The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Industry 4.0 have reshaped manufacturing and brought smart factories to life. Connected devices at the production site communicate with each other in real time, providing enhanced opportunities to monitor and control the entire process. But an IIoT system is not something you can go and buy in the high street. You’ll need a powerful IoT or IIoT platform, decent hardware and skilled professionals to make your factory smart (or at least outsmart your competitors). ElifTech is here to help you cope with the digitalisation challenges manufacturing businesses face today. We’ve looked at some of the most strongly trending IIoT platforms to help you select the best one to fit your company’s needs.
IIoT Platform: The Backbone for the Industrial Internet of Things
The overall dynamics of the Internet of Things’ economic impact is fascinating. According to McKinsey, by the year 2025, the IoT market will reach $11.1 trillion a year. To sustain the interest of custom software development companies, the global IoT platform market is expected to reach $1.8 billion by 2022. Dozens of progressive engineering companies have already made use of Internet of Things platforms for their manufacturing needs. Accenture estimates that by 2030, the Industrial Internet of Things may add $14.2 trillion to the global economy. Sounds impressive, doesn’t it?
IIoT platforms help manufacturing facilities connect devices, equipment and tools using the Internet. Industrial IoT platforms provide operating structures, computer processing capabilities, data storage environments and application building facilities for software development companies.
An Industrial IoT platform comparison shows that the IIoT market is booming. There are dozens of IIoT platforms available today. We’ve analysed five of them to help you choose better. All of these platforms are cloud-based, provide analytical insights, have their own SDKs and are reputable in terms of data security.
AWS for IIoT by Amazon
Amazon is one of the biggest names on the entire IT scene. Not every IoT platform provider can boast such a rich palette of convenient Internet of Things offerings. AWS IoT Core is a cloud platform from the range of AWS IoT Services. Connected devices linked to AWS IoT Core allow user-friendly data volume management: storage, processing, analysis, etc. Machine tools, engines, light bulbs and nearly every piece of machinery that can contain a sensor can now interact with each other and with IoT applications with the help of the following key features:
- AWS IoT Device SDK. Includes client libraries, developer guide and porting guide for manufacturers.
- Device Gateway. Ensures that connected devices can securely and efficiently communicate with AWS IoT Core: the Device Gateway manages all active device connections and implements semantics for multiple protocols.
- Authentication and authorisation. Provides proven identity of data exchange with mutual authentication and encryption at all levels of connection.
- Registry. Serves to assign a unique identity to each device and tracks metadata such as the device’s attributes and capabilities.
- Rules Engine. Evaluates inbound messages published into AWS IoT Core and transforms and delivers them to another device or a cloud service.
- Device Shadow. A virtual version one can create with AWS IoT Core which keeps the last reported state and the desired future state of each connected device.
Predix, GE’s Industrial IoT Platform
Believed to be the largest Industrial IoT platform in the world, Predix is General Electric’s cloud-based software platform for collecting and analysing data from industrial facilities. This complex and secure application platform has a complete set of integrated services to run, scale and expand digital industrial solutions. Applications created on the GE Industrial IoT platform give insights into optimising equipment efficiency, reducing costs and improving maintenance operations. Predix offers the following capabilities and benefits:
- Asset connectivity. Allows gathering, processing and transmitting data – from assets to analytics.
- Edge technology. Two interconnected software stacks (cloud and edge) that improve workload execution.
- Machine learning and Big Data processing. Helps to make sense of the massive volumes of Big Data that are being captured by industrial devices.
- Digital Twins technology. Helps companies to understand the performance of every unique asset for further optimisation by providing software representation of machinery.
- Predix DOJO. An open cloud developer platform that fosters collaboration between industry developers and General Electrics’ programmers.
MindSphere IIoT Platform by Siemens
A sophisticated IoT platform, MindSphere is a perfect ecosystem for working with the Internet of Things and Industry 4.0. Siemens’ domain knowledge, enterprise size and lavish R&D expenditures bring MindSphere to the top of the industrial automation pile. Even though Siemens has its own enormous manufacturing facilities to test and promote the application of MindSphere, it still sticks to the open source principles, providing the API for third-party software development. These advantages and the following features have helped Siemens to grow its customer base significantly:
- MindSphere products such as MindConnect IOT 2040 or MindConnect Nano capture machine and plant data and transfer it securely to MindSphere.
- Open PaaS. Native cloud accessibility allows contributing and sharing source code and extensions.
- MindSphere Rocket Club. Technical assistance for IoT and IIoT startups that helps them to scale their products globally in MindSphere.
- Product Intelligence. Allows users to receive automated reports with insights from product performance data.
- MindApps. Apps developed specifically for MindSphere by Siemens and other developers for predictive maintenance, energy data management or resource optimisation purposes.
Ayla Agile IoT Platform by Ayla Networks
This IoT platform for industrial automation positions itself as an end-to-end software ecosystem that allows the development of intelligent and reliable IoT services. The Ayla Agile platform connects existing devices to the cloud for remote control and management. Product manufacturers can use it to deploy, manage and analyse their machinery. It also helps them out with networking stack development, security and cloud infrastructure. Ayla Agile consists of three components:
- Ayla Embedded Agents. These run on IoT devices or gateways and collect data to connect devices to the Ayla Cloud.
- Ayla Cloud Services. The system’s core, with a set of operational support, business intelligence and analytics services.
- Ayla Application Libraries. A range of APIs to develop iOS and Android applications that allow the management of connected products with a smartphone or tablet.
ThingWorx IoT Platform by PTC
Thingworx is a complete, end-to-end platform designed to work with IIoT applications. It has a full set of tools and services to allow rapid development and deployment of industrial apps. Its focus on AR is what differentiates this platform from the others. ThingWorx supports native authoring and publishing of AR experiences for Microsoft HoloLens. PTC’s IIoT platform has five modules:
- ThingWorx Foundation. The heart of the platform: an environment to create, test and deploy Industrial IoT solutions.
- ThingWorx Analytics. A set of automated analytics capabilities for predictive modelling and data processing with real-time recommendations.
- ThingWorx Studio. An authoring tool that parses IoT data to create AR experiences via desktop, mobile and wearable devices.
- ThingWorx Utilities. Specific applications to define, monitor and optimise connected devices.
- ThingWorx Industrial Connectivity. A single interface to connect, manage, monitor and control automation devices and apps.
IIoT has become a kind of a magic wand for engineering enterprises, saving costs, generating new revenue streams and promoting new business models. It coordinates and unifies different systems and stakeholders and various inputs and outputs. A large number of machines connected to an IIoT platform makes a difference in terms of energy saving, work safety and increased efficiency.
We hope that our list of IIoT platforms will help you choose a platform that suits your business needs best. And if you need any help with that, we’ll gladly go through the list with you. ElifTech is a strong believer in the digital advancement of the Industrial Internet of Things. We’ll be happy to advise you on IIoT platforms and IoT software development, so feel free to contact us anytime.