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A summit on Industry of Things together with IC4 makes industrial cybersecurity and blockchain top priorities
Kurt Callewaert, Head of Research (Cybersecurity, Blockchain, AI for Business, Data Privacy & RPA) at Howest and founder of the IC4 living lab (an initiative of Vlaio involving Howest, Ugent, Cybersecurity Coalition, and other players in the field), together with technology partners and stakeholders such as Agoria, will address the theme 'Security of Things' at ABISS2020. A conversation with Kurt led to the following pressing yet highly debated issues, which should spur every industrial organisation more than ever to cogitate and take action.
"According to Statista, the number of connected devices, nodes and components will reach 21.5 billion by 2025. It is no secret that most connections (even in very critical companies) are not secure enough, and that the liability is huge. We distinguish two types of Belgian companies: on the one hand, those that have recently been affected by a cyberattack and that are now focusing on this matter 24/7, and on the other hand, those that are only now becoming aware of what lies ahead. It is, of course, mainly the second group that should put cybersecurity on the agenda for IoT and take real action. 

That being said, there is good news on the horizon, as companies that have not been dealing with cybersecurity so far will soon be obliged to do so. The market itself is about to be transformed by the obligation to take account of the new 'Security by Design' concept. At European level, 2 standards have been issued, namely ISO27001 for IT and IEC 62443 for OT. These standards apply to all manufacturers and suppliers, who in the future will produce, install and market IoT devices. In concrete terms, by 2025, every manufacturer/integrator will no longer be allowed to participate in IoT projects without the necessary certification of their products and services. This certification must be obtained once per component and is valid for the whole EU."

We also asked Kurt Callewaert how Belgian companies perform in terms of security compared to businesses in neighbouring countries. Detailed figures will be announced for the first time during the Expert Classes 'Security of Things', but Kurt Callewaert has already shed some light on the subject: "The CCB or Centre for Cyber Security Belgium has about 50 specialised employees, whereas the Netherlands, which is only slightly larger than our country, has no less than 2,000 specialists, which is 40 times as many as in our country."
Of course, it is all a question of budgets and priorities. Fortunately, Vlaio is the subsidy provider for cybersecurity, AI and blockchain in Flanders, and they finance living labs and information sessions. Technology federations such as Agoria and employers organisations such as Voka organise the necessary sessions in cooperation with those living labs. But Vlaio also provides individual subsidies at company level for companies wishing to give priority to cybersecurity. Those who will visit the IC4 partner booths at ABISS2020 will have the opportunity to watch demos and discover applications of solutions, combined with hands-on real-life cases. A perfect example is the project developed by ventilation specialist Renson.

We also talked to Kurt Callewaert about the blockchain theme that will be covered at ABISS2020. Kurt cleared things up: "The Blockchain is the technology that triggers the 4 value drivers for Industry 4.0, more specifically Smart Solutions, Smart Products, Smart Supply Chains and Smart Factories. Let us says a few words about the supply chain. The blockchain as a digital layer of trust added above a complex industrial supply chain ensures that all possible transactions are carried out automatically, quickly, in encrypted form and securely. In seconds, origins, updates, intrusions and anomalies are reported to whoever should and may see them. Some applications have recently been introduced in the mechanical engineering and aeronautics industries, enabling anyone to immediately and securely know everything about the necessary certifications, maintenance instructions, tests and the origin of products. And let us be honest: which supplier would be willing to share all its information with other suppliers without guarantees that it will be limited and secure. In this case too, Howest acts both as a trailblazer in terms of training and as an incubator for start-ups that want to bring technologies to the market."

At present, many supply chains are struggling with the Bullwhip effect. Imagine an OEM receives an order of 1,000 units. This is an exceptional, one-off order, for which the supplier manufactures 1,200 units, out of safety and overenthusiasm. Another supplier receives an even larger order in the third link, which he fulfils by manufacturing 1,500 units – because you never know! If you ask suppliers at the final link, you will find that they already reach 2,000 units... So, this results in overproduction, oversupply, higher warehousing costs, excessive prices, and so forth. The blockchain technology reports anomalies in advance and warns that this is a one-off incident.
At ABISS2020, not only will you be able to learn from top speakers addressing these topics, but you will also find key players in the field of cybersecurity and blockchain such as Siemens, Kaspersky, Huawei, and many others.


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