What’s New

Overview of IIoT Initiatives

Doug Sandy |

At PICMG, we have kicked off a new focus on the requirements for Industrial IoT (IIoT). From there, our efforts can expand out to other IoT market requirements. In IIoT, hardware and software interoperability tends to be more important than household/consumer applications as sensors, actuators, and controllers from multiple vendors must work together seamlessly. But, standardization has not yet materialized.

IIoT, is different than traditional industrial automation in the fact that it combines ubiquitous sensing, advanced analytics, and IT technology. Going beyond traditional automation control functions, IIoT includes sensors and actuators for facility operations, machine health, ambient conditions, quality, and a variety of other functions. Advanced analytics enables the IIoT system to realize higher levels of operational efficiency by extracting meaning from the potential data available from a vast array of deployed sensors. Similar to cloud data centers, where sensors data is used to optimize virtually every aspect of operational efficiency, smart factories and other IIoT applications utilize analytics to improve up-time, optimize asset utilization, and reduce overhead costs. Migration to IT technology enables the IIoT operator(s) to deploy, monitor, and optimize their IIoT application. Standardization around IT practices helps to eliminate islands of proprietary equipment within the installation and provide tighter integration between the control domain and the operations domain. Adoption of IT methodologies enables IIoT companies to leverage the large existing base of IT hardware and software solutions when appropriate. Each of these benefits offers significant potential for capital and operational savings.

Standardization of the upstream interfaces for controller devices and meta-data models for sensors can help solve hardware and software interoperability and ease-of-use issues. Standardized interfaces would allow dissimilar pieces of hardware to communicate with the IIoT command center in a uniform fashion and eliminate isolated islands within the installment. Likewise, an extensible standardized meta-data model for sensors would allow for systematic detection and control of sensors and control points without extensive code re-writes. From a hardware standpoint, the IIoT marketplace would also benefit from greater standardization around communications interfaces, power, and environmental requirements.

Large industrial automation suppliers are not incentivized to embark on open standardization because it loosens the customer’s dependence upon their proprietary solutions. Smaller automation suppliers lack the industry clout or size to take on such an ambitious undertaking. This is a task best suited for an industry standards organization, and one which PICMG is well equipped to handle.

COM Express is one logical starting point to build upon because it has the small form factor, processing performance, and flexible I/O configuration to make it a natural fit for small gateways and control functions in small to medium installations, with distributed controllers for larger deployments. In larger installations, CompactPCI Serial or MicroTCA have been adapted for railway control and other rugged applications and may also serve as a flexible gateway/controller.

Click on the full IIoT Overview Discussion for more details.

JASA Announces Embedded Computing and IoT Technologies Show in Yokohama, Japan

PICMG |

Japan Embedded Systems Technology Association (JASA) , a leading trade show organizer for embedded technologies in the Japan market, has announced its next show will be held November 15-17, 2017 in Yokohama Japan.  As one of the world’s most established and professional events for Embedded & IoT Technologies, their last show successfully ended with 415 exhibitors and 102 conference sessions, over 30,000 attendees. This year, the event is heading toward its 31th iteration with 450 exhibitors, 35,000 attendees expected and 4 specialized areas dedicated to the hottest hi-tech trends of the market.

For more information, click here.

PICMG Turns its Gaze to Asia and Europe

Justin Moll |

Although PICMG is based in the USA, it truly is a global organization.  In fact, the breakdown of membership is fairly evenly distributed.   With all of the current PICMG officers located in the USA, we have made an effort to reach out to our Europe and Asian members.  In March, we met with dozens and European and other vendors at Embedded World to address the views, strategic roadmaps, and concerns of our members.  Last month, I was privileged to visit members in Taiwan, Japan, and China.  My trip included Medical and Design shows in Taiwan and Japan as well as Industrial Automation and Telecom shows in China.  The members had excellent ideas to continue to improve and enhance existing specifications.  It was also very beneficial to understand the local needs of each market.   Stay tuned in the coming months for changes to address those needs.

Other efforts included solidifying a barter agreement with a key embedded trade show supplier in Japan and “evangelizing” both PICMG and our members’ products.  There was often true excitement from the potential users in seeing the new PICMG Overview Brochure  and my pointing to the multiple vendors in their country from the Executive Members list.  (This is another benefit of being an Exec Member, we didn’t have space to list everyone, so the Execs are printed on the brochure!)

A key topic during the Asia trip was our Industrial IoT initiative.  PICMG has been exploring interest in a specification and have been having open, informal discussions with several members and key contacts at the Industrial IoT Consortium (IoT), Fog Computing, Flexible Factory Project, contacts at Intel and Cisco, and some specialists in IoT security.  If you are exploring IoT products, I highly recommend you join the calls, which are open.  But note, we are hoping to transition to the new specification phase soon.

If you have any questions on PICMG’s global activities, feel free to contact us at info@picmg.org

Justin Moll

Vice President of Marketing

PICMG