The latest South Yorkshire Internet of Things Meetup took place on Tuesday 25th April at Sheffield Hallam i-Lab, and it was great to welcome back members of the regional IoT community for a night filled with great speakers, plenty of networking opportunities, and delicious Greek food!

As always, our event was open to all of those interested in learning more about using sensors and data, and we welcome any IoT enthusiasts to join our growing community in the future. We are excited to announce that our next event will take place at the AMRC on Tuesday 27th June and we look forward to seeing lots of you there!

Our first speaker of the evening was Robin Hartley-Willows from FourJaw Manufacturing Analytics, and AMRC spinout on a mission to deliver accessible technology that empowers manufacturers to achieve their productivity potential. Robin spoke about the benefits of seeing technology as the main enabler of business models, using FourJaw’s IoT hardware solution ‘MachineLink’ as a perfect example. FourJaw’s competitors have to plug into the machines they monitor, charging large upfront costs to cover the project delivery with weeks of onsite work and expensive equipment required to deliver a solution that only works on 10% of machines.

Instead, MachineLink uses electrical current clamps to collect data from the machine , showing the utilisation rates and assisting manufacturers to make their machine more productive. This tech enables a new business model with no upfront costs, and a risk-free subscription fee, with profits funding ongoing R+D. Moreover, FourJaw can use this product on any machine regardless of age or size, and get working results in just 15 minutes. Robin’s final ask for the audience was for any technical improvement advice to help remove the product’s reliance on WiFi and plug sockets, as well as sharing that the company are hiring! 

 

Next, we heard from the dynamic duo of Jason Blake and Jen Williams. Jason manages an IoT cyber security scheme for the IASME Consortium, who provide a range of certification services designed to help UK businesses follow security best practice, and Jen is from Secarma, a certification body who work with IASME to help businesses get up to speed with cyber security. 

They informed the audience about the Product Security and Telecommunications Infrastructure Act that recently passed, setting out 13 provisions for any device manufactured or sold in the UK to comply with (all of which are addressed as part of the IASME IoT Cyber Scheme).

One of these provisions is default passwords, which are the most common way that people and companies are compromised. Jen and Jason took us through an exercise thinking about password use within organisations and personal password strength – remembering to keep it unique to each service. Most people are now aware to use passwords with 12+ characters, not to mention names, dates or places, and to include capitalisation, numbers and special characters. But they stressed the importance of varying this, as it human nature to use a capital at the beginning and a special character (most likely an exclamation mark!) at the end, meaning hackers can continue to guess these easily.

 

Finally, Mark Davies extended his hosting duties this evening to speak about what his company, Ioetec, have been working on in the IoT space. Beginning with the joke: ‘What is the connection between a sausage and IoT data?…You need to know what’s inside before you consume it,’ Mark went on to explain how Ioetec have a simple, zero-touch, cost effective and secure cyber security solution designed for large scale infrastructure, industrial 4.0, smart manufacturing and utilities companies. However, they were not only here to talk about cyber security, and instead spoke about their latest project working with IoT in the water industry!

The project is important to Ioetec in light of research which found that only 14% of UK rivers and lakes receive a ‘good’ ecological status, with 75% of those tested breaching the proposed safety levels for ‘forever chemicals’. Moreover, this monitoring is controlled by the water companies themselves, so Ioetec are trying to remove this lack of transparency with good quality data and real-time monitoring to preserve and improve river water. They are currently doing this through dissolved oxygen sensors which connect to a gateway to bring monitoring to remote areas. They are currently undertaking a proof of concept in the Upper Derwent Valley of the Peak District and so far, this has proved that using real-time data does enable better informed decisions, but they must be on trusted data – linking nicely back to the importance of cyber security!

Our next South Yorkshire Internet of Things Meetup is taking place on Tuesday 27th June from 3:30-6:30pm at Factory 2050, AMRC. As always, there will be talks from local businesses working with IoT, as well as the chance to share your relevant activity/interests over pizza and drinks! Experts from the AMRC will also be on hand to chat about how they can assist you and your business, with tours of the factory running from 3:30 where you will be able to speak to the engineers too. For more information and to get your tickets, click here!

Resources and Staying in Touch: To join the regional community please sign up to the South Yorkshire IoT Meetup Newsletter, which will keep you up-to-date on IoT news and activity.

You can also join our Meetup Page: South Yorkshire Internet of Things Meetup (SY IoT) (Sheffield, United Kingdom) | Meetup

Acknowledgements: Thanks to the team at Sheffield Hallam i-Lab for hosting the event, Barnsley DMC and TEAM SY for sponsoring, and the brilliant You & Us Events for managing all the logistics.