In this IIoT Talks Dialogue series, Echelon CEO and Chairman Ron Sege builds on questions and answers covered during Echelon’s IIoT Talks with industry luminaries, providing his own commentary, insight, advice, and other thoughts.
From Conversation With Loring Wirbel, Senior Analyst, The Linley Group:
Question from Echelon: Do you have any advice for those who resist moving to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)?
Loring Wirbel: They have to realize that the war is over, and the game has been won! IP and Ethernet are the future, and digging in your heels and being stubborn isn’t going to change that fact. It’s worth pointing out that from the very dawn of the Internet, Tim Berners-Lee had a vision for IP addresses everywhere.
Ron Sege responds:
As Loring Wirbel goes on to say, the inevitability of IP addressability does not mean that industrial devices need to abandon their existing market-specific protocols to become part of the IIoT. But that’s true only if they’re offered an affordable, practical technology ‘bridge’ to the IIoT future.
Unlike in the consumer IoT, where the vast majority of devices and applications were created relatively recently and with IP in mind, there are a billion or so industrial devices on isolated networks using a variety of pre-IP protocols. These network ‘islands’ can’t interoperate with one another or with IP networks.
Because Echelon has long-standing, deep roots providing control networking solutions for these industrial communities of devices, we are ideally positioned to offer the bridging technologies that can help legacy industrial devices join the IIoT, without forcing them to change how they already operate.
For example, in the building automation market we enable a single device to use either or both of the leading building automation protocols—BACnet and LonWorks—while also making it IP-enabled, for communication with IP networks.
This capability is of benefit not only to the owners and operators of the buildings, but also to the vendors of building automation devices. Traditionally, these vendors needed to either choose one protocol or the other as the basis of their products, or offer duplicate lines of products for each protocol. Of course, this meant either losing out on the opportunity to bid on at least half the projects available, or absorbing the extra costs involved in developing and managing two separate sets of inventory.
Echelon’s solutions based on our IzoT™ platform for the IIoT turn ‘either/or’ into ‘both/and’ for developers and users of industrial devices alike. We’re helping to lower resistance to the IIoT by making interoperability and IP enablement an easy, affordable option for existing, often long-lived, industrial devices and applications.
[I might also add that Ethernet may not be the best solution for applications requiring wired connections. Our well-established Free Topology wiring is low cost, easy to install, very flexible in terms of topology and very resilient.]
And to close with more of Loring Wirbel’s words from his IIoT Talks interview:
“The best way to sneak IP past the fuddy-duddies is to offer easy co-existence with legacy network stacks. Even those who resist realize that IP is the future. They might drag their heels, but they know that eventually they’ll have to make their networks IP-compatible. Echelon is doing the right thing here by providing multiprotocol, multistack models. Large-scale adoption of the IIoT will still take some top-down mandates, but tools such as Echelon’s will make the move more widely palatable.
You might also like:
- IIoT Talks: Loring Wirbel: Why and When Industrial Markets Will Embrace IP Addressability
- IIoT Talks: Loring Wirbel: IIoT Hindrances and Opportunities
- Echelon IzoT™ Platform for the IIoT