With so many different types of assets, data sources and protocols being used on the shop floor, the number one challenge companies face as they work to adopt Industrial IoT is connecting all their OT assets at scale. Connecting one production line or one type of machine might allow for small operational improvements but the only way to realize enterprise-wide value is to connect to every asset rapidly and securely for a complete data picture.

There are several challenges when it comes to connecting all OT assets. On the OT side they range from the complex integration of existing brownfield data sources to inconsistent data formats, disparate data silos and legacy infrastructure. IT faces huge, diverse data sets, difficulty managing and utilizing data across several sites and security challenges in moving data between edge and cloud.

These challenges often combine to make it either impossible, time-consuming, or cost prohibitive for enterprises to achieve complete data connectivity. And while there are OT systems that claim to solve data connectivity, such as an OPC UA server, SCADA system, or cloud platform – they don’t go far enough enable the free flow of data across the enterprise.

The key is to create a unified OT data layer with an Industrial IoT Edge platform that can handle these four parts of OT asset connectivity: data collection, normalization, storage and access.

• Data collection: The platform must collect data from any asset – legacy or modern – with just a few clicks including PLC, DCS, CNC, SCADA, Historian, ERP, sensors and more.

• Data normalization: The data must be structured and normalized so any on-premise, cloud or enterprise system can ingest and use the data immediately.

• Data storage: Data should be stored at the edge in a scalable and secure time series database for transitional data storage.

• Data access: The platform must make ready-to-use data available with rapid integration to enterprise systems and secure data access for OT, IT and data teams.

Once the foundation is in place for complete connectivity, the data can be analyzed at the edge or sent to cloud and enterprise systems to power advanced applications. To learn more about how to put data to work and manage connectivity across multiple sites read our Industrial IoT Playbook: Connecting OT Assets at Scale or watch the webinar with Litmus customer Saint-Gobain Sekurit.