The future of Industry 4.0 connectivity, communication and platforms has already started.

Time Sensitive Networking

Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) provides a standardized, realtime-capable, highly reliable, high bandwidth network from sensors to clouds. Soon, advanced TSN configuration mechanisms will allow for dynamic, centralized and distributed configuration of TSN-based networks. Whereas TSN for realtime communication between controllers/PLCs already can compliment and soon also replace proprietary industrial Ethernet networks steadily fostering the harmonization of industrial realtime communication networks.

Realtime OPC UA PubSub

The long-anticipated Part 14 of the OPC UA Specification, the OPC UA PubSub provides a standardized, realtime-capable machine-to-machine (M2M) communication middleware from field-level to control-level, to operations-level to MES-and Enterprise-level. By applying domain-specific semantics and data exchange formats seamless integration (“plug and produce”) of new assets becomes reality. With OPC UA based Asset Administration Shells (AAS) communication between assets will be standardized, allowing for the proliferation of dynamic, highly flexible, self-configuring machine parks.

Edge Computing and Edge Clouds

Edge Computing and Edge Clouds provide a distributed compute and storage infrastructure for ultra-reliable, low-latency communication, significantly surpassing public cloud offerings in terms of latency, robustness, autonomy and data security. Edgebased Data Analytics, Rule Engines, Stream- & Complex Event Processing (CEP) Engines provide ultrafast intelligence right at the device/field level enabling various applications from condition monitoring to safety, to predictive maintenance.

Software-based Programmable Logic Controllers

Software-based Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs), through modern virtualization techniques like Kubernetes and Docker Swarm, combined with state-of-the-art management and orchestration systems can be provided with similar robustness and reliability as hardware-based PLCs. However, with software-based PLCs, updates, upgrades and re-configurations without production downtime have never been easier.

Fog-/Edge-/Cloud-Orchestration Systems

Fog-/Edge-/Cloud-Orchestration Systems allow for new levels of flexibility and manageability (updates/upgrades, elastic scalability, migration, fault management) provided by advanced ETSI NFV MANO-based Edge-/Cloud-Orchestration of IIoT applications / SoftPLCs dynamically deployed and managed across distributed Edge Nodes interfacing with various fieldbuses and controlling various drives.

The core components of the OpenIoTFog Fog-/Edge-Platform:
A real-time capable TSN- and Edge-based Industry 4.0 Platform

The IEEE Standards 802.1AS/AS-Rev for Timing and Synchronization, 802.1Qbv for Forwarding and Queuing, 802.1Qcc for Stream Reservation and 802.1Qbu for Forwarding and Queuing provide the basis for Time-Sensitive-Networking (TSN) enablement of the OpenIoTFog.

The OPC Foundation’s Part 14 of the OPC UA specification, the OPC UA Pub/Sub Specification plays an important role for realizing OPC UA-based real-time communications at the shop-floor level where controllers and sensors require optimized, low-latency communications on local networks.

The IEC 61131 standards lay the basis for both, hardware-based PLCs as well as software-based PLCs.

Standards for Edge Computing Platforms are provided by Telecommunication-oriented Standardization efforts like the ETSI Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) Standardization, as well as from network solution vendor driven standardization efforts like the OpenFogConsortium (whose architecture got adopted by the IEEE and which lately merged with IIC).

The ETSI NFV MANO Standards apart from strongly influencing the ETSI MEC Standards provide an extensive basis for realizing Edge Orchestration Systems, capable of dynamically injecting, deploying, elastically scaling, migrating and fault managing Edge-based IIoT applications such as OPC UA servers/clients, SoftPLCs, Analytics Engines, Dashboards or Digital Twins.

For the implementation of Industry 4.0 concepts the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) with the Industrial Internet Reference Architecture (IIRA) and the German Plattform Industrie 4.0 with its Referenzarchitekturmodell Industrie 4.0 (RAMI) play a significant role.Here a fundamental Industry 4.0 component is described, as a model that better explains the properties of Cyber-physical Systems (CPS) in order to, with the help of a so-called Asset Administration Shells, connect real production objects with virtual objects and processes.

IIoT / Industry 4.0 research activities and OpenIoTFog toolkit developments are supported by Fraunhofer FOKUS IIoT Center and by the Techische Universität Berlin (TUB) – AV research group. The OpenIoTFog is developed for the purpose of supporting realtime asset-/machine-park-data aggregation, asset/plant supervision, remote HMIs, synchronous and deterministic control multiple I/Os and drives, Condition Monitoring, Predictive Maintenance, Asset/Worker Safety and foremost Digital Twin Enablement.

The OpenIoTFog Architecture encompasses aforementioned capabilities and functionalities, as shown in the following graphic:

The OpenIoTFog brings real-time intelligence to the Shop Floor and Machine-Data to IIoT Platforms.

In a nutshell, the core capabilities are:

  • Edge-based Fieldbus, industrial Ethernet and TSN Interworking; soon TSN Configuration;
  • OPC UA Server/Client Support, soon OPC UA Pub/Sub Support;
  • Plug & Monitor & Control: Sensor/Machine-Data Aggregation and synchronized Control;
  • Hardware-PLC Interworking, SoftPLC hosting and operations;
  • Rich Stream Analytics, Rule Enginges, Video Analytics, graphical, rule-based Actor Control;
  • Dynamic IIoT Application Injection, Upgrades/Updates, Migration, Fault Management and dynamic Network Configuration.

The main benefits are:

  • Easy Access, Aggregation and Harmonization of Machine Park Data across heterogeneous PLCs and industrial Networks / Fieldbuses;
  • Ultra-Low-Latency, Configurable Security, Robustness, Autonomy and Interoperability;
  • Retrofit Brownfield Assets through various added Sensor Technologies;
  • Easily define control loops from sensing to actuation;
  • Synchronously Control multiple I/Os and Drives;
  • Edge-based HMIs, Dashboards for Mobile Worker End-Devices;
  • Real-time supervision of entire plant, real-time machine/plant data for digital Twins;
  • Utilize Machine Learning for Predictive maintenance;
  • Utilize Video Analytics for Quality Assurance, Safety and digital Twins.

Contact Us for a fully functional OpenIoTFog Instance at



Fraunhofer Institute for Open Communication Systems


Technical University Berlin



A 45 minute presentation about the Industrial Internet, use cases, protocols, and challenges.


Small flyer introducing OpenIoTFog.


Overview of the Fraunhofer group behind OpenIoTFog.



Introduction into Industry 4.0 and the OpenIoTFog functionalities.

Demo of an OpenIoTFog controlled and monitored robot at the FFF IIoT Workshop.