What Does IIOT Mean for Instrumentation Resellers?
Updated November 2020
What is IIOT? Which service areas does it require? Are any of these three models sufficient to provide a turn-key solution for OEMs and end-users? Join us as we explore the answers to these questions and more…
Generally speaking, there are three models which businesses can take when they are selling products directly to customers, but are not the original manufacturer. These models include:
VAR – Value-Added Resellers
MSP – Managed Service Providers
SI – Systems Integrators
All of these models expand the marketing and support capabilities of the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer). In order to explore these further, we can compare the service areas for each on this chart:
Affiliate Model Service Areas
IIOT – The Future of Industrial Process Control
Distributed Control Systems have been around in one form or another since the 1960s. What originally began as simple field device monitors has since evolved into full production scheduling systems. However, they don’t currently take advantage of the cloud’s ability to leverage data for process optimization.
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT), sometimes known as the Industrial Internet, goes beyond the aggregation of sensors. Instead it provides a layered modular architecture for industrial process control. These layers are typically defined as:
Device Layer: the physical sensors.
Network Layer: communication protocols, network buses, and other data transport methods.
Service Layer: applications for aggregation and manipulation of data.
Interface Layer: can refer to the display type (phone, tablet, monitor) and/or the user interface of the service layer.
Interested In Working With Red Meters?
We are currently seeking partners to join us in empowering industrial processes.
Service Areas Specific to IIOT
Areas of expertise for IIOT will combine the full range of services that all three other channels provide. Specifically, this includes roles like Design Consulting, Hardware, Installation, Automation, Support, and Security. However, in addition to these, a partner will be needed who can provide development of Service Layer applications that transform real data from disparate systems into meaningful information.
We’ll label a partner that includes the Service Layer in their full-service product offering an Interoperable Analytics and Optimization Manager or IAOM.
Without an IOAM partner, an OEM is not able to provide a turn-key solution to customers in the IIOT-driven future. If the customer lacks the expertise to tie everything together into meaningful data, then what the OEM has ultimately missed their point. To that end, a single closed system in the process negates the benefit of IIOT, which is meant to do away with information silos.
What’s Lacking in Current Channel Partner Models?
In due time, IIOT Network Layers will be significantly standardized. These will allow for automatic detection of and negotiation with other devices in the system. However, customers will always have unique data needs, so the ability to customize the Service Layer is a skill required for IOAMs. To clarify, this requires engineering personnel who have experience in software architectures like REST and MQTT. These allow the communication to be scalable as the system grows in complexity.
Affiliate Model Service Areas (cont)
All things considered, the benefits of a fully IIOT-enabled industrial application are massive in scope. Imagine sensors that start by sending out a system alert when something significant occurs. Secondly, they drop a pin in the data visualizations, all of which are modeled by a cloud analytics platform. Then, they send an artificial intelligence analysis of the event to the mobile phone of the Process Control Manager and Technicians that have stakes in that part of the process. Sensors connected to increasingly sophisticated machine learning cloud servers will be in a position to make process optimization improvements on their own.
Because advancements are being made so quickly in today’s industrial world, those aligning themselves with partners must be flexible enough to adjust to technology improvements and rapid scale changes. A short-sighted decision on partnerships can paint you into a corner, putting you at risk of being left behind as the forward-thinking operations being designed around IIOT grow at a dizzying speed.
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