Solution-ready platforms, IIoT application expansion major focus at Advantech conference

Executives at Advantech’s 2016 IIoT World Partner Conference focused on solution-ready platforms (SRPs) and sharing platform business model to accelerate the Industrial Internet of Things’ (IIoT) application development. Energy and environment, smart manufacturing, industrial equipment manufacturing, and networking are among areas of focus.

By Joy Chang, CFE Media November 15, 2016

Improving industrial connectivity was one of the main themes at Advantech’s 2016 Industrial Internet of Things World Partner Conference (IIoT WPC) in Taipei, Taiwan, from Nov. 10-12. The meeting focused on accelerating Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) application development in several industries, worldwide. Advantech, which started as a hardware company, is transforming into an IIoT solutions company offering device-to-cloud solution-ready platforms (SRPs) that integrate hardware and middle-ware.

Sharing platform business model and SRP

KC Liu, CEO of Advantech, said the prevalence of IoT technology, the expanding application of the sharing economy, and the gradual adoption of platform operations for corporations are the three phases that will take the industry into a new evolution of IoT.

“SRP removes obstacles in the transformation toward intelligent technology for our clients, at the same time as helping us expand IoT technology to various industries,” he said. “Among all groups in Advantech, the Industrial IoT (IIoT) group focuses on SRP; hardware-software integration as its core technology. With an innovative business model called WebAccess Sharing Platform Alliance, we will cooperate with our partners in the ecosystem to encourage development in several key IIoT vertical industries.”

Helping customers, vertical industries

With a sharing platform business model, Advantech envisions a transition from the old geo-region business market strategy to a vertical sector-lead business development for a more open, globalized market place. Advantech focuses on six vertical IIoT markets: the IIoT in general, industrial equipment manufacturing (IEM), iFactory, energy & environment (E&E), transportation, and iNetworking:

  • The IEM sector provides complete motion control and machine visionary components, including motion control, machine vision, robot controllers, and a software development platform for smart facilities. These technologies help an OEM construct smart facilities swiftly.
  • The iFactory sector focuses on prioritized markets with higher automation maturity—those with the capability to incorporate smart factory and Industry 4.0 technologies and concepts such as the automobile assembly industry, the food industry, and the home electronics industry. For traditional industries such as PCB, solar energy, LED, etc., Advantech introduces Industry 4.0 with open solutions to assist and encourage them to elevate their capability.
  • E&E sector adopts the communication standard IEC 61850 to provide solutions in building the infrastructure of smart electrical grids, aiming for a global rollout. Advantech incorporates telecommunication technology such as LORA, Sigfox, etc., and combined with expertise in data acquisition and control, helps develop new functions that satisfy the requirement for reliability and security in IIoT communications.
  • iNetworking sector accelerates wireless sensing networks and connects automation systems with Profinet and EtherNet/IP protocol switches.

These six vertical industries or sectors will see application solutions develop via SRP hardware/software integration. System integrators will also play important roles in providing services in more specialized markets.

Advantech also showcased its new campus with several IIoT applications, which included a control room for real-time video production line monitoring and data analysis, a solar-powered, auto-sensing green house, and smart building management system.

“IoT is gradually becoming a reality, it’s not just ‘I Only Talk’ anymore as mocked by some skeptics,” said Chaney Ho, president of Advantech. Ho also predicted that SRPs will count for 50% of Advantech’s IIoT revenue in 10 years.

Joy Chang is digital project manager, CFE Media,