Why your next IoT smart project promises to be very, very dumb

By Matt Asay for TechRepublic

Mar 31, 2016

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If you think you're in control of your Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem, you're almost certainly doing it wrong. In fact, the reality of platform building is that the only way to make it truly inviting to developers is to relinquish control of the outcome.

It's not surprising that in IoT development one of the greatest challenges is a lack of standards that would allow developers to express their creativity while ensuring disparate products can talk to each other. To overcome this early-stage confusion, some vendors are trying to create walled-garden approaches to IoT. Fortunately, they won't work, because if they did we'd be left with a morass of Hotel California-like platforms that pull data in but refuse to let it go.

Read the full story on techrepublic.com.

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  • Fortunately for industry lack of standards only applies to non-industrial IoT, not to Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). For IIoT the necessary standards are already in place. Indeed in industrial automation no single company is in control of the technologies. The automation vendors have worked together for the past two decades to develop standards like Fieldbus (IEC 61784-1 profile 1/1), WirelessHART (IEC 62591), and OPC (IEC 62541). A phenomenal number of products have been developed around these standards. These standards are used within the plant but are also the foundation of IIoT and enable digital transformation of business models etc. These standards ensure disparate automation products talk to each other. OPC is the standard API used in industrial automation software within the plant and will continue to be so for IIoT as well. OPC makes hardware and software openly accessible to other software. That is, the data in all devices is accessible by other devices, software apps, and ultimately end users, over these standard network protocols. Thanks to these standards the same software application can talk to the two-wire tank gauging system, 8-input temperature transmitter, intelligent on-off valve, and electric actuator / motor operated valve (MOV) and many other devices. That is, all kinds of sensors and other devices can share the same network. You don’t need a different network infrastructure for each application in the plant. Plants do not want to be locked-in by proprietary technologies. That is why standards are specified and followed in the industries and this is the reason why these digital network standards were created at a very earlier stage. At the same time plants understand you don’t get something for nothing, you can’t get thousands of sensors for free, and they don’t have time for tinkering with hardware development or coding for one-offs themselves. What is important for the industry is that products from different vendors work together, and that when something fails it can be replaced by an equivalent product from another vendor ensuring a market-based price. Industry standards like Fieldbus, WirelessHART, and OPC do exactly that. They avoid lock-in. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/rich-data-poor-what-tells-software-does-jonas-berge That is, since interoperability between IIoT solutions can already be assured, plants are already deploying successful and intelligent IIoT projects today and they are saving money with reduced steam consumption and improved reliability etc.

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