The spread of the Internet of Things (IoT) in industrial environments has fostered the development of new Industrial IoT (IIoT) applications and, more in general, the advent of the Industry 4.0 revolution. The current trend is towards the development of connected machines able to interact with each other as well as to send data and access cloud and Internet services. In particular, real-world industrial use cases are usually characterized by stricter Quality of Service (QoS) requirements compared with traditional IoT applications, especially in terms of reduced latency, limited (or no) packet loss, wide and guaranteed bandwidth. Moreover, the integration of consolidated Operational Technology (OT) processes and relatively novel Information Technology (IT) services poses novel challenging issues in terms of safety and security (e.g., cyber-attacks could compromise the functionalities of machines also representing a risk for human operators).
Smart components and services within industrial environments represent a novel and promising solution not only to better support QoS requirements, but also to more easily reconcile safety requirements of OT with the openness and dynamicity typical of the IT. Moreover, the emergence of edge devices equipped with relatively high computational, memory, and storage capabilities facilitates the adoption of these technologies. They are not only able to increase the efficiency of existing industrial processes, e.g., by more promptly identifying faulty machines to reduce the downtime and maximize OLE/OEE KPIs, but also to provide new business opportunities, e.g., by widening the market offering industrial equipment based on pay-per-use fees.