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Real-Time Production Monitoring with MQTT and Edge Analytics

by HiveMQ Team
16 min read

In the evolving landscape of Industry 4.0, the integration of MQTT at the network edge is a cornerstone of real-time production monitoring and analytics. Leveraging MQTT at the edge allows manufacturing enterprises to attain unprecedented levels of efficiency and productivity.

MQTT: The Pathway for Analytics at the Edge

MQTT, a lightweight messaging protocol for small sensors and mobile devices, has been optimized for the efficiency, speed and reliability required at the edge. In the context of modern manufacturing, MQTT facilitates the communication of data from various devices to each other, edge gateways, data centers, and the cloud, ensuring a fully distributed, real-time data platform for monitoring, analytics, and even control.

MQTT has already played a pivotal role in modernizing the manufacturing industry. It not only ensures data security but also enables the efficient transmission of data with minimal bandwidth usage. It also provides the perfect platform for data modeling and enrichment, which is core to effective edge analytics.

MQTT Sparkplug: Bridging the Gap

In the realm of smart manufacturing, achieving interoperability is critical. This is where MQTT Sparkplug comes into play, serving as an interoperability layer that is perfectly suited for industrial automation and smart manufacturing use cases. It enables a consistent, composable, and observable way for equipment manufacturers and software providers to model and share data.

Building upon the MQTT protocol, Sparkplug introduces essential capabilities like MQTT topic structure definition, MQTT state management, and payload data model definitions, all of which are crucial for Edge Analytics. It also enhances MQTT’s usability in industrial environments, offering a structured approach to traditionally unstructured messaging and ensuring semantic consistency across various devices.

HiveMQ is fully compatible with the latest Sparkplug 3.0 specification, and plays a pivotal role in Sparkplug deployments at the edge. It supports features such as Quality of Service (QoS) levels 0, 1, and 2, “Retained” messages, and Last Will & Testament (LWT), providing scalable and secure MQTT Sparkplug compliant dataflows. HiveMQ also facilitates easy integration with OT and IT systems and offers deployment flexibility, including on-premise solutions and cloud options with platforms like Microsoft Azure, AWS, or HiveMQ Cloud so that the important events discovered at the edge can be shared with global stakeholders.

Integration with UNS & ISA-95

The integration of ISA-95 standards with MQTT Sparkplug and a Unified Namespace (UNS) is a gamechanger in edge data modeling. It fosters additional interoperability and streamlined operations, enhancing the efficiency of real-time production monitoring systems.

Traditional point-to-point communication in manufacturing systems often faces scalability issues and run into vendor lock-in, a challenge that UNS effectively addresses. It facilitates easy integration of OT and IT systems, enforcing common naming conventions and enhancing interoperability.

The ISA-95 standard comes into play as a functional modeling standard, organizing manufacturing components efficiently and modernly. It categorizes processes based on the time taken for completion, ranging from physical production to order management, offering a structured approach to manufacturing system organization.

Building upon MQTT, the Sparkplug specification fosters industry-wide interoperability, promoting secure and discoverable data integration from various sources within the MQTT infrastructure. It leverages MQTT’s architecture to distribute data instantly to systems subscribed to the UNS, enhancing data organization and discoverability.

In essence, the integration of UNS architecture, ISA-95 standard, and Sparkplug specification through a broker like HiveMQ lays a robust foundation for smart manufacturing systems, both at the edge and beyond. It promises a future of interoperable and streamlined data flows, a vital aspect in the modern Industry 4.0 environment.

Edge Analytics: Making Sense of the Data

Once your data is effectively modeled, labeled, and enriched, the use of edge analytics allows the data to be transformed into actionable insights. Processing data at the edge of the network, closer to the source of data, reduces latency and allows for real-time responses. It is here at the edge that the data undergoes initial analysis, filtering the necessary from the unnecessary, thus ensuring that only the most important information is sent upstream to the data center or cloud for further analysis.

HiveMQ Edge provides an effective on-ramp for edge analytics. It stands as an open-source MQTT gateway, fostering innovation without the constraints of licensing, and ensuring businesses can adapt and evolve in the ever-changing industrial landscape.

One of its standout features is the ability to convert traditional OT protocols, such as Modbus and OPC-UA, into the standardized MQTT format, facilitating seamless integration with enterprise and cloud systems. This makes data more accessible and actionable, a pivotal aspect in real-time production monitoring.

Moreover, it leverages the Unified Namespace (UNS) to promote standardization and structure, including ISA-95 semantic standards. This approach not only eliminates data silos but also ensures a coherent data naming and modeling strategy which is applied as early as possible, essential for real-time production analytics at the edge.

Its cross-platform nature guarantees seamless integration into various infrastructural setups, be it Windows, Linux, or MacOS, minimizing disruptions and maximizing efficiency. Furthermore, HiveMQ Edge is backed by a global community of experts, continuously evolving to meet new challenges, adapting, and innovating, promising structured, interoperable, and streamlined operations.

Real-World Applications and Benefits

Implementing MQTT, UNS, and Sparkplug at the edge offers a range of benefits for those looking to do analytics of real-time production data at the edge.

Predictive Maintenance: Leveraging real-time data through MQTT, data modeling standards, and computing power at the edge significantly enhances predictive maintenance strategies in Industry 4.0 environments. Enterprises can facilitate the seamless collection and analysis of data from a myriad of devices and sensors in real-time. This approach allows for the early detection of potential issues before they escalate, thus scheduling timely maintenance and avoiding costly downtimes. Moreover, it fosters a proactive maintenance strategy, where data-driven insights can help predict when a machine is likely to fail, facilitating timely interventions and substantially reducing unplanned outages. This not only ensures the longevity of the machinery but also significantly reduces operational costs, paving the way for a more efficient and sustainable production landscape. Finally, the bidirectional nature of MQTT allows insights to be generated both at the edge and in the datacenter, providing localized trends, baselines, and insights on one front, and global versions of the same on the other. Together, these two types of insights provide the best of both worlds for analysts and operators looking to use anomaly detection or other advanced analytic methods as part of their predictive maintenance toolkit.

Quality Control: In the realm of smart manufacturing, maintaining a high standard of quality control is paramount. Mercedes Benz (formerly Daimler), a renowned player in the automotive industry, leveraged MQTT and HiveMQ to revolutionize its quality control processes. By implementing a robust MQTT broker, Mercedes Benz facilitated seamless communication between different systems and devices, ensuring real-time data transmission and analysis. This approach enabled the monitoring of various parameters such as temperature, humidity, and vibration in real-time, allowing for immediate adjustments and ensuring the production of high-quality products. Moreover, it fostered a more responsive manufacturing environment where issues could be identified and rectified promptly, minimizing defects and maintaining a high standard of quality in their products. Through MQTT’s reliable and efficient data transmission, Mercedes Benz could uphold stringent quality control measures, ensuring the production of vehicles that meet and exceed industry standards.

Energy Efficiency: In the modern manufacturing landscape, achieving energy efficiency is not just a sustainability goal but a critical operational objective. The integration of MQTT Sparkplug can be a catalyst in this endeavor, fostering smart manufacturing and facilitating substantial energy savings. By enabling real-time monitoring and control of various manufacturing processes, it allows for the optimization of energy consumption patterns. For instance, through the intelligent control of lighting and heating systems based on occupancy and production schedules, manufacturing units can significantly reduce energy wastage. Moreover, the protocol facilitates the monitoring of equipment health, helping to avoid energy losses due to malfunctioning machinery. The structured data representation and the standardized topic namespace of MQTT Sparkplug ensure that the data from different sources can be integrated seamlessly, providing a comprehensive view of energy consumption patterns and enabling informed decision-making for energy optimization. Thus, MQTT Sparkplug stands as a vital tool in the pursuit of more sustainable and cost-effective operations, paving the way for a greener and more efficient manufacturing future.


The integration of MQTT and edge analytics in the manufacturing sector isn’t just a cutting-edge concept; it’s a present-day reality steering us towards smarter, more efficient production. These technologies are not just enhancing but revolutionizing real-time production monitoring, offering unprecedented levels of efficiency and productivity.

We’ve broken down the technical components, from the role of MQTT in facilitating seamless communication to the interoperability brought by Sparkplug and the structured approach to data handling it ensures. We’ve also highlighted the pivotal role of edge analytics in transforming raw data into actionable insights, with HiveMQ Edge standing as a robust tool in this endeavor. But beyond the technology itself, we’ve seen its real-world applications and benefits, showcasing how predictive maintenance, quality control, and energy efficiency are no longer aspirational goals but achievable realities with the right tools and knowledge.

The next step is clear - for manufacturing enterprises to take the insights and understandings gleaned from this exploration and apply them in a practical setting. It’s about taking a closer look at your existing systems and envisioning how MQTT protocols, data models, and edge analytics can be integrated in your own environment to foster a more responsive, adaptive, and ultimately, more successful production environment. To get started, learn more about the HiveMQ Sparkplug and HiveMQ Edge solutions.

HiveMQ Team

The HiveMQ team loves writing about MQTT, Sparkplug, Industrial IoT, protocols, how to deploy our platform, and more. We focus on industries ranging from energy, to transportation and logistics, to automotive manufacturing. Our experts are here to help, contact us with any questions.

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