What are Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) Device Level Platforms?

By Chantal Polsonetti

Category:
Industry Trends

Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) Device Level Platforms are software entities used to monitor, collect, process, and transmit data from a variety of intelligent sensors, devices, machines, products, and other assets to higher levels of the architecture, such as analytics.  These platforms reside above the sensing and embedded automation software that actually operates the device or asset. 

While some suppliers have offered this type of solution for some time in the form of SCADA or M2M solutions, the recent prospect of an Internet of Things capable of gathering data and sensing variables locally and then presenting the information globally has raised their stature in current and future architectures. 

Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) Device Level Platforms Definition 

In the Industrial Internet of Things architecture device level platforms reside between intelligent devices and the analytics, Big Data, remote asset monitoring, performance management, decision support and/or presentation components.  Products and devices under management may be either hardwired or wirelessly connected to their host system or master controller, which are not part of the platform itself. 

The functionality of device level IIoT platforms goes beyond simple device connectivity to include device configuration, device management, and creation and execution of device-related applications.  Platform functionality typically includes: 

  • Device connectivity, configuration, and management 

  • Application development and management for connected devices 

  • Diagnostics, alarms, and other asset monitoring and/or management capabilities 

  • Enterprise integration 

  • Security 

  • The following types of offerings are specifically excluded: 

  • Connected Device Platforms (CDP) or Connectivity Management software for M2M communications solutions used exclusively for SIM management, provisioning, and communication with a telecom provider  

  • Services provided by 3rd parties or integration consultancies  

  • Dedicated platforms designed from scratch for a specific customer 

Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) Device Level Platform Functionality 

Functionality associated with specific device level platform offerings can vary.  Some may focus on device connectivity, while others emphasize application enablement.  This is another area where partnering is widespread in order to round out the platform offering.  For example, a device connectivity supplier may partner with an application enablement provider, and vice versa. 

Examples of the types of platform functionality covered here include: 

  • Device Connectivity 

  • Application Development 

  • Application Enablement 

  • Analytics (specifically edge analytics, not high level enterprise analytics) 

IIoT Device Level Platform Architecture IIoT Device Level Platform Configuration

Device level IIoT platforms may be deployed in a private, public, or hybrid cloud, via remote server, or locally on the customers’ premise (on-premise).  Private clouds are maintained by the platform provider, while Amazon Web Services is rapidly emerging as the most popular public cloud in this space.  Hybrid public/private clouds are also a popular option, with the public cloud in place to serve peaks in data demand. 

 

Device Connectivity by Type 

This segmentation covers the type of connectivity used to bring device data into the platform.  The most popular options to date include: 

  • Cellular 

  • Wi-Fi 

  • Ethernet wireline 

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