Many of the established companies in the industrial automation, sensing and control areas are probably looking about with dismay at all of the hype surrounding the Internet of Things and think something along the lines of “This isn’t new, it’s what we have been doing for years”...
In some ways they are right
In some cases, automation companies have moved from custom protocols to more widely adopted IP based methods of communication and now consider themselves ‘IIoT Ready’. In the tech sector we too are getting a bit of IoT fatigue as everybody slowly realises that there is no such thing as a specific IoT market to sell into.
However, I am optimistic about what I see and hear in the industrial space, partly because of the adoption of more ‘smart’ sensing using technologies such as IO-Link and the blurring of the lines between Operational Technology and Information Technology.
Sensing is now easy
With Smart sensors there is a great opportunity to have intelligence at the edge of the network to reduce the data burden on the network, while at the same time allowing the management of data in a digital format, dispensing with the painful integration of analogue sensors to digital nodes and gateways.
As we bring the worlds of OP and IT closer together, access to data takes a step change, what was once siloed data within operational systems is now available to the enterprise for users to exploit and for apps like ours to work with in a real-time situation without the need for an airgap to be bridged by a ‘swivel seat’ interface (think office chair, two desks and a USB stick).
It will probably not be called the Industrial IoT, as the existing sector will transform to embrace the technology as it becomes more trusted, but I can definitely see the benefits of an internet of machine assets as something that is being rolled out across our industrial sectors – ignoring all the hype, it’s simple and easy and that’s what will attract users.
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