Industrial Internet problems brought about by the difference in thinking between IT and OT

Industrial Internet problems brought about by the difference in thinking between IT and OT

Recently, the voices of the industrial Internet seem to be louder than those of the IT people, but when it comes to the industrial interconnection in the manufacturing industry, it seems that they are not so optimistic, and there are more questions. There is a great relationship between the two camps’ “interlaced as separated mountains” thinking and models. If you think about these issues, you will know how to understand and integrate with each other.

In terms of technology, the integration of IT and OT is actually not difficult, but the key lies in the difference in thinking, which is reflected in the following aspects:

The difference between tools and core business

For the IT side, the interconnected network, database, development platform, application software, etc. are their core products, so when doing manufacturing, the realization of IT is based on what its own products and solutions can do to find scenarios (note that , is looking for application scenarios, not designing products for this scenario), while OT people do manufacturing, they solve problems and find better tools to solve problems. For example, in order to realize data presentation more economically, they can Integrate the Web Server into the controller and then access it through IE, so this is where OT finds IT technology in the search for tools.

It’s like I just graduated and worked in Angel Yeast. As the electrical and instrumentation section, we will find that our salary has a big gap compared with the fermentation and drying process section. Our highest level is not as good as their lowest level, because in this biological In a fermentation enterprise, fermentation and drying process are the core, and machinery and electricity are auxiliary, which is similar to +Internet.

This is the difference between the two groups in the treatment of manufacturing. For OT people, this IT is not the core, so it is just +Intnernet, because IT is a tool, and for IT people, they will think that we Internet+ can form a new ecological and business model to make profits. Therefore, Internet+ and +Internet are not simply the creation of vocabulary, but behind it is actually the upgrading of the manufacturing industry that the two camps understand by taking “self” as the center.

Bottom-up and top-down thinking

As mentioned last time, as far as the realization of the Industrial Internet is concerned, of course, its purpose is to achieve the improvement of overall operational efficiency through digital connections. The reason why OT people have opinions about the current so-called Industrial Internet that is dominated by IT lies in the discovery of these architectures. It cannot be implemented because of the complexity of the field. IT people cannot realize it. It is two completely different worlds from the commercial Internet, because real-time, stability and reliability, and security—not about information security, but about The functional safety of personal and property safety in production is different from commercial networks. IT is promoted from top to bottom based on the overall architecture, while OT must verify that the bottom layer is feasible, and then move up level by level. This implementation process must first ensure data connection and transmission. It is feasible, and the signal acquisition is accurate, then the data storage and collection, and then the mechanism model or intelligent algorithm of the data application is considered, and then the feedback execution is performed. technological iteration.

However, this is also normal. At present, OT companies are integrating IT elements into their architecture, and IT companies seem to have some difficulties in integrating control. This is why it is difficult to break through vertical barriers and make IT advancement more difficult.

Centralized management and distributed control

From its own perspective, IT software architectures such as ERP/MES, geographic information systems, and payment systems are all centralized scheduling and optimization. Therefore, their origins are from “management” rather than “control”, and OT people In order to achieve “control”, there is a very large difference in time granularity between control and management, as well as the difference in sampling accuracy. On the other hand, management lies in centralization, while in process industry control lies in distribution (DCS). For a single machine, it is a Centralized control (PLC), and the collaboration required by the manufacturing industry enters another architecture that integrates “centralized control and distributed computing”, where computing is often based on “information” rather than “signal”.

In this direction, the integration of IT and OT is realized, which is the reason why the two are becoming more and more together, both to realize the efficiency of data transmission in the manufacturing industry and to tap the potential in the data.

The difference between general and special

Because the application of IT is based on the application of large-scale consumers to share the cost, including WeChat payment, Yu’ebao, Mobike, Alibaba, Baidu and these application scenarios are all implemented with a general architecture, relying on reducing the cost of each Amortized cost of users to achieve the ultimate economics, and thus achieve “viral” expansion

The characteristic of the manufacturing industry is exclusivity. Therefore, it is hoped that the technical architecture can satisfy its own characteristics in order to obtain economy, because an overly complex architecture is uneconomical for small applications.

This is why the IT architecture is less able to meet the needs of OT operations, and general-purpose and special-purpose reflect the orientation of economy and professionalism, respectively. The use of the general Internet cannot solve the problem of industrial scenarios. Therefore, there is no Industrial Internet in a sense, but the OPC UA TSN of the Internet architecture is used to realize this interconnection.

OPC UA provides the integration of general and special purpose, integrates IT general SoA service-oriented architecture, Web Service, TCP/UDP and other transmission methods, and also defines the data structure and type according to general IT development, but also adopts the vertical direction. Partner protocols (ISA-95, MTConnect, PackML, Euromap, etc.) have been adopted, so attention to the Industrial Internet can be focused on the implementation of OPC UA and TSN technologies.

Differences in profit model

If we distinguish according to the profit model, we will find that the profit model of IT reduces the unit user cost by lowering the barriers, the so-called “viral” expansion, thereby obtaining excess profits, and its competition eventually forms a “winner takes all” situation, often Competitors all die (or get acquired) in the end, as it is often said in the semiconductor industry that only the eldest and the second survive, and the third dies.

However, the manufacturing industry must obtain maximum benefits by building high technological barriers, and through differentiated competitiveness,For example, work on higher quality and the lowest cost. Therefore, from the perspective of manufacturing, it has a certain degree of closure, and uses high technical barriers to obtain maximum benefits. Of course, all competition is cruel, when In the end, competition not only depends on technology, but also on the power of management and capital.

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Published on 09/07/2022