Taking the Growth of the Internet Revolution to the Next Level

March 14, 2015

While the industrial revolution changed manufacturing forever, the Internet revolution has failed to do so -- until now.

The widespread use and adoption of the Internet has been considered revolutionary. Its social and economic impact has been compared with that of the industrial revolution. However, there are many areas that the internet has failed to revolutionize. In 2015 as in 1974, medical monitoring devices and medical robotics are largely disconnected. Real-time jet engine monitoring against global performance metrics does not exist. And smart energy grids still don't exist at the vast scale that our electrical grids currently do.

While the industrial revolution changed manufacturing forever, the internet revolution has failed to do so -- until now.

The Industrial Internet is where the industrial revolution meets the internet revolution. It gives us a low-cost, high value way to integrate information based on widely distributed sensors, smart machines, big data and real-time analytics. The Industrial Internet represents a multi-trillion dollar opportunity, and it has the potential to completely transform the ways that entire industries are run. What the Internet revolution hasn't changed, the Industrial Internet will -- automatically and rapidly.

Many have acknowledged and embraced this opportunity. Companies are spending significant resources to better harness the digital with the physical. But what has been missing from a large portion of these efforts is a shared vision and organization that sets policies and recommendations of common building blocks for all aspects of the Industrial Internet. That is where the Industrial Internet Consortium adds significant value.

The Industrial Internet Consortium is an open membership organization formed to systematically address the challenges of making the Industrial Internet a reality, and promote a common vision. The Consortium focuses on three different areas: building an ecosystem, Technology and Security, and Testbed development. With over 140 members from large and small industry organizations, academia, and nonprofits, the members of the Industrial Internet Consortium are able to collaborate on catalyzing and coordinating the priorities and enabling technologies of the Industrial Internet in ways that previously had been one-off efforts between a limited number of companies.

Meanwhile, the Technology and Security working groups have been focusing on the issues of interoperability and security by creating a reference architecture framework. This framework will define the functional areas, enabling technologies, and standards for the Industrial Internet. The framework is being reviewed by the membership now and is expected to be ratified later this spring/summer.

Finally, the Testbed Working Group has been working on the innovation that will drive new products, processes, and services. In February, the Industrial Internet Consortium announced its first public testbed, Track & Trace, which is being collaboratively led by Consortium members Bosch, Cisco, National Instruments, and TechMahindra. Track & Trace brings the Industrial Internet to hand-held devices on the factory floor, enhancing productivity, production quality, and work safety. Collectively these working groups are building towards the goal of a robust, interoperable and secure environment that will transform industry as we know it. To learn more about the Industrial Internet Consortium, visit

I am proud to call Putman Media – the organization behind the Smart Industry Conference and Expo – a member of the Industrial Internet Consortium. We are happy to be helping Putman grow the Smart Industry Conference by providing content for the program and look forward to seeing our testbeds appear on the show floor.

Dr. Richard Mark Soley is Executive Director of the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) and is responsible for the vision and direction of the organization. In addition to this role, Dr. Soley is Chairman and CEO of the Object Management Group (OMG®) – an international, nonprofit computer industry standards consortium – and Executive Director of the Cloud Standards Customer Council – an end-user advocacy group. Dr. Soley also serves on the Smart Industry Advisory Board. See Dr. Soley talk about the IIC.