The interest in Time Sensitive Networks (TSN) – and its evolution – is clearly of great interest in a number of industry sectors as was demonstrated both in the papers presented at this year’s TSN/A conference in Stuttgart, as well as the diversity in background of delegates.
Perhaps due to its location, the Industrial Automation sector appeared to have the highest percentage of delegates. However, the automotive, financial, medical and power sectors, to name a few, were all well represented.
Speaking to delegates during the networking breaks, there is a marked step forward in their interest and understanding of TSN compared to what I found at the last conference in San Jose 16 months ago. A keynote from BMW shared results of a survey of other car manufacturers plus the system and component suppliers in the car industry ecosystem. All were reporting high interest in TSN concepts as it is viewed as important for many of the technology roadmap features/functions for their future products. The need for time and time-sensitive networks, in my opinion, is now clearly established; the question is, how and when?
It is also clear that there remains a huge thirst to understand TSN technology. The Telecom industry has the most experience in using PTP, primarily because their application driver for a solution to transfer time through a packet network existed earlier than the application need in the other sectors. There were some representatives from telecoms at this conference, and it feels like the Telecom industry has the knowledge and experience of using PTP to assist the other industry sectors with the challenges they face. Where there are similarities in the challenges they face, the Telecom Industry experiences can undoubtedly offer input and guidance on what to do, and not do, to implement time transfer in specific environments.
It is always exciting to be involved at the start of something, and it feels as though TSN is still near the start. I hope this doesn’t sound disingenuous to the teams that have been looking at this for some time, but by visiting a conference like TSN/A, you get the feeling that there are many people in many industry sectors that are in that early ‘path of discovery’ phase. This level of hunger to learn is infectious in creating drive to move the TSN concepts forward with pace. Exciting times and I look forward to seeing the progress at next year’s TSN/A event.
Tommy Cook, Calnex Solutions – CEO