Digital University Kerala, C-MET to set-up Centre of Excellence in Intelligent IoT sensors in Kochi

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The Digital University Kerala (DUK) in association with Centre for Materials for Electronics Technology (C-MET), will set up the country’s first Centre of Excellence in Intelligent Internet of Things (IIoT) sensors near Maker Village, Kochi.

The Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has given approval for setting up Rs 41 crore Centre of Excellence (CoE), which will be established with the support of Kerala Start-up Mission.

MeitY, along with the state IT department, will fund the project which is the first-of-its-kind integrated facility for sensor manufacturing and indigenous development of IoT products in the country, an official statement said here.

The development assumes significance in the backdrop of the pandemic which caused a sudden break in the supply chain of electronic components, including sensors and thereby pushing the industrial sector to a severe crisis.

The CoE will have state-of-the-art facilities for sensor manufacturing, intelligent sensor system hardware and AI software development, comprehensive compliance testing and pre-qualification certification as per national/international standards of products related to IIoT sensors.

It will implement innovative indigenous products and solutions that are specifically tuned to cater to the spectrum of industries in IIoT Sensors.

The centre will host an incubation facility for the startup companies in IIoT sensors, and promote innovation and entrepreneurship through design challenges, outreach programs and incubation grants, it said.

Chief investigators of the project Dr A Seema, C-MET, and Dr A P James, DUK, conceived and envisioned the CoE as a step towards breaking the research-industry barrier through localised integrated manufacturing, testing of IoT sensor products and handholding startups till they establish manufacturing facilities.

Majority of the companies in the country are using traditional imported sensors for data collection, with data transmission not having any in-built intelligent processing.

However, with the advent of Industry 4.0 and Industry 5.0, the use of intelligent IoT sensors is on the rise, with most sensors requiring self-correcting units, and intelligent data processing getting offloaded to the sensor nodes.

By cutting the supply chain, the pandemic has resulted in delays in electronic product development and loss of businesses, it said adding that the fast-paced and vagaries in geopolitical situation, has resulted in slowing down of the electronic component supply, including sensors, to India.

As part of the Atmanirbhar Bharat mission, there is a need for indigenisation of a substantial amount of electronic components, especially sensors, which is an integral part of industry 4.0, said Dr Saji Gopinath, vice-chancellor, Digital University, Kerala.

“With the initiative by MeitY and collaboration between C-MET, Maker Village, DUK and Kerala Startup Mission, this Centre of Excellence will be a great step towards indigenisation of components. The Centre-state partnership will set a new benchmark in using technology for the development of the state,” he said.

Gopinath also said he was hopeful that the success of Maker Village, a centre of excellence in electronics established by IIITM-K with the financial support of state and central government, would be repeated in the context of IoT.

“The larger goal of this centre and startup incubator is to provide a vibrant electronics ecosystem to bridge the gap between sensor research, artificial intelligence and IoT electronics product development in India,” said Dr A P James.

Dr A Seema said the CoE aims to propel the translation of Indias growing sensor materials scientific know-how for developing high-quality products at low cost.

The large resource pool of Materials Science and Technology/electronics engineers often never get an opportunity to be part of this less explored, but highly required initiative.

The CoE is expected to open doors for innovators to develop the most needed indigenous high-quality products, the statement added.