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February 27, 2018

Connecting Your Enterprise: System Considerations for IIoT

Written by SmartSense | Connected Facility

You almost know everything you need about preparing your business for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). IIoT entails connecting and monitoring equipment, vehicles, and other hard assets within a company’s aggregated information network to enable additional organizational insights, efficiency, and control. The last article summarized an approach to implement IIoT solutions. Here we’ll cover several important considerations when selecting an IIoT solution.

Important System Considerations

As you evaluate IIoT solutions, there are several key areas to consider:

Setup and Maintenance

The setup process should be painless, but there’s a wide variation in how complicated current systems are to set up. Devices should automatically connect wirelessly and allow for remote control and updates of their software. Battery life is really important when devices are deployed to remote locations where a power source isn’t readily available, so look closely at the expected battery life. Replacing batteries on a frequent basis will drive up maintenance costs.

Platform Architecture

The opportunities provided by IIoT technologies are quickly expanding, so consider a platform that uses an open architecture that’s extensible, scalable, and interoperable with other devices. Try to future-proof your system as much as possible and look for modularity to allow adding future sensors and capabilities. Luckily, the technology building blocks are already widely available, including sensors, communication protocols, networking, data storage, hardware, and data analytics. The technology will continue to evolve to meet the growing needs of IIoT, such as long-range, low-power, and low-cost devices. Seamlessly integrating these components in a flexible and reliable manner is essential.

Data Security

A comprehensive data security strategy is important for an IIoT implementation. In some cases, you may be connecting equipment that’s never been connected before. The risk of data interception and modification during transport and at rest can be minimized with data encryption, digital certificates, and checksums. IIoT network traffic can be isolated from your primary data network in various ways, such as using a cellular network. This ensures that your IIoT network cannot compromise your organization’s network and vice versa. Role-based user credentials ensure that access to system functionality and data is limited to only those users who need it. The system should support electronic records management requirements, as necessary, such as FDA CFR 21 Part 11.

This article series summarized the IIoT value proposition, a recommended implementation approach, and several important considerations when selecting an IIoT system. Ready to get started? Subscribe to our blog to get our articles straight to your inbox.

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