A Data-Driven Approach to Sustainability in Industry 4.0 Using MQTT
Industry 4.0 is ushering in a sustainable era leveraging digitization, artificial intelligence (AI), the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), and similar technologies. Sustainability is undoubtedly the way forward for a better future and a greener planet. But, can we achieve our sustainability goals in a world driven by devices built with proprietary protocols and siloed OT and IT data?
Through this blog, I will share how to overcome the data connectivity challenges in OT and IT and provide you with a data-driven approach to bring better sustainability to your industry 4.0 setups, irrespective of your industry vertical.
Reality Check of Sustainability in Industry 4.0
Many industries have already implemented sustainability strategies as part of their business models. For example, the automotive sector has quickly embraced technologies like connected vehicles, shared mobility services, and autonomous driving. The growing demand for EVs and innovative mobility solutions that rely on real-time data is a testament to sustainability’s importance.
Such progress towards sustainability is good.
However, what happens when systems work in silos or can’t perform as expected in challenging circumstances such as poor network connectivity?
I recently participated in the Industry of Things World event, held in Berlin. I gave a talk with SVA and Splunk titled IoT, Cyber Security, and Sustainability – Friends for Life.
The talk explored how we could leverage the precious data generated by devices in the industry 4.0 ecosystem and connect them to enterprise applications to bring IoT, cybersecurity, and sustainability together.
During this conversation, we addressed the elephant in the room – the siloed OT and IT systems. In an ideal world, all devices are able to talk to each other. It sounds simple. But in reality, most industry 4.0 devices run on specific protocols making it challenging to connect IoT devices from the OT world to IT systems. This communication mismatch prevents us from analyzing collective data and apply machine learning which allows us to optimize our business and accelerate sustainability projects.
Result: A spaghetti point-to-point integration with no interoperability and scalability.
From the above diagram, it is clear that you will have to establish 21 connections to connect your OT devices to IT systems, which means you need to configure 42 endpoints to transmit and receive data. In the field, configuring 42 endpoints is not an easy task. To complicate matters, it’s nearly impossible to scale this setup to hundreds or thousands of devices. In such cases, how do you efficiently achieve sustainability?
Here, the MQTT protocol (and in this IIoT case MQTT Sparkplug specification, built on top of MQTT) can provide tremendous benefits towards sustainable scalability.