Why are information models and semantic interoperability important in IIoT?
The Industrial Internet of Things aims to create new applications and business models across systems from multiple equipment suppliers and software integrators. This is a challenging volatile ecosystem where applications have to adapt to exploit new sources of information and meet new requirements. In traditional IT systems, the understanding of information was often context, domain and language dependent with tacit assumptions on its meaning (semantics). IIoT, on the other hand, requires a flexible adaptation of applications, automatic recognition and integration of software interfaces with very little hand-crafting. This mandates semantic interoperability, i.e. the exchange of information with an unambiguous meaning. Semantic interoperability, in turn, is only possible with standardized information models, generic enough to allow for extensions and adaptations. Furthermore, an IIoT ecosystem must build on collaboration between engineers sharing multidisciplinary knowledge about system applications expressed in agreed information models.