Sometimes it’s the little things that go a long way toward a successful implementation of an IIoT gateway, such as a small yet mighty IIoT gateway developed just for the industrial environment.
Fortunately, picking the best Industrial Internet of Things gateway is a lot easier these days, thanks to new features, security, and technologies like those found in the latest versions of the MSA FieldServer gateway.
“These gateways are designed to ensure seamless interoperability and successful integration into safety systems in automation infrastructure,” says Jim Ralston, Business Development Manager for FieldServer at MSA Safety. “From protocol support and data security to remote management and monitoring, the next generation of IIoT gateways is all about bridging the gap between industrial safety devices, the Cloud, and edge computing infrastructure.”
Of course, there are plenty of other things to consider when choosing the right IIoT gateway. Not only should an IIoT gateway make the job of an OEM, system integrator, building owner, plant supervisor, or life safety manager easier, it also should ensure smoother, more secure communication to support real-time decision making. This blog post talks about the top four things to look for in an IIoT gateway in order to ensure that equipment, facilities, and people work both safely and efficiently.
What does an Internet of Things (IoT) gateway do?
The history of the IoT dates back to the 1990s, when the main purpose of an IoT gateway was to assist with data transfer to and from devices. Since then, IoT gateways have not only expanded their role within other industries, such as industrial automation, what they can do has changed a lot. And good thing, too, since there are now more connected devices around the world than there are literal people on the planet.
As technologies change and the adoption of IoT devices continues to expand, our own FieldServer gateway solutions continue to evolve, too. Today, FieldServer is a leading supplier of IoT gateways featuring an expansive list of protocol drivers, Industry 4.0 capabilities, and sophisticated cybersecurity measures—all of which are designed to enhance productivity, boost efficiency, and ensure compliance and safety across a wide variety of applications and industries.
1. Safety Compliance
Whether your assets are people, property, proprietary data, or a combination of all three, the right IIoT gateway solution can be quietly at work on site or in the Cloud, connecting and protecting high-value assets and infrastructure to ensure the safety of systems, facilities, and building occupants.
Corporate, educational, medical, entertainment, industrial, and other facilities rely on IoT gateway products like these to enable digital transformation. How? By demonstrating seamless interoperability and automation among safety systems to give operators like you access to valuable device data so you can be more compliant with safety regulations and mandates.
Every device has its own language protocol. So, with dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of devices and sensors connected to a Building Management System (BMS), it’s highly unlikely that they all talk the same language. Fortunately, with the right IoT gateway to translate these languages, they don’t have to.
This is why we often compare our FieldServer IIoT gateways to the renowned pocket-size multi-tool, the Swiss Army knife. Just like a Swiss Army knife, FieldServer is a nimble solution with a small footprint that works with multiple protocols.
Two or three protocols? No problem. FieldServer can handle it. Three, four, or even five? Again, no problem. We even have a customer that requires seven protocols and, guess what? FieldServer’s got them covered.
From EtherNet/IP to LonWorks to Modbus TCP/IP to BACnet (and a whole lot more) FieldServer can handle dozens of certified protocols, as well as emulate either a Server or Client.
Not sure if your device is compatible? Check it here against the full list of FieldServer protocol drivers.
3. Connectivity and Edge Computing Capabilities
The connected world means we can now have smart operations that deliver greater productivity and enhanced safety. The right IIoT gateway will support these smart operations by empowering you and your organization with instant and relevant insights to keep production moving and workers protected.
When looking for an IIoT gateway solution, you’ll want to be that sure your IoT gateway solution offers:
- Remote notifications of alarms, alerts, updates, and reminders
- Visibility into potentially hazardous situations
- Real-time information and immediate data visualization
As an extra measure, be sure to choose an ODVA-certified gateway such as FieldServer for peace-of-mind as you move more into Industry 4.0.
When it comes to IIoT gateways, it’s also essential to choose a solution that takes cybersecurity seriously. That means protecting your data with rigorous penetration testing and security certification.
Around our offices, we say that “Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility.” Not only should you have a security program of your own, but your IIoT gateway solution should ensure that everything between the gateway and Cloud solution is encrypted, accessible only to authorized users, and aligned with best practice security standards.
That’s why FieldServer takes a holistic, layered approach to cybersecurity that includes:
- Authorization controls to ensure that only authorized users and devices can access systems and data based on their role-based permissions
- Data encryption to protect access to data from unauthorized personnel both in transit and at rest
- Device authentication to identify, authenticate, and allow access only to authorized devices
- Firmware updates that remedy vulnerabilities and further enhance security
- Network and physical security such as network, proxy, and Cloud firewalls
- Privacy policies for software developers, engineers, operations, vendors, contractors, and other authorized stakeholders
- Third-party penetration testing that rigorously tests the product to identify vulnerabilities
When it comes to industrial sensing and automation with IoT technologies, such as wireless, Cloud connectivity, and data services, a best-in-class gateway like FieldServer is at the forefront of bringing knowledge-based products and services to the Industrial Internet of Things or IIoT so that valuable data points can not only be collected but processed and disseminated to stakeholders who can proactively (and pre-emptively) act in the best interest of their workers and facilities.
But because your organization is unique, you may want to tell us about your requirements. Then you can see for yourself why FieldServer is an industry-leading IIoT solution that lets you take control of your data and streamline your operations—without investing in new devices or costly IT infrastructure to leverage the Cloud.
Looking for the right industrial IoT gateway solution?
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