Retrofit can be simple: Data connection without intervention in the control system with io-key & apollo


3 minutes Reading time
3 minutes Reading time

Increasing productivity using IoT is complex and almost always means intervening in the software of the existing plant. But everyone knows, “Never Change A Running System!” Is a retrofit worth the effort if you have to fight your way through around 355 different communication drivers from Mitsubishi, Siemens and Co to countless different controllers? One thing is certain: IoT is inconceivable without a path to the cloud. But which is the right one?

The challenge:

The initial case regularly looks like the following in simplified form: The user works in a brownfield environment with existing systems. A sensor is connected to the controller and a temperature value is to be transferred from the controller to the cloud – preferably the AWS cloud, but also any other. To access the temperature value, the controller must be accessed. But this works differently for each controller and sensor. There are countless ways to get this data into the cloud. How can this process be simplified? How can all the process data of a machine recorded by the PLC, for example, be summarized and sent directly in a simple way?

The solution:

autosen has developed the io-key for this purpose. It is a complete solution consisting of a wireless gateway, IoT cloud and integrated connectivity with a Europe-wide data flat rate. As a plug-and-play solution, the io-key automatically recognizes more than 20,000 industrial sensors from over 350 manufacturers when they are connected and transmits the detecteddata via mobile radio without any intervention in the IT infrastructure to wherever you want – i.e. also to your desired cloud. The apollo software, a new container architecture from autosen, creates further advantages for the user: The io-key transmits the sensor data directly to your apollo cloud container through the combination of IO-Link technology and wireless connection, and from there to your cloud interface via MQTT: Your data gets to the cloud in a minute. So if you already use AWS, Microsoft Azure or any other cloud environment, you can access them completely straightforwardly via io-key and apollo.

This gives the user a free choice of cloud environment and sensor technology. The correct sensor values are displayed to the user in the appropriate manner without any further effort. The computing power for these autosen services comes from the cloud – be it AWS or all others. This makes the service scalable. And because io-key as an open system takes care of the identification of the sensor technology, the user saves himself the entire asset management.

IT applications can also be implemented in this way with similar ease: In the simplest case, a self-assembling dashboard with alerting, reporting, and user management, all the way to integration with CRM systems such as Salesforce for automated ticketing of spare parts orders or dispatching of service employees.

The result:

With the help of the io-key and the open cloud partner collaborations such as with AWS, a minimally invasive retrofit solution succeeds. The complex OT/IT integration is bypassed. The user does not have to worry about technology, connectivity or the cloud environment.

A complete digitization project now takes 24 hours instead of months – from the idea to visualization on the smartphone, or wherever the data is needed. Without IT department. Without investment costs.

In this way, companies can not only digitize their production plants much more quickly, but also do so in places where no adequate skilled personnel are available. The costs per system are already fixed before the start and can be transferred linearly to further applications.


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