Multiple connected products and standards, 1 platform reshaping the Industrial IoT

Picture the connected factory of the future. The factory floor hums with activity – motors spinning, robotic arms shifting about, equipment humming and vibrating with electricity. Everything the eye can see – and more – is connected electronically. This is the vision of the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

A multitude of data is being continually relayed from each machine to a remote server in the cloud and back – conveying a digital “mirror image” of each piece of equipment and its status – from the vibrations and noise produced to the temperature and humidity emitted. In the cloud, data analytics are applied to capture each machine’s “normal state” – and alert operators remotely if anything out of the ordinary occurs.

The connectivity needed to link the equipment in the industrial Internet of Things and relay information to the cloud could include Sub-1 GHz, Wi-Fi® network(s), and/or a local Bluetooth® low energy connection to help operators locate equipment in the factory using beacons, then connect directly to configure and service or operate the equipment.

“A system deploying all of these ‘connectivity standards’ would require three wireless technologies on top of any wired connections,” said Systems Engineer Roger Monk. “In the past, this would have required the engineers to develop three separate products, use three sets of tools, manage many sets of software dependencies, and climb a big learning curve.”

Moreover, they might have to go through the same process all over again if a new connectivity standard emerges later. It could slow or delay the pace of innovation for the IIoT.

But with our new SimpleLink™ microcontroller (MCU) platform – available now – the whole system can be built with one product family and easily configured for the required connectivity technology with a common software update mechanism, peripheral drivers and development environment.

The platform allows developers to use simple plug-ins to reuse 100 percent of the code already developed whenever the connectivity needs of an end product evolve. It is also possible to add another connectivity standard later with an additional plug-in. Watch this short video to see how it works.