New Initiatives Will Enable Comprehensive IIoT Deployment

A three-year development program supports mobility, security and interoperability

Aw 104215 Lane Lee 1 0 0 0

I am pleased to announce that the FDT Group Board of Directors has just approved a comprehensive strategy that will result in a three year release cadence of a fully enabled Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) architecture. Built upon the rock solid FDT standard, this new initiative will support mobility, on-the-wire security, and comprehensive interoperability. The standard will also be platform independent and can be deployed in a stand-alone, client/server, or cloud architecture.

The FDT Group Board of Directors and the Executive Committee realize that the three year time line is aggressive by any benchmark. To help us meet the challenge, we have engaged in a formal strategic deployment plan. The first step is already well underway as we refine and streamline internal procedures to ensure that we are able to act in an aggressive but coordinated and supportive manner throughout the organization. To help ensure that we meet our goals, we have committed to a package of enhanced performance tracking methods that will be part of our everyday lexicon and work flow.

Clearly, IIoT does not give rise to the notion of a single solution. There are many organizations working around the world to bring further definition to the scope of IIoT. The FDT Group will actively seek out alliances with these various organization to help to insure that our standard supports their requirements and use cases. Early results of this are evident in the FDT standard being represented in the German Industrie 4.0 RAMI model. Given the wide berth of IIoT discussions, we envision that these alliances will continue well beyond our immediate three year initiative.

While our commitment to this three year initiative is news, we have been laying the groundwork for this over the past 18 months. For example, we are now in the final stages of membership approval of the FDT OPC UA annex that will allow an FDT Frame to contain an OPC UA server that any standard or custom OPC UA client can use to access the wealth of information to which the FDT Frame is privy. This includes the topological information, network health, and individual device data. Perhaps the most powerful aspect is that the OPC UA client has transparent access to the supported devices thanks to the unique nesting feature of the FDT standard that allows automatic and transparent routing to the end device through all industrial networks.

The addition of OPC UA to the FDT specification allows developers to create applications never before possible. A simple example is an Android tablet application that contains an OPC UA client but allows a maintenance technician to ascertain the operational status and health of an asset by interrogating the remote FDT Frame as he or she roams the facility. To the operator, it will appear as if the wireless tablet is connected directly to the asset in question.

While these type of scenarios are exciting, they only scratch the surface of possibilities with FDT in a fully IIoT enabled configuration. I invite you to put your signature on this exhilarating creativity by joining us an FDT Group member.

Lee Lane, Chairman of Board of Directors
FDT Group

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