First, a few questions:
With a fresh perspective, I thought I could write about this small company in Silicon Valley that you probably haven't heard of: Real-Time Innovations, Inc. (RTI). RTI has been quietly working on a technology called DDS that could be one of the most important and fundamental tools for the industrial internet revolution. If you haven't heard, the industrial internet, or Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), is going to change the world in ways we haven't seen since the industrial revolution. My grandparents saw communications technology change from horse and cart, to the proliferation of the automobile and internet. This next revolution is going to be a much bigger deal.
At DistribuTECH 2016, the second week of March in Orlando FL, Duke Energy and 25 partners demonstrated a distributed microgrid application scattered across 12 booths on the show floor. As the culmination of Duke’s Coalition of the Willing Phase II (COW II) project, it demonstrated near-real-time microgrid use cases like optimization, islanding and grid resynchronization. Each booth was connected via wireless networks and running a part of the overall microgrid demonstration, all based on the new OpenFMB (Open Field Message Bus) distributed device interoperability framework using open Industrial IoT protocols. DDS was one of 3 IoT publish-subscribe protocols utilized in the simulated demo and underpinned the SCADA control messages between OpenFMB nodes.
Today, the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) decided to take on the smart grid to enable large-scale efficient use of green energy. The power system is perhaps the central infrastructure of industry. Modernizing the grid is critical to building an integrated Industrial Internet of Things. Our first goal: deliver on the promise of renewable energy.
How do you approach such a challenge? The larger your distributed system is, the more attack points you require to secure and defend it against hackers, and yet at the same time, the more varied your authorized access levels need to be. You may need to facilitate maintenance, updates and upgrades, monitoring and many other system-wide tasks, each requiring differing access rights to many overlaid sub-elements of your distributed system.