SAN JOSE, Calif. — China has agreed to align any national standards for the industrial Internet of Things with the work of the industry-led Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC). The deal is the latest of a handful the IIC hopes to knit into a global framework for IoT.
The IIC signed the memorandum of understanding with an academy under China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology on Wednesday. It already struck similar deals with German officials responsible for its Industrie 4.0 initiative as well as officials in Japan with a similar program.
Next on the list are deals in France, Chile, Kazakstan and other governments with national IoT programs. Beyond that, the IIC aims to add agreements making the deals multilateral so the IIC becomes an international hub of collaboration on IoT interoperability.
“We don’t want to end up with a series of bilateral meetings, so everyone must agree with each other," said Richard Soley, executive director of the IIC and chief executive of the Object Management Group that oversees it and three other trade groups “It’s important our members don’t get stuck supporting multiple architectures and security frameworks,” he told EE Times in an interview.
“There are all sorts of national and regional IoT organizations popping up all over the world. Their mission statements are about trying to create economic growth and they are funded by national governments,” said Soley, adding the IIC mission is to accelerate the IoT transition inside its 260 corporate members scattered across 41 countries.
“At first we didn’t know how to work with” the national and regional groups, Soley said. “But then they started publishing their own guidelines and security approaches and that was going to make a serious mess, so we are becoming a hub for the national efforts,” he explained.
The work is one part of IIC’s broader effort to forge “a lot of little missing pieces” needed to make IoT robust and interoperable for its members. To date IIC has created an IoT reference architecture and a security framework that describes best practices. Most of that work bubbles up from a group of 27 test beds the IIC currently manages around the world, each focused on a different industry sector.
Bosch helped launch the first IIC test bed in Germany in February 2015. It aimed to demonstrate ways of managing manufacturing control systems from multiple vendors, but quickly identified a need for standards.
“I think all our efforts will be like that — semantic standards for vertical markets that solve specific problems,” said Soley.
“You can think of it as device drivers. It’s about semantics for products that do the same things with different protocols and languages and need to specify things in ways not specific to their manufacturers,” he said, noting a test bed on connected health care may have a similar experience.
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