StarHub addresses communication risks in harsh manufacturing environments | Manufacturing Asia
, Singapore

StarHub addresses communication risks in harsh manufacturing environments

The telco firm provides a unified push-to-talk communication platform with strong cybersecurity compliance.

Despite efforts to promote cybersecurity, some businesses are still alerting consumers of recent security breaches. One example is the e-commerce platform, Carousell, which revealed that malicious actors accessed the email addresses and mobile phone numbers of their customers in Singapore in October.

Manufacturing firms are also hurt by cybersecurity breaches, the government said cyberattacks increased by 54% in 2021. Mostly affected are small and medium-sized businesses in the manufacturing and IT.

Singapore-based telecommunications firm, StarHub, provides a unified push-to-talk (PTT) platform for manufacturing companies to shield them from cyber-attacks by offering a communication platform that is encrypted as well as compliant with multiple security standards. 

Lennon Low, Product Manager of StarHub, said they offered SmartPTT, which elevated the limited functionalities of traditional walkie-talkies through a platform that could protect customers from cybersecurity attacks. Low added that their platform would be of great help especially when users “overlook” cybersecurity when choosing an instant communication platform.

StarHub’s SmartPTT is end-to-end encrypted, which means a third party will not be allowed to access data, messages, or voice calls transmitted over the service.  

“It uses an Advanced Encryption Standard 256 cryptographic suite over Transport Layer Security 1.2 protocol. The Information Security Management System (ISMS) is in accordance with ISO27001 specifications.” Low told Singapore Business Review.

The PTT devices offered by StarHub is also compliant with the standards in Singapore that help businesses put in place a secure unified communication system, Low said.

Specifically, the ISO 27001 certification, is a combination of policies, procedures, and systems within the organisation that can oversee information security risks. The standard also shields information assets from bad actors and such certification also gives an organisation an edge over its competitors. 

SmartPTT platform can also be deployed at the customer’s own premise with private connection over StarHub 4G and 5G network, said Low.

Built for harsh environments

Much like it was built to dodge cybersecurity attacks, the platform can also be protected when being used in harsh environments in manufacturing firms such as in construction sites.

The SmartPTT service can be integrated into ruggedised devices, which means it can withstand drop and can also be waterproof. The difference between integrating the SmartPTT technology into ruggedised devices instead of consumer smartphones is that it has physical buttons for instant communication and emergencies.

“The ruggedised phone has three distinctive features that make them different from consumer phones. Number one, it normally has a dedicated push-to-talk button. Secondly, it has an SOS button or emergency button to trigger an emergency response. And lastly, the ruggedised phone normally has a body that can withstand the harsh environment, can withstand drop from certain heights and is waterproof,” explained Low.

Such ruggedised phones are also efficient when communicating with co-workers in a noisy environment as those phones have loudspeakers and support numerous accessories such as headsets or remote speaker mic. It also has a battery life of 18 hours, which is essential for workers who are exposed to long hours on construction sites.

Low said the platform can be used to unify communications in a manufacturing plant. It allows employees from different departments such as security officers line supervisors and even administrators sitting in an office to use the single platform to call, and exchange videos, text messages, and photos seamlessly.

The product is also device agnostic which means it can be used on most Android devices and iOS devices.

StarHub first launched the product in November 2021 and was only able to integrate the technology with its 4G network. Gradually, the product was also integrated into the 5G network to make it more resilient and suitable for mission-critical use cases.

“Upon listening to all the pain points and requirements from our customers, we gradually upgrade our platform to what it is today,” he said.

In the future, Low revealed that they will launch the SmartPTT service on their StarHub 5G Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) platform, which will include low latency videos and streaming service to their customers.

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