What Standardization Means for the Future of omlox

You’ve probably heard of omlox at this point. If not, here’s an overview:


The point is: what’s exciting about this technology today?

What’s fundamentally different about omlox -apart from the technology itself is the fact that it’s a standard. “Wow, a standards organization that’s excited about standards, real original”, you might be thinking with light sarcasm. But hear me out.

Whether we know it or not, standardized technologies underpin the world we live in today. From building codes to electric power transmission to pipelines, a standard can be found that helps facilitate their usage. Of course this is also true for the Internet and the technologies upon which it is based.

There’s the infamous story of our visit to an automaker outside of Detroit in the days (10+ years ago) of PROFINET ramp-up. At that time, their entire line was built around PROFIBUS, but more and more products were coming out with a PROFINET interface. After a nice factory tour and some presentations, the time came for discussions about PROFINET. We never even got there. Instead the quote from the plant manager was: “You will never see Ethernet on my factory floor.” … Ethernet! Needless to say that isn’t the case today as they’re . But why? It’s because that while PROFINET as an Ethernet-based technology is big step up from serial-based communications (PROFIBUS), it’s rather the ecosystem of products available that enables its success. And an ecosystem of products is only possible via interoperability based on standards.

The same will be true for omlox. Right now it’s an open standard with a handful of products. As more and more products become available with an omlox interface, the same exponential growth we’ve seen in the past with other technologies will occur. Because when companies compete, innovation is driven, costs come down and end-user choice is enabled. No more vendor lock-in. No more RTLS systems with price tags out of reach for small and medium sized enterprises.

“But PROFINET had a huge existing install-base (PROFIBUS) upon which to build”, you might be saying. True. But what about IO-Link? It is yet another example of a vendor-neutral grassroots-driven standardized technology that took off with a wide array of products.

We expect a bright future for omlox based on our experiences with other technologies in the PI portfolio.