ABB reported Dec. 11 that it's joining the Industrial Internet Consortium in 2015 to foster collaboration among technology companies as they seek to establish global standards for the Industrial Internet. ABB reports it will work with others to ensure that end users reap the benefits it promises—improved efficiency, reduced costs and increased revenues.
Founded by AT&T, Cisco, GE, IBM and Intel in March 2014 with help from Vanderbilt University, IIC has grown in less than a year to become an open-membership, not-for-profit group of more than 110 companies, organizations, universities and governments, all working to accelerate growth of the Industrial Internet by identifying and promoting best practices and robust standards, driving innovation, boosting interoperability and ensuring security. Other members working in the process control and automation space include Bayshore Networks, Bedrock Automation, Bosch Software Innovations, Cisco Systems, Fujitsu, Grid Connect, Mitsubishi Electric, Moxa, National Instruments, Parker Hannifin, Schneider Electric and Tyco.
"The Industrial Internet is transformational—it changes the way we work," says Richard Soley, IIC's executive director. "The Industrial Internet presents new opportunities for cost savings, energy savings and other efficiencies."
Claes Rytoft, ABB's chief technical officer, adds, "The industrial Internet makes it possible to collect and integrate much more information than we ever have before. Joining the IIC gives us more opportunities to influence what's happening in the development of the industrial Internet. It holds incredible promise to transform manufacturing, energy and resource industries. We expect that IIC will provide a forum to share best practices from vendors, end users and academia, which will ultimately contribute to the development of industry standards. As has been proven many times before, we believe that a basic set of standards will benefit the industry, and competition will be based on the quality of the applications and services provided."
In general, the industrial Internet reflects the accelerating application of sensors, software and improved communication technology, allowing engineers to leverage enormous volumes of data from industrial systems to boost efficiency. In addition, the industrial Internet is at the core of Industry 4.0, Germany's initiative for increased computerization of manufacturing. ABB has actively contributed to the creation of the Industry 4.0 vision and is actively working towards implementation of this undertaking.
"We're at the precipice of a major technological shift at the intersection of the cyber and physical worlds, one with broad implications that will lead to substantial benefits, not just for any one organization, but for humanity," explains Janos Sztipanovits, E. Bronson Ingram distinguished engineering professor and director of the Institute for Software Integrated Systems (ISIS) at Vanderbilt University. "Academia and industry understand the need to identify and establish new foundations, common frameworks and standards for the industrial Internet, and are looking to the IIC to ensure that these efforts come together into a cohesive whole."
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker adds, "By linking physical objects to the full power of cyberspace, the industrial Internet promises to dramatically reshape how people interact with technology. The Obama administration looks forward to working with public-private collaborations like the new IIC to turn innovative industrial Internet products and systems into new jobs in smart manufacturing, health care, transportation and other areas."
Bill Ruh, vice president of GE Global Software, concludes, "As leaders, we've come together to drive the ecosystem and market development of industrial Internet applications and ensure organizations around the world can more easily create better services, access better data, and most importantly, seamlessly connect all the pieces together. The IIC has been established to achieve this goal through the creation of common architectures and use cases that will enable businesses in aviation, transportation, healthcare or energy to plug-and-play industrial Internet technologies anywhere, anytime."