The rash of new technologies confronting users today is becoming more complex. It’s becoming more and more important to decide which information and aspects are of immediate relevance and which can be handed off to others entirely. At the same time, some technologies are taking a back seat while others demand our full attention. What’s needed here is focus – in short, one question arises: What will be important in the future?
In order to provide both developers and users with support and direction when it comes to these considerations, our work this year follows the motto “Into the Age of Industry 4.0 in the Field – Together with PI.” We’re concentrating on topics like semantics & information models, communication, security, and new business models here. In addition to addressing the users of PI technologies, we’re focusing more on reaching anyone interested in digitalization in the industrial environment. It’s precisely the developments of the past two years which have clearly shown that solving a complex task with buzzwords alone just isn’t enough. Sometimes, incredibly detailed knowledge is required – and this is noticeable, too. Whereas PI previously concentrated solely on technological development, this is no longer necessary to the same degree today, as the technologies have since become widely adopted and are now considered to be mature. In fact, PI now also acts as a facilitator between manufacturers & users, other organizations & standardization groups, and security experts & IP professionals.
PI has to assess which technological developments are important for communication and which aren’t. This also leads to closer cooperation with the OPC Foundation, eCl@ss, FDI, AIDA, and NAMUR, for example. The crucial focal point here is also to develop migration strategies so that previous investments remain protected. PI will filter out the best of all worlds to ensure that users get a reliable solution. It’s precisely these changes which were reflected at this year’s PI Konferenz on March 19 and 20, 2019. During the presentations – four simultaneously in some cases – current developments, trends and application scenarios were considered and insight into technical details was gained. This included topics like the presentation of PROFINET data in the OPC UA object model, IO-Link innovations like Safety and Wireless, eCl@ss semantic identifiers & profiles, the APL (Advanced Physical Layer) and 5G technology. In addition to taking and further developing ideas from the PI Konferenz, we will be advancing PI technologies considerably once again in 2019 as well – always with an eye toward benefitting the user.
Prof. Dr. Frithjof Klasen
Director of the Institute for Automation & Industrial IT (AIT) at the Technische Hochschule Köln
Member of the Managing Board of the PROFIBUS Nutzerorganisation e. V. (PNO)