We live in a connected industry world

The World's a-changing

The industry is facing major challenges: At shorter and shorter intervals customers demand new, individual, high quality, yet inexpensive products. At the same time products with diminishing resources must be manufactured, and preferably in a sustainable way. In order to cope with these demands research and economy count on the digitization of production where the real and the virtual world merge into one Internet of Things, Services and Data and where machines, work pieces, means of transport and products are equipped with embedded systems, i.e., tiny computers, as well as with sensors and actuators and, thus, are connected with each other. This enables the next leap in production: Industry 4.0.
  • since ~1800
    Industry 1.0

    The first mass production through machines was launched, and with the invention of the steam engine human power is substituted by steam power.

  • since ~1900
    Industry 2.0

    On the one hand the introduction of electricity marks the next paradigm shift, on the other hand the efficiency of labor was significantly increased through the concept of assembly line work.

  • since ~1970
    Industry 3.0

    The development of programmable logic controllers enables the flexible automation of production systems.

  • In the future
    Industry 4.0

    Machines and work pieces are connected among each other and worldwide, constantly exchange information and program each other. 80 percent of all industry corporations will have digitized their value chain in Germany by 2020.

  • and what
    are you

Whoever is not dealing with the topic of digitization will perish

Prof. Dr. Tobias Kollmann, Professor for e-business und e-entrepreneurship at the University Duisburg-Essen

Prototype of an Industry 4.0 Component

For the implementation of Industry 4.0 concepts standards across multiple domains are imperative. In this context and on an international level the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) with the Industrial Internet Reference Architecture (IIRA) and in Germany the Plattform Industrie 4.0 and the developed Referenzarchitekturmodell Industrie 4.0 (RAMI) play a significant role. Here a fundamental Industry 4.0 component is described, a model that better explains the properties of Cyber-physical Systems (CPS) in order to, with the help of a so-called Asset Administration Shell, connect real production objects with virtual objects and processes.
At the Fraunhofer Institute for Open Communication Systems (FOKUS) suitable prototypes and concepts are being developed for the purpose of research and implementation of these asset administration shells. Within the scope of research contracts specific industry application cases are implemented and evaluated in an exemplary fashion. This particularly includes industrial wireless technologies, mechanisms for peer-to-peer information exchange, standard-based interfaces, Fog Computing and Edge Computing paradigms as well as semantic information modeling.
The OpenIoTFog framework we developed is the basis and a vendor-agnostic prototype of an Industry 4.0 component. The middleware represents an Asset Administration Shell in order to integrate physical industrial systems into factories of the future, to gain experience with related concepts, and to create the first added values.


Whatever cannot be measured cannot be improved either. Therefore, one of our priorities is the reading of data via field buses or wirelessly through external sensors. For remote actuation, visualization, further processing and integration, information will then be transmitted via different wireless and wired technologies.


To avoid any vendor lock-in and allow horizontal and vertical integration, one focus is the usage of standard protocols such as oneM2M or OPC UA over various transport protocols such as HTTP, MQTT, CoAP or Web Sockets.


True interoperation and autonomy starts with semantic interoperability. To allow machines to understand each other, we focus on formally describe and query data using Semantic Web technologies, such as RDF, RDF, OWL and SPARQL.


For automated actuation, such as predictive maintenance, functions can be pushed centrally into the Cloud, locally into Edge Clouds or close to the device into the Fog Cloud. The latter reduces latencies, enables real-time behavior, increases robustness and assures privacy of the data.

Main Focus


For better orientation and inspired by the automation tiers, following is a depiction of a logical classification of the OpenIoTFog toolkit. The toolkit communicates as an Asset Administration Shell directly, or indirectly via a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC), with sensors and actuators.


The following focal points are functions implemented by the OpenIoTFog toolkit where we, in addition, see (engineering-)scientific challenges that will constantly be refined within the scope of research and development contracts.

Plug and Play






Physical Fog Node



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

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