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.
Question: What are some of the stumbling blocks to achieving greater interconnectedness of industrial systems?
Chris Rommel, Executive Vice President of the market intelligence firm VDC Research: In the industry as a whole, a big challenge is the litany of different protocols.
Ron Sege perspective: Commercial building automation is a great example of an IIoT use case that involves multiple protocols. Echelon recently ran a building automation survey on our website, where 70% of respondents reported plans to integrate their lighting, HVAC, and security systems onto a common platform, nearly one-third of them in the next 12 to 18 months.
In designing our groundbreaking IzoT™ platform for the IIoT, Echelon worked to provide ‘bridging’ technology that would allow devices on all these disparate networks to intercommunicate and to participate in the IIoT, easily and affordably.
Being multiprotocol, or protocol-agnostic, IzoT technology allows a single device to be brought to market supporting more than one protocol. For instance in the building automation market, device makers traditionally had to design and build separate products to support each of two major protocols: LonWorks and BACnet. With the IzoT platform, however, companies can drastically reduce their SKUs (stock keeping units), inventory, and development time and costs by producing a single device able to support multiple protocols.
Buildings in which old and new devices can be controlled and managed on a single network gain substantial operational efficiencies. In addition, it’s easy and cost-effective to add new functionality to the building’s network, such as sensors for occupancy control or locating people within the building.
By helping to remove protocol incompatibility as a barrier to intercommunication, Echelon is helping more organizations to take advantage of the IIoT.