Avnu Alliance Plus Partnerships Plus TSN Yields Internet of Things Advances

Avnu Alliance Plus Partnerships Plus TSN Yields Internet of Things Advances

2017 marks the year of Avnu Alliance, the consortium driving standards-based deterministic networking, making its name in the industrial Internet of Things space. I’ve caught up with news from other trips, now it’s news from SPS in Nuremberg that I missed this year.

  • Avnu Alliance and Edge Computing Consortium
  • Avnu Alliance and OPC Foundation
  • TSN Conformance Testing

Avnu Alliance and the Edge Computing Consortium

Avnu Alliance and the Edge Computing Consortium (ECC) announced a liaison agreement to partner on shared interests of advancing industrial networking and edge computing. Under the agreement, the consortia will work together with the shared goal for interoperability across the industrial control industry.

Joint activities between Avnu Alliance and the ECC will include:

  • Identifying and sharing IIoT best practices
  • Collaborating on test beds
  • Collaborating on standardization and conformance testing

“We are very excited about the cooperation between ECC and Avnu Alliance,” said Mr. Haibin Yu, Chairman of ECC. “We believe that Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) technology will enable edge computing to better meet the industrial customers end-to-end needs and promote the global industry digitization transformation.”

“Edge computing is a key enabling technology to the industrial IoT. The liaison with the Edge Computing Consortium enables Avnu to broaden the scope for creating an interoperable foundation of Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) for the industrial IoT in alignment with our organization’s goal to build coalitions within the networking space,” said Todd Walter, Avnu Alliance Industrial Segment Chair.

Avnu Alliance and ECC conducted a joint presentation at the ECC Summit in Beijing on November 29, 2017 to announce their agreement and the opportunities ahead for Edge Computing and Time Sensitive Networking.

Avnu Alliance and OPC Foundation Combined IT-OT Leadership

Avnu Alliance (Avnu), Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), and OPC Foundation announce their collaboration with IT-OT industry leaders to advance industrial device interoperability and to show the progress made in bringing the open, unified communication standard OPC UA over Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) to market.

Leading companies active in these groups have pledged their commitment to ensuring the interoperability of deterministic industrial devices and have made significant investments in achieving this goal. Rapid developments of these technologies have been made over the last year.

“With the rapid adoption of TSN as a foundational technology for automation, the community is increasingly relying on an interoperable set of network services and infrastructure. Today, 17 market leaders are reinforcing their commitment to complete a unified communication technology,” said Todd Walter, Avnu Alliance Industrial Segment Chair. “By leveraging the liaison agreements of Avnu, IIC and OPC Foundation, we’re creating a faster process for the creation of an open, interoperable ecosystem of devices that take advantage of secure, guaranteed latency and delivery for critical traffic. It is exciting to see the fruits of our labor in these milestones.”

The pillars of this announcement are:

Conformance testing advances: Avnu TSN conformance test plans for time synchronization of industrial devices are ready and available to test houses. At last month’s Avnu IIC Interoperability Workshop, more than 20 companies came together to demonstrate interoperability in the IIC TSN Testbed and to advance the conformance tests with the assistance of University of New Hampshire InterOperability Lab, an Avnu-recognized test facility.

Standards evolved, more vendors, more devices: The Publish Subscribe extension for OPC UA is now available in release-candidate form, enabling the exchange of OPC UA over UDP connections. This is the prerequisite for running OPC UA TSN.

“OPC UA over TSN adds additional capability to the OPC Foundation portfolio, including enhancing controller-to-controller and machine-to-machine communication and information integration. OPC UA addresses the complex requirements of initiatives like Industrie 4.0 and the IIoT, providing information integration between devices, applications and the cloud, truly providing the foundation for the much-demanded seamless communication and information integration between IT and OT networks,” said Thomas Burke, OPC Foundation President.

Demonstrated interoperability between different vendors: Interoperability testing via the IIC TSN Testbed is rapidly progressing with eight hands-on plugfests taking place in the US and Europe over the past 18 months. More than 20 companies have participated in these face-to-face events to test and demonstrate interoperability between devices from various manufacturers and vendors – both collaborative and competitive.

“Our TSN Testbed stands as a showcase for the business value of TSN. The work coming out of the TSN Testbed is already having a direct impact on suppliers and manufacturers who see the technology as a value-add for their system structures,” said Paul Didier, IIC TSN Testbed Coordinator, Cisco Solution Architect. “Companies are invited to participate in our plugfests to test their own TSN devices for interoperability, including OPC UA Pub-Sub TSN devices.”

Avnu Alliance Delivers First TSN Conformance Tests for Industrial Devices

Avnu Alliance announced the first set of Avnu TSN conformance test plans for time synchronization of industrial devices are ready and available now for test houses to implement.

Avnu Alliance has built a rich set of conformance and interoperability tests with a defined procedure for certification in various markets. Leveraging that multi-industry experience, Avnu defined a baseline certification in the industrial market that consists of robust and comprehensive test requirements based on the market requirements for industrial automation devices and silicon. These conformance tests ensure that the device or silicon conforms to the relevant IEEE standards, as well as additional requirements that Avnu has selected as necessary for proper system interoperability.

“Time Synchronization, or 802.1AS, is the foundation for all TSN devices, hence it is the first set of conformance tests that are ready and available,” said Todd Walter, Avnu Alliance Industrial Segment Chair. As the standards and networks continue to evolve, so does Avnu’s work to define and certify the standard foundation. In the future, Avnu will also be able to test and certify other traffic shaping mechanisms, frame preemption, redundancy, ingress policing, strict priority, and security. “Our work with the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), OPC Foundation and other industry organizations drives the industry closer toward achieving an interoperable ecosystem,” added Walter.

Avnu is committed to speeding up the path to an interoperable foundation. To this end, Avnu members have made open source code available for 802.1AS timing and synchronization in the OpenAvnu repository on GitHub.

To encourage and enable multiple industry groups, vendors and protocols to share a TSN network, Avnu has outlined the system architecture and requirements for this industrial model built on an Avnu certified foundation in a document entitled “Theory of Operation for TSN-enabled Industrial Systems,” which is available for download. This document introduces the fundamental mechanisms needed for a system architecture to build on, including time synchronization, quality of service using scheduled transmission and network configuration and walks through the requirements of several industrial use cases including how to enable and integrate non-TSN technologies where needed.

Avnu Alliance members have created this document to help designers and engineers in the industry understand the real-world application context and build a TSN network that is configured for multiple vendor and industry groups. Avnu’s defined foundation will continue to support additional capabilities, including support for multiple IEEE 1588 profiles, guidelines for scaling to very large network architectures, centralized and distributed configuration for the network, and aggregation/composition of multiple networks into a single TSN-enabled network domain.

Avnu Alliance Members Endorse TSN Market Value at Hannover Messe and Deterministic Ethernet Forum

Avnu Alliance Members Endorse TSN Market Value at Hannover Messe and Deterministic Ethernet Forum

The Time Sensitive Network (TSN) standard is in development by the 802 committee of the IEEE. This is the Ethernet committee as TSN is a set of standards (some have been adopted) extending Ethernet into the realm of determinism. One driving force behind development and implementation of the standard is the Avnu Alliance.

First, a quick look at the standard. Three relevant standards exist. IEEE 802.1AS (IEEE 1588)—Timing & Synchronization; IEEE 802.1Qbv—Forwarding and Queuing; IEEE 802.1Qcc—System Configuration. These deal with a synchronized clock, deterministic packet delivery, and system setup.

Now the news. Members of the Avnu Alliance, the industry consortium driving open, standards-based deterministic networking, actively endorsed Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) and advanced the TSN device roadmap at Hannover Messe from April 23 – 27, 2017 and Deterministic Ethernet Forum (DEF) from April 27 – 28, 2017. Members across the industrial and automotive markets participated in presentations and trainings, as well as product and testbed demonstrations at the events.

“The business value of TSN for industrial and automotive applications was a theme in the presentations and panel discussions at DEF this year. It is more clear than ever that Avnu Alliance is the place where leading manufacturers are working together to ensure we have a common, interoperable infrastructure for TSN and a future-proof network,” said Kevin Stanton, Avnu Board of Directors Chairman.

A key demonstration at both events was the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) sponsored TSN Testbed that Avnu Alliance and many of its members participate in.  As the world’s first testbed for TSN, it was developed with two major goals – to show TSN’s readiness to accelerate the marketplace; and to show the business value of TSN in converged, deterministic IIoT networks. At Hannover Messe, the TSN Testbed was on display in both the IIC booth and the OPC Foundation booth for attendees to see demonstrations of a real-world TSN network with numerous Avnu member products and prototypes from companies including Analog Devices, Belden, Bosch, Cisco, Hilscher, National Instruments, Renesas, Schneider Electric, and TTTech.

The testbed highlighted the ability for the IIoT to incorporate high-performance and latency-sensitive applications. The work coming out of the TSN Testbed is already having a direct impact on suppliers and manufacturers who see the technology as a value add for their system structure.

Avnu members Cisco and Belden both made TSN announcements at Hannover Messe. Cisco announced that it has added TSN support to the IE4000 Switch family of products. Belden in turn presented the company’s TSN upgrade path for select products from its industrial switch portfolio, starting with the RSPE35 and RSPE37 switch family. Analog Devices also showed TSN at the PROFINET International and ODVA stands at Hannover Messe. These demonstrations showed TSN compatibility with existing Industrial Ethernet protocols as well as convergence of TSN with standard Ethernet traffic. Later the same week at the DEF hosted by TTTech, Avnu Alliance leadership delivered the welcome address and members led discussions around topics such as, “How the IIC Testbed Drives Vendor Interoperability” and “Deterministic Ethernet Will Help to Meet the Need for Speed for Future Automotive Applications.”

Standards are just nice ideas unless there is a conformance test and a test and certification agency. For example, such a system assures WiFi device compliance to that standard.

In 2017, Avnu Alliance will continue work towards Avnu certification of TSN devices and offer collective multi-industry experience and networking expertise to manufacturers looking to expedite advanced networking implementations, ultimately leading to a faster path to market for industrial manufacturers. “With IIoT, there is a strong reliance on open standards to enable secure, predictable, reliable, and uninterrupted flow of information from sensor to cloud. Avnu members influence and shape the evolving standards; thus enabling them to deliver the value of TSN for customers and instil confidence in the stability of the technology. With the rapid adoption of TSN as a foundational technology for automation, the community is increasingly counting on an interoperable set of network services and infrastructure.  The conformance testing and certification provided through Avnu will be critical to provide the needed interoperable network for the IIoT,” said Todd Walter, Avnu Alliance Industrial Segment Chair.

Industry Support for TSN and Avnu Alliance:

“Open standards are key to enabling the data-centric applications of Industrie 4.0 and the IIoT.” said Dr. René Hummen, senior architect technology and innovation at Belden. “IEEE TSN is an important piece in this puzzle by providing for deterministic and reliable data transmissions, converged data networks, and continuous data access without gateways. Avnu certification of TSN will ensure interoperability of the various end-systems and network infrastructure devices that IIoT applications rely on.”

“Great interest in TSN became apparent at Hannover Fair in the IIC Consortium, OPC Foundation and TTTech booths. There was encouraging feedback we received around the broad possibilities TSN offers for the different industries. These possibilities were also on the agenda at the successful Deterministic Ethernet Forum in Vienna, with 250 participants from 23 countries, representing industrial and automotive companies, consortia as well as semiconductor companies,” said Markus Plankensteiner, VP sales industrial North America and global alliance manager at TTTech Computertechnik AG. “The tremendous progress of TSN in the last months was conveyed with presentations from industry experts. Also, concrete products utilizing the technology were announced, among them a variant of the Intel Cyclone V SoC, featuring TSN switching functionality by TTTech. It is crucial to use the momentum of the technology to start building great products that will increase the acceptance of TSN even further.”

“Hannover Messe is an enormous trade show and this year TSN seemed to be everywhere – much more than in previous years, “said Tom Weingartner, Marketing Director, Deterministic Ethernet and IIoT Communication Technology for Analog Devices. “We received positive feedback from the demonstrations of TSN we gave at the show. Interoperable networking protocols like TSN make convergence on the network seamless and help ensure that as the IIoT expands, there is a strong infrastructure supporting it.”

The Avnu Alliance is a community creating an interoperable ecosystem of low-latency, time-synchronized, highly reliable networked devices using open standards. Avnu creates comprehensive certification programs to ensure interoperability of networked devices. The foundational technology enables deterministic synchronized networking based on IEEE Audio Video Bridging (AVB) / Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) base standards. The Alliance, in conjunction with other complimentary standards bodies and alliances, develops complete solutions in professional AV, automotive, industrial control and consumer segments.

OPC Foundation Elects Microsoft’s Matt Vasey to Board of Directors

OPC Foundation Elects Microsoft’s Matt Vasey to Board of Directors

Quite a deluge of press releases comingMattVasey-Microsoft Mug from the OPC Foundation preparing for the upcoming Hannover Messe. Microsoft was an original OPC supporter, and here a new representative from the company has joined the Board. Key to the announcement is OPC UA communication into the Microsoft Azure cloud.

The OPC Foundation has elected Microsoft to the Board of Directors of the OPC Foundation, which represents many of the world’s most prominent global suppliers. The new board seat, which will be held by Microsoft Director of IoT Business Development Matt Vasey, is an extension of Microsoft’s support for OPC Foundation since the company first became a member in 1995.

Microsoft’s longstanding commitment to interoperability and the OPC Foundation includes the OPC technology portfolio and OPC-UA, active participation in the OPC Foundation technology working groups, and ongoing representation on the OPC Foundation Technical Advisory Council.

“OPC-UA is an essential component of the connected products that manufacturing customers need today, and it is increasingly seen as an important part of enterprise IoT scenarios and business models,” said Matt Vasey, Microsoft Director of IoT Business Development. “I am personally excited to be working with the OPC team to help our customers unlock the value of these high-value IoT scenarios that span from the edge to the cloud.  Microsoft is committed to openness and collaboration and fully supports OPC-UA and its evolution.”

“OPC-UA is widely recognized as a key communication technology for the Industry 4.0 initiative,” says Thomas J. Burke, OPC Foundation President & Executive Director. “Microsoft’s support for standards that foster IoT innovation, and specifically for OPC and OPC-UA, result in easy, direct and secure communications from PLC controllers on the shop floor to the top floor world of IT.”

“It’s a great honor to have Microsoft join the OPC Foundation Board of Directors, and we welcome Matt Vasey’s outstanding efforts to facilitate the acceleration of OPC UA as the solution for the Internet of Things,” added Burke.

“As one of the largest IT/Cloud companies, Microsoft joining the OPC Foundation board demonstrates its recognition of the role that OPC UA plays from plant floor to enterprise connectivity and IIoT for industrial automation and beyond”, according to Craig Resnick, Vice President, ARC Advisory Group. “From OPC’s perspective, having Microsoft as part of its board makes sense based on its long history of working with the OPC Foundation as well as its deploying scalable OPC UA connectivity solutions ranging from the sensor to the IT/enterprise and cloud.  From Microsoft’s perspective, being part of OPC’s Board shows its commitment to openness for connecting platform independent architectures to its cloud systems, collecting data and providing its Azure cloud services for multiple operating systems beyond just Windows.”

Matt Vasey is currently responsible for IoT business development at Microsoft, working with a cross-functional team to continue to build out the ecosystem of technology partners, standards bodies, and other innovation catalysts that are required for the new generation of IoT applications, services, and systems that serve both individuals and businesses. He also serves as an officer and board member on the OpenFog Consortium, and was instrumental in the formation of this organization working closely with other founders from Intel, ARM, Cisco, Dell and Princeton University.

In addition to Mr. Vasey and Mr. Burke, the OPC Foundation Board includes Russ Agrusa, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of ICONICS; Matthias Damm, President of Ascolab; Stefan Hoppe Senior Engineer of Beckhoff Automation and OPC Vice President, Thomas Hahn, Chief Software Expert at Siemens AG and OPC Vice President, Shinji Oda is General manager, Technology Marketing of Yokogawa Electric Corporation; Veronika Schmid-Lutz, Chief Product Owner for manufacturing products at SAP SE and Ziad Kaakani, Global System Engineering and Architecture, Honeywell Process Solutions.

The Internet of Things Is Coming–According to MIT Anyway

The Internet of Things Is Coming–According to MIT Anyway

Internet of ThingsEveryone is in a rush to get an opinion or observation published about the Internet of Things. Evidently it gets lots of page views. Recently other analysts have been publishing thought pieces on IoT in Industry. It appears they have reached the same conclusion that I first broached a couple of years ago. The IoT is not a “thing.” To make any sense of it and use it for any strategy, it must be thought of as an ecosystem encompassing a variety of technologies.

Here is an article that appeared in the Sloan MIT Management Review. Since I am a subscriber, I don’t know if you can see the article at this link.

The writer is Sam Ransbotham is an associate professor of information systems at the Carroll School of Management at Boston College and the MIT Sloan Management Review Guest Editor for the Data and Analytics Big Idea Initiative. He suggests, “The Internet of Things will bring huge changes to the way markets and businesses work — and it could get messy.”

Here is a bromide that I’ve read a thousand times, “Most businesses aren’t ready for the changes to the marketplace that the Internet of Things will bring. But the time to prepare for them is now.”

Actually most business adapt. Some are visionary and will develop new products, processes, and services–and make a lot of money. Others will adapt and survive. Still others will wonder what happened and die. That is the way of business for at least 5,000 years.

Use Case for Internet of Things

“Yes, the potential insights from IoT are enticing. For example, it’s fun to think about the potential personal and even societal benefits from self-driving cars, such as fewer accidents, no problems with parking, more productivity while traveling, car sharing, greater infrastructure efficiency, etc. But perhaps a more profound implication is the data that they can collect. These cars will also be widely distributed “things,” gathering performance data that can help manufacturers diagnose problems, operational data that can help mechanics prevent failures, driver data that can help insurers understand risk, road data that can help cities improve infrastructure, etc. These kinds of insights, we’re ready for.”

But there are a lot more changes coming with the IoT transformation than many people may recognize.

Ransbothem looks into information technology as a model for what will happen in IoT. “About a decade ago, advances in information technology converged to fuel a boom in corporate use of analytics. First, widespread implementation of information systems captured unprecedented amount of data in ways that could be used in isolation or combined. Second, tools and technologies allowed the inexpensive storage and processing. Third, savvy analytical innovators creatively combined these to show everyone else what could be done.”

We have seen all this play out in industrial systems. There remains more to be done, here, though.

He proceeds to look at Internet of Things. “First, the cost and physical size of sensor technology have dropped such that they can be incorporated into most items. Second, widespread communications infrastructure is in place to allow these distributed components to coordinate. Third, once again, savvy innovators are showing the rest of us the possibilities from the data they collect.”

Manufacturing and production are not only poised to exploit these technologies and strategies, they have already been implementing to one degree or another. But his point is valid. IoT needs the ecosystem of sensing devices, networking, communication technology, databases, analytics, and visualization.

Ransbothem identifies four areas of change. Of these, I direct your attention to the last–process changes. I think everything feeds into process changes–not just the processes to make things, but also the information technology, supply chain, and human processes that must not only adapt but thrive with the new information awareness.

  • Market Power: IoT should provide a greater amount and a greater value of data, but are companies ready to align their interests in obtaining value from this data with the multiple other companies and end users who create, own, and service the products that originate the data? In the driverless car example, it is easy to see how multiple stakeholders could make use of the data from cars; the same is true for other devices. But it may not be clear who owns what data and how it can be used.
  • Complexity: Few organizations are prepared to be hardware and software development companies. But that’s what the Internet of Things will enable. As products are built with embedded sensors, the component mix increases in complexity. As a result, manufacturing systems and supply chains will become more elaborate. Software embedded in products will need to be updateable when the inevitable shortcomings are found.
  • Security: If we believe data is valuable, then we need to be ready for people to want to take it from us — why would data be any different than any other precious item? The IoT context intensifies the need for security requirements; for example, sensors or software that allow physical control of the product make attacks easier.
  • Process Changes: Many business processes continue to be “pull” oriented. Information is gathered, then analyzed, then decisions are made. This works when change is slow. But with the IoT transition, data will stream in constantly, defying routine reporting and normal working hours. Flooding data from IoT devices will give opportunities for quick reaction, but only if organizations can develop the capacity needed to take advantage of it. Few mainstream large companies are ready for this, much less small- to medium-sized companies that lack the resources of their larger corporate brethren.


The Internet of Things is bringing and will continue to bring advances in how we do business. How well will executives, managers, and engineers execute on this vision? That is key.

Technology Standards for Industrie 4.0 Include OPC

Technology Standards for Industrie 4.0 Include OPC

Thomas BurkeNews about further adoption of OPC (www.opcfoundation.org) continued to flow from the recent Hannover Fair (Messe) in Germany. Things had gone dark for a period of time from the Foundation. This has changed over the past couple of weeks as the communication technology picks up momentum.

The Platform Industrie 4.0 (I4.0) announced at Hannover Messe 2015 a reference architecture model for Industrie 4.0 (RAMI 4.0). RAMI 4.0 is a unified architecture model where use-cases, standards etc. for I4.0 are necessary. In RAMI 4.0 I4.0 components are defined in their structure and functioning. Thus it enables cross-company networking and integration across value-added networks. Where meaningful, RAMI 4.0 builds on existing and relevant standards.

The Platform Industrie 4.0 trade organizations BITKOM (IT), VDMA (Mechanical Engineering) and ZVEI (Electronics) together collected and analyzed necessary or relevant standards for RAMI 4.0 in technically oriented working groups. In the category “Communication Layer“ the OPC UA (IEC 62541) standard was thoroughly examined and deemed adequate for RAMI 4.0 as the one and only confirmed.

“Companies like ThyssenKrupp are implementing Industrie 4.0 today. The availability of established communication protocols is mission critical for such a timely implementation, OPC-UA is here the best example,” said Dr Achatz head of technology at ThyssenKrupp AG.

“We are proud the Platform Industrie 4.0 thoroughly analyzed OPC UA in the category “Communication Layer” and confirmed its relevance as the only standard for the reference architecture model for Industrie 4.0,” said Thomas J. Burke, President and Executive Director of the OPC Foundation. “This shows that the OPC Foundation is on the right track with our approach of secure, safe, manufacturer- and platform independent communication for heterogeneous systems by means of OPC UA to become a global data exchange standard for Industrie 4.0 and the Internet of Things.”

Follow this blog

Get a weekly email of all new posts.