For several months, I have been writing about smart manufacturing and the Internet of Things (IoT). I promised to myself to change topic, but my recent participation in the annual CSIA Executive Conference pushed me back on topic. The Executive Conference is the annual occasion when the Control System Integrators Association members get together to discuss best practices to manage and grow their businesses, market developments, and trends that will impact their businesses over the coming months and years.As happens these days at every conference, IoT issues were prevalent—enough to give them their own “unconference” session, crowded with system integrators and technology providers, reflecting the attention to the issues and the need for discussion and clarity.
If there’s one thing that’s been clear about the Internet of Things thus far it’s this: Once you get beyond the basic understanding of a massive framework comprised of numerous sensors sending data to numerous computers and databases for interaction and analysis, the definition of the Internet of Things (IoT) begins to differ widely. In some instances the definition can be very similar to machine-to-machine (M2M) communications, in others it’s more like business intelligence.