For Industrial Internet of Things Success – Standardize

Organizations create standards; users pick the winners.

There are indeed many standards that can claim to support the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).  Let’s consider standards in two areas: devices to controllers and controllers to computing systems.  Now computing systems could be HMIs, historians, or analytics packages, but in reality probably all of the above.  I think OPC UA has already been anointed the winner in this category.  Really, what other choices are there?  OPC UA is already embedded in controllers and provides secure movement of data up to computing systems.

For the device to controller standard, PROFINET should be the winner.  PROFINET is the only Industrial Ethernet that Abstract stamp or label with the text Standardsintegrates non-Ethernet networks by design, as part of the standard.  And there will always be non-Ethernet networks because it is economically infeasible to add Ethernet to inexpensive devices.  Devices on networks like AS-interface for simple switches and actuators.  And IO-Link, though not a network, connects intelligent sensors and actuators.  HART, though not a network, connects intelligent process instruments.  Then there are networks like PROFIBUS PA and Foundation Fieldbus which are suitable for hazardous environments where Ethernet is not.  Plus there are over 100,000,000 nodes of legacy non-Ethernet networks already installed.  All of these integrate into PROFINET via proxy.  A proxy is like a gateway in that it connects two disparate networks, but the mapping is defined in the standard.

Some other areas that PROFINET excels at, but no other Industrial Ethernet touches:

PROFINET covers all three industrial application spaces: factory, process, and motion.

Diagnostics from an individual channel to the entire PROFINET network.  What good is data if production is shut down?  PROFINET prevents downtime and accelerates troubleshooting.

Global support.  PI, the organization behind PROFINET, has accredited regional associations, competence centers, test labs, and training centers in every region of the world.

There are more installed PROFINET nodes and it’s the fastest growing Industrial Ethernet.

Standards will ensure the success of the Industrial Internet of Things and PROFINET is THE winning standard for device to controller communications.

–Carl Henning