Information Technology (IT) IT includes computing, networking and storage technologies used to generate, collect, store, manipulate, analyze and deliver data within and between organizations. Include both hardware, such as computers and networking equipment (switches, routers, firewalls, servers) and software such as spreadsheets and databases to operating systems and enterprise resource planning (ERP), business intelligence (BI), customer relationship management (CRM) and manufacturing execution systems (MES).
Operational Technology (OT) OT used to monitor, process, relay information and control physical processes in industrial workflows. OT range from industrials Input/Output signals, actuators, programmable logic controllers (PLCs), distributed control systems (DCS), computer numerical control (CNC) to the supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) used to collect, analyze and visualize industrial equipment data such as temperature, pressure, acceleration, vibration, humidity, power to maintain peak operation, efficiency and minimize downtime.
IT / OT Definition The Internet of Things (IoT) is at the center of IT/OT convergence. Connected devices use sensors to collect real-time data from equipment, like temperature, pressure. The devices then use actuators to control machinery and trigger actions based on changes in the information collected. Since the collected data has to be stored and distributed using IT resources directly impacting OT processes, these two distinct sectors are converging.
IT / OT Convergence The historic differences between IT and OT are quickly dissolving and giving way to increased interconnectivity that dramatically enhances the value that these systems deliver. IT/OT convergence is a key of Industry 4.0 and industrial IoT (IIoT) technologies, and an essential component of smarter factories, warehouses, energy grids, buildings and supply chains.
New edge-to-cloud architectures As the top of the traditional 5-layer automation pyramid consolidates and moves to the cloud, new industrial connectivity architectures are being used to achieve direct edge-to-cloud connectivity. The traditional method of communication through centralized SCADA and MES systems usually depends on OPC servers to translate Industrial Ethernet and fieldbus protocols into OPC compatible protocols.
New industrial connectivity protocols IO-Link, OPC UA and MQTT are emerging as the fastest growing I/O, OT and IT protocols, respectively, as vendors and end users alike look to capture richer industrial datasets more efficiently. Many industrial connectivity vendors have introduced products that natively support these protocols.
IT / OT Challenges Companies interested in IT/OT convergence often run into challenges when trying to connect their IT systems to their OT systems. Obstacles can include connectivity issues, data collection problems, cloud integration complications and application scaling and updating issues. For instance, using IT edge devices to collect data from OT systems can be challenging because OT equipment often uses different communications protocols than the edge devices. Cybersecurity threats. Today IT is ultra-secure. The information that passes through it is of paramount importance to the company. In order to avoid industrial espionage, the theft of confidential data or the hacking of databases, cybersecurity is a priority for IT. On the other hand we have the OT with human-machine interfaces where you only have to enter the password “admin” to connect. Indeed, what is the point of securing the machines? The only people who can access it are the company’s technicians. By connecting the world of machines to that of computers, we connect them to the internet. But who says connected to the internet, says security flaws. The challenge of this convergence lies in securing this data transfer. No cybersecurity, no connected industry.
UDS Atom: Dedicated software for IT/OT convergence
Interoperability : Sourcers and Pushers library integrates the main protocols from IT and OT communication that will allow you to connect UDS Atom software to all equipment present & future with OPC UA, OPC DA, ModBus, NI DAQmx, MQTT, AMQP, HTTP... Cross-platform : UDS Atom software is operational on Linux and Windows 32 or 64 bits. Security : Cybersecurity is at the heart even from the design of UDS Atom with the use of TLS* technology, the use of certificates and API key to authentication of the various elements. TLS* or Transport Layer Security and its predecessor Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) are protocols for securing exchanges on the Internet. The SSL protocol was originally developed by Netscape. The IETF continued its development by renaming it Transport Layer Security (TLS). We sometimes speak of SSL/TLS to refer indiscriminately to SSL or TLS. Open : The structure of UDS Atom is designed to be able to respond to personalization needs essential in a universe constantly evolving. Programming with Python, you have the possibility to create your own Sourcers or Pushers as well as customize processing nodes for add, among other things, machine learning functionalities.