June 19, 2020 Return to overview

The 7 IIoT Platform Pillars – An Introduction

A Valuable Insight Into The Functionalities of an IIoT Platform


7 Pillars

While there are a myriad of factors to be considered when deciding what IIoT platform would best suit your organisation, the interoperability and scalability of the core layers of the platform are just as important. 

You know that 5G powers IIoT, predictive maintenance is on the rise and that Smart PPE really does have a place in this world, but what exactly makes these devices and systems function? It’s understood that they’re connected to the cloud and they can send data in real-time to better inform business decisions, but the how, and more importantly the why behind these complex tasks can be overlooked or misunderstood. 

An IIoT platform collects large amounts of real-time, complex machine data, brings together traditionally siloed data points and vastly improves the data insights and analytics across various asset groups. Due to these intensive processes, the IIoT platform must be engineered to support and withstand the industrial assets and their environments.

In the following blog posts, we here at Davra are going to break down an IIoT platform into its 7 constituent parts, namely:

  1. Device Management
  2. Application Enablement & Management
  3. Digital Twins
  4. Integrations
  5. Security & Compliance
  6. Data Management
  7. Advanced Analytics

To ensure efficient and accurate operations in an industrial environment, it is essential that all of these components are looked at within the IIoT platform, rather than focussing on minute tasks. In 2019, Gartner released their IIoT Magic Quadrant companies, with Davra securing a high position for ease of deployment and analytics. We aim to impart our knowledge on the platform pillars so you know the basic functionalities of an IIoT platform and can reach out to us with any questions you may have or join us in a discussion on each of these functions. 

Pillar 1: Device Management

Platform-based services give your industrial assets, from legacy machines to the latest robots, the chance to operate smoothly together through task-enabling software and firmware. Creating, configuring, managing and maintaining a multitude of IoT devices and their cloud gateways from remote locations or on-premise and in a secure manner ensures swift and secure operations. 

Pillar 2: Application Enablement & Management 

Application Enablement is a form of platform-as-a-service (aPaaS) meant to enable a developer to rapidly execute an IoT application or service in any deployment model without worrying about scale-out or scale-up factors. Core software components manage the operating system and the application platform allows infrastructure components and runtime management to operate smoothly and efficiently. 

IIoT Platforms allow you to develop applications for your unique improvements and challenges within the organisation. These applications can connect to your sensors and devices, collect data on the human and machine elements of processes, and eliminate the most common sources of error on the shop floor. The operating system and file systems are built to allow for these changes and system upgrades as your organisation grows and develops within the IIoT space.

Pillar 3: Digital Twins 

A digital twin is the representation of the thing itself and the contact point to access and work with different capabilities and features of that thing. Ease of use and implementation are critical in the design consideration, as you can paint a picture of how the assets will operate in the real world without having to use extensive resources to see the implications of the asset’s operations.

In the IoT, a digital twin can provide a holistic view of the capabilities an asset has. This helps to orchestrate different aspects of an IoT device. By providing a unified model and API, the digital twin makes working with IoT assets very easy. 

The major benefit of digital twins in the IIoT is that you do not have to worry about connecting to the physical asset to transmit any data. Instead, you can deploy applications in a secure virtual environment, or sandbox in the cloud, which works with the digital twins as if they are sitting beside the physically distributed IoT assets.

This sandbox approach reduces security risks because the applications are not deployed on the asset, but only in the cloud.

Pillar 4: Integrations 

In this pillar we will discuss how the software, tools and technologies and APIs are integrated and implemented both on-premise and on the cloud for end-to-end IIoT organisation solutions. Everything from the IIoT devices to the gateways and edge will be assessed to see how they are firmly integrated into the IIoT solution. 

Pillar 5: Security & Compliance 

Security and compliance is a major factor in the operability of an IIoT platform, and we will deep-dive into how an IIoT platform can both thrive safely yet without hindering device and system performance. We will look at the software, tools and practices that must be met to audit and ensure compliance with the law and to prevent hacking, and also how controls are put in place to correct any security breaches, as well as ensuring privacy and security of data across the IIoT platform. 

Pillar 6: Data Management 

Data management covers an array of competencies and needs to be coordinated and synchronised from the offset to ensure accurate decisions are made. Data management involves utilising software to manage data ingestion, persistence, organisation and governance. This data then needs to be able to evolve to continue to benefit the organisation, continue to give real-time responses (latency depletion) and distribute across multiple applications and the IoT edge. Data management directly affects systems monitoring, which is critical to maximizing the uptime of production lines and robotics equipment.

Pillar 7: Advanced Analytics 

In order to fully benefit from an IIoT solution, the constant data streams need to be able to provide insights into the various asset states. This information allows for monitoring, providing indicators, tracking patterns and thus modelling, and optimising the assets for the future. These outputs then allow for improved organisational processes in the future. 

Every organisation has differing opinions and roadmaps in mind when they decide to invest in an IIoT solution. We here at Davra believe in treating every customer uniquely and providing them with a nuanced and organisation-centric IIoT solution, while also imparting our knowledge on the core functionalities of the platform. IIoT is an enablement platform, allowing you to build on your current resources and extract the necessary data to make informed business decisions and deliver advanced and better services at the right time to your customers. Our next blog post will be based around IIoT Device Management, but in the meantime, if you have any queries surrounding IIoT in your enterprise, please contact us for more information

Author

Brian McGlynn, Davra, COO

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