New Demands at the Industrial Network Edge

By Chantal Polsonetti

ARC Report Abstract

Executive Overview

Industrial automation professionals across all industries are waking up to the numerous incremental value propositions associated with industrial internet-based strategies. Initiatives such as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Industrie 4.0 (I4.0), IT/OT convergence, smart manufacturing, Smart Cities, and others are viewed as paths to increase revenues, reduce costs, optimize assets, drive business innovation, and so on. This recognition extends to the C-Level, where executives increasingly recognize the potential business impact of these initiatives.

Connectivity, transparency, and remote access are primary enablers of many of today’s internet-enabled business improvement strategies. Cloud integration; convergence between information (IT), operational (OT), and engineering (ET) technologies; and the overall need to feed data from the field to enterprise-level applications are central to achieving these business objectives. The emerging “digital twin” concept promises the ability to develop, share, and continuously refine a digitized view of the product and the process throughout their respective lifecycles. Each of these concepts relies heavily on the industrial network edge as its information conduit.

These prospects herald the dawning of a new era at the industrial network edge, one that must be addressed as manufacturers prepare for and implement internet-based business strategies. This preparation extends to ensuring that what enterprise applications view as “the network edge” meets the requirements for successfully executing connectivity-enabled business strategies.

Industrial Internet Network Edge iine.JPG

This has numerous implications throughout the network edge architecture, including:

  • Identifying and fulfilling the important role of the network edge in delivering the industrial internet value proposition

  • Meeting edge-to-cloud integration requirements, including the interim benefits of a gateway-centric clustered approach

  • Migration of cloud-based applications onto edge devices, or edge computing

  • Preparing for the impact of new technology developments in areas such as SDN, TSN, 5G, and LPWANs



Table of Contents

  • Executive Overview

  • Defining the Industrial Network Edge

  • Delivering the Industrial Internet Business Value Proposition

  • Meeting Edge-to-Cloud Integration Requirements

  • Edge Computing vs. Distributed Automation

  • Edge Computing Drivers

  • Edge Computing Extends IT/OT Convergence to Compute/Connect

  • Concurrent Technological Evolution

  • Recommendations


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