Industrial IoT framework updates edge M2M guidance:

Industrial IoT connectivity framework adds edge M2M guidance

Latest version of IICF expands connectivity guidance to include lightweight, resource-constrained M2M devices. It defines an IIoT communications stack and a connectivity assessment template and provides guidance on selecting the right connectivity standard.

The Industry IoT Consortium (IIC) has updated its industrial IoT (IIoT) internet connectivity framework document to include guidance on using data from resource-constrained machine-to-machine (M2M) devices often found at the edge of networks.

The IIC’s Industrial IoT Internet Connectivity Framework (IICF) is a foundation document that guides the building of an industrial IoT (IIoT) connectivity architecture. The latest version of the IICF expands the connectivity guidance to include lightweight, resource-constrained M2M devices. The IICF defines an IIoT communications stack and a connectivity assessment template. It applies the assessment template to evaluate IIoT connectivity standards and provides guidance on selecting the right connectivity standard based on system requirements. The IICF connectivity reference architecture enables data sharing and interoperability across a diverse range of IIoT systems.

Building blocks in the IIoT-Connectivity-Framework
Building blocks in the IIoT Connectivity Framework. (Image: Industry IoT Consortium)

“Five years ago, the IICF laid the foundation for ubiquitous data sharing across the rich but often confusing landscape of IIoT applications. Today’s important updates and new assessments cater to the communication requirements of resource-constrained devices,” said Dr. Rajive Joshi, lead author, co-chair of the IIC Connectivity Task Group, and principal solutions architect at Real-Time Innovations (RTI). “IIoT architects can use this document confidently to review up-to-date requirements, technologies, standards, and solutions that enable rapid, open information exchange across their systems.”

“Sharing data is essential for organizations to create new value streams and unleash the potential of a global IIoT marketplace,” said Stephen Mellor, CTO, IIC. “The latest version of the IICF helps organizations use IoT connected M2M devices to drive better business outcomes.” The IICF is a fact-based, consensus-developed document that provides a stable long-term foundation for IIoT interoperability. It offers helpful, practical, tangible guidance for requirements assessment, technology evaluation, and selection.

The updated IICF builds on the previous versions and provides updates and assessments for connectivity framework standards, including Open Platform Communications United Architecture (OPC UA), oneM2M, Lightweight M2M (LwM2M), Data Distribution Service (DDS) including the new DDS for Extremely Resource-Constrained Environments (DDS-XRCE) and DDS for Time-Sensitive Networking (DDS-TSN) specifications. The latest version of the IICF also includes updated diagrams and an expanded list of standards.

IICF authors include Rajive Joshi from RTI, Paul Didier from Cisco, Christer Holmberg and Jaime Jimenez from Ericsson, and Timothy Carey from Nokia.

IIoT Connectivity Framework
Communication is a cross-cutting function across the functional domains defined by the Industrial Internet Reference Architecture as shown here. (Image: Industry IoT Consortium)

The 152-page IICF document is structured as follows:

Chapter 2: defines the IIoT communications stack model and introduces the Connectivity Framework (framework) and the Connectivity Transport (transport) layers. It clarifies the role of connectivity in enabling syntactic interoperability, i.e. exchanging structured data, in system architecture and introduces the key system characteristics directly affected by connectivity.

Chapter 3: defines the requirements for core connectivity standards and proposes connectivity gateways to bridge a domain-specific connectivity technology to a core connectivity standard and open up hitherto inaccessible endpoints. This approach is tenable with a few core connectivity standards with core gateways for interoperability amongst them, and many domain-specific technologies that can use a gateway to any of those core standards.

Chapter 4: dives into the connectivity framework layer. It defines the core functions and the typical considerations and trade-offs to apply when considering a connectivity framework technology.

Chapter 5: dives into the connectivity transport layer. It defines the core functions and the typical considerations and trade-offs to apply when considering a connectivity transport technology.

Chapter 6: defines a template for assessing any connectivity technology from a business, usage, functional, and implementation viewpoint. It introduces a worksheet that can be used as a tool to understand, categorize and evaluate any connectivity technology.

Chapter 7: uses the assessment template worksheets to describe the prominent connectivity standards for IIoT. It also describes some of the connectivity standards prominent in specific verticals.

Chapter 8: highlights the standards that meet the requirements of core connectivity and are suitable for serving as core connectivity standards.

Chapter 9: provides guidelines on how to open up domain-specific connectivity technologies, via a core connectivity standard. It recommends completing the worksheets to identify the core connectivity standard closest to the domain-specific connectivity technology. It also makes some suggestions for a core connectivity standard based on the primary functional domain of applicability for the connectivity technology.

The full document can be downloaded from the Industry IoT Consortium web site here.

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