Opto 22 Enables Rapid Industrial Internet of Things Application Development With Release of RESTful API to Industrial Programmable Automation Controllers (PACs)

July 21, 2016
Industry-first RESTful server on PACs accelerates adoption, rollout, and ROI of Industrial Internet of Things applications by flattening IIoT architectures, reducing complexity, and eliminating middleware

Industrial automation manufacturer and Internet of Things platform developer Opto 22 announces immediate availability of a RESTful API to its industrial programmable automation controllers (PACs), significantly closing the IT/OT gap and enabling rapid Industrial Internet of Things application development, reduced time to market in machine and system design, and faster automation and control project deployment.

The addition of a secure RESTful server and open, documented API to a programmable automation controller (PAC) is a significant and ground-breaking industry innovation. REST architecture and technology are intrinsic to the Internet of Things and paramount to web and mobile-based application development. Opto 22’s implementation of REST directly into a commercially available, off-the-shelf (COTS) industrial programmable automation controller is unique in the market, and places the company as the first and only industrial automation and controls manufacturer to offer this industry-changing technology.

Through this new RESTful API, developers gain secure programmatic access to new or legacy physical assets through control variables and input/output (I/O) data using any programming language that supports JavaScript Object Notation (JSON). Available through a free updated firmware release for Opto 22 SNAP PAC programmable automation controllers (PACs), the RESTful API includes an HTTP/S server accessible from any HTTP/S-compatible client.

Rapid IIoT ROI

Billions of sensors, machines, and devices already exist in industrial infrastructure but are currently unable to connect to the IIoT. This legacy equipment holds valuable untapped data needed to improve business processes and decisions in almost every enterprise and every industry. Opto 22’s platform enables developers to rapidly design, prototype, and deploy applications to connect existing assets to the IIoT and share their data, capabilities, and resources with other connected systems and assets.

“The industrial automation and control industry is in transition right now,” says Benson Hougland, Vice President of Marketing and Product Strategy. “Vendors who have relied on a product development strategy based on proprietary and closed technologies have become outdated. The future of the industrial automation and process control industries lies in the rising API and data economies made possible through open standards-based technologies.

“Our objective with the rollout of these new features is to enable IIoT developers to build their applications faster using well-known Internet tools and technology. Through a RESTful API to our PACs, we’ve enabled our customers and partners to rapidly design and roll out IIoT applications using the language and tools they're familiar with, while at the same time future-proofing their technology investments for decades to come.”

An API to the Real World™

“The Industrial Internet of Things is built on the idea of seamlessly sharing data between disparate assets to identify new opportunities for businesses to become more competitive,” said Matt Newton, Director of Technical Marketing for Opto 22. “With these new features, when our customers and partners ask us how to connect their existing and future systems to the Industrial Internet of Things, we can simply tell them, there’s an API for that.™”

Streamlining IIoT Architecture

A communication disconnect between the physical world and the digital world is slowing the adoption and rollout of the IIoT. Industrial assets exist in the physical world and use physical electrical signals like current and voltage levels to communicate. Digital systems of the Internet do not understand or communicate with these types of signals.

To cope with this disconnect, current Industrial Internet of Things applications involve layers of gateways and middleware to translate between the physical and digital worlds. As a result of this complexity, businesses have been slow to reap the rewards of IIoT applications and technologies.

To expedite return on investment for IIoT applications, Opto 22 flattened IIoT architecture by bridging the communication gap with open standards-based Internet tools and technologies. Opto 22’s RESTful API to its automation controllers, combined with HTTP/HTTPS access, provides IIoT developers with secure access to the billions of legacy physical assets in industrial system infrastructure today. These features minimize the integration time and cost of IIoT applications by eliminating complex protocol converters, gateways, and middleware.

“To accelerate the development, rollout, and return on investment in IIoT applications, Opto 22 has cut through the complexity of current system architectures and provided a robust, scalable platform designed to meet the needs of information and operations technology professionals,” says Hougland. “These new capabilities support the increasing convergence businesses are seeing between information technology and operations technology.”

“We built this platform to provide our customers and partners with a solution that offered three key characteristics,” states Bob Sheffres, Vice President of Sales. “First, it had to be tough enough to survive the harsh environments of industrial applications. Second, it needed to appeal to both industrial automation and information technology practitioners—bridging the IT/OT gap—as well as tap into the millions of developers who know and apply these technologies every day. And finally, and most importantly, we wanted to provide the platforms, technologies, and tools that allow our customers, partners, system integrators, and OEMs to distinguish themselves from their competitors, future-proof their technology investments, accelerate their time to market, and solve tough automation problems more quickly than ever before.”

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