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Smart gateways come of age to enable IIoT

Edge computing will be recognised as the solution to fixing the shortcomings of M2M for IIoT


The internet and cloud services will come to define the evolution of the IIoT
The internet and cloud services will come to define the evolution of the IIoT

Mainstream adoption of edge computing and the advent of second-generation smart gateways are among the leading forecasts for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) in 2017, according to a list of trends to watch published by PrismTech, an IIoT platform technology provider.


Steve Jennis, SVP and head of global marketing for ADLINK and PrismTech, compiled the list based on his knowledge of IIoT users, vendors and technologies, as well as through his collaboration with peers in industry initiatives. These include: the OpenFog Consortium; the Edge Computing Consortium; Open Edge Computing; the Industrial Internet Consortium; and the Object Management Group.


“Today’s trends show that the term ‘edge computing’ will continue to grow in usage and come to represent most implementation scenarios for the IIoT,” said Jennis. “The addition of new capabilities ‘at the edges’ of OT systems, IT systems, the internet and cloud services will come to define the evolution of the IIoT and its new business value-add.”


Jennis predicts that:

  1. Edge computing will become a mainstream term for IIoT systems.
  2. Edge computing will be recognized as the solution to fixing the shortcomings of M2M for IIoT (latency, resilience, cost, peer-to-peer, connectivity, security, etc.).
  3. Real-time (edge) analytics and IT/OT security will become two of the key drivers for new IIoT platform/infrastructure deployments.
  4. IT departments will exert ever more influence over the requirements for OT systems connected to corporate IT systems or the Internet.
  5. The edge will become the vendor battleground in IIoT markets between traditional CT, IT and OT vendors.
  6. Users will move from tactical to strategic IIoT thinking as previously deployed point-solutions (eg most M2M systems) reveal more and more functional limitations and IT management issues.
  7. Major IT systems integrators will begin to offer “managed solutions” for edge computing in addition to their “managed services” for cloud computing.
  8. Interoperability and legacy integration problems will be reduced with connector technologies, data normalisation and shared micro-services delivered in/on “smart gateways”.
  9. Second-generation IIoT smart gateways (software-defined with on-board IIoT software stacks, connectivity and shared services) will quickly render first-generation (hardware-defined) M2M gateways obsolete.
  10. Security at the edge will be positioned as an IT/OT firewall. The potential for hacking OT systems, possibly through IT connections, is increasingly becoming a concern. Edge computing appliances will serve as the IT/OT firewall.


“Next-generation smart gateways and industrial servers will supply the edge platforms to support the demands of the IIoT. These gateways and servers will host the software stacks that enable data connectivity from the sensor to the cloud, while also supporting edge compute and intrinsic security,” continued Jennis.


“They will thus support fog computing architectures where applications can add-value at the most appropriate place in an end-to-end IIoT system: at the device, on the edge appliance, or in the IT/cloud environment. This multi-tiered architecture will come to define the IIoT and provide the ubiquitous (and secure) data accessibility and distributed systems capabilities needed to support new vertical solutions in, for example, smart factories, intelligent transportation systems and integrated healthcare systems.”


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