Industrial Internet Consortium Launches Inaugural Testbed

Bosch and its partners are developing a testbed that documents how to create a track-and-trace program for hand tools in an industrial setting—to ensure not only easy access to the tools, but also their proper use.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Mar 02, 2015

A year ago, AT&T, Cisco, General Electric, IBM and Intel formed the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC). Their goal was to accelerate the deployment of networked sensor-based technology (the Internet of Things) in the industrial sector (or the Industrial Internet, as the firms framed it) by "identifying, assembling and promoting best practices."

One way in which the IIC plans to do this is by evaluating and sharing standards-based open architectures through the creation of what it calls testbeds.

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Michael Lee, who directs the IIC testbed program, says the Industrial Internet Consortium was created as an ecosystem of members. Those members are divided into two groups: those that focus on best practices, use cases and identifying areas of business opportunity, and those that concentrate on refining the technology, security and software architecture, as well as open standards required to deploy Industrial Internet applications.

"These two groups," Lee says, "drive the testbeds forward."

Last week, IIC member Bosch was the first company to publicly announce such an IIC program, known as the Track and Trace Testbed. It is partnering with Cisco, networking and IT consultancy Tech Mahindra and National Instruments (NI) to create the testbed, which will describe a standards-based framework for precisely tracking both the location and usage of automated hand tools within an industrial setting.

Bosch revealed the project last week at its ConnectedWorld conference in Stuttgart, Germany. Thus far, the collaborators have developed a process for wirelessly determining the position of a cordless nutrunner (used to tighten nuts) on an assembly plant's floor. Based on this information, a wireless command can be transmitted to a communication module embedded in the tool, which will transmit the exact torque settings required for tightening nuts at that location within the assembly process.

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