Two paths, one goal: The Industry 4.0 Platform and the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) are digital allies. The inspiration to work together on standards for networked industry came from Bosch, a member of both initiatives.
A new limitless Internet of Things
When the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) launched in 2014, it was a global consortium, founded by multi-national conglomerates to drive the adoption of the industrial internet. In three short years, its membership has grown to nearly 300 companies across more than 30 countries. “Those of us in the technology industry know that technological advancements are achieved when organizations, public and private, domestic or international, work together,” says Richard Soley, Executive Director of the IIC. In his view, it’s about integrating across systems, applications and borders. “Technology in general, and IoT specifically, doesn’t respect borders.”
“And so,” Soley says, “Volkmar Denner is right when he writes about the Spirit of Openness:”
“Today, we connect not just billions of people, but billions of things as well. This will trigger data-driven solutions, in manufacturing just as much as in smart homes and connected cars. And again, these solutions will not be the work of a single individual, but dependent on open exchange among the companies involved — large and small, young and old, wherever they are in the world.”
Working together on a revolution
The IIC is not a national initiative but rather an international organization with members all over the world: Our Steering Committee Chairman is from a French company, Vice-Chairman from a German company, and there are Japanese, Chinese and American companies on the Committee as well. Most importantly, our members and projects are spread all over the world.
Building bridges for global Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) standards
The IIC is not driven by competition, with all parties aiming to complement one another. In reality, everyone works closely together, for instance in the field of technology, in order to make life easier for suppliers and users on the markets. “It’s the nature of technical organizations to create multiple architectures and security frameworks. Our job is to minimize differences and maximize interoperability between them,” says Soley. To achieve this, the IIC and Industry 4.0 Platform coordinate various joint technical groups.
Richard Soley, CEO Industrial Internet Consortium
Dr. Richard Mark Soley is Executive Director of the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC). He is also head of the Object Management Group (OMG) — an international, non-profit computer industry standards consortium — and Executive Director of the Cloud Standards Customer Council, an end-user advocacy group. As a tech-savvy visionary, the trained IT expert and engineer from Baltimore is a popular speaker.
Bosch plays a pioneering role in Europe
Testing environments are another area where the IoT knows no bounds. Bosch has been involved in the IIC’s first European testbed since 2015. The goal here is to manage tools in manufacturing and maintenance environments by tracking people, parts, tools and work in progress, in some cases locating within five centimeters. Each partner brings their own expertise to the project: Bosch supplies the tools and the IoT platform; Cisco takes care of the location identification feature; Tech Mahindra is responsible for the application programming; and SAP provides data analysis and visualization. For instance, the Bosch factory in Traunreut, Bavaria, has forklifts equipped with sensors to optimize their usage and prevent empty trips, predict when maintenance is required, and avoid collisions, among other things.
Ideal conditions for user tests
“These technological advances would not have happened without global partnerships,” says Richard Soley. The IIC currently has 27 such testbeds, with almost the same amount again under development. A distinctive feature of these testbeds is that they were created by global partnerships, and promote the openness that the technology community is known for.
Networked industry calls for a language that all machines in the digitalized world can understand. To achieve this, the leading initiatives IIC and Industry 4.0 are working side-by-side. The goal is to ensure a smooth network, made up of production, logistics, building and energy management.