Consortium launches Patterns Initiative to speed innovation and problem solving

The effort will crowdsource and codify knowledge to make designing products and systems easier, better and faster.

industrial worker with laptop

Image: iStock/NanoStockk

The Industrial Internet Consortium Thursday announced the IIC IoT Patterns Initiative to crowdsource, review, revise and publish a library of high-quality and well-reasoned IoT patterns for use and reuse across industries.

The goal of the initiative is to make designing and making everything from products to processes easier by leveraging the knowledge of others, said François Ozog, director Edge & Fog Computing Group, Linaro, and co-chair, IIC Patterns Task Group.

"Maybe you think there is one way to solve a problem or maybe you think there are three ways of solving a problem but you may be missing entirely possible new ways of solving the problem," he said.

SEE: Edge computing adoption to increase through 2026; organizations cautious about adding 5G to the mix (TechRepublic Premium)

Like expert systems and best practices frameworks, patterns capture and condense knowledge so anyone can use them to solve novel and existing problems in new ways. Open source is another example of a community sharing knowledge to solve problems faster by leveraging the experience and expertise of others.

"A pattern describes a recurring design or architectural problem in a specific context and offers an established scheme for its solution," the IIC said in a press release. "IoT [internet of things] patterns include architectural designs to represent essential cohesive components and their assembly; and design patterns that illustrate solutions to specific problems."

The initiative will differentiate between two types of patterns—architectural and design—said Daniel Burkhardt, co-chair IIC Patterns Task Group, in a blog post about the initiative. Design patterns mostly describe a specific coding scheme. Architectural patterns describe the constellation of components as part of a software system.

"The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) started the Pattern TG [Task Group] to collect and define architectural patterns for the space of the Industrial IoT (IIoT)," he said. "We are creating an open repository for patterns to specify the solution space of the IIoT. By doing this, we aim to accelerate developments through the reuse of existing solutions enabled by patterns. The inherent knowledge of experts is provided in a compact form to power new solutions in this space."

SEE: Future of farming: AI, IoT, drones, and more (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

The Patterns Initiative won't be limited to just IIoT use cases or particular industries like manufacturing, Ozog said. Process problems around how to best apply data and analytics to achieve a given outcome across a broad range of industries and applications, for example, will also be part of the mix.

"What we produce is the description of the pattern, how you would solve a problem and maybe different application nodes depending on the situation so you know if the pattern is applicable," he said.

Those interested in learning more can visit the IoT Patterns repository on the IIC Resource Hub. There also is a IIC Community Forum to discuss patterns and aid in knowledge sharing. Workshops to educate the IIoT developer community are planned, as well.

Also see