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Guidelines for Intelligent OT/IT Networks Industrial Internet of Things: Five Rules for Seamless Integration Between IT and OT

| Author / Editor: Mike Hannah / Dominik Stephan

Now that the industry is entering in the Industry 4.0 era, it is important to evaluate if your company is ready for it. Read this article to know how ready is your company to connect people, processes and technologies.

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A five-stage connected enterprise maturity model is a guide for implementing a more intelligent OT/IT network.
A five-stage connected enterprise maturity model is a guide for implementing a more intelligent OT/IT network.
(Picture: Rockwell Automation)

With the rapid evolution of the Internet of Things (IoT), one would assume that almost every company would have a plan for connecting automation and business systems. However that’s not all correct. HIS, a analyst company, estimates that the number of Internet-connected devices in the industrial automation sector will increase more than fifty fold from 2012 to 2025—at a compound annual growth rate of 36.3 per cent.

Integration Between IT and OT – Status Quo

Yet, Industry Week found surprisingly low levels of integration between Information Technology (IT) and operational technology (OT). Only 14 per cent of executives say that all plant-floor data is integrated with enterprise systems; about a fourth have little more than half of their plant-floor machinery (not including computers) Internet-enabled; and 30 per cent reported that none of their equipment is Ethernet-enabled. The future of industrial automation is inextricably tied to the rise of Internet Protocol (IP) technology and an infrastructure that can accelerate the IoT revolution.

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A five-stage connected enterprise maturity model is a guide for implementing a more intelligent OT/IT network.
A five-stage connected enterprise maturity model is a guide for implementing a more intelligent OT/IT network.
(Picture: Rockwell Automation)

Where is Further Investment Needed?

Around the world, forward-thinking companies and governments understand the need for investment. In Germany, the federal government is underwriting Industry 4.0, also referred to as ‘Industry 4.0,’ to help industries harness the intelligence generated by the IoT to optimize processes, increase efficiencies and spur innovation.

In the US, the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition has focused on implementing ‘21st Century Smart Manufacturing’ best practices. Chief among those was ‘Applying a reference architecture that enables seamless collaboration and integration between IT and OT’. Much of the technology needed for this revolution already exists. That includes IP-enabled networks (industrial Ethernet and Wi-Fi), information infrastructure (hardware and software), and intelligent, connected devices such as sensors, actuators and switches. But to take full advantage of these connected devices, another wave of integration is required—organizations need to bring their equipment and systems into the modern, information-enabled world.

* The author is Manager — Network & Infrastructure Product Development at Rockwell Automation

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