Here are announcements from the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) regarding two white papers released. One deals with IioT Models and the other with innovation processes of digital transformation. A lot of thinking went into these.

The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) announced the publication of the Characteristics of IIoT Models White Paper. Interoperability between applications, subsystems, and devices in Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) systems requires agreement on the context and meaning of the data being exchanged, or semantic interoperability, which is typically captured in an information model. The new white paper addresses the challenge of integrating subsystems in IIoT systems that use different information models and examines how standardized information models that use a descriptive or semantic approach enable interoperability and ultimately digital transformation.

The variety of digital data and information systems is an indispensable attribute of the modern world of IIoT. In each industrial vertical, one way or another, work is underway to reach agreements between stakeholders through the development of standards and data schemas. Our white paper provides a simple definition of the characteristics and properties of information models, which can be useful in the design of IIoT systems and, which is especially important, for multiple systems to work seamlessly with each other.

“Semantically based information models can share data across domain boundaries using a descriptive approach (instead of a translational approach) as the data has meaning in both domains, and the full fidelity of the original data are maintained,” said Kym Watson, Co-chair of the IIC Distributed Data Interoperability and Management Task Group, an author of the white paper and Scientist at Fraunhofer IOSB. “Our intent in this white paper is to survey a subset of information models that are relevant to the IIoT and characterize those information models using a meta-model developed for this purpose. With this we capture commonalities and can begin to address the challenge of integrating subsystems that use different information models.”

“An information model is a representation of concepts, relationships, constraints, rules, and operations to specify data structures and semantics,” said Niklas Widell, Co-chair of the IIC Distributed Data Interoperability and Management Task Group, an author of the white paper and a Standardization Manager at Ericsson. “There are multitudes of information models available or under active development for a variety of application domains or industries. We focused on information models above the Industrial Internet of Things Connectivity Framework layer where semantic interoperability, including translation between different models, plays a key role.”

The white paper examines the following standardized information models (among others) that are widely applied in IIoT applications:

• Web of Things – a set of standards by the W3C for solving the interoperability issues of different IoT platforms and application domains.

• SensorThings API – an Open Geospatial Consortium standard providing an open and unified framework to interconnect IoT sensing devices, data, and applications over the Web.

• OPC UA – a machine-to-machine communication protocol for industrial automation developed by the OPC Foundation focusing on communicating with industrial equipment and systems for data collection and control.

• Asset Administration Shell – a key concept of Industry 4.0 used to describe an asset electronically in a standardized manner. Its purpose is to exchange asset-related data among industrial assets and between assets and production orchestration systems or engineering tools.

• IPSO Smart Objects – a lightweight design pattern and object model to enable data interoperability between IoT devices, building on the LwM2M IoT device management standard, specified by OMA SpecWorks

• One Data Model/Semantic Definition Format – an initiative to improve interworking across different ecosystems’ data models using an emerging standard from the IETF. The OneDM Liaison Group adopts and aligns IoT models contributed by participating organizations, so best practice models for desired features or purposes can be identified.

“Standardized information models with defined semantics and APIs are an essential foundation for any form of digital transformation,” said Andrei Kolesnikov, Co-chair of the IIC Distributed Data Interoperability and Management Task Group, an author of the white paper, and director of the Internet of Things Association IOTAS. “There must be a seamless integration across the system life cycles, especially engineering and operations for all data sharing technologies.”

IIC members who wrote the Characteristics of IIoT Models White Paper and a list of members who contributed to it can be found here on the IIC website.

IIC White Paper Identifies Innovation Process For Digital Transformation

BizOps for digital transformation in industry facilitates IT and OT integration with better business outcomes

Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) today announced the publication of the BizOps for Digital Transformation in Industries white paper. The new white paper identifies the BizOps for Digital Transformation in Industry (BDXI) innovation process, offering examples of a BDXI framework as crucial for IIoT solutions operators undergoing digital transformation.

“Digital transformation is a huge topic influencing almost every department of a firm,” said Co-author of the white paper Kai Hackbarth, Business Owner Industrial at Bosch.IO. “Solutions operators must integrate IT and OT to achieve better business outcomes, especially in asset-driven industries such as agriculture, energy, health care, manufacturing, retail, smart cities, and transportation. This is not an easy task as the process is slow and likely to conflict with existing processes and management systems.”

“The BDXI process is a fast, open, and customer-centric innovation process that considers the constraints and complexity of IT/OT integration and the physical world,” said Co-author of the white paper Chaisung Lim, Group Chair of the IIC BizOps for Digital Transformation in Industry Contributing Group, Chairman of the Korea Industry 4.0 Association, and a professor of Konkuk University. “A BDXI process helps IIoT solutions operators manage the innovation process from idea to launch successfully.”

A BDXI process includes discovering customer needs, developing solutions, learning whether solutions are feasible, and putting them into action. This necessitates dialogue between IT and OT stakeholders who would otherwise be constrained by organizational silos, a customer-centric process of checking solution validity, and fast experimentation with minimum viable products and agile methods. The most common features of BDXI processes includes the adoption of the best innovation practices from design thinking, lean start up and agile methods, and BizDevOps (the integration of IT/OT). BDXI process must be supported by a BDXI framework that offers a guide for implementing BDXI process concretely.

The BizOps for Digital Transformation in Industry white paper delves into the most common features of BDXI processes, examples of BDXI processes and frameworks, conflicts between BDXI processes and management systems, and IIC initiatives to help guide BDXI processes. IIC authors and contributors to the BizOps for Digital Transformation in Industry white paper can be found here on the IIC website.

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