Get IoT Guidance Online

Get IoT Guidance Online

This piece was originally published in the September 2017 issue of electroindustry.

Steve Griffith, PMP, Industry Director, NEMA

As part of NEMA’s Internet of Things (IoT) Strategic Initiative and under the guidance of the association’s IoT Council, NEMA has released an IoT handbook ( This tool was featured during a NEMA presentation at the annual conference of the National Fire Protection Association.

The interactive website provides users with actionable information related to the use of specific IoT protocols, communication technologies, and standards within the vertical markets of industrial, commercial, and residential buildings as well as medical imaging. As more IoT devices enter the market, achieving a common understanding of applicable business cases through economic analysis and education becomes more necessary.


The industrial marketis categorized by discrete, continuous, and hybrid applications. Discrete applications are individual pieces that are often manufactured in machines that form, mold, or package raw materials into usable parts, including 3-D printing, injection molding, and bottling. Continuous applications convert raw materials into usable product in a continuous process, often through chemical transformations. Examples include cement kilning, chemical manufacturing, and iron making.

Batch processing is a good example of a hybrid process. In it, discrete amounts of materials are combined or mixed with a catalyst to generate a chemical reaction that results in a usable or sellable product. Hybrid applications are often combined with discrete applications to create products such as bottled or canned beverages, food products, pharmaceuticals, and similar packaged goods.

The industrial market is characterized by a wide range of communication protocols, many of which are standardized in IEC 61158 Industrial communication networks—Fieldbus specifications and IEC 61784 Industrial communication networks—Profiles. Significant protocols that are explained in the guide include CC-Link, ControlNet, EtherCAT, Modbus TCP/IP, and PROFINET.

Commercial and Intelligent Buildings

The commercial and intelligent building systems market vertical includes office, retail, educational, healthcare, and hospitality ranging in size from small shops to high-rise towers. Services may include lighting; heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC); access control; security; video surveillance; fire alarm and sprinklers; elevator control; audio; and others.

The predominant communication technologies fall into three categories: wired, wireless, and optical. Relevant protocols include BACnet, digital addressable lighting interface (DALI), EnOcean, Bluetooth and BLE, and SNMP.


The residential market vertical spans multiple types of dwellings, categorized by varying footprints and ownership structures (single family, multifamily, detached, condominium, etc.). Although the level of IoT penetration and complexity varies by the type of dwelling, the application space targets the same goals: efficiency and convenience. IoT functionality is implemented by combinations of sensing, monitoring, automation (control), and notification.

Predominant communication technologies include personal, mesh, local, and wide area networks, such as Bluetooth, Zigbee, cellular (e.g., 3G, 4G, and 5G), and broadband. In the residential vertical there are also user interface / home automation systems that control IoT devices. There are several vendor-specific and proprietary stand-alone systems, but the major drivers are the integrated systems that manage multiple devices across protocols and systems.

IoT applications in the residential market include appliance controls; entertainment; HVAC and environmental monitoring and conditioning; lighting controls; power delivery, including automotive charging, smart meters, and submeters; and security and access controls.


Input and feedback are welcome as we refine the handbook’s content. For more information about the website or NEMA’s IoT Strategic Initiative, contact Steve Griffith at

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