One of the key missing pieces in today’s IoT efforts is a consistent approach to connect the sensor and the controller endpoints. But, many sensors in factory automation aren’t connected to the factory network. Even if they were, how would there be a widely accepted, consistent way to talk to them as each device typically has its own proprietary interface?
The PICMG vision for an Industrial IoT (IIoT) specification is to develop a meta-data model by extending the DMTF’s Redfish API. This is advantageous as Redfish is widely known and used in the IT world. This API, when combined with hardware development kits and microcontroller modules, will provide connectivity to both legacy sensors and new IoT-enabled smart sensors. The combined hardware-software interface will allow effective “plug and play” deployment of distributed sensor networks throughout the installation.
For the second part of the equation, PICMG will define a Developer’s Kit to connect legacy devices. This would be a small postage-stamp-sized (or smaller) device with a couple of ubiquitous I/O interfaces. Developers of all types would have a way to make their sensor, their PLC, or other device connectable utilizing an open specification as well as a common API protocol for controlling the devices.
In the open standard approach, each developer/vendor would have his own unique implementation for software, special features, security, etc., allowing each to maintain his “secret sauce.” However, the vendors would utilize interoperable interfaces, allowing the products to work with others’ products in a compliant, structured framework.
PICMG’s computing specifications such as COM Express, CompactPCI Serial, and Hardware Platform Management are widely used in industrial controller/gateway applications. Along with the new meta-data model, Developer’s Kit, and sensors interface, the industry may finally see true plug-and-play for Industry 4.0.
At Sensors Expo (San Jose, CA), PICMG will be speaking (on Thursday, June 28) in the Live Embedded Theater on “Making Sense of Industrial IoT.” We’ll also have live demos in the PICMG booth (#1642) showing IoT management of a connected sensor/computer network. All attendees are invited to watch and discuss the approach. Non-members interested in participating in the IIoT efforts can join our technical advisory committee or become a member.
Justin Moll is the Vice President of Marketing for PICMG, the leading standards development organization in the non-desktop or embedded computer market. PICMG members benefit by participating in standards development, gaining early access to key technology, and developing relationships with thought leaders and suppliers in the industry.