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IIC publishes guidance on IIoT interoperability

02 March, 2017

The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) has published its Industrial Internet Connectivity Framework (IICF) – a reference architecture for evaluating connection technologies when designing IIoT systems. The IIC says it developed the IICF to help unlock data in isolated systems, enabling interoperability between previously closed components and subsystems, and to accelerate the development of new applications within and across industries.

The 129-page publication, available as a free download, examines connectivity as a means of building interoperable IIoT systems. It:

•  maps the landscape of IIoT connections;

•  clarifies the layers of the IIoT connectivity stack;

•  offers a template for evaluating and categorising any connectivity technology and placing it correctly in the IIoT stack;

•  defines a connectivity reference architecture to enable horizontal interoperability; and

•  provides a catalogue of IIoT connectivity standards and applies the criteria to help identify the potential core connectivity standards and usage examples for non-overlapping system aspects.

The industrial Internet connectivity stack model: each layer builds on the capabilities of the layer below, with the Connectivity Framework layer providing data-sharing mechanisms among participants. The Distributed Data Interoperability and Management layer relies on these to provide information sharing.

“Seeking to unlock the full potential of the global IIoT marketplace, the IICF offers a framework to help simplify the complexity of proprietary technologies and standards which businesses face,” says John Tuccillo, chair of the IIC’s steering committee and senior vice-president of global industry and government affairs at Schneider Electric. “The IICF will help accelerate the creation of new value streams with its broad applicability across multiple industries, IIoT systems and applications.”

The IICF paves the way for a marketplace of connectivity gateways and core gateways that will create more choices for IIoT system developers.

“As the Industrial Internet of Things continues to evolve, a common connectivity architecture is critical to enable the seamless data sharing required to unlock the potential of the IIoT,” explains Dr Rajive Joshi, co-chair of the IIC connectivity task group, and principal solution architect at RTI. “The IICF provides this common architecture, clarifying the connectivity stack and defining criteria for core connectivity standards. The framework provides the roadmap IoT practitioners and system architects need to navigate the complex IIoT connectivity landscape.”

“The IIC connectivity framework outlines a comprehensive set of functions, considerations and best practices that clarify how technologies can be effectively applied to industrial IoT,” adds IIC executive director, Dr Richard Soley. “There are many connectivity technologies in the market today and this reference framework brings clarity on how companies can determine a best fit for the needs of industrial applications.”

•  The Industrial Internet Consortium is a member-supported, global organisation that promotes the growth of the Industrial Internet of Things by coordinating initiatives to securely connect, control and integrate assets and systems of assets with people, processes and data using common architectures, interoperability and open standards.

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