Once manufacturing adopted standard Ethernet and transmission control protocol/Internet protocol (TCP/IP) interfaces, the door to both sides talking to each other was opened. Aside from just the simple ability to communicate, adoption of standards, coupled with increasing sales, has led to a drop in network prices. This affordability is a second key factor leading to this era of compatibility.
Contributing Editor Terry Costlow interviewed a number of experts in the field who have their fingers on the pulse of network and communication adoption. He found that there is an entire portfolio of technologies necessary to bring the two sides together. It builds from the Ethernet backbone, TCP/IP protocols that optimize communication over the Internet using additional Web technologies. Add OPC, an open communication standard, and other standards that define maintenance terms, such as MIMOSA, from the Machinery Information Management Open Systems Alliance, and new levels of profitability can be achieved.