While discussions about the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and its promises of cost-efficient, nonstop operations carry an opportunistic tone among executives, it is system integrators (SIs) who have to grapple with the reality of figuring out how the different platforms in a network can communicate with each other. What turns SIs’ world upside down is the hodgepodge of protocols in the three divergent domains of network architecture: Operation Technology (OT), Information Technology (IT), and the IIoT. Each domain comes with its own set of protocols that effectively creates non-interoperable silos, making it impossible for useful data to reach those who need it on an enterprise level to make important decisions, and leaving SIs at their wit’s end. Matters are further complicated by the fact that both the OT and IT departments are unfamiliar with the protocols used in each other’s domains. This trend must be reversed quickly, because as the IIoT makes inroads into automation, OT and IT are converging.
There is good news, though. Solutions are available to bridge these interoperability issues through a variety of protocol conversions. This white paper sets out to take a closer look at the challenges that SIs face with OT-to-OT, OT-to-IT, and OT-to-IIoT interoperability, as well as the solutions available to ensure nonstop connectivity throughout converged networks.