Siemon, a leading global network infrastructure specialist, is urging manufacturers, producers and other commercial organisations to maximise the potential of the industrial internet of things (IIoT) by using innovative technology to create a common networking platform.

The company warns that failing to do so could lead to needlessly expensive and over complicated systems that fail to deliver competitive advantages.

‘The interconnection of devices such as meters, sensors, actuators and controllers enables businesses to obtain data and remotely control and manage it,’ explained Prem Rodrigues, Siemon’s director of sales and marketing for the Middle East, India and Africa. ‘In turn, they can manage their supply chains and run production cycles more economically, while reducing human interaction, minimising downtime and enabling products to get to market more quickly.’

According to Grand View Research, the global IIoT market is expected to reach $949.42bn by 2025. However, the utilisation of traditional fieldbus systems, which are often proprietary and not interoperable, means that the opportunity to maximise the full capabilities of the IIoT could be missed. By connecting the widest variety of devices to a single network, it becomes possible to take a far more holistic approach and Siemon is advising organisations to implement a solution that is operationally resilient, cost-effective and future proof, and to ensure that it is supported by a high-quality network cabling infrastructure.

To be fully IIoT enabled, devices at the I/O level must have the ability to transmit and share data across information and operational technology (IT/OT) networks. Single Pair Ethernet (SPE) facilitates the economical, high-density deployment of connected sensors and controls to make industrial operations smarter. Now standardised in IEEE 802.3cg, SPE supports point to point links up to 1000m, as well as the delivery of DC power, and is available with ruggedised cables and connectivity to offer protection from harsh environmental factors such as extreme temperatures, the ingress of liquids and dust, and exposure to chemicals.

In addition to SPE, next generation Wi-Fi 6/6E makes the use of wireless technology within industrial environments viable, with data transmission rates in excess of 5Gb/s, enhanced device battery life, improved security and the ability to connect a significant number of devices. In fact, Wi-Fi 6/6E is anticipated to be a major game changer in IIoT provision, with Guidehouse Insights suggesting that its worth will grow from $1.7bn in 2021 to $6.9bn by 2030.

Similarly, organisations that operate over a campus or have a multi-site structure should consider the use of 5G to connect IIoT devices via a distributed antenna system (DAS). Configured as a network of antennas, a DAS enhances the reliability and latency requirements of uplink communications across an entire estate for mobile IIoT devices that need to operate both inside and outside.

‘IIoT technology is radically transforming modern industrial processes,’ concluded Prem Rodrigues. ‘As these environments become smarter and more efficient, and IT and OT networks continue to converge, companies need to think beyond fieldbus in order to build an IIoT system that is reliable, robust, agile and able to adapt to future operational changes. To truly benefit from the IIoT, a network comprising technologies such as SPE, Wi-Fi 6/6E, 5G and DAS is imperative.

“It is also vital to remember that network cabling underpins the performance of an IIoT system – so work with a best in class infrastructure provider, who will be able to help deploy a solution that is both an asset and investment for your organisation.’

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