The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) announced the publication of version 1.9 of the IIC Industrial Internet Reference Architecture (IIRA) Technical Report, a standards-based architectural template and methodology that enables Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) system architects to design their own systems based on a common framework and concepts.
First published in 2015, the IIRA identifies and highlights common architectural concerns found in IIoT systems and classifies them into viewpoints along with their respective stakeholders. It then describes, analyzes and where appropriate, provides guidance to resolve stakeholder concerns according to the viewpoints.
This new version of the IIRA provides standard vocabulary definitions for the viewpoints and functional domains, and describes roles for human users, as follows:
- Business Viewpoint – architecture viewpoint that frames the vision, values and objectives of business stakeholders in establishing an IIoT system in its business and regulatory context.
- Usage Viewpoint – an architecture viewpoint that frames the concerns related to implementing the capabilities and structure of an IIoT system.
- Functional Viewpoint and Functional Domain – an architecture viewpoint that frames the concerns related to the functional capabilities and structure on an IIoT system and its components.
- Control Domain – functional domain for implementing industrial control systems.
- Operations Domain – functional domain for management and operation of the control domain.
- Information Domain – functional domain for managing and processing data.
- Application Domain – functional domain for implementing application logic.
- Business Domain – functional domain for implementing business functional logic.
- Implementation Viewpoint – architectural viewpoint that frames the concerns related to implementing the capabilities and structure of an IIoT system.
The Human Side of IIoT
As described in the IIC IIRA V1.9, each domain has a human user assigned to carry out specific tasks. For example, the human role in the control domain is largely concerned with deploying, operating and maintaining industrial control and automation systems. The human role in the information domain is about data processing and management and most importantly about building, validating and deploying analytic models into the IIoT system to gain insights from the data. In the business domain, the human user gathers insights from data to optimize business processes and decision making.
The IIC IIRA V1.9 also includes information about wireless communications for industrial automation systems. Some examples of functional components that rely upon low latency, reliable wireless communications are robots on the manufacturing floor and control units in electric power plants, wind turbines and autonomous vehicles.