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How to implement Industrial Internet of Things based on ABB Ability™ System 800xA

Solving actual problems at your plant and achieving real business benefits in a cost-effective way.

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ABB's flagship control system boasts 10,000 installed systems in over 100 countries, monitoring and controlling over 50 million tags. It is now part of ABB Ability™ - ABB's unified, cross-industry digital platform and cloud infrastructure developed in conjunction with Microsoft. ABB Ability™ System 800xA offers the shortest and most secure path to the realization of the benefits of the Industrial Internet of Things within the process automation.

Low-cost sensors and internet connection drive new decision making models in the industrial domain

The industry trend is towards smarter devices with software-based services that exploit the increased connectivity, bandwidth, computational capabilities and power efficiency, combined with the scalability and cost advantages of cloud computing. ABB Ability System 800xA is the automation platform that allows to connect everything, to empower collaboration within and between plants, among people, system services and devices. The use of intelligent devices in collaboration hubs is also referred to as the so called Internet of Things (IoT). The IoT forms the foundation for the information sharing, required to improve decision making and automation for optimal productivity - already now and in the future.

There are many digital technologies in industrial plants that transform processing and manufacturing, e.g. collecting large quantities of device data for subsequent (big) data analytics to support predictive maintenance. It is also possible to envision the big data analytics as part of closed control loops, and act based on the analytic information in real-time.

It is also possible to envision the analytics as part of control loops, and act on the information in real-time.

Implementation challenges in critical industrial applications

There are similarities between IoT for general systems and industrial systems, but with respect to scalability, there are also significant differences such as constraints on low latencies, criticality of the systems, requirements for predictability,  resilience to failures in the system and cyber security. Hence, there is justification to specifically consider industrial IoT systems (industrial Internet, Industry 4.0).

Over decades, ABB has amassed a vast pool of operational information and insights across more than 20 industries. Our deep understanding of our customers’ industries means that we know the scientific, engineering and business reasons that underpin decisions. We incorporate this understanding into our solutions, solving the right challenges with greater effectiveness and efficiency.

Clearly, there are also challenges that need to be addressed to support critical industrial applications in an industrial internet scenario.

Industrial internet faces constraints on low latencies, mixed criticality of the systems, requirements for predictability, resilience to failures in the system and cyber security

Examples of Industrial IoT implementation challenges within process automation that need to be addressed

  • Resource management related to edge computations, e.g., allocation of computations at different infrastructure levels ranging from edge (field or shop floor) to cloud.
  • Architectures for robust and predictable control in an Industrial IoT setting.
  • Supporting heterogeneous network technologies including Ethernet based field busses through virtualization techniques.
  • Analysis framework for servers, communication, distributed systems for applications spanning in several levels of the IoT infrastructure.
  • Runtime adaptable mechanisms for optimizing resource usage or for fault tolerance management in the IoT infrastructure.

Control system reimagined to play a new role

Industrial automation technology, with more emphasis on information, is the safest and most secure platform to  implement and operate the Internet of  Things in industrial applications. Over the past 10 years, ABB has been on the leading edge for IoT concepts, by reimagining and transforming its flagship control system 800xA to play a new role in more and more instrumented and connected world. Onboarded to ABB's digital platform ABB Ability, it has become ABB Ability System 800xA 

For ABB Ability System 800xA we see it as our mission to continuously improve the collaboration between people, systems and equipment in and between plants.


There are many Industrial IoT related activities that will result in new functions and new applications that will help us in this mission. As these concepts evolve and become reality we feel that we are very well prepared to take advantage of digital transformation to further improve our customer offering.

ABB Ability™ System 800xA offers safe and secure technology to implement and operate Internet of Things in industrial applications

Move over to new functionalities - smoothly

With ABB Aspect Object technology, our IoT technology, we have an infrastructure that allows us to easily attach new functions as well as replace existing functionality with new - all without changing the way things work for our users.

One example of this is how we moved from one graphics engine to a new engine by first allowing both running in parallel and then smoothly moving customers over to the new.

ABB's unique collaboration architecture

Aspect Object Technology of ABB Ability™ System 800xA

Connect the unconnected - seamlessly

Another example is how we connect to PLCs, controllers and ERP of different brands. ABB Ability™
 System 800xA has a unique cyber-physical representation of the equipment in the plant - the Aspects object,  the Things in our system.

In 800xA users can enjoy the power of having their equipment seamlessly collaborating with maintenance and video surveillance systems, even if the equipment is not controlled by ABB controllers.

Industrial Internet of Things will definitely bring new types of equipment and systems into collaboration with our users.
ABB Ability™ System 800xA users can enjoy the power of having their equipment seamlessly collaborating with maintenance and video surveillance systems, even if not controlled by ABB controllers

Operate industrial internet - securely

Security remains the foundation for building future industrial systems based on the Internet of Things, as they are particularly exposed to physical and cyber security risks. ABB Ability™ System 800xA has the most advanced defense mechanisms in place to operate modern plants, as they move to the higher level of connectivity, mobility and networking.

Everything on the IIoT must first be capable of operating safely and securely

Cyber security with ABB Ability™ System 800xA

Act on collected data - collaboratively

Contextual understanding of the data obtained from connected devices is the key element in adding business value from the Industrial IoT. Having information available is not helpful unless it can be acted on in a timely fashion. This could mean distributing it to individuals inside the organization, other systems in the network, other devices, or back to the device itself.

No context to the data means that we end up with a big mess (instead of big data), and the analytics can deliver the wrong result (that may look right). With mobility we can put wrong information in front of many people, quickly.

The Aspect object technology makes sure that all data is put into the right context and this way we avoid losing track of the information.

ABB has deep understanding of how everything works in industrial environment, in most complex processes. We have the expertise, infrastructure and models to transform the data into actionable  information, to help our customers interpret the information and drive optimization. The optimization can be either localized or systematic, and it can be manual or automated. All connected devices, systems and people need to operate in concert with each other.

We have the expertise, infrastructure and models to transform the data into actionable information, help our customers interpret the information and drive optimization.

The keys to making the Industrial IoT successful in the long run are the intelligent assets, security, contextual data, and a business problem to solve. The good news is that ABB has been addressing these areas for years, and remains your reliable partner at the forefront of the IoT wave.


Enable Industrial Internet of Things with

ABB Ability™ System 800xA

Deploying the IoT technology

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