Today, there are over 25 billion ‘things’ connected to the Internet – with that figure estimated to triple by 2025. The industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has exploded in a way that few in business could have predicted. The proliferation of industrial IoT devices, standards and communications protocols is making the effective management of IIoT networks extremely challenging. An Industrial IoT platform is a type of industrial IoT software that allows organizations to securely manage all the connected people, systems and things within an IIoT ecosystem.
Managing a few industrial IoT sensors would be quite straightforward but today a business can have hundreds of thousands of industrial IoT devices conducting numerous tasks throughout the organization. Industrial IoT devices come in all shapes and sizes. There are no common industrial IoT standards or connection methods. Managing an industrial IoT network means having the ability to monitor and control an array of heterogeneous range of industrial IoT devices. A central industrial IoT platform provides a solution to the rapid growth of industrial IoT in almost every industry sector.
Research suggests that the global market for IoT platforms is growing by 25% annually and will be worth over $4 billion by 2023. However, many different industrial IoT vendors are creating their own industrial IoT platforms so how can you select the one that’s right for you and ensure that you can receive all the benefits of industrial IoT?
How can you define an Industrial IoT platform?
Any industrial IoT platform definition requires an understanding that IoT creates a new level of integration as, with thousands of industrial IoT devices connected to the network, an organization has vastly more endpoints to manage than ever before. But, it’s not simply about the devices, an industrial IoT network is really a digital ecosystem of people systems and things. An industrial IoT platform is required to securely and effectively manage each element within the ecosystem.
The best industrial IoT platforms allow you to integrate devices with enterprise applications to enable the seamless yet secure flow of data between connected people, systems and things.
An industrial IoT platform should provide comprehensive facilities for:
- This will include the provisioning, management and retirement of all industrial IoT devices on your network. Industrial IoT device examples include sensors, actuators, tags and beacons. The industrial IoT platform should be able to automate the ingestion of IoT data and make it available to other elements on the network.
- The value of industrial IoT lies in its data. It has to be captured, integrated and managed. The industrial IoT platform correlates new IoT master data with existing application data and data from other sources such as social media.
- As part of a digital ecosystem, the industrial IoT elements don’t operate in isolation to the business. Your industrial IoT solutions have to be built into your business processes and workflows. The industrial IoT platform coordinates this by integrating industrial IoT business logic into other back-end systems and deploying industrial IoT data in workflow management.
- The industrial IoT platform is responsible for securely establishing, enabling and managing trusted interactions across the digital ecosystem of people, systems, data and devices.
What are the different types of Industrial IoT platform?
While the management and control of industrial IoT devices and data is the initial value proposition of every industrial IoT platform, a number of different types of platforms have emerged to suit different use cases. In fact, it would be difficult to suggest that there are categories of industrial IoT platform. Instead, industrial IoT providers are evolving their platform offerings to meet customer requirements and specific business needs.
Industrial IoT platforms will deliver different combinations of capabilities including industrial IoT endpoint management and connectivity, the capture, ingestion and processing of IoT data, the visualization and analysis of the data and the integration of IoT data into processes and workflows.
Any industrial IoT platform comparison should be based around your business need and particular IT infrastructure and match the industrial IoT solution to that.
What are the features of an Industrial IoT platform?
So, the best industrial IoT platform varies from organization to organization and a single set of platform capabilities will not provide an adequate solution for every use case. However, there are some features that any industrial IoT platform should have. These include:
- Industrial IoT security is a key role for the platform encompassing the protection all IoT endpoints from external cyber-attacks as well as addressing the potential for malicious activities originating inside the organization.
- Each industrial IoT device has to be quickly and securely provisioned and managed throughout all stages of their lifecycle – including tracking and authorizing devices as they are provisioned, registered, activated, suspended, unsuspended, deleted and reset as required.
- Integration is one of the greatest industrial IoT challenges. The industrial IoT platform allows IoT devices to seamlessly and securely connect and share information with different enterprise applications, cloud services, mobile apps and legacy systems.
- The industrial IoT platform should offer support for the widest range of industry-standard IoT devices. It should automatically sense their presence anywhere in the industrial IoT architecture to establish a secure connection. It can quickly establish the device’s credentials or automatically assign them where required.
- IoT devices greatly increase the volume of data within the organization. Industrial IoT analytics should be one of the most powerful features of the industrial IoT platform. It enables the ability to properly visualize and analyze industrial IoT data in a way that uncovers actionable insight to improve data-driven decision-making.
What are the top 5 benefits of Industrial IoT platforms?
The industrial IoT platform becomes the foundation upon which the successful implementation of IoT projects are based. Without an effective platform, any large-scale industrial IoT deployment will fail to achieve its full value. The best industrial IoT platforms deliver a wide range of benefits including:
- The management and maintenance of disparate industrial IoT devices and networks is costly, time-consuming and complex. An industrial IoT platform centralizes the entire management process reducing a great deal of the burden and cost. In addition, as more organizations turn to industrial IoT providers to take care of the management of their networks, the best industrial IoT platforms enable the providers to deliver pay-as-you-go pricing models.
- Industrial IoT solutions provide real-time information on the performance of equipment and people to help streamline and improve business processes and workflows. By capturing IoT data and enabling integration with data from other internal external sources, the industrial IoT platform facilitates operational improvements in areas such as predictive maintenance and track and trace based supply chain visibility.
- The platform provides the basis to deploy new industrial IoT applications–such as Digital Twins–that can help drive innovation and efficiency through new product design, development and production.
Monetize IoT data
- Innovative companies are already beginning to leverage the insight they receive from their IoT data to develop new products and services. Over the lifecycle of a product, after-sales and service are often more profitable than the original purchase. The industrial IoT platform allows data to be captured and analyzed at each stage of product production and usage. This enables the creation of new data-driven service packages as well as completely new data-driven products.
Improve IoT security
- IoT devices notoriously lack enterprise-strength security. Devices such as industrial IoT sensors have little computing capacity beyond performing its specific reporting task rather than providing layers of security. The industrial IoT platform can deliver all the identity management capabilities–such as secure authentication and authorization–to ensure IoT endpoints don’t become vulnerable to cyberattack.
Why select OpenText for IIoT?
OpenText is one of the leading industrial IoT companies that delivers a complete range of industrial IoT services based around our IIoT platform. The company is the only industrial IoT vendor to take an identity-centric approach to managing industrial IoT networks. With the introduction of the Industrial Grid, OpenText has created a complete, end-to-end Industry 4.0-ready IoT platform and network.
Find out more about OpenText industrial IoT solutions.