The concept of connected devices – particularly connected machines – is not new. In fact, machines have been communicating with each other since the first electric telegraphs were developed in the late 1830s. Since then, radio voice transmissions, wireless (Wi-Fi) technologies, and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) software have been developed.

In 1982, students at Carnegie Mellon University modified a Coke machine and created the first connected smart appliance. Using the university’s local ethernet or ARPANET, students could find out which drinks were stocked and if they were cold.

Today, there are thousands of devices, drivers, applications, protocols, and interfaces that exist in industrial networking environments that need to be connected somehow. Thankfully, plug-and-play makes it easier and more accessible to implement Industry 4.0 solutions for many reasons, including affordability and lack of need for an expert.

With the ability to upgrade current sensors and quickly add new ones, industrial users now have few barriers to at least trying out the IIoT. Let’s explore the importance of IIoT Plug and Play, what it does, and why it is great news for the IIoT.

Why plug and play?

For many manufacturers looking to smarten up their factories, introducing plug-and-play devices makes the goal more feasible. It provides a simple, open language through which manufacturers can describe their IoT devices, letting you add them and all their functionality to cloud solutions without writing embedded code.

As 80% of large companies have claimed that IIoT will be important in their future successes, a pre-packaged and easy-to-integrate sensor system makes it easier for smaller companies to benefit from IIoT as well. Only 24% of these companies have an IoT strategy laid out, while the rest are concerned about data security, an inability to do fast experiments, and an underqualified IT staff. Thankfully, plug-and-play addresses all these concerns.

IIoT through plug-and-play help ensure business continuity and minimize economic damage by ensuring employee safety and security, improving liquidity, and lowering short-term costs.

Save money

Manufacturers and systems integrators looking for a more affordable entry into the Industrial Internet of things market would benefit from plug-and-play solutions.

The high costs associated with purchasing smart technologies mean manufacturers may still be reluctant to take advantage of the IIoT. Developing and maintaining the software infrastructure to support hundreds of sensors while ensuring that data flows from edge to cloud is challenging and expensive. It requires costly experts and valuable time spent coding because most devices work in slightly different ways.

Plug-and-play solutions don’t require any experts or much installation time. Simply connect your device and begin tracking equipment immediately. This is proving to be the best solution for many plants to lower costs associated with industry 4.0.

Reduce your deployment time

You can also speed up your IIoT deployment time with plug-and-play devices. Plug and play devices have a specification that allows for the discovery of a hardware component in a system without user intervention. To simplify the process, get instant plug-and-play capability by eliminating the need for custom integration and deep skills. There is also less risk of error as it does not require any custom codes, and there is less need for extensive compatibility and quality assurance testing to ensure a production-ready device.

Maximize compatibility between all devices

Because many manufacturers and developers of industrial automation equipment are producing their own devices to fill this market, it can be difficult for engineers to choose the best solution for their plant and application. Although industrial machinery often has a long lifespan, many plants face this dilemma every time they choose to purchase new equipment.

True plug-and-play technologies can integrate with equipment from all vendors, eliminating any integration headaches and potential issues. They can also deliver quality and performance that match plant requirements perfectly.

Benefit from regular updates through the cloud

The manufacturing industry is always changing, as is the Internet of Things. Plug-and-play IoT tools are no exception. Thankfully, the need for updating plug-and-play hardware manually is mostly non-existent as automatic updates are made through a cloud without the need for any human intervention. This service sends and receives properties and messages to and from devices using IoT Plug and Play interfaces.