4.1 The IoE connections
The IoT is focused on connecting the unconnected, primarily the 'things' of the IoE. Connecting the unconnected requires a convergence between an organisation’s operational technology (OT) and the information technology (IT) systems those organisations have in place.
OT is defined as an organisation's industrial control and automation infrastructure. This includes the hardware (such as sensors and end devices) and the software that is used to control and monitor the manufacturing equipment and processes. Most communication in OT is accomplished between machines.
IT systems refer to the network infrastructure, telecommunications, and software applications that are used to process information and allow the exchange of that information between humans.
Converging IT and OT
By converging IT and OT systems in an IoE solution, organisations can create better products, achieve cost and risk reductions, and improve performance, flexibility and efficiency. Figure 1 shows the control centre of a modern train system that monitors the status of routes and train operations. With IoE solutions, organisations can implement a simple, smart, and secure approach that allows organisations to:
- Simplify the infrastructure (simple) – Seamlessly converge IT and OT infrastructure to reduce operational costs and increase process efficiencies.
- Create intelligence and agility (smart) − Use application-centric analytics so applications can run at peak performance and gain information from the infrastructure for new services.
- Deliver end-to-end security (secure) − The converged infrastructure defends against attacks and responds to threats intelligently and dynamically.
To implement IoE solutions, organisations must examine and account for three distinct connection types: M2M, M2P, and P2P.