Bridging the IT/OT Divide

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The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) promises a new era of both informed decision-making within the industrial organization as well as data-centric collaboration that reaches beyond the walls of a single factory or even the organization itself.

Achieving this vision requires that system architects and machine designers tap into increasingly powerful—and ever more accessible—information technology (IT) on the one hand while managing a persistent and diverse array of operational technology (OT) on the other. Meanwhile, collaboration across far-flung enterprises as well as with partner and supplier organizations has upped the ante on robust, cybersecure connectivity that often leverages public internet infrastructure.

Facilitating these sorts of capabilities need not be overly complex or prohibitively expensive. Indeed, a new breed of edge devices now are available that feature cybersecure “top-side” integration with supervisory and ERP-level applications—including cloud-based ones—together with “bottom side” industrial protocol integration services for a broad range of controllers and other plant-floor equipment.

Increasingly, this suite of capabilities can be instantiated in a standalone gateway or embedded into another edge device such as a human machine interface (HMI). Further, these newly capable devices can be retrofitted onto an existing machine to streamline enterprise integration or used by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to provide out-of-the-box, “IIoT-ready” connectivity on new machines for their end-user customers.

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