Marrying IT & OT: Equipping Legacy Infrastructure for the IIoT

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The promise of IIoT technology applied to OT (Operational Technology) is fantastic. But there is still a huge gap between existing OT systems (SCADA, DCS, ICS, etc.) and available IIoT technologies. The gap between OT and IT spans many levels including the basic vernacular used to describe overall infrastructures, data representations, security, and most importantly, deep understanding of existing device protocols and the applications that speak these protocols. In order to take advantage of IIoT both vendors and customers need to develop migration strategies that addresses the fact that existing legacy infrastructures and devices will still be in place for the next decade, but can start to participate in IIoT solutions.

MQ Telemetry Transport (MQTT) was developed over 17 years ago to address some of the issues between OT and IT infrastructures. Over the last 5 years MQTT has emerged as one of the dominant IIoT message transport technologies. This session provides a high level overview of basic Message Oriented Middleware (MOM) infrastructures using MQTT and how end users can start taking advantage of this technology in their existing SCADA/DCS/ICS infrastructures today.

The HART Smart Transmitter protocol has been in existence since the early 1990’s and is still the dominant protocol provided for most 4-20ma instruments in industry today. But in most cases, NONE of the existing intelligence that HART transmitter can provide is being utilized. It’s just left stranded in the field. The additional operational/diagnostic/asset intelligence that HART Transmitters can provide to customers is an excellent example of how emerging IIoT technologies can be applied to existing infrastructures. In this session we will explain the challenges that Magnetrol faced in finding and applying IIoT technologies to HART infrastructures and how they are using MQTT now in their solutions.


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Arlen Nipper
President & CTO--Cirrus Link Solutions

With nearly four decades’ experience in SCADA and telemetry systems, Arlen Nipper is co-developer of the MQTT protocol and now president and CTO of Cirrus Link Solutions. He began working with embedded computers as a coop student with Amoco pipeline in the ‘70s and began his professional career with Koch Industries as a SCADA engineer for the pipeline and transportation divisions. Arlen helped start up NovaTech and later served as president of Arcom Control Systems after NovaTech’s acquisition by that company.

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Kenny Heidel
IIoT Product Strategist--Magnetrol International

As IIoT product strategist for Magnetrol International, Kenny Heidel has worked in product development in the level instrumentation space for the past eight years. He helped design the latest iteration of the Eclipse 706 Guided Wave Radar level transmitter, and for the past year has focused on connecting Magnetrol’s smart transmitters to a cloud database for data analysis and troubleshooting.  Kenny graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio with a B.S. in Engineering with Mechanical focus. He has been a licensed Professional Engineer in the state of Illinois for three years.

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