Monday, March 24, 2014

Some Thoughts on Industrial Internet of Things

Posted by Erik Dellinger

I recently read an article from the ARC Advisory Group discussing the industry’s latest hot topics around the Internet of Things (IoT). According to ARC, IoT is not necessarily a new concept in the industrial space—it has traditionally gone by Machine to Machine (M2M) and Industrial Ethernet, to name a couple. The differences with IoT today are centered on new technologies and better performance for traditional asset management and predictive maintenance systems. These new technologies are different in that they enable more connectivity through cloud-based applications, are storing and aggregating data more efficiently, and are providing better performance around mining the data that is collected.

IoT_450Another difference I have noticed is that the OEMs in the Industrial IoT space are no longer your traditional SCADA and historian-type vendors—those companies are adapting and implementing new technologies. There are now more IT-centric type companies who are focused around Asset Management and Predictive Maintenance that are looking to get industrial data. The major challenge these companies face is that they typically do not support our industry’s standards and commonly-adopted protocols like OPC for collecting data.

Other challenges that IoT companies outside of the Industrial Automation space face are that they are more likely to run on different operating systems and platforms like Linux. In the Industrial Automation space, Microsoft Server and embedded operating systems are the predominant platforms. These IoT applications—although remote and most often cloud-based—will likely require connectivity from applications that are platform-independent.

Industrial IoT Moving Forward

What does this mean for Kepware? We feel we are in an excellent position to enable the Industrial IoT movement. Kepware has been providing data to applications like SCADA, historians, and MES from our beginning, and we don’t see Industrial IoT any differently. We are preparing ourselves as it continues to gain momentum in the industrial space. We recognize traditional automation client/server protocols may or may not be the ideal technology for exchanging data. We recognize that being able to run on any platform is critical to serving the wider IoT OEM audience. Lastly, and probably most importantly, we recognize a need to connect to more “things” in the industrial environment (efficiently, securely, and without error) and to service all industrial spaces, whether it is Manufacturing, Oil & Gas, Power, or Building Management.

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