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Industrial IoT automation standard in the works

An industrial IoT automation standard may be within reach as three global automation standard leaders have started working together to advance the industrial IoT.

Realizing the full potential of the industrial IoT will require interoperability between devices and machines that today use different protocols. Forget industrial IoT standards to focus instead on interoperability and business models, Dr. Richard Soley, chairman and CEO of OMG and executive director of the Industrial Internet Consortium, told Industrial IoT 5G Insights in a recent interview. In order to develop an industrial IoT automation standard, three of the world’s leading automation standard leaders, the Organization for Machine Automation and Control (OMAC), OPC Foundation and PLCopen, have decided to do just that by initiating a cooperation to advance communications protocols necessary for the industrial IoT (IIoT). Until now, the three organizations have been working on different aspects of automation standardization.

“Standards are needed to support communications from machine-to-machine and from the plant floor to interfaces that will allow large scale data analytics and information transfer,” said John Kowal, a member of OMAC’s board of directors, co-chair of the Industrial Internet Consortium’s Smart Factory Task Group, and business development director for B&R Industrial Automation Corp. “It just makes sense for these organizations which have individually done so much to advance automated manufacturing to collaborate and avoid redundant developments,” he added.

Bringing together industrial IoT automation standard efforts

OMAC and the OPC Foundation have been focusing on different things until now: OMAC on the ISA-TR88.00.02 automation standard known as PackML and the OPC Foundation on an industrial interoperability framework known as the OPC Foundation’s Unified Architecture (OPC UA). In order to advance towards an industrial IoT automation standard, OMAC and the OPC Foundation have established a taskforce including OMAC and OPC Foundation members to develop a companion specification for ISA-TR88/PackML and OPC UA by the end of 2016. Sari Germanos, open automation manager for B&R Industrial Automation, is to lead the task force.

“A standard communication protocol, used consistently across the industry, is vital for realizing the full benefits of automation standards such as ISA-TR88, which then can be a valuable data source for smart factories and the IIoT,” said Dr. Bryan Griffen, OMAC chairman and Nestlé Group Engineering manager. “A companion specification between ISA TR88 and OPC UA fills this need and builds on the work completed with PLCopen earlier this year. The opportunities to transform manufacturing as hardware and software solutions are integrated through consistently applied, standardized protocols are extraordinary. We’re pleased to be a part of those efforts worldwide.”

PackML, which defines machine modes, states and tag naming conventions without specifying a communications protocol, has been implemented by manufacturers and machine builders across the world. For its part, the OPC UA delivers information modeling with integrated security, access rights, and all communication layers, enabling plug and play machine-to-machine (M2M) communication inside factories. The OPC Foundation has also worked together with PLCopen on IEC 61131-3, the global standard for industrial control programming that is recommended by OMAC.

IIoT News Recap: Apple seeks patent for full-body sensor network; SK Telecom join forces with road operator on V2X technology; U.S.-based SAFE launches commission on autonomous vehicle; Orbcomm launches IoT toolkit for end-to-end enterprise solutions

industrial IoT automation standard
Picture: Patently Apple

Wearables: Apple seeks patent for full-body sensor network

Apple is serious about wearables and mobile health if the company’s patent applications are anything to go by. On Thursday, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office published yet another application by Apple, showing a full-body sensor network for recognizing and tracking movements and exercises, Patently Apple reports. The novelty here is that multiple sensors can communicate with a mobile device at once and the information collected by the various sensors combined to determine the type of activity a user is performing.

Autonomous driving: SK Telecom join forces with road operator on V2X technology

South Korean mobile carrier SK Telecom has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with road infrastructure operator Korea Expressway Corporation and the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute of Korea (ETRI) to research and develop the next-generation Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) technology, Business Korea reports. The MoU’s goal is to conduct research on autonomous driving methods that wirelessly exchange information between roads and vehicles.

Autonomous driving: U.S.-based SAFE launches commission on autonomous vehicle

Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE), an organization which stated goal is to reduce the U.S.’s dependence on oil, announced the creation of a Commission on Autonomous Vehicle Testing and Safety. The new commission will study and recommend best practices for testing and deploying autonomous vehicles. “The rapid advancement of autonomous vehicle technology is steering us into unchartered territory,” said Robbie Diamond, president and CEO of SAFE. “The Commission on Autonomous Vehicle Testing and Safety offers the kind of leadership we need to ensure the public that these cars are being tested safely on public roads, and potentially improve the process. We must also strive, while protecting the public safety, to prevent the implementation of onerous regulations that will stymie innovation. I thank these uniquely talented and experienced individuals for committing their time and energy to this important public service, and we look forward to sharing their findings with stakeholders in the near future.” Members of the new commission include Mark Rosenker, former chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, admiral Dennis Blair, former director of National Intelligence and member of SAFE’s Energy Security Leadership Council, Dr. Jeremy Brown, director of Emergency Care Research for the National Institutes of Health, Paul Brubaker, chairman of the Alliance for Transportation Innovation and former Administrator of the DOT’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration, Bob Lange, former top safety executive at General Motors Corporation, and Cuneyt Oge, president of SAE International.

Enterprise IoT: Orbcomm launches IoT toolkit for end-to-end enterprise solutions

Machine-to-machine (M2M) and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions provider Orbcomm announced the launch of a complete Enterprise IoT toolkit aimed at simplifying the deployment of M2M and IoT solutions in the enterprise. Orbcomm’s IoT stack promises improved asset utilization, reduced operational costs and long-term return on investment (ROI). “There is a lot of hype surrounding IoT, with many companies trying to differentiate themselves in what is becoming a complex and crowded space,” said Marc Eisenberg, Orbcomm’s CEO. “ORBCOMM stands far in front of the pack because we’ve been doing IoT long before it was a buzzword. We believe our IoT Toolkit is the best and most complete offering available in the market today because we’ve been using these award-winning products and services for years to build ROI-driven M2M and IoT solutions for our customers with great success.”

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