SAN JOSE, Calif. – As many as ten companies including AT&T, Cisco Systems, GE, IBM, and Intel are working with US government representatives to form a consortium to drive the so-called Industrial Internet. Their goal is to define an architectural framework for open industry standards that would serve a broad swath of market sectors from automotive and manufacturing to healthcare and the military.
If successful, the consortium hopes to be up and running with an initial draft of its framework and a test bed for it within a year. Such a document and capability could impact a wide variety of commercial products and programs in the emerging Internet of Things sector.
"The industrial and Internet revolutions are converging, and we believe the US could gain a competitive advantage with new products and services if we can exploit this convergence," said S. Shyam Sunder, a director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), who is helping organize the consortium.
The companies approached the government with the idea for the consortium in December. Their request dovetailed with an emerging NIST program on cyber-physical systems that had been the subject of a series of high-level meetings NIST hosted with technical and business industry leaders last year.
NIST and the interested companies laid out five areas the consortium's framework could address in a meeting in March. They included defining an architecture for:
- Co-engineering cyber and physical systems
- Identifying cyber-security issues and solutions
- Addressing concerns about interoperability
- Identifying ways to maintain robust wireless connections
- Setting standards for real-time data collection and analytics
"The trick is to look at all these issues holistically rather than domain by domain," said Sunder in an interview with EE Times. "This way, you wind up with common frameworks and don't have to re-learn lessons of other domains."