Discussion on the technical standards of industrial internet

22 Mar 2018 16:30h - 18:15h

Event report

[Read more session reports from the WSIS Forum 2018]

The session was opened by Mr Houlin Zhao, secretary general of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), who considered his past experience with information and communication technology (ICT) in China. He recalled that WSIS was created in 2003 under the ITU’s suggestion to the UN General Assembly. This was primarily because the ITU was  promoting the development of standardisation regarding new technologies.

Mr Xinshe Li, vice director general of the China Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team, urged for the development and implementation of the Internet’s industry technical standards. He considered that the development of industrial Internet and the integration of more and more devices are creating a favourable climate for driving innovation and an efficient configuration of manufacturing. He maintained that currently, many organisations are establishing standards for the industrial Internet, such as the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). The work of the China Industrial Control (CIC) aims at combining and further standardising the existing standards of the Internet industry, i.e. harmonising communication, enterprise, general and common-based standards.

Mr Luchuan Huang, chief marking officer, Rootcloud Technology Co., Ltd, illustrated the cloud architecture behind the Rootcloud application and pushed for more standardisation regarding clouding systems of the industrial Internet. He considered that, in order for their platform to connect all selected devices, the software resorts to big data and artificial intelligence (AI). He affirmed that SANY was one of the first companies to use such technology and this has allowed for the development of a new business model and more information, such as macro-economic trends, forecasting, intelligence service and risk management.

Prof. Dongqin Feng, senior expert consultant at Zhejiang Central Control Technology Co., Ltd, first explained that ‘industrial Internet’ is a term coined by General Electric and refers to the integration of complex physical machinery with networked sensors and software. He then focused on the current challenges for cybersecurity for industrial Internet and its infrastructure. Firstly, as industrial Internet is easy to access, modify and operate, it allows for great functionality that could, however, be used maliciously. Secondly, there is never enough knowledge regarding attacks, as in the case of malicious control or cheating operators. Thirdly, there is no effective verification for protection as there are many different kinds of cyberprotection products, such as industrial firewalls, invader defence systems and audit systems. Finally, a risk is represented also by all those vulnerabilities currently not yet found in apps and software.

Ms Jianhao Liu, director of the Lab of Smart Connected Vehicle Safety Subordinate to 360 Technology Co. Ltd., considered that increased connectivity means increased risks. She provided a list of connected cars that were hacked and later caused incidents. In 2010, the Onstar system was hacked through an mp3 file and the hacker took control over the car. In 2014, Tesla’s app was remotely hacked and in 2015 Chrysler had to recall 1.4 million cars from the market because they were compromised by a hack. She explained that connected vehicles combine information technology (IT) and operation technology (OT), thus posing security vulnerabilities on one side and arising challenges such as low latency and limited resources on the other. She concluded by illustrating a common attack chain in the case of connected vehicles: a car hacker targets telecommunication networks to get in the car system. Through such networks, a hacker can also get access to other cars and take control over them.

Mr Michael Cheung, chief technology officer at Shanghai Softyoung Intelligent Technology Co., Ltd., demonstrated practically that Softyoung’s interface allows for quick learning of coding and programming skills. 

The session was closed by an intervention from Nufront considering that wireless technology will bring ultra-reliable and ultra-low latency communication (URLLC), and high data rate at a relatively low cost. It was explained that Nufront obtains high reliability by diversifying the transmission of the same information which passes through multiple channels at the same time. Hence, source and destination will talk directly through each other, without the message passing through a central node. He concluded affirming that the full implementation of this system will take up many years; however, since 2016 a similar system (the Enhanced Ultra High Throughput Wireless Communication System (EUHT)) has been available for use.


 By Marco Lotti