Getting started with IIoT sensor deployment

Blog Post created by gopal Employee on Apr 17, 2018

The following is a summary of the Hands-on Lab "IIoT Sensor Deployment - What and How" at PI World 2018 in San Francisco, CA.


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When connecting legacy or new assets for IoT use cases, you are faced with a variety of options: which sensors and gateways to use, wired vs. wireless networking, battery life for sensors and gateways, which communication protocols to use, how to collect data, what functionality needs to reside at the edge (analytics, storage), device management- the choices are staggering. This session will discuss best practices for this critical first step in IoT deployments.


KEY TAKEAWAY 1: Understand the decision criteria for sensor selection as you develop your Industrial IoT strategy

KEY TAKEAWAY 2: Learn about battery life, communication protocols, and edge storage in industrial IoT use cases

KEY TAKEAWAY 3: Deepen your knowledge of Edge analytics during data collection


The hands-on lab covers several use cases to illustrate the various options:

  • Non-invasive sensor measurements – voltage, amps, pressure, process fluid temperature, process liquid flow, liquid level, vibration, thermography (IR temperature) etc.
  • Data flow via wireless communication - RF mesh network, WiFi, cellular etc.
  • Data payloads via MQTT (Sparkplug B), Modbus IP, PI UFL http, OPC UA, Ethernet IP, HART-IP etc.


All examples use currently shipping or soon to be released (within the next quarter i.e. Q3 2018) PI System software.

The lab does not require any coding or developer related skills.


Exercise 1: Energy usage – Amps (current transformer) – Advantech

In this Exercise, you collect current (amperage) usage readings; these measurements are used to track energy consumption, unbalanced three phase loads etc.

Energy monitoring starer kit:…


Edge wireless sensor (5 year battery) uses RF mesh network to transmit to an IoT Gateway (includes support for cellular) which publishes to MQTT broker; and then is written to PI using PI Connector for MQTT (Sparkplug B)

The Smart Swarm box includes Node-RED


Exercise 2: Condition monitoring – Motor Temperature (thermal camera) – Fluke

In this Exercise, you collect temperature readings using a thermal camera.

For more information on thermography use cases, see



Handheld thermal camera uses adhoc WiFi to connect to a smart phone, then via cellular to transmit to Fluke Connect cloud, and then the temperature readings (no thermal images) are written to PI using PI Connector for UFL (https)


Exercise 3: Condition monitoring – Vibration - National Instruments and Allied Reliability

In this Exercise, you collect and compare vibration readings for a balanced/unbalanced motor. Condition monitoring via vibration accelerometers is widely used for CbM (condition based maintenance) and fault diagnostics.




Vibration accelerometer (continuous ) with high sampling rate (20 kHz) is edge-processed ( including FFT - Fast Fourier Transform) to extract key features and sent to NI InsightCM; then it is written to PI via PI Connector for OPC-UA


Reference installation: Duke Energy


Exercise 4: Process fluid temperature – Emerson

In this Exercise, you collect the temperature of a process fluid flowing inside a pipe using non-intrusive pipe clamp based sensors.


Wireless HART-IP device data is written to PI via PI Connector for HART-IP



Exercise 5: Any 4-20 mA or 0-10 V sensor – Advantech

In this Exercise, you collect pressure readings. Note that the edge device (WISE 4012E) can be solar powered.




Any analog/digital sensor (4-20 mA or 0-10 V) measurement is written to PI via Modbus IP


Exercise 6: Liquid level – Keyence

In this Exercise, you collect liquid level readings. The benefits of a non-contact sensor (radar level transmitter) are detailed at:


Any analog/digital sensor (4-20 mA or 0-10 V) measurement is written to PI via Modbus IP


Other useful links

PI World 2018 IoT Hands-on Lab Manual:…

Remote non-intrusive corrosion monitoring


Monnit industrial wireless sensors:



Southwire Insulator Monitoring:


OSIsoft/Advantech presentation at PTC Liveworx 2018 is attached below.