If the history of technology tells us one thing, it’s that standards are most effective when they are outside the control of any one organisation. Effective standards require the cooperation of strongly competing companies that work towards their mutual interest. This is because, by creating a standards framework that provides scope for innovation coupled with interoperability, more usable products are provided to the market, customers have the confidence to invest, and as a result the total available market revenues become much larger.
In his 2009 article in the RFID journal, Kevin Ashton, the man accredited with coining the phrase “the Internet of Things” stated “People have limited time, attention and accuracy—all of which means they are not very good at capturing data about things in the real world. We need to empower computers with their own means of gathering information, so they can see, hear and smell the world for themselves, in all its random glory”.
The Industrial Internet of Things is concerned with systems at the core of our daily lives that demand the highest standards of reliability, security and performance: the electricity grid, air traffic control systems and systems in space being just a few examples. Industrial sectors of the economy are responsible for two thirds of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and so improving the efficiency and capability of this infrastructure using distributed sensors and computing systems has the potential to revolutionise how the whole world works, serving all of us -rich or poor-, in a multitude of ways.
For the Industrial Internet of Things to be realised therefore requires companies large and small that supply and maintain industrial systems to design them work together and this in turn requires a set of standards for interoperability. In this vision of the future no system sits in its own walled garden using proprietary protocols, it must be able to interact freely with any other system, and not just ones that exist today, but those which may be designed in the future.
To meet this challenge, the Industrial Internet Consortium was formed. Today it has over 150 members from Industry, Government and Academia working on a mission to coordinate vast ecosystem initiatives to connect and integrate objects with people, processes and data using common architectures, interoperability and open standards.
RTI has made a significant investment in support for the IIC because we believe that this is the best way to allow large engineering companies to engage with technology innovators to deliver truly interoperable IIoT solutions. At our upcoming Connext Conferences in Washington and London we will be adding a focus on IIC industry standardisation alongside our traditional deep dive into Connext DDS its real-world applications.
Attending one of this year's Connext Conferences, which will be held in Washington D.C. and London, will allow you to understand not only how to build world-class IIoT solutions, but also how your work can sit within an emerging framework for interoperability that will allow it to be applied across your industry and beyond.
Registration for these events will be open shortly - stay tuned!