I agree that Ethernet in its current form is not suitable for the sensor and actuator level of the industrial automation hierarchy for a number of reasons so existing fieldbus standards such as FOUNDATION fieldbus and PROFIBUS PA (IEC 61158) and WirelessHART (IEC 62591) etc. will continue to dominate here. I also agree that a bridge to the IP world is required for the Internet connection to build the IoT. It is important to remember that the APPLICATION PROTOCOL is essential for interoperability and interchangeability. Ethernet media and TCP/IP is not enough to make things work together. Application protocols for common fieldbus protocols in use such as Modbus/RTU, HART/WirelessHART, FOUNDATION fieldbus, PROFIBUS, and DeviceNet etc. are already available, many of them since years ago; they are Modbus/TCP, HART-IP, FF-HSE, PROFINET, and EtherNet/IP respectively. Note that fieldbus protocols are automatically and transparently converted to their corresponding Ethernet application protocol, without having to manually map data. This converter is often referred to as a "linking device" rather than a bridge or gateway to highlight this important difference. I believe use of such linking devices, automatically converting the data on the underlying sensor/actuator bus to IP, will increase as IoT adoption takes off. This way you get the best of both worlds; the ruggedness, reduced wiring, long distance, device power, and hazardous area compatibility etc. of fielbuses with the Internet capability of IP.
Varun, excellent article. I agree, even most of the VC community thinks of IoT only in consumer terms. With 2 billion legacy industrial devices (run via ICS/SCADA systems with Modbus, BACnet and LonWorks) and more are still shipping, there is a clear need as to how to incorporate them into new security policies, remote accessability and big data analysitcs.
Network virtualization is an important upcoming technology that allows any organization with industrial control systems - utlities, oil & gas exploration, manufacturing, etc. - to integrate both the old world and new world onto a common network foundation with software-defined security and poiicies. This enables these organizations to be more agile, more secure and far more innovative.
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