All God’s children are doing surveys. They want to know what you think. This report, “Building Industrial IoT Systems in 2024,” presents data from a survey by HiveMQ, an MQTT solution provider, and my friends at IIoT World.
IIoT no longer generates the buzz it did in the mid-10s of the century. Regardless, the use cases still abound for the technology.
350 professionals were surveyed across Automotive Manufacturing, Power and Utilities, Renewable Energy, Transportation and Logistics, Smart Cities, and more to share feedback on building IIoT systems. The results demonstrate that industries are embracing IIoT technologies and moving towards full implementation and deployment of IIoT solutions. Implementations are up from 67% in 2022 to 75% in 2023.
Getting funding is a never-ending problem for engineers seeking new projects.
With 6 out of ten executives saying it is difficult to quantify investment in technology, more and more professionals are stuck in proof-of-concept purgatory. Industrial automation is no different — over a third of survey respondents said a key challenge for implementing IIoT systems is a lack of budget and uncertain ROI.
Additional insights from the survey include:
- Increased productivity (29%) and improved Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) (23%) are the top benefits companies expect to gain from implementing IIoT systems.
- Leadership support (38%) and cybersecurity (35%) are the key challenges companies cite in implementing a new IIoT system.
- A quarter of survey respondents believed that executive leadership (25%) should own the project while nearly a quarter of respondents (23%) believe that a project team combining both OT and IT expertise should spearhead the IIoT strategy.
- MQTT (57%) and HTTP (58%) are considered to be essential data movement tools for fulfilling IIoT strategies.
- Sparkplug is still in its infancy but 25% of companies say they have deployed or are looking at using Sparkplug, while 35% say they need to learn more about it.
- Microsoft Azure (18%) is the leading cloud provider for IIoT systems, followed by Amazon Web Services (17%), and multi-cloud (14%).
I’ve been sitting on additional news from The Eclipse Foundation. This news relates to its 2023 IoT & Edge Developer Survey. I find these results informative. Do they fit with your experience?
Administered by the Eclipse IoT Working Group and the Eclipse Sparkplug Working Group, the survey provides essential insights into IoT and edge computing industry landscapes, challenges developers face, and the opportunities for enterprise stakeholders in the IoT & edge open source ecosystem. Now in its ninth year, the survey is the IoT & edge industry’s leading technical survey.
“This year’s results yielded some very interesting trends, particularly those related to real-world use cases and technology choices,” said Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation. “What’s clear is that developers are actively building production solutions leveraging open source technologies to tackle today’s IoT challenges across industrial, agricultural, and municipal settings.”
The online survey was conducted from April 4, 2023, to July 5, 2023, during which 1,037 global developers, committers, architects, and decision-makers from a broad set of industries and organisations participated. Key findings include:
- Development is increasing across all IoT sectors. Industrial automation is once again the top area of focus (33%, up from 22%), followed by agriculture (29 %, up from 23%), building automation, energy management, and smart cities (all at 24%).
- Developers indicate that Java is the preferred language for IoT gateways and edge nodes, while C, C++, and Java are the most widely used languages for constrained devices.
- MQTT is the top IIoT communication protocol. Nearly half of developers (49%) indicate a preference for MQTT for IIoT communications, with MQTT + Sparkplug checking in at 8%.
- The withdrawal of IoT Middleware providers has created an opportunity for innovators to enter the market. Google Cloud IoT Platform, Bosch IoT Suite, IBM Watson IoT, and SAP Internet of Things all exited the market in 2022 or announced their intent to do so. While nearly half of respondents indicated a relationship with one or more of these providers, only 12% have migrated to a new provider.
- Control logic (40%) surpassed artificial intelligence (37%) as the most common edge computing workload. Does this imply a renewed focus on the practical aspects of delivering real-world solutions? Only time will tell.
- Software Supply Chain Security has become an essential issue for IoT/edge developers, with 70% saying it is vital to their work.
- 5G is enabling accelerated IIoT adoption. Cellular adoption has doubled since 2022 (44% vs. 22% in 2022) largely due to 5G penetration, while WiFi (38% vs. 36% in 2022), Ethernet (38% vs 29% in 2022) and Bluetooth (23% vs 20% in 2022) continue to be viable options.
The survey data contains further insights on developer choices for edge computing workloads, platform connectivity, developer concerns, and use case breakdowns by market. In addition, the report provides breakdowns of use cases by market and detailed recommendations on the next steps for IoT developers. The entire report can be downloaded here.
I’ve had many conversations with Arlen Nipper of Cirrus Link, co-developer of MQTT, and Benson Hougland of Opto 22, early adopter of MQTT and Sparkplug, at the Inductive Automation Ignition Community Conference over several years about the demand for lightweight communications. OPC UA has a place in the toolbox, but many engineers desired a lightweight alternative. MQTT is a fast and lightweight transport protocol, but using it required engineers to specify their own payload technology. Enter Sparkplug. I call it a sort-of OPC-light (but people get mad at me for saying that).
Sparkplug has been developed as open source way for engineers to standardize their messages from IIoT devices to databases.
The Eclipse Foundation, one of the world’s largest open source software foundations, in collaboration with the Eclipse Sparkplug Working Group, announced that the Sparkplug 3.0 specification has been published as an International Standard. This publication is the outcome of a transposition of the specification through the Publicly Available Specification (PAS) transposition process offered by the ISO and IEC Joint Technical Committee (JTC 1) for information technology, a consensus-based, voluntary international standards group.
The International Organization for Standardization and International Electrotechnical Commission (ISO/IEC) are global organisations that facilitate the development of International Standards that support innovation, sustainability, and global trade. Sparkplug is an open software specification that enables mission-critical operational technology (OT) clients to use industry standards, including OASIS MQTT, to seamlessly integrate data from their applications, sensors, devices, and gateways with most Industrial Internet Of Things (IIoT) infrastructure. As a result, Sparkplug enables businesses to easily deploy complex, mission-critical IIoT systems in record time.
The PAS transposition process for reviewing and approving externally developed specifications at JTC 1 is neutral to all contributors and includes industry-wide participation. Going forward, the Sparkplug specification will also be known as ISO/IEC 20237. The Eclipse Foundation retains stewardship of the specification and intends to submit future revisions through the PAS transposition process.
The Sparkplug Working Group is simultaneously launching a product compatibility program for Sparkplug implementers. The program will ensure that Sparkplug-compatible products and implementations demonstrate a high degree of compatibility and interoperability.
Sparkplug provides an open and freely available specification for how Edge of Network (EoN) gateways or native MQTT-enabled end devices and MQTT Applications communicate bi-directionally within an MQTT Infrastructure. It is recognized that OASIS MQTT is used across a broad spectrum of application solution use cases and an almost indefinable variation of network topologies.
By design, the MQTT specification does not dictate a Topic Namespace or any payload encoding. However, as the IIoT and other architectures leveraging the publisher/subscriber model are adopted by device OEMs in the industrial sector, having different Topic Namespace and payload encoding can inhibit interoperability for the end customer. To that end, the Sparkplug specification addresses the following components within an MQTT infrastructure:
- Sparkplug defines an OT-centric Topic Namespace
- Sparkplug defines an OT-centric Payload definition optimised for industrial process variables.
- Sparkplug defines MQTT Session State management required by real-time OT SCADA systems.
The Eclipse Foundation provides our global community of individuals and organisations with a business-friendly environment for open source software collaboration and innovation. We host the Eclipse IDE, Adoptium, Software Defined Vehicle, Jakarta EE, and over 425 open source projects, including runtimes, tools, specifications, and frameworks for cloud and edge applications, IoT, AI, automotive, systems engineering, open processor designs, and many others. Headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, the Eclipse Foundation is an international non-profit association supported by over 350 members.
Digital Twins form the core technology to Industry 4.0, Industrial Metaverse, and Digital Transformation. (Did I hit all the hype hot buttons there?) All joking aside, digital twins—making digital designs available across platforms—are important. The Industry IoT Consortium (IIC) has published this month the Digital Twin Core Conceptual Models and Services Technical Report.
The report guides technical decision-makers, system engineers, software architects, and modelers about connecting the foundational IT infrastructure with industry-specific business applications powered by digital twins in industrial settings.
The report describes digital twin fundamental concepts and basic requirements, core conceptual models and services, enabling architectures and technologies, and supported business applications. It provides high-level technical considerations in implementing the digital twin core layer, aligned to the Virtual Representation section of the Digital Twin Consortium (DTC) Platform Stack Architectural Framework: An Introductory Guide. The IIC report also includes a survey of relevant standards and can be used as input for standards development for digital twins.
The Industry IoT Consortium is a program of the Object Management Group (OMG).
Honeywell Connect 2023, the user conference of Honeywell Connected Enterprise the software business unit of Honeywell, was held in Dallas this year October 10-12. I had been waiting for some documents from Honeywell and got busy. I’ve written several news stories from Honeywell Connect over the past six months. This Strategic Business Unit of Honeywell has been quite busy.
This event was sort of a 5th anniversary celebration. I’m a slow learner and it took some time before it sunk into my consciousness just what was up with Honeywell Connected Enterprise and Honeywell Forge. Honeywell corporately has five strategic business units. Four are vertical business. Honeywell Connected Enterprise is the software arm that cuts across all the other SBUs plus reaches out in its own right.
CEO Kevin Dehoff referred to Forge as the “premier Industrial IoT Architecture.” At a time when other companies who had touted IIoT were moving to other marketing slogans, HCE proudly discusses IIoT as the connected of the Connected Enterprise. I think they are continuing on the correct track. After all, I named my new website 10 years ago as The Manufacturing Connection because I saw that connecting things (and processes and people and businesses) was where we as an industry needed to go.
Discussion centered on outcomes. I also like that approach. Too many product companies focus on features. Customers are interested in outcomes.
Everything connected becomes a hacking risk. HCE acquired SCADAfence a few months ago to strengthen an already rich cyber security portfolio. Shortly after the acquisition, the company announced CyberWatch and CyberInsights. Expect to see growing robustness from the cybersecurity portfolio.
No software event can be complete without bowing to Digital Transformation. “Digital Transformation isn’t an event—it’s an ongoing journey.” HCE talks of technology augmenting humans. Another topic here is the potential use of AI as an enabler of autonomous control—another sub theme of the conference.
Some ideas in this vein include AI co-pilots, cyber forensics and recovery, closed loop sustainability.
Digital Transformation as the sum of process, people, technology, and data.
Sustainability continues to be a strong theme. Companies are continuing the trend from manual to automated data collection. Carbon and demand management continue as an important trend. HCE continues to see opportunities with instrumentation for monitoring emissions, as well as, applying process control technologies to mitigate those.
One final thought. The last session I saw was with Vimal Kapur, Honeywell CEO. HCE has been developed to solve customers’ big problems. Doing so, Honeywell is building the largest industrial software company. “Maybe we already have.”
This is interesting because earlier this year I was at the Siemens Digital event where executives extolled the division as the market’s leading industrial software company. The week following AVEVA held its annual conference—a continuation of the OSIsoft PI user conference. Meanwhile, Emerson has been aggressively promoting itself as a software company. Yet, Rockwell Automation had been touting its software for a few years, but it has become the “digital transformation” company for the past year or more.
Where will software take all these companies? Is this where growth lies? Instrumentation and control are stable, but mature markets? I wonder.
Is your knowledge or experience limited to your historian or perhaps also an SQL database? It’s worth your time following the variety of database products that may help you in your manufacturing digital transformation. This release is from MongoDB. I am retaining all the “about” paragraphs below the news in case you are not sure who this is and may want additional information.
The news in brief:
- New MongoDB Atlas for Manufacturing and Automotive initiative helps organizations deploy applications that use real-time data to optimize processes and reimagine end-user experiences with connected technologies
- AWS, HiveMQ, Share Now and Digitread Connect among partners and customers working with MongoDB in the automotive and manufacturing industries
MongoDB on Sept. 21, 2023 at MongoDB.local Frankfurt, announced MongoDB Atlas for Manufacturing and Automotive, a new initiative that helps organizations innovate with real-time data and build applications that take advantage of intelligent, connected technology.
MongoDB Atlas for Manufacturing and Automotive includes expert-led innovation workshops, tailored technology partnerships, and industry-specific knowledge accelerators to provide customized training paths designed for the wide range of use cases that developers in these industries work with—from digital twins of manufacturing facilities to predictive maintenance of factory equipment to highly engaging applications for connected cars.
To be effective, organizations need the ability to collect, process, and analyze high-volume data from different sources in real time—a process that is extremely challenging. For example, the data that IoT devices and sensors generate comes in many different formats and must be normalized, combined, and processed before advanced analytics can begin. Even then, many organizations often lack the expertise required to build applications that can analyze real-time data for use cases like identifying potential defects in vehicle fleets for safety improvement or detecting anomalies in factory machinery to prevent equipment failure. Because of the many challenges involved with collecting, processing, and analyzing vast amounts of real-time data, many organizations in the automotive and manufacturing industries are unable to build and deploy modern applications that take advantage of connected technologies to transform their businesses.
“The automotive and manufacturing industries are embracing a foundational transformation from manual assembly-line type operations to intelligent organizations based on software and automation. New vehicle drivetrains and complementary technologies provide access to vast amounts of data that is not only available in real-time but needs to be processed in real-time as well,” said Boris Bialek, Field CTO of Industry Solutions at MongoDB. “This industry-wide transformation is in its early stages, and many companies are just starting to figure out what they need to effectively collect, process, and analyze all of this data so they can make better business decisions and enhance end-user experiences. MongoDB Atlas for Manufacturing and Automotive accelerates this transformation by providing a set of expert-led industry initiatives to help organizations quickly go from ‘overwhelmed by data’ to ‘deriving valuable insights from data’ with modern applications.”
- MongoDB Atlas for Manufacturing and Automotive includes dedicated executive engagement with industry experts from MongoDB and the MongoDB Partner Ecosystem to ideate client-specific solutions using best practices. Innovation workshops are tailored to address the unique challenges and opportunities organizations in the automotive and manufacturing industries face so they can develop data-first application strategies.
- MongoDB Atlas for Manufacturing and Automotive provides access to MongoDB’s industry-specific partner integrations and toolchains to help accelerate application development. The MongoDB Partner Ecosystem includes systems integrators and technology consultants with industry-specific expertise—including AWS and HiveMQ—to help organizations adopt the right solutions for their specific use cases. MongoDB also works closely with industry-specific technology alliances like COVESA that provide open solutions for automotive industry challenges.
- Organizations can engage with the MongoDB Professional Services team to take advantage of automotive and manufacturing industry expertise to accelerate projects from concept to prototype to production in less time.
- MongoDB Atlas for Manufacturing and Automotive provides tailored MongoDB University courses and learning materials, including unlimited access to curated webinars and solutions sessions, to help developers learn how to quickly build modern applications for the automotive and manufacturing industries.
Partner program on AWS
- HiveMQ makes it possible to move data from device to cloud in a secure, reliable and scalable manner. “The HiveMQ MQTT Platform makes it easy for companies to stream IoT data from devices to the cloud to ensure they are maximizing value,” said Dominik Obermaier, Cofounder and CTO at HiveMQ. “Adding a pre-built integration with MongoDB allows our customers to eliminate the need for manual integration and harness the power of MongoDB for data management and real-time, application-driven analytics.”
- Share Now is a car-sharing joint venture between car2go and DriveNow with over 10,000 vehicles in 16 cities across eight countries. “We needed new versatile, automated database environments that could handle all of our microservices and database clusters without breaking a sweat. This would help us efficiently and accurately process incoming data,” said Stephan Kaufmann, Head of Cloud Engineering, SHARE NOW. “Deploying MongoDB Atlas was a seamless and pain-free project for us. MongoDB Atlas helps us innovate through integrating our data sets and back-end management while delivering better ROI than any other solution on the market.”
- Digitread Connect provides KYB, an Industrial IoT platform that helps track performance of machinery and industrial assets through sensors: “Time-series data is our bread and butter, and MongoDB made it simple for us to handle this,” said Christoffer Lange, CEO, Digitread Connect. “We were amazed by the simplicity and the performance. Using MongoDB Atlas really showed us that we don’t have to worry about the nitty-gritty details of how to treat the database. We got the solution live for our customers in a very short time.”
About MongoDB Atlas for Industries
MongoDB for Automotive and Manufacturing is part of MongoDB Atlas for Industries, a program that helps organizations accelerate cloud adoption and modernization by leveraging industry-specific expertise, programs, partnerships, and integrated solutions.
About MongoDB Atlas Developer Data Platform
MongoDB Atlas is the leading multi-cloud developer data platform that accelerates and simplifies building applications with data. MongoDB Atlas provides an integrated set of data and application services in a unified environment that enables development teams to quickly build with the performance and scale modern applications require. Tens of thousands of customers and millions of developers worldwide rely on MongoDB Atlas every day to power their business-critical applications.
Headquartered in New York, MongoDB’s mission is to empower innovators to create, transform, and disrupt industries by unleashing the power of software and data. Built by developers, for developers, our developer data platform is a database with an integrated set of related services that allow development teams to address the growing requirements for today’s wide variety of modern applications, all in a unified and consistent user experience. MongoDB has tens of thousands of customers in over 100 countries. The MongoDB database platform has been downloaded hundreds of millions of times since 2007, and there have been millions of builders trained through MongoDB University courses.