The “Industrial Internet-of-Things”, or IIoT, is a subset of Internet-of-Things technologies that connect industrial machines, sensors and actuators to local data processing and to the Internet – as well as connecting their data and analytics to other industrial networks that can generate further value and business intelligence from that data.
These systems are often large-scale networks, with real-time operating systems, and business-critical reliability needs.
The IIoT represents a convergence between machines, embedded sensing technologies, advanced analytics and Internet connectivity. These technologies are enabling business to harness the ever-increasing amount of device-generated data, process that data in real-time and act on events as quickly as they occur to drive smarter decisions, enable new services, create new revenue streams and reduce costs.
Industrial IoT technologies can provide increases in efficiency for industrial plant equipment, more efficient long-term maintenance and management of equipment, for example.
There is also value generation in the data that is made available to adjoining IIoT networks, for example using that plant data to best balance short-term positive cash flow against additional maintenance or equipment costs in the longer term.
These kinds of IIoT use-cases provide predictable gains in business value, but the further value that could potentially be generated by disruptive new business models enabled by the IIoT is a wildcard – it could be limited in some cases, or it could be enormous.
PrismTech’s Vortex Intelligent Data Sharing Platform is a middleware platform specifically aimed at Industrial IoT applications. Vortex aims to provide an ideal connectivity solution for the IIoT, delivering the data to the right place at the right time – all the time, and to simplify real-time information integration in industrial IoT control systems.
At the heart of the Vortex platform is OpenSplice – which enables data to be shared and integrated across a wide variety of different operating systems and platforms. OpenSplice is one of the most advanced, complete and popular implementations of the Object Management Group’s Data Distribution Service (DDS) standard, and provides a full implementation of both the latest OMG DDS 1.4 standard and the OMG-DDSI / RTPS v2.1 interoperable wire-protocol standards.
DDS was originally developed for aerospace and defence applications, and has been used successfully for many years in large-scale, real-time distributed systems. In recent years it has been used in other commercial application domains such as energy grid management, industrial automation, transport, healthcare and “smart city” networks, and continues to gain popularity as a powerful standard for real-time machine-to-machine data sharing and integration in complex IIoT systems.
As DDS is based on a data-centric publish-and-subscribe model, it enables large numbers of distributed applications to share information with each other asynchronously and in real time.
DDS also offers certain advantages over other common transport protocols, such as MQTT or CoAP, encountered in Internet-of-Things applications. It is easy to provision, highly scalable, very low latency and more compatible with the heavy, real-time message throughput found in modern industrial IoT systems.
Furthermore, DDS supports automatic discovery and brokerless operation, allowing DDS nodes to declare the information that they can provide or receive. DDS will automatically connect appropriate publishers to subscribers in a direct way, without a broker required in the middle.
This enables plug-and-play support for devices added to the network in the future, makes it possible for IIoT systems to expand and evolve more easily, and simplifies system configuration.
OpenSplice is aimed at use with server and desktop platforms as well as more specialised real-time operating systems and embedded environments, such as the VxWorks RTOS running on an industrial single-board computer. OpenSplice is available on most enterprise operating systems, including Linux, Windows, AIX and Solaris as well as the VxWorks, RTLinux, Integrity, PikeOS and ElinOS real-time operating systems.
It is good to note that OpenSplice aims to be highly dependable, ensuring availability, high reliability, safety and integrity that is robust against potential hardware or software failures – with a powerful suite of quality-of-service functions to ensure data integrity.
With this in mind, OpenSplice aims to deliver high performance and scalability, with very large volumes of data delivered with very low latency, from simple systems using a small number of sensors all the way up to an ultra-large-scale interconnected network of devices and servers – and also provides strong security for industrial data, maintaining the integrity and authenticity of data exchanged throughout the network.
The Vortex platform consists of three other product suites as well as OpenSplice – Vortex Device, which enables applications to securely share real-time data using a variety of platforms and network technologies; Vortex Cloud, which provides cloud computing and support for data sharing over a WAN, support for public, private or hybrid cloud infrastructures, and the ability to seamlessly share data over the Internet between applications running on different, isolated LANs; and Vortex Gateway.
Vortex Gateway is a high performance, extensible and configurable protocol gateway that bridges between communication protocols while adapting their format, content and quality-of-service requirements. This makes it possible to integrate legacy systems using different protocols into a DDS-based system such as OpenSplice – as well as using alternative transport-layer protocols in cases where they may make sense. It supports efficient bridging between DDS systems and over 100 different communication protocols, including device protocols such as MQTT and enterprise messaging protocols such as JMS and AMQP.
You can see that the Industrial Internet of Things hold promise for a wide spectrum of ideas – and if this is of interest – there is a method of product development that is rapid and successful. Here at the LX Group we have the systems in both hardware and software to make your IoT vision a success.
We have end-to-end experience and demonstrated results in the entire process of IoT product development, and we’re ready to help bring your existing or new product ideas to life. Getting started is easy – click here to contact us, telephone 1800 810 124, or just keep in the loop by connecting here.
LX is an award-winning electronics design company based in Sydney, Australia. LX services include full turnkey design, electronics, hardware, software and firmware design. LX specialises in IoT embedded systems and wireless technologies design.
Published by LX Pty Ltd for itself and the LX Group of companies, including LX Design House, LX Solutions and LX Consulting, LX Innovations.