Industrial Internet of Things applications, such as smart factories or cities, demand large numbers of wireless embedded devices equipped with a variety of sensors and actuators. These devices are often expected to operate over long periods in time in harsh RF environments, while periodically capturing environmental or industrial process data. Unfortunately, the current generation of industrial sensing solutions requires significant efforts in terms of development, installation, integration, and management to enable robust IoT systems at scale. Most users therefore struggle with this complexity and its associated costs, and consequently fail to maximize the return on their investment. Hence, in order to drastically reduce the total cost of ownership for industrial IoT scenarios, a solution is needed that combines easy integration of third-party sensing peripherals with existing applications, reliable, secure and ultra-low power networking, and online cloud services for collecting and storing sensor data.
This article describes the MicroPnP platform (Figure 1), the standards-compliant low-power Sensing-as-a-Service solution by VersaSense, which realizes true Plug-and-Play integration of sensing and actuation peripherals, scalable 24/7 monitoring and control of devices across different sites, and secure end-to-end communication. In contrast to traditional industrial IoT solutions, MicroPnP adopts a radically different approach to eliminate development and management complexities and hence drastically lower the total cost of ownership of industrial IoT systems.