critical infrastructure security
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Non-profit organisation IOTA Foundation is partnering with the Japanese government and the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation (NEDO) on a project to improve the security of critical infrastructure using artificial intelligence (AI) solutions.

The project was initiated by Best Materia and IMC, Japanese maintenance related companies, and is funded by NEDO.

Other project partners include the High Pressure Institute of Japan, the Society of Chemical Engineers Japan, OMC, Lloyd’s Register and Yokohama National University.

The goal of the project is to develop technology to strengthen the security, longevity, and durability of critical infrastructure assets in Japan and abroad.

By adding AI and distributed ledger technology to Risk Based Maintenance (RBM) Systems deployed in power plants, energy plants, industrial plants, petrochemicals and oil refining plants, the group hopes to capture a large share of the domestic social infrastructure conservation market, valued at 170 Trillion Yen ($1.5 trillion).

This type of predictive maintenance system that shares industry data using a distributed database is set to be the first of its kind in the world.

While damage prediction assessment based on the current RBM standards exists, most processes are still left up to field workers to do manually.

To further optimise these systems, maintenance data will be digitised and processed by an artificial intelligence system to predict when and which parts of a plant are going to require maintenance. This will reduce unplanned outages, improve plant availability and lower costs by reducing unnecessary inspections and repairs.

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The project will develop a cloud-based SaaS software with the following capabilities:

●  A decentralised database using IOTA’s distributed ledger technology.  Centralised databases are vulnerable to accidents, tampering and leakage. By building an RBM using IOTA, maintenance companies are able to provide a solution to infrastructure partners that is resistant to cyber-attacks while protecting sensitive data.

●  Artificial intelligence system developed. With current RBM systems, individuals are dependent on the knowledge of skilled technicians making standardisation difficult. Due to Japan’s aging population, there is a serious risk of information loss when current employees retire. By creating an artificial intelligence system, information can be captured, shared, and acted upon by distributed teams across the world.

●  Digitising and sharing infrastructure data Right now, data for plants across Japan are stored manually and not digitised.  This can cause a host of issues when it comes to the integrity and sharing capabilities of data.  By digitising infrastructure data, maintenance companies can make it easier for partners across the supply chain to collaborate and share data in a safe, efficient way.

Holger Köther – director of partnerships at IOTA Foundation, said: “Creating a decentralised, open source and free distributed ledger technology to ensure data integrity has always been our driving purpose. As a non-for-profit we are honoured seeing the IOTA protocol being utilized to secure a wide variety of data points in this project. Digitalising the risk based maintenance (RBM) systems for safer and more efficient industrial plants is only one of many applications where IOTA will be used in the future.”

Shigemitsu Kihara, the CEO of Best Materia, adds: “Because of the aging problem in Japan, we seriously need the AI system supporting our business in place of retired RBM consultants. We expect that IOTA tangle will enable us to securely collect and store RBM related data including sensitive plant information which is the key to the accuracy of the AI system.”

Learn more about the project.