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Navigating the Challenges of Industrial IoT: A Comprehensive Guide to Requirements and Architecture

Navigating the Challenges of Industrial IoT: A Comprehensive Guide to Requirements and Architecture


IoT

Industrial Internet of Things: Requirements, Architecture, Challenges, and Future Research


Directions:

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is a term that refers to the application of the Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to the industrial sector. IoT is the network of physical objects that are embedded with sensors, actuators, and communication capabilities, enabling them to collect, process, and exchange data with other devices and systems. IIoT aims to improve the efficiency, productivity, quality, and safety of industrial processes by leveraging the data generated by the connected devices and systems.

However, IIoT is not a simple extension of IoT to the industrial domain. It has its own specific requirements, architecture, challenges, and future research directions that need to be addressed. In this blog post, we will provide an overview of these aspects and discuss some of the current and emerging trends in IIoT.


Requirements:

The requirements of IIoT can be classified into four categories: functional, non-functional, security, and regulatory.


Functional requirements define what the IIoT system should do, such as monitoring, control, optimization, diagnosis, prediction, and decision support. These requirements depend on the specific industrial application and use case, such as smart manufacturing, smart grid, smart transportation, smart agriculture, etc.

Non-functional requirements define how the IIoT system should perform, such as reliability, availability, scalability, interoperability, latency, bandwidth, energy efficiency, etc. These requirements are influenced by the characteristics of the industrial environment and the IoT devices and systems, such as harsh conditions, heterogeneity, mobility, resource constraints, etc.


Security requirements define how the IIoT system should protect itself from malicious attacks and unauthorized access. These requirements are critical for ensuring the safety and integrity of the industrial processes and data. Some of the security challenges in IIoT include authentication, authorization, encryption, privacy preservation, intrusion detection and prevention, etc.


Regulatory requirements define how the IIoT system should comply with the laws and standards that govern the industrial sector. These requirements vary depending on the country and industry. Some of the regulatory aspects in IIoT include safety certification, quality assurance, environmental protection, data protection, etc.


Architecture:

The architecture of IIoT can be described by a layered model that consists of four layers: device layer, network layer, platform layer, and application layer.

Device layer comprises the physical objects that are connected to the IIoT system. These objects can be sensors that measure physical parameters (e.g., temperature, pressure), actuators that perform physical actions (e.g., valves), or smart devices that have both sensing and actuation capabilities (e.g., robots). The device layer also includes the hardware and software components that enable the communication and computation capabilities of the devices.


Network layer provides the connectivity between the devices and other layers of the IIoT system. The network layer can use different types of communication technologies and protocols depending on the requirements and constraints of the IIoT application. Some examples are wired networks (e.g., Ethernet), wireless networks (e.g., Wi-Fi), cellular networks (e.g., 4G/5G), low-power wide-area networks (e.g., LoRaWAN), or short-range networks (e.g., Bluetooth).


Platform layer provides the services and functions that enable the management and analysis of the data collected by the devices. The platform layer can be deployed on different types of infrastructures depending on the needs and preferences of the IIoT users. Some examples are cloud computing (e.g., AWS), edge computing (e.g., fog nodes), or hybrid computing (e.g., cloud-edge).


Application layer consists of the software applications that use the data provided by the platform layer to perform specific tasks for the IIoT users. The application layer can offer different types of functionalities depending on

the goals and objectives of the IIoT application. Some examples are visualization (e.g., dashboards), optimization (e.g., scheduling), prediction (e.g., machine learning), or decision support (e.g., expert systems).


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