GAMS preview: Picking the right IIoT platform

In preparation for the 2016 GAMS Conference on Sept. 14 in Chicago, CFE Media asked our panelists to discuss some of the key issues facing manufacturing. This is one in a daily series of articles.


Rich Carpenter (left), product general manager, GE Automation and Controls. Rob McGreevy (right), vice president of operations, Schneider Electric. Courtesy: GE, Schneider ElectricThe 2016 Global Automation and Manufacturing Summit (GAMS), presented by CFE Media, will bring together experts from all areas of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to look at not just the current state of IIoT but also at the potential benefits of deployment for the manufacturing industry.

The third GAMS conference takes place Wednesday, Sept. 14, beginning at noon. It is held in conjunction with the Industrial Automation North America (IANA) pavilion at the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show at McCormick Place in Chicago. The event is co-presented by Hannover Fairs USA.

In preparation for the 2016 GAMS Conference, CFE Media asked our panelists to discuss some of the key issues facing manufacturing. This is one in a daily series of articles leading up to this year's conference:

CFE Media: There are two schools of thought around IIoT systems: proprietary architecture where developers will create apps within the framework of the operating system and open architecture. What do you see as the advantages and disadvantages of each system?

Carpenter: A purpose-built industrial cloud has clear advantages in terms of understanding the problem domain for manufacturing, the type, quantity and speed of the data used for analysis, as well as the security requirements for the community of users. This provides a framework better suited for developing industrial reusable applications.

It is possible to develop applications in open/public cloud architectures, but it will be very difficult to get the community and ecosystem effect as the implementations even within the same public cloud will not be based on the same infrastructure.

McGreevy: A closed architecture works best when you can control everything, including app development, equipment infrastructure and the Operating System. Case in point: Apple, where they approve all applications, which all must be written in iOS and can only be used on Apple equipment. Unfortunately, the manufacturing world is a different place where operating systems and applications must be device agnostic and work in heterogeneous equipment environments. In some instances, over 100 different applications may exist at a single plant. Can you imagine how difficult this might be to manage in a closed environment where all integration must follow a strict set of protocols, tailored to favor one vendor over others? Manufacturing operations depend upon an infrastructure that is open, transparent, and can be easily modified to meet the wide range of applications and equipment that currently exists.

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