Right now, industrial automation makes up a little more than half of the Internet of Things (IoT). By 2025, industrial devices will consume nearly three-fourths of the IoT.
That's a big piece of the connected pie. The astounding pace of change will require currently unconnected devices to incorporate connectivity and processing technology.
And that means there will be a big jump in Internet Protocol (IP)-addressable devices.
If you're already using EtherNet/IP for a control system you will have a distinct advantage in this evolution. Here's why: EtherNet/IP is standard, it's unmodified, and it coexists with Ethernet IP, the standard protocol used by the Internet and ERP business systems. So there's no need for extra hardware or programming software to pass data from the plant floor to the enterprise system.
Right now, if you're using a system that's not standard and unmodified, then you are familiar with the pain of passing data across your enterprise. It's not routable so you need gateways or proxies in your architecture – and extra components means extra costs and latency in your real time data flow.
The limitations of non-standard Ethernet are going to get bigger and more prominent, especially as security needs become more necessary across disciplines – safety, motion, I/O, drive, intelligent motor control, process, energy management. You may think you're more secure, but how can you protect something you have no visibility to?
Convergence is nothing new. But what's driving convergence is: the need for more integration, more assets connected, more collaboration.
If you can see the value of the IoT, then you can see the value in EtherNet/IP, and what it offers to support IP-based networking, smart things, big data analytics, cloud/virtualization, mobility, remote services and security.