As the Internet of Things expands in adoption and mindshare, more businesses are beginning to understand the benefits it can deliver. And the application of the IoT to industrial environments is becoming more widespread.
But building business cases around the IIoT, and developing solutions to address this segment of the IoT market, are no small tasks. The good news is that companies and industry organizations are addressing both of these challenges by providing reference architectures, software, and other solutions.
For example, Kepware offers the KEPServerEX to enable rapid development and deployment of Industrial Internet of Things solutions. In fact, the company has just released KEPServerEX Version 6.1 of this connectivity software.
This new version features an enhanced OPC UA Client driver, expanded configuration API capabilities, and new connectivity mapping features.
KEPServerEX Version 6.1 provides support for OPC UA Nano profile servers and complex data types. And the new Siemens Plus Suite employs a Siemens-approved method for third-party communication to S7-1500 PLCs using optimized data blocks.
Meanwhile, the API updates allow users to create, delete, read, and update configuration objects in KEPServerEX on the IoT Gateway advanced plug-in. The Configuration API also now supports access to Event Log messages without the KEPServerEX configuration client.
The new release is integrated with the ThingWorx IIoT Platform. So customers with IIoT deployments using industrial controllers can map tags within KEPServerEX to properties on devices connected to ThingWorx. Also, KEPServerEX has a new CODESYS Ethernet driver for connectivity to devices running CODESYS V2.3 as well as enhancements to 34 key drivers and advanced plug-ins, including improved performance for the Mitsubishi Ethernet and Omron NJ Ethernet drivers and connectivity to Amazon We.
In another recent development on the IIoT front, the Industrial Internet Consortium in January published version 1.8 of the Industrial Internet Reference Architecture. The IIRA is template designed to assist IIoT system architects as they design IIoT solutions to allow for consistency and interoperability. This new version builds on version 1.7, which was originally published last June.
According to a recent report from Business Performance Innovation Network:
• 52 percent of executives at large enterprises expect IIoT to have a significant or major impact on their industry within three years;
• 55 percent of them say IIoT is gaining adoption within their industries;
•1.5 percent of executives at large companies say they have a “clear vision with implementation well underway;”
• more cost-efficient operations (47 percent), product and service differentiation (36 percent), and improved customer engagement and satisfaction (34 percent) are seen as the top benefits of IIoT; and
• security and data privacy are the top concerns by executives, followed by the cost and complexity of IIoT adoption and the need for new management and workforce skills and training.
Executive Editor, TMC
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