Strong Adoption of MQTT in IIoT
Written by Ian Skerrett
Published: October 27, 2021
For the last 2 years, HiveMQ has been actively promoting the use of MQTT in the Industrial IoT (IIoT) industry. We have seen a lot of interest in using MQTT to break down the proprietary data silos to modernize factory automation and remote asset management. Our participation in the Sparkplug specification has been directly tied to the increased interest in our customers using MQTT and Sparkplug in these industries.
Given our investment in IIoT, we wanted to better understand what level of awareness and adoption MQTT had within the IIoT community. For this reason, HiveMQ recently completed a collaboration with the IIoT World to survey their community members about their IIoT projects and their adoption of different connectivity protocols. The results of this survey have just been published on IIoT World and it is very good news for MQTT.
MQTT Widely Used Today in IIoT
When asked ‘What protocols do you use today to connect your equipment?’, the most popular was HTTP (55.4%), followed by MQTT (50.3%) and then Modbus (45.9%). Other protocols like OPC-UA and Profibus were used much less frequently. We find a lot of companies coming to HiveMQ have been using Modbus but are looking for a more modern protocol. MQTT appears to be the protocol of choice for companies moving forward with new technologies.
The survey also asked what best reflects their experience with MQTT? Close to a third of the respondents answered they were using MQTT in deployed systems today. Another 30% were planning or considering using MQTT in their systems. Only 13.4% had never heard of MQTT but 25% thought they needed to learn more about MQTT. This clearly indicates the awareness of MQTT is very strong in IIoT but we still have some work to do to make sure everyone understands the benefits.
MQTT Sparkplug Awareness Still in Infancy
The survey also asked about the awareness of Sparkplug. The awareness of Sparkplug isn’t nearly as high as it is for MQTT. 37.6% have never heard of Sparkplug and another 38.2% need to learn more about Sparkplug. I think this is to be expected since the Sparkplug Working Group only got started about 2 years ago. I believe once the Sparkplug specification is finalized, we will see an increased awareness of Sparkplug. HiveMQ is also doing a lot to promote Sparkplug so we expect our investment, along with other companies, will increase Sparkplug awareness.
MQTT is Strategic for Majority of IIoT
Finally the survey asked what protocols do you consider strategic to fulfill your IIoT strategy. The response was pretty clear that MQTT is strategic for IIoT companies. Over 50% responded that MQTT was strategic, followed by 47.8% for HTTP. OPC-UA was strategic for just 35.7% of respondents. OPC-UA has been around a lot longer than MQTT and Sparkplug but it seems a lot of people have challenges gaining the benefit from using this protocol. A more simple approach using MQTT appears to be the path forward for many in IIoT.
The survey also asked questions about a number of other topics, including plans for IIoT strategy, expected benefits from implementing IIoT, challenges to implementing IIoT, who is leading IIoT strategy, plus others. It gives a very nice snapshot of the trends and perspectives of companies who are implementing IIoT projects. You can get a copy of the complete report at IIoT World.
As with any survey of this type, it is always important to look for any potential bias. HiveMQ specifically chose IIoT World since we believe it to be a diverse community. When the survey was advertised, HiveMQ’s involvement was not promoted so individuals were not biased towards MQTT, Sparkplug or HiveMQ. A total of 157 people responded to the survey so it provides one sample about what companies are doing. We plan to do other surveys with other communities to get a wider understanding of the trends for IIoT.