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  • Feb 24, 2021
  • Comments Off on Industrial Internet Consortium White Paper Surveys IIoT Information Models and Develops Meta-model for Interoperability
  • Corporate, News

February 24th, 2021
Industrial Internet Consortium White Paper Surveys IIoT Information Models and Develops Meta-model for Interoperability

The Industrial Internet Consortium® (IIC™) today announced the publication of the Characteristics of IIoT Models White Paper. Interoperability between applications, subsystems, and devices in Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) systems requires agreement on the context and meaning of the data being exchanged, or semantic interoperability, which is typically captured in an information model. The new white paper addresses the challenge of integrating subsystems in IIoT systems that use different information models and examines how standardized information models that use a descriptive or semantic approach enable interoperability and ultimately digital transformation.

The variety of digital data and information systems is an indispensable attribute of the modern world of IIoT. In each industrial vertical, one way or another, work is underway to reach agreements between stakeholders through the development of standards and data schemas. Our white paper provides a simple definition of the characteristics and properties of information models, which can be useful in the design of IIoT systems and, which is especially important, for multiple systems to work seamlessly with each other.

“Semantically based information models can share data across domain boundaries using a descriptive approach (instead of a translational approach) as the data has meaning in both domains, and the full fidelity of the original data are maintained,” said Kym Watson, Co-chair of the IIC Distributed Data Interoperability and Management Task Group, an author of the white paper and Scientist at Fraunhofer IOSB. “Our intent in this white paper is to survey a subset of information models that are relevant to the IIoT and characterize those information models using a meta-model developed for this purpose. With this we capture commonalities and can begin to address the challenge of integrating subsystems that use different information models.”

“An information model is a representation of concepts, relationships, constraints, rules, and operations to specify data structures and semantics,” said Niklas Widell, Co-chair of the IIC Distributed Data Interoperability and Management Task Group, an author of the white paper and a Standardization Manager at Ericsson. “There are multitudes of information models available or under active development for a variety of application domains or industries. We focused on information models above the Industrial Internet of Things Connectivity Framework layer where semantic interoperability, including translation between different models, plays a key role.”

The white paper examines the following standardized information models (among others) that are widely applied in IIoT applications:

  • Web of Things – a set of standards by the W3C for solving the interoperability issues of different IoT platforms and application domains.
  • SensorThings API – an Open Geospatial Consortium standard providing an open and unified framework to interconnect IoT sensing devices, data, and applications over the Web.
  • OPC UA – a machine-to-machine communication protocol for industrial automation developed by the OPC Foundation focusing on communicating with industrial equipment and systems for data collection and control.
  • Asset Administration Shell – a key concept of Industry 4.0 used to describe an asset electronically in a standardized manner. Its purpose is to exchange asset-related data among industrial assets and between assets and production orchestration systems or engineering tools.
  • IPSO Smart Objects – a lightweight design pattern and object model to enable data interoperability between IoT devices, building on the LwM2M IoT device management standard, specified by OMA SpecWorks
  • One Data Model/Semantic Definition Format – an initiative to improve interworking across different ecosystems’ data models using an emerging standard from the IETF. The OneDM Liaison Group adopts and aligns IoT models contributed by participating organizations, so best practice models for desired features or purposes can be identified.

“Standardized information models with defined semantics and APIs are an essential foundation for any form of digital transformation,” said Andrei Kolesnikov, Co-chair of the IIC Distributed Data Interoperability and Management Task Group, an author of the white paper, and director of the Internet of Things Association IOTAS. “There must be a seamless integration across the system life cycles, especially engineering and operations for all data sharing technologies.”

IIC members who wrote the Characteristics of IIoT Models White Paper and a list of members who contributed to it can be found here on the IIC website.

About Industrial Internet Consortium
The Industrial Internet Consortium is the world’s leading organization transforming business and society by accelerating the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Our mission is to deliver transformative business value to organizations, industry, and society by accelerating adoption of a trustworthy internet of things. The Industrial Internet Consortium is a program of the Object Management Group (OMG). For more information visit

Note to editors: Industrial Internet Consortium is a registered trademark of OMG. For a listing of all OMG trademarks, visit All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.