Today, the Internet of Things (IoT) is a lot more than just connected devices and seamless communication. The emerging IoT is having a sweeping effect on the way goods are produced, triggering another industrial revolution – Industry 4.0.
Industry 4.0, or the fourth Industrial revolution, is the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing industries. It is based on cyber-physical systems (CPS), networking machines, and intelligent, smart and highly flexible software. In the context of an industrial environment, the IoT gains more relevance when there is a requirement of analysing a large amount of data collected over a prolonged period of time.
Putting this into practice in the industrial context, the IoT involves mostly data acquisition, processing and associated control systems. Devices or assets connect to the cloud or local information technology (IT) infrastructure to collect and/or transmit data. This data is then processed and analyzed to provide insight about the control system. The control system acts directly on the measurements made in real-time and typically does not include storage. The IoT and cloud infrastructure provides the mechanism to conserve all data collected over a large duration of time. The data thus collected on the cloud can be used for managing the control system by statistically analysing the data collected over a long period of time.
While the typical process controller operates on real-time data that handles short term corrective actions, the IoT and cloud based technologies enables long-term observations and improvements.
Let us take a simple control system / home automation controller as an example for illustration.
The system includes the following components.
These could be based on a microprocessor (MPU) interfaced to sensors or actuators directly (or via an industrial bus). Or they could also be based on low end MPU running RTOS handling more functions. While the basic functionality would be to sense the parameters or take measurements from the sensors and then control the actuators/outputs, these systems can be extended to push the desired parameters to the cloud server.
The cloud provides various functions including distributed storage with redundancy, high-availability and centralized device management. The cloud may also provide the distributed computing infrastructure to carry out the desired business logic or data analytics logic involving large or big data.
The client is the front-end providing human interface for configuration and retrieving the information and status. The clients could be applications realized on different platforms including PC, thin-clients; tablets, smart phones etc.
Let us look at implementation of a simple IoT enabled home/office automation controller using the IoT-SDK which will provide the middleware that interfaces the industrial bus/protocol to the Cloud.
The system is realized using:
The IoT-SDK provides software components for both the gateway/device as well as the client. The cloud server interface in both the device as well as the client is well abstracted enabling seamless migration from one cloud platform to the other. The IoT-SDK supports Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud integration or open-source cloud server KAA implementation.
Industrial gateway is the device that bridges the slow speed industrial serial buses & physical input/output with the TCP/IP realm. It is designed based on the AM437x processor system-on-chip (SoC) running Linux® and having the following sensor interconnect options:
The IoT-SDK will transform the system into an IoT enabled industrial gateway having the following capabilities:
The Cloud infrastructure is built using commercially available Amazon Web Services (AWS) or it can be hosted on custom IoT open source servers like KAA.
Client application provides the user interface to the IoT devices and its big data stored in the cloud server. The client application is developed using the IoT-SDK that provides APIs to abstract lower layers completely. All the business logic for interfacing with the cloud servers and interfacing with the IoT device (gateway) is abstracted with simple APIs. The APIs are available for:
The IoT is built on a confluence of technologies, including new and old hardware platforms, big data, cloud computing and machine-to-machine (M2M) computing with APIs bringing all of these parts together.
The AM437x processor SoC comes enhanced with 3D graphics acceleration for rich graphical user interfaces, as well as a coprocessor (the PRU-ICSS) for deterministic, real-time processing including industrial communication protocols, such as EtherCAT, PROFIBUS, EnDat, and others. This combined with feature-rich IoT SDKs available today, enables developers to rapidly build secure, enterprise-grade intelligent gateways catering to a wide range of applications beyond industrial and home automation like smart cities, connected cars, energy monitoring, fleet management, and health and wellness.
To Learn more about the IoT, IoT industrial gateway and AM437x processors visit the below links:
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