Inside the Industrial Internet Consortium

Industrial users aiming to adopt IIoT are currently faced with a staggering array of products and standards.

This can sometimes put off manufacturers from adopting the latest technology, leaving them unable to harness next generation functionality and true value from their data. One of the Industrial Internet Consortium’s main aims is to offer frameworks to drive asset interoperability and simplify development of industrial network systems that are better built and integrated with shorter time to market, secure and able to better fulfill their intended uses.

The IIC represents over 270 members worldwide who enjoy a range of benefits and the ability to influence policy. Current members include GE, Bosch, SAP, IBM and Intel.

In February they published the Industrial Internet Connectivity Framework, a reference architecture for designers of IIoT technologies. The framework focuses on common connectivity to enable interoperability between all assets, old and new, saving industrial firms millions by prolonging the relevance of earlier investments.

It defines the minimum expectations of an IIoT connectivity framework as being able to “achieve syntactic interoperability between IIoT components and subsystems,” exchanging structured data between participants. The IIC also provides an assessment template meant for the evaluation of any connectivity technology, allowing it to be categorized – or ‘placed on the connectivity stack’.

Another bold project is the IIC’s Time Sensitive Networking testbed (demoed at Hannover Messe this week). It focuses on the manufacturing sector, though it could be useful in all sorts of areas (e.g. utilities, oil, transportation). The goal of the TSN testbed was to open up critical control applications such as robot control, drive control and vision systems. The technology should synchronize and control high-performance machines, legacy and connected, over a single, standard network.

We caught up with IIC board member Said Tabet, who is also IoT technology lead at DellEMC, to discuss the framework and the IIC’s vision for interoperability and time sensitive networking in industrial IoT.

If you’re interested signing your organisation up to join the Industrial Internet Consortium, you can do so here. The IIC is represented by a number of members at Hannover Messe this week (Hall 8, Stand C24).