There are many types of devices to consider when developing an Industrial IoT solution. The business objectives that help determine the system requirements of your solution also dictate what device characteristics are necessary for your IIoT system. Devices can include sensors, I/O monitoring circuitry, cameras and other instruments for abstracting data from industrial system.
Here are the top 4 topics to address during the device evaluation and selection phase of the IIoT development process:
- Resource requirements: The underlying data requirements (amount and flow) of the application combined with the connectivity options will dictate device resource requirements, such as computing power or local memory. If the data requirements are large and the connection is not constant, the application may be required to cache a considerable amount of data locally, which will drive up the local memory required. A high volume streaming application with constant connection, on the other hand, will require additional computing capabilities (and associated power).
- Power considerations: If your IIoT solution requires devices to be deployed in remote locations without access to line power, then battery or solar powered devices will be required. Lower power functionality will be necessary. For fleet or stationary IIoT solutions that can connect to reliable power lines, power considerations are not as high a priority.
- Data security: How will the data collected from the devices be secured in cases of theft or cyberattack? Hardware devices can support identity authentication options that use security tokens and more. They can also require single or double end-user password authentication. The extent to which your devices must encrypt the data it communicates may vary by industry. A healthcare organization, for instance, will need the data collected by IIoT medical devices to meet strict HITECH Act data protection regulations.
- IoT protocol: Does the IoT protocol of the device match your business’ IT system requirements? While most communications in the Internet of Things (IoT) is based on the Internet TCP/UDP protocols, the data communicated by the devices of your IIoT solution should be compatible with the protocol your IT system uses to translate data. Also consider whether the device’s protocol supports future data sharing and complements the IIoT solution’s security measures.
Other functions may exist that are also critical for your IIoT network depending on the intended features of your solution. In the next installment of our 9-part blog series on implementing an IIoT solution, we will discuss the process you must take when determining how to connect the devices, machinery and other physical objects that comprise your Industrial IoT solution.
We’ve also put together a rubric that outlines the many steps to take when addressing the factors discussed in this ongoing series: