Jumping on the Industrial Internet of Things Bandwagon

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Sunday, February 1, 2015 3:35 pm PST


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Spurring greater convergence of existing and new building automation systems is a crucial step toward realizing the full potential of the IIoT.

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is the next big wave in commercial building automation. Accenture recently released research forecasting that the IIoT could drive many trillions of dollars in economic growth worldwide in the next 15 years.

We asked Sohrab Modi, Chief Technology Officer of Echelon Corp., a leader in IIoT device connectivity, about some of the challenges and opportunities in commercial building automation and the IIoT.

Sinclair:  How is the Industrial IoT different from the consumer IoT?

Modi:  The operational demands of the IIoT are much more stringent than for the consumer Internet of Things (IoT), which includes things such as integrated home heating and security controls, or health monitoring systems. The IIoT requires nearly flawless reliability and security, which means you can’t depend entirely on wireless connectivity. So both wired and wireless connectivity must be used in many IIoT applications such as commercial building automation.

From a technology standpoint, the consumer IoT is a classic greenfield opportunity, while the IIoT is primarily a brownfield environment. In building automation alone, hundreds of millions of networked devices are already in place. It’s important that IIoT solutions integrate and build on these existing devices

Today’s commercial and industrial devices are connected via siloed Operational Technology (OT) networks. To become part of the IIoT, these legacy OT networks must operate in conjunction with modern Information Technology (IT) infrastructures.

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