Industrial Automation & Sensors Blog

Intelligent Gateways: Redefining Connectivity Architecture

by Natasha Menon | 08/11/2016

The Internet of Things (IoT) has resulted in the clash of the informational (IT) and operational technologies (OT) realms, and this convergence is expected to aggressively accelerate as enterprises, suppliers and customers move towards implementing next generation technologies. The overlap of technologies between the OT and IT domain has industries struggling with the complexity of connecting new systems and legacy infrastructure. The reality of jumping onto the IoT bandwagon has become imperative for most industries to drive operational efficiencies in capital constrained business environment. Even industries like agriculture and manufacturing, which were historically laggards for implementing new technologies, are now actively pursuing connectivity solutions.

The real challenge in bringing IoT solutions to life is dependent on the seamless integration of disparate devices that run numerous intelligent applications and enable a range of services. That’s where the good old gateway devices come into play!

Gateways - a term used to define a flexible class of hardware enabling communication between end-point devices in the field and the cloud or internet - are of paramount importance to providing integration within the complicated web of industrial apparatus. Gateway architectures have evolved from providing basic connectivity to being more intelligent platform packing in more functionality to perform local compute, running edge analytics and taking time-sensitive decisions. The next-generation enterprise will require such intelligent gateways to capture and transmit relevant data residing in standalone devices in the field to the cloud or the internet. These devices are expected to process information at the edge to drive valuable insights from the vast pools of untapped data captured within legacy infrastructure.

The potential of intelligent gateway devices remains underestimated. Too often gateway devices are viewed with the expectation of meeting basic connectivity needs rather than using it to perform local compute or data processing at the edge, among other functionalities the latest versions can offer. Meanwhile, many customers are struggling with the choice of selecting the appropriate type of gateway that balances their essential needs of reliable connectivity, rock-solid security and interoperability linking their diverse sphere of devices. Interoperability of connected devices is the crucial element in the design architecture of the IoT solution that needs to be addressed before moving ahead with connectivity options and security measures. It is interesting to find that only few companies have started looking at addressing the interoperability of their devices with the intelligent gateways along with security measures.

Stay two steps ahead of the market with VDC Research’s upcoming report, ‘2016 IoT Gateways & Embedded Technology,’ which provides detailed insights and recommendations in the embedded hardware space. VDC Research investigated the technologies and trends in the IoT and intelligent gateway market. The upcoming report highlights the importance of gateways for the IoT, the associated embedded technologies, the evolution of the gateway architecture over the forecast period and more detailed market insights within the embedded hardware space. For more details, watch out for updates on the ‘2016 IoT Gateways & Embedded Technology’ report.