Focus on Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) Infrastructure | Automation.com

Focus on Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) Infrastructure

October 242014
Focus on Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) Infrastructure

Highlights from the 2014 MOXA Global Distributor Summit

By Bill Lydon, Editor

By recently joining the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), MOXA emphasized their strong focus on the Industrial Internet of Things (IoT). Another example of this commitment is their increased rugged industrial communications product scope, including security offerings. MOXA recently hosted their 2014 Global Distributor Summit in San Francisco, CA, where they showcased their new product offerings, including industrial Ethernet, device connectivity gateways, embedded computers, industrial wireless, data acquisition & control, and industrial video.

MOXA has experienced ongoing strong growth with sales well balanced between Asia, China, Europe, and the Americas. The company is technology driven, and is committed to delivering quality products and high customer service. More than 50% of their employees are involved in research and development. This level of R&D results in industry-leading products. MOXA products are used in a wide range of applications. They created dedicated teams to focus on specific applications like security surveillance, power, oil & gas, factory automation, intelligent transportation systems (ITS, primarily rail), and marine.

Industrial Internet of Things

In Richard Mark Soley’s keynote address, he described how the industrial revolution meets the Internet revolution. Soley is a Ph.D. and Executive Director of the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC). The goal of the IIC is to improve integration of the physical and digital worlds, and to help drive adoption of industrial Internet applications by working with many uncoordinated groups including government, industries, academics, and standards organizations. The organization’s initiatives include testbeds and thought leadership.

Soley described early applications of IoT technology in industry and predicts there will be a wave of new applications that will lead to what he terms “Internetization” changes. He cited studies that predict the industrial Internet will impact 46% of the world’s GDP. Cisco Systems predicts that by 2020 the number of things connected to the Internet will be approximately 7x the number of people on earth today, or roughly 50 billion devices.

Soley discussed the big data concept as integrating sensor data, applying real-time predictive analytics based on benchmark data, and delivering visualization and decision support to policy makers. Big data is now doubling approximately every 20 months and creating opportunities for predictive analytics and technology to insure security and privacy. Soley believes the challenges to realize the full potential of the industrial Internet require a federated approach, regardless of industry.

Transportation

MOXA products are used in a wide range of transportation applications including Train Communication Network (TCN), onboard CCTV, Communication Based Train Control (CBTC), and passenger Wi-Fi.

The global smart rail market is estimated to grow from $12.30 billion in 2013 to $39.20 billion by 2018, representing a cumulative average growth rate (CAGR) of 26.1% from 2013 to 2018. MOXA is an active member of APTA (American Public Transportation Association) associations and IEC, the organization that sets standards for the rail industry. The train industry is modernizing communications with the Ethernet Train Communication Network Standard, IEC 61375, which will be published in 2014.

The transportation market includes infrastructure. Randell H. Iwasaki, Executive Director Contra Costa Transportation Authority, discussed the use of MOXA products in the 3,348-foot Caldecott Tunnel project. The project used MOXA products to implement gigabit fiber optic and traditional wired Ethernet communications, control I/O points, and video monitoring. Functions implemented include surveillance cameras, carbon monoxide detection and alarming, fire department control room, message boards provide real-time information and directions for motorists, and exhaust fans.

Interesting Products

MOXA is continually adding new products to their portfolio. I found the following products particularly interesting at the summit.

IEC 61850

IEC 61850 is used in power plants and power sub-stations. MOXA now has a complete IEC 61850 offering to provide communications transport hardware for the protocol. The products are IEC 61850 protocol aware to insure appropriate message communications, provide dependable GOOSE/SMV message delivery, and everything is redundant including data, power, and network.

Industrial Cybersecurity

MOXA introduced a firewall appliance/gateway that can be put in front of controllers and head ends. The appliance creates a secure VPN connection that provides secure, reliable, and scalable communication. This is accomplished using OpenVPN which is an open source method using TLS and SST.

HIS estimates worldwide shipments of cybersecurity devices will rise to 529 million units in 2017, according to a new report entitled, “Embedded Digital Security—World—2013.” This increase represents a 92 percent growth from 276 million in 2013.

MXstudio

MOXA’s MXstudio industrial network management suite combines the tools to manage a network. The suite allows users to configure, monitor, maintain, and troubleshoot. The software provides real-time network visualization and monitoring. Users can also schedule automatic backups.

Industrial IP Surveillance Solutions

MOXA has a wide offering of IP Video cameras and they are adding new products for various applications, ranging from outdoor to trains. They are introducing a line of gateways to migrate analog camera systems to IP communications.

Integrated Programmable Controller

The new MOXA ioPAC 8600 is an integrated programmable controller for Railway Applications. The ioPAC 8600 meets the rail industry specification EN 50121 and EN50155. This is a rugged controller with 5 slot and 9 slot configurations and an operating temperature range of -40C to 75C. The controller runs LINUX and is programmed using the ISaGraf IEC 61131-3 and/or C/C++. Functionally, this automation controller can be used in a wide range of industrial applications.

Thoughts & Observations

I was impressed with MOXA’s wide range of products, their commitment to quality, and broad range of industry-specific offerings. The company has a complete systems approach for industrial Ethernet networking that sets it apart from hardware-only suppliers.

The ioPAC 8600 controller was developed to meet rail industry needs. However, it’s IEC 61131-3 compliant software makes it a fit for many industrial applications.

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