The Industry IoT Consortium (IIC) is producing a library of IoT architectural and design patterns for cross-industry use. The first two patterns are now available to the public via free download from the IIC website.
IIC members are driving the initiative. They are collaborating within the IIC’s Working Groups to crowdsource, review, revise, and publish a library of high-quality and well-reasoned patterns. The intent of the initiative is to shorten development cycles and foster best practices by using and reusing the patterns across industries.
There are two IoT pattern types:
- Architectural Patterns – At the high-level, Architectural Patterns describe the essential cohesive components as well as the visualized assembly and organization into a software architecture (e.g., data flows),
- And Design Patterns – At the granular level, Design Patterns illustrate abstract level design solutions to specific design problems (e.g., how components are built).
The first published patterns include one pattern of each type:
- “System of Systems Orchestrator,” an Architecture Pattern published by the Patterns Task Group.
- “Three-Tier IoT Distributed Energy Resource (DER) System,” a Design Pattern, published by the IoT Energy Task Group.
The Patterns Task Group has determined that patterns should be user-friendly in the way they visualize their elements’ vital characteristics and provide thorough guidance on solution implementation and should ideally be applicable across different domains.
Therefore, documenting a pattern requires a clear explanation of the problem (or problems) which give rise to the pattern, how its components relate to provide the solution, and when it is applicable. Patterns propose a broad, yet not vague, range of values to guide an IoT solution designer toward a decision that is best fit for a specific application.
The System of Systems Orchestrator Pattern
As industrial IoT (IIoT) systems have matured, they have created opportunities to pool their resources and capabilities together to create new, more complex systems that offer more performance, functionality and overall benefits than the systems can provide by themselves.
Linking these systems together do not require them to be modified, or even become aware of each other. In fact, these systems can be combined such that their independence from each other is maintained.
“System of Systems Orchestrator” defines a collection of systems, each capable of independent operation, that interoperate together to achieve additional desired capabilities. Scenarios include use cases where separately managed systems can be combined together to offer new services. The separately managed systems may be part of a single organization or of multiple organizations.
System-of-system patterns will address the growing need for IIoT systems to combine their distinct resources together and offer new services that the individual systems cannot offer by themselves (for example, a feed-in premium service for the renewable energy market).
At a high level, an IIoT system may be configured as one or more distributed, independent constituent systems, connected to a single SoS Orchestrator, which is connected to one or more SoS Services, creating a system-of-systems (as shown in the Figure).
Figure. System of Systems.
The Energy Design Pattern
“Three-Tier IoT Distributed Energy Resource (DER) System” defines a three-tiered architecture for the continuous monitoring of energy-generating field systems and assets. The system comprises an edge tier consisting of multiple IoT sensors, controllers and advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) that are attached to energy-generating assets (e.g. solar panel).
These IoT devices monitor performance metrics and parameters (e.g. solar radiation, angle, temperature, wind speed and watt output).
The edge tier is connected via the internet to the platform tier where data services (data processing, storage, distribution) and analytic capabilities (e.g. modeling and machine learning) are provided. These data services are accessible via open APIs, e.g. REST. The APIs provides a mechanism to facilitate data services to be used by decision-support tools and applications for the end user situated within the enterprise tier.
Using similar principles allows for a simple functional partitioning across tiers without restricting the specific implementation of functions implemented in a real system governed by specific use case needs or requirements.
For example, the IIC’s Industrial Internet Reference Architecture allows for functions to be implemented across all tiers. Application logic and control conditions could be implemented at the edge tier to enable intelligent management of assets at the edge (e.g. for diagnostics, prognostics and optimization on the assets). In addition, services from all tiers can be leveraged in others to support and share data, context and information forming an end-to-end system.
- Submit a Pattern to IIC
- Visit our Patterns Web Page
- Watch the IIC Patterns Webinar
- Free Pattern whitepaper download: “System of Systems Orchestrator Pattern“
- Free Pattern whitepaper download: “Three-Tier IoT Distributed Energy Resource (DER) System Pattern“