On Wednesday 28th March I attended the ‘Implementing the Industrial Internet of Things’ event organised by National Instruments. The aim of event was to give an overview of the technologies and considerations needed to implement the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
The event took place at the fantastic and very modern looking Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre in Coventry. There was a very varied group of attendees at the event including Engineers, NI Alliance Partners (such as MediaMongrels Ltd), Academics, IT Professionals and even Market Analysts, all looking to learn more about the future of connected industry.
One of the early slides highlighted a couple of interesting statistics:
50 billion connected devices by 2020 – Cisco
~50% of connected devices deployed between 2015 and 2025 will be industrial – IHS Markit
This was followed by an overview of the various systems and components that make up an IIoT solution, as shown in the slide below:
The event then was broken down into various presentations covering the following topics and showing how they fit within the IIoT ecosystem:
- Data Acquisition (hardware selection, sensor placement, sample rates, FPGA for high-speed acquisition, adequately describe data e.g. metadata)
- Processing and Feature Extraction (where to process data? edge node, on-premises server or cloud?)
- Control (using FPGA or RT for real-time control)
- Communication (synchronisation of data, Time Sensitive Networking – technology allowing deterministic communication between critical machines/processes)
- Security (securing edge nodes, use secure protocols e.g. https, use detection as well as protection)
- Deployment (how to deploy to multiple systems? demo of NI SystemLink)
- Data Management (how much data to store? how long for? database technologies)
- Analytics & Machine Learning (use of process experts still relevant for training machine learning algorithms)
- Visualisation (e.g. real-time data dashboards, augmented reality)
Of course, there is nothing new about these components individually, it is the bringing of them together to allow better business and engineering decisions to be made faster that I feel makes up the core idea of the Industrial Internet of Things. The benefits could be a reduction in downtime (e.g. through predictive maintenance) or improvements in productivity and quality (discovering and resolving inefficiencies).
As a National Instruments event, they were keen to show how their products and services can be used to deliver IIoT solutions (e.g. using an NI CompactRIO as an edge node, DIAdem for Data Management) but the event didn’t go into specifics or detailed implementation – it was more to provide an overview of the various technologies and to highlight some IIoT success stories.
It is clear to see that National Instruments is putting a lot of investment into IIoT – from their IIoT Lab in Austin, IIoT products/services (e.g. InsightCM, SystemLink) to wider collaboration with various related technologies (e.g. Augmented Reality, Industrial Networking).
Overall, it was a good opportunity to network with like-minded professionals and interesting to see how previous projects fit within the ‘IIoT’ remit. I also learnt more about some of the new technologies/products that will help deliver IIoT solutions in the future (e.g. Time Sensitive Networking, NI SystemLink).
You can find the presentations from the event here.
MediaMongrels Ltd. has experience developing solutions that fit into the Industrial Internet of Things – from embedded control and monitoring (edge node solutions) to test asset monitoring & real-time web-based dashboards for process monitoring. Please contact us if you’d like to discuss your requirements.