Connecting industrial devices, systems, and applications to provide plant and enterprise personnel with actionable information is not a new concept. Leading automation and software suppliers have been working diligently to address this requirement for decades. These efforts have not always been entirely successful, due in large part to poor interoperability between operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT). This has hampered business performance.
Intelligent field devices, digital field networks, Internet Protocol (IP)-enabled connectivity and web services, historians, and advanced analytics software are providing the foundation for an Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). The cost of connectivity is dropping dramatically, providing powerful potential to connect people, assets, and information across the industrial enterprise. Now, rather than having to build, integrate, and support purpose-built industrial solutions, automation suppliers and end users alike can reach out and embrace a wide variety of lower cost, fully supported commercial technologies within their industrial connectivity solutions.
Clearly, an industrial approach is required, one that enables manufacturers and other industrial organizations to enjoy the benefits of commercial, Internet-based technologies, but without the potential pitfalls that could include overwhelming people with irrelevant data and information, compromised data security, operational disruptions, and/or safety and environmental issues. Avoiding pitfalls such as these requires appropriate integration of both operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT), with an emphasis on maintaining effective safety and security approaches and practices.
Industrie4.0 to be an important subset of the overall IIoT. According to the IEC website, the proposed scope of the SG 8 Industry 4.0 Smart Manufacturing initiative, formed in September 2014, includes: