Communication interfaces and protocols
For proper communication between IIoT devices, proper protocols need to be in place. The protocols need to be lightweight, and reliable, for use over wireless networks. Protocols like MQTT (MQ Telemetry Transport) and XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol) are used at the local level for mesh and broadcast topology. However, different protocols are used at the industry level. “At the industrial level, we use legacy protocols that have been developed by many of the industrial automation giants, like Rockwell Allen-Bradley. They all have their own protocols that have been developed for industrial networking of equipment. Now, if you have to integrate the industrial IoT with such systems, , we need to have protocol converters, which can convert from an IoT protocol into a legacy industrial protocol, and exchange the data between the sensor nodes or the control nodes that are there into the industrial automation network that is already existing and that have already been invested in by the industry,” said Mr. Kamat.
He provided some insight regarding the growth of the IIoT sector. The growth is happening parallely in two different ways. One of them involves the Industrial Internet Consortium, which was set up by a few industries in North America, with the aim of setting up a framework for integrating IoT with industries. They have defined guidelines regarding three main characteristics: safety, security and resilience.
The other initiative in this field is Industrie 4.0, which originated in Germany. This initiative involves cyber-physical systems, the internet of things, the internet of services, and smart factories. Mr. Kamat said that Industrie 4.0 is going to revolutionise the manufacturing industry. India is also planning to adopt such an initiative, soon. However, it may take a while to implement it in India, because a lot of infrastructure and good net connectivity is required for it. Another issue is that there is not enough investment in the manufacturing sector. With proper investment and nationwide internet connectivity, Industrie 4.0 can be implemented successfully.