Nokia gets a cut of the revenue. That model could extend beyond smart cities in the future.

8) Autonomous vehicles: No show is complete without jazzy cars parked on the floor. Autonomous cars on the MWC floor donned with 5G modems demonstrated the future of car communications. Emerging vehicle-to-vehicle communication protocols will allow cars to talk to each other, sharing weather and traffic information directly. That is already being done, but requires access to a cloud service. Companies like Telenor demonstrated autonomous cars using 5G, though more applications are being explored.

9) Smooth operator: An effective diagnosis of a health condition may rely on readings from multiple medical devices. Cisco’s Crosswork software-and-hardware platform ensures all devices work smoothly and smartly via machine learning and other tools. An interesting side feature is Health Insights, which can gather data from medical devices in an orderly fashion. Add a software intelligence layer, and you get a quick diagnosis of a disease from the readings. It’s an interesting health automation tool, though not as good as a doctor’s diagnosis.

10) SIM cards in machines: With 5G comes a new eSIM card that will enable machine-to-machine communications between devices and infrastructure equipment. The eSIMs will be embedded on PCBs or CPUs, or could slotted in for modularity. Able Devices demonstrated a smart traffic system operating independently with a chip and eSIM card, which has an extra security layer.

Missed Part 1? Read it here.