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US giants form group to promote the industrial Internet

28 March, 2014

GE, Cisco, Intel, IBM and AT&T have formed a consortium that they hope will break down technology barriers to allow better access to big data, with improved integration of the physical and digital worlds. The open-membership Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) will help organisations to connect and optimise their assets, operations and data, to drive agility and to unlock business value across all sectors of industry.

Membership of the not-for-profit IIC will be open to any public or private business, organisation or entity interested in driving the global development of the industrial Internet. As well as gaining a platform for their opinions, consortium members will be able to help develop critical relationships with leaders in technology, manufacturing, academia and the government via working committees.

The founding members will each hold a permanent seat on an elected IIC steering committee, along with four other elected members. The IIC will be managed by Object Management Group (OMG), a non-profit US-based trade association.

“The industrial Internet is ushering in a new era of explosive industry growth and innovation, unlike anything we've seen in decades,” says OMG CEO, Dr Richard Soley, who will be the IIC’s executive director.

The founders hope that the new consortium will take the lead in establishing interoperability across various industrial environments for a more connected world. Its activities will include identifying requirements for open interoperability standards and defining common architectures to connect smart devices, machines, people, processes and data.

The IIC’s charter sets out to encourage innovation by:

•  using existing and new industry use cases and test-beds for real-world applications;

•  delivering best practices, reference architectures, case studies, and standards requirements, to make it easier to deploy connected technologies;

•  influencing global standards development for Internet and industrial systems;

•  facilitating open forums to share and exchange ideas, practices, lessons, and insights; and

•  building confidence around innovative approaches to security.

“We are at the precipice of a major technological shift at the intersection of the cyber and physical worlds – one with broad implications that will lead to substantial benefits, not just for any one organisation, but for humanity,” says Professor Janos Sztipanovits of the Institute for Software Integrated Systems at Vanderbilt University. “Academia and industry understand the need to identify and establish new foundations, common frameworks and standards for the industrial Internet, and are looking to the IIC to ensure that these efforts come together into a cohesive whole.”

The US Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker, says the Administration “looks forward to working with public-private collaborations like the new IIC to turn innovative industrial Internet products and systems into new jobs in smart manufacturing, health care, transportation and other areas.

“By linking physical objects to the full power of cyberspace,” she points out, “the industrial Internet promises to dramatically reshape how people interact with technology”. 

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