The IO-Link Community has published a new specification for easy data exchange. This specification describes how data can be exchanged by IO-Link over JSON REST and MQTT – fully in line with the transparent communication of Industry 4.0.
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Industry 4.0 are among the most important concepts and developments for the future of industrial communication. This future will require transparent communication from the lowest sensor/actuator level to a new generation of mobile and cloud-based applications. One of the deciding factors for this future will be simple, standardized, and cross-manufacturer protocols. These protocols have to be able to work across all physical layers to enable global access to data for identification, diagnostic, and configuration information. In the field of automation technology, Ethernet-based communication has been very widely implemented in the transport layer for some time now. PROFINET is a global market leader ahead of all the others here.
The demand for uniform standardized data consistency from the lowest field level to cloud-based services was accepted by the IO-Link Community, which first defined a JSON-based exchange format in a dedicated working group and thus the uniform semantic integration of the IO-Link field level into the world of IT. The specification encompasses both the definition of an API as the REST interface and data transport over MQTT.
This standardized exchange format now provides fundamentally new opportunities, such as cross-manufacturer engineering and global access to measurement values and other monitoring data. For example, classical configuration tools can be tied in across all manufacturers by JSON via REST. Streamlined “sensor to cloud” (IIoT) applications are also easy to implement with the very widely used MQTT protocol with the publisher/subscribe mechanism. This even makes it possible to implement a cloud-based automation task with manufacturer-independent components, for example.