Setting the standard for IIoT and Industrie 4.0

Are your devices speaking the same language?

By Ian Verhappen, P.Eng

A lot of press and conference space is being consumed today by Internet of Things (IoT) or Industrial IoT (IIoT), and most people assume all they need to do is assign an IP address to a device and it is now IoT-enabled. An IP address is like a phone number, it means that we may know how to make a connection, however, once the connection is made, what language to speak, or even how to say hello, requires additional standards. In the IEC world, Industrie 4.0 forms the basis for a series of standards that will address the Life Cycle and Value Stream throughout the business value of an asset, through the functional layers (integration, communication, information) to the hierarchy levels (product, field device, control device, station, workcenter, enterprise and connected world), as shown in the Reference Architectural Model Industrie 4.0 (RAMI 4.0).

Other key standards that will be required to enable IIoT include XML-based life cycle definitions for each of the above elements as a means to transfer data across different computing platforms (including, for example, the exchange formats for IEC61131 programs); cybersecurity and maintenance of the same for the duration of a system's operational life; 26 fieldbus protocols; the IEC 62439 series of industrial communication networks to ensure high availability of the automation networks to transmit the bits and bytes from A to B; OPC and FDI to improve connectivity between all the nodes (i.e. devices) on the network/system; and Smart Grid, to name just a portion of the projects presently underway.

To learn more about IIoT, read “How process automation standards fuel our industry and IIoT” from Control.

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