Monday, May 11, 2015

IoT Sparks Questions and Conversation at HANNOVER MESSE 2015

Posted by Tucker Emerson

HANNOVER MESSE 2015 took place in Hannover, Germany from April 13 to 17 this year and can be described in one word: massive. From the size of the facilities to the number of people in attendance to the special guests—everything was massive. Each year, Deutsch Messe AG hosts one of the world’s biggest industrial fairs, and a few hundred thousand people attend to see exhibitors from all over the world and all walks of industry. With exhibits ranging from dancing robots to mini windfarms—and speakers including Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel and Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi—it is hard to find another show of its magnitude anywhere.

hannover-messe-2015Kepware attended as a member of the OPC Foundation, and was included in their exhibition stand located in Hall 9—one of several halls dedicated to Industrial Automation. Walking from one booth to the next, there was a clear theme: the Internet of Things (IoT). Just about every company had IoT listed somewhere on their collateral; some even displayed it across the booth itself. IoT was a consistent discussion point among the attendees themselves. Everyone wanted to know more. They asked questions like the following:

  • “What is IoT?”
  • “How does it work?”
  • “What can it do for me?”

hm-robot-2015There isn't a one-size-fits-all answer. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) helps enable a factory's devices and sensors (any intelligent and Ethernet-enabled device) to connect to each other in real-time to help improve operational efficiency and prevent downtime. As the world becomes “smarter,” the need for creating a more connected industrial network has become increasingly apparent.

Surprisingly, a lot of the exhibits were talking about how they enable IoT, or how their products can communicate to each other and to their own proprietary software. But what about interoperability? What about connecting legacy products or devices from multiple vendors? It’s unlikely that every single sensor and controller in a facility, on a plant floor, or in the field will be from one company—so how do we implement IIoT into our existing systems? How can we take advantage of it now and plan ahead for its continued use later?

hannover-messe-2015-teHANNOVER MESSE acts as a sort of “Meeting of the Minds." With thought leaders from all over the world promoting the importance of IoT, we are sure to see some new and exciting technologies that will move our industry forward. We will be sure to keep an eye on IoT and watch how the conversation develops as 2015 progresses. Who knows where we will be or what topics will be trending when industry leaders meet again at HANNOVER MESSE 2016. I personally suspect it to be less about how companies provide IoT and more about how they fit “into” IoT.

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