IO-Link and JSON

27 April 2020

The IO-Link Community has published a new specification for easy data exchange which describes how data can be exchanged by IO-Link over JSON REST and MQTT – in line with the transparent communication of Industry 4.0.

For seamless data transport into the world of IT, JSON (Java Script Object Notation) has established itself as a highly streamlined exchange format which can be used across all system boundaries. Through additional specification of the semantics, easy interpretation of the data is also made possible. This enables the seamless connection of the IO-Link level to MES/ERP systems, cloud-based services and applications outside classical PLC automation in general.

The demand for uniform standardised data consistency from the lowest field level to cloud-based services was accepted by the IO-Link Community, which first defined a JSON-based exchange format in a dedicated working group and thus the uniform semantic integration of the IO-Link field level into the world of IT. The specification encompasses both the definition of an API as the REST interface and data transport over MQTT.

This standardised exchange format is said to offer new opportunities such as cross-manufacturer engineering and global access to measurement values and other monitoring data. For example, classical configuration tools can be tied in across all manufacturers by JSON via REST. Streamlined sensor to cloud (IIoT) applications are also easy to implement with the very widely used MQTT protocol with the publisher/subscribe mechanism. This even makes it possible to implement a cloud-based automation task with manufacturer-independent components, for example.


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