I was fortunate to attend the Control System Integrators Association (CSIA) Annual Executive Conference in San Francisco, last week. The conference brought together several hundred system integrator members and industry partners to network, attend business speaker sessions, share best practices, and learn about new products and services. Representatives from Honeywell, Rockwell Automation, Siemens and many other industrial automation and integration firms were there, with over 500 people in attendance. It was very refreshing to hear the open sharing of ideas, successes and failures among this community.
As this was my first time attending, I was very interested in learning more about the criteria system integrators use to evaluate new products, how they build out their projects and the impact the Internet of Things has had on advancing industrial control system technology. Most all the attendees I spoke with were very familiar with “IoT,” as they perceived it as what they have been doing for years – connecting and controlling equipment for manufacturing, process, and other industrial facilities.
While it’s clear that building these types of solutions – from the plant floor to the enterprise level – is well within their wheelhouse, we also discussed how system integrators were addressing the shift from traditional on-premise SCADA technology to cloud-based systems. The consensus was that cloud-based systems offer significant advantages for industrial IoT implementation including faster application development, global access to data and the ability to integrate cloud analytics technologies, and eventually Artificial Intelligence (AI).
On the exhibit floor, I was able to interact with members and share our latest developments in IoT with our industrial gateways and cloud management platforms. Several integrators were very interested in our serial to Wi-Fi and Ethernet to Wi-Fi capabilities and how they could use it in their projects. This was somewhat surprising because, traditionally, wired connectivity has been the preferred technology for industrial control systems due to its inherent speed and security. It’s safe to say that times have changed. Cloud connectivity, wireless sensors and data analytics are becoming more interesting in the integrator space, and look to gain much more penetration over the next couple years. Manufacturers have seen the benefits of successful IoT use cases in the consumer space, and are motivated to capitalize on different wireless and cloud technologies to improve process control and address new use cases being demanded by their end users.
The main takeaway from this conference was understanding the significant role control systems integrators play in delivering innovative IoT solutions for industrial automation. As a system integrator partner and member of the CSIA, Lantronix is committed to sharing industry insight and expertise to advance industrial IoT.
Todd Selbo is Senior Product Line Manager of Lantronix IoT Device Gateways. Follow him on LinkedIn.
Are you visiting IoT World? Come by booth 1435 and see how Lantronix is helping OEMs and system integrators simplify building and deploying their IoT projects.