Avnu Alliance Expands TSN Test Tool Ecosystem

A few years ago I thought Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) had potential benefits for industrial networking. This IEEE standard would do the synchronizing that only custom chips do now. As a standard, commercially available chips should be plentiful and inexpensive. Technical snafus ensued. We are still waiting. There are advances.

  • Avnu Alliance, the industry forum driving deterministic capabilities into open, standards-based networking, announced expansion of its time sensitive networking (TSN) Test Tool program by opening the test tool ecosystem to new vendors. 
  • 3rd party vendor test tools can be verified and validated through Avnu’s rigorous process, which is designed and maintained by experienced certification management professionals and TSN subject matter experts to ensure that it meets the interoperability standards of Avnu’s Global Certification Program.
  • The Avnu Express Test Tool is a low-cost, entry-level evaluation test tool that allows members to internally verify if a device will pass certification tests before submitting to testing. The Avnu Express Test Tool provides valuable insights into the product that can be used to optimize and debug product development, increasing the probability of certification success.

Test and Registration Services for Ethernet-APL Infrastructure Products

Technical standards are a good thing for users of technology and products built to the standard. However, we all have stories about some company or another’s “standard” perhaps not exactly being interoperable with other companies’ “standard” products. Conformance testing and registration give users some assurance that products will work together.

This test and registration from the FieldComm Group provides conformance testing and registration for industrial instrumentation technologies for the process automation sector for Ethernet-APL solutions — power switches and field switches.

  • Pepperl+Fuchs Rail Field Switches are the First Ethernet-APL Products to Achieve Registration
  • Ethernet-APL is an enhanced physical layer for single-pair Ethernet (SPE) based on 10BASET1L. This new physical layer provides end-users with a resilient, isolated and powered Ethernet network for process automation.  
  • FieldComm Group has worked closely with ODVA, OPC Foundation, and PROFIBUS & PROFINET International in a concerted collaboration in developing the test specifications and processes for Ethernet-APL products.
  • FieldComm Group has developed a conformity assessment system to support Ethernet-APL switching hardware. FieldComm Group assesses products for overall conformity to the Ethernet-APL standards using a combination of test results from specialized laboratories and in-house testing services.

The Basis for Fruitful Collaboration

Nassim Nicholas Taleb wrote in his first book, Fooled By Randomness, “The more data we have, the more likely we are to drown in it.” I had a role in a manufacturing company once upon a time that was something like “director of all data.” Drowning would have been a mild word. I see manufacturing companies today entering digital transformation also in danger of drowning in data.

Enter the International Dataspaces Organization. I’ve been following it from afar for at least a year. It must be time to acknowledge it here in the blog. Following is some general information and a link if you also wish to follow it.

Companies hold vast amounts of valuable data that they have been unable to safeguard, share or monetize. The IDSA standard enables data sharing through data spaces characterized by uniform rules, certified data providers and recipients and trust among partners. Data spaces provide the basis for fruitful cooperation, lowered barriers to entry and limitless innovation in the data economy of the future.

One of the problem with all this standardization work is getting followers. They recognize that:

That future truly arrives when more companies implement IDS as their preferred mode of data exchange and when official standards and governance bodies adopt it as the binding global standard.

  • What is data sovereignty? Today, organizations of all types and sizes collect and store huge amounts of every kind of data. IDSA enables you to self-determine how, when and at what price others may use it across the value chain. We call this data sovereignty.
  • Many data providers currently  give their data away or use it as currency in exchange for services and other considerations from large data platforms. For others, data-sharing hurdles create a drag on efficiency or barriers to entry into a market for smaller players. Partners in IDS data sharing relationships are already realizing new efficiencies in the auto industry, and enabling smaller companies to enter the lucrative 3D printing market. The possibilities are limitless.
  • Many organizations collect and store data where there is a significant duty to protect the privacy of clients and other consumers. Think of health care, insurance, legal services and more. Data sovereignty means that these data holders can safeguard user data like never before, and ensure that it is used only in accordance with strictly defined rules. Our Digital Life Journey project is one application where the data sovereignty provided by IDS changes the game in this regard. We bet you can imagine lots of others.

Industry IoT Consortium Publishes Artificial Intelligence Framework, Updates Networking Framework

I missed the notes of an interview when I transferred to a new notebook a couple of months ago. It concerns a new Framework published by the Industry IoT Consortium (you may remember them as the Industrial Internet Consortium, still known as IIC). These Frameworks are blueprints targeted at decision makers providing a variety of perspectives on a topic along with practical advice according to Wael William Diab, Chair IIC Industrial AI Task Group and Secretary IIC Steering Committee, and Bassam Zarkout, Executive Vice President IGnPower Inc. and the Chief Editor of the IIAIF.

They told me the work approaches the topic from different perspectives—business, usage, functional, and future.

Artificial Intelligence Framework

The Industry IoT Consortium (IIC) announced the Industrial IoT Artificial Intelligence Framework (IIAIF). The framework highlights the value proposition AI can enable in next-generation industrial IoT (IIoT) systems and addresses the emerging requirements and implementation challenges.

“The rapid growth and innovation in the field of AI have unlocked applications that a few years ago were infeasible. These advances are fueling digital transformation across industry sectors such as manufacturing, transportation, healthcare, finance, and retail,” said Wael William Diab, Chair IIC Industrial AI Task Group and Secretary IIC Steering Committee. “By taking a holistic approach to the emerging requirements and challenges, the framework aims to accelerate responsible adoption of AI-enabled IIoT systems and ultimately bring the benefits of digital transformation to more use cases and sectors.”

The IIAIF brings together both the IT and OT perspectives and their convergence by considering the various aspects of next-generation AI-enabled IIoT systems. For instance, the framework addresses the value proposition, implementation challenges, and architectural decisions and provides exemplary usage scenarios.

“AI-enabled IIoT systems enable better insights, faster decision making, and more effective operations, and empower organizations to deliver higher value to the market,” said Bassam Zarkout, Executive Vice President IGnPower Inc. and the Chief Editor of the IIAIF. “The framework is unique in terms of positioning, scope, and real-world use cases. It addresses the practical business, trustworthiness, ethical, and technical considerations of AI with other digital transformation enabling technologies.”

“The IIC is focused on creating transformative business value by accelerating the adoption of industrial IoT systems,” said Stephen Mellor, IIC CTO and Exec. VP of OMG. “The IIAIF is a prime example of how IIC is facilitating the adoption of emerging technology by helping organizations understand and address the unique requirements of AI in IIoT environments.”

Update to Industrial Internet Networking Framework

The Industry IoT Consortium (IIC) published an update to its Industrial Internet Networking Framework (IINF) that includes new guidance on deploying satellite communications technologies in place of terrestrial networks, which can be technically and economically unfeasible. Today, developers can deploy satellites to connect IIoT devices spread over vast areas or for connectivity in remote, underpopulated land areas, or over the seas and oceans.

“The main advantage of satellites over terrestrial networks is their wide coverage on a regional and continental scale,” said David Lou P.hD., Co-Chair, IIC Networking Task Group and Chief Innovation and Strategy Officer at Huawei. “Even though closing the link budget for IIoT devices is challenging, satellite technology can support IIoT devices as a direct radio access network. They can also serve as a backhaul technology for wireless or wired networks at any altitude.”

Industry IoT Consortium Updates Industrial IoT Internet Connectivity Framework

The power of industry consortia lies in the number of companies and the market reach of the companies who gather to develop standards for technology and use. This guidance from the Industry IoT Consortium (IIC, formerly Industrial Internet Consortium) helps organizations drive better business outcomes using data from resource-constrained edge devices. That is digital transformation.

From the news:

The Industry IoT Consortium (IIC) announced updates to its Industrial IoT Internet Connectivity Framework (IICF), 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 machine-to-machine (M2M) devices often found at the edge of networks. 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.

“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.

IICF authors include Rajive Joshi from RTI, Paul Didier from Cisco, Christer Holmberg and Jaime Jimenez from Ericsson, and Timothy Carey from Nokia. The Industry IoT Consortium is a program of the Object Management Group (OMG).

Migrating to FDT UE 3.0

FDT Group Managing Director Steve Biegacki joined Utthunga on a LinkedIn Live session this morning (7 am CDT) to discuss migrating FDT DTMs to the latest version FDT 3.0 UE.

He discussed the benefits of the new FDT Hub which contains a central repository of DTMs such that users need not search other files to find the latest versions. FDT is also no longer tied to Microsoft Windows. Developers and users can have Linux or MacOS platforms. Better still, the latest versions are not tied to a single PC allowing use in the cloud or another server supporting multiple users.

FDT Group enables more efficient migrating to the latest standard through a set of tool kits developed by the organization and also by vendors. FDT Group also provides a Style Guide to help developers through the migration process.

Even so, FDT 3.0 is backward compatible with DTMs already in the field.

Embedded OPC UA server enables communication with other devices allowing the sensor-to-cloud strategy.

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