Think one standard will rule them all as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) matures? Andrew Foster recently provided reason for you to think again as he claims the IIoT will not use a single data-connectivity standard any time soon.
Before choosing which protocol is right for your Industrial Internet system, it’s important to understand not only the strengths and weaknesses of said protocols but also how those play into the existing setup of your system. He outlines the following decision points as being key:
- What is the communication interaction pattern or patterns required?
- What is the desired level of interoperability between systems?
- What are the quality-of-service requirements of the system?
- Are connectivity and data exchanges required between devices, between devices and the cloud, and even across clouds?
- What is the required communication performance and scalability of the system?
- What is the level of security required?
There are currently a number of protocols used to support the sharing of data. According to Foster this data should be accessible where it resides and able to be delivered where it is needed. Among the protocols that support this are:
- DDS – the OMG standard for high-performance and secure data-centric publish/subscribe.
- AMQP – a standard that defines a binary, peer-to-peer protocol for transporting messages between two processes over a network.
- MQTT – this protocol allows for lightweight device data collection although full interoperability between different MQTT implementations cannot be guaranteed.
- REST – a client-server style of internet communication used for creating scalable web services.
- CoAP – this protocol supports the connectivity of low power devices.
- XMPP – an XML based communications protocol for message-oriented middleware.
In the end the variety of usage scenarios is widely varied and therefore the suitability of the options above depends on the systems in use. Adding to the complexity is the large amount of legacy equipment already in use, each using its own protocol. Therefore, the near future appears to be one where environments must support a soup of protocols. The key to reaping the benefits of IIoT then looks to be in the development of techniques for working with these multi-protocol environments.