PICMG ratifies IoT communications standard

  • October 13, 2021
  • Steve Rogerson

The PICMG open embedded computing specifications consortium has ratified the IoT.1 specification defining a communication standard between sensors and local IoT controllers.

The specification defines a firmware interface and low-level data model that provides for vendor-independent configuration of smart sensors and effecters, as well as plug-and-play interoperability with higher levels of the installation. IIoT.1 supports both sensing and profiled motion control required by most emerging Industry 4.0 applications.

The IoT.1 specification is the first work product from PICMG based on collaboration with the Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF). The specification leverages and extends the PLDM platform level data model specification from the DMTF to address the needs of industrial automation and control.

PLDM is a low-level messaging system that supports topologies, eventing and discovery and runs over a variety of system level buses such as I2C, SMBus and PCIeVDM (vendor-defined message) over the MCTP management component transport protocol as well as RBT RMII-based transport over an NC-SI network controller sideband interface. RMII stands for reduced media independent interface.

IoT.1 was developed to benefit the industry in four specific ways:

  1. To enable sensor vendors to create smart sensors without having to manufacture the control circuitry and/or software by purchasing these components from PICMG-compliant suppliers;
  2. To enable controller suppliers who wish to create smart sensors or smart-sensor components to do so in a way that is interoperable with other suppliers;
  3. To enable sensor and effecter integrators to integrate sensors and effecters from multiple vendors with controllers from multiple vendors; and
  4. To accelerate the uptake of smart-sensor technology through open-specifications and interoperability.

When combined with the PICMG sensor-domain network architecture and data model, sensors connected to MicroSAMs (PICMG IoT.0) or other controller modules will seamlessly integrate into the network with plug-and-play interoperability.

“Nothing like this has ever been done before in industrial IoT,” said Doug Sandy, CTO of PICMG. “PICMG IoT.1 brings true multi-vendor plug-and-play interoperability to the sensor and effecter domain with flexible, open standards.”

Jessica Isquith, president of PICMG, added: “This specification has the potential to accelerate the shift to better sensor interoperability and encourage a better and wider range of options.”

IoT.1 was developed in collaboration with the PICMG members Arroyo Technology, nVent, Triple Ring Technologies and Sandy Systems.