Unified Namespace (UNS): 6 steps to a successful implementation


In a modern factory, data is not only crucial, but also the driving factor for efficiency, productivity, product quality and innovation. The introduction of an effective data infrastructure between OT and IT plays a key role here. In this context, the concept of the Unified Namespace (UNS) is becoming increasingly important in the manufacturing industry. You can read more about UNS and its advantages here.

Important: UNS only describes the concept. You must define how the concept is implemented. By consistently implementing the following 6 steps, which are based on proven strategies from successful Industrial IoT projects, you will implement a UNS architecture with sustainable success.

Unified Namespace (UNS): 6 steps to a successful implementation


1. Define goals, create clarity

Defining and communicating clear objectives for the introduction of a UNS is the fundamental first step. The formulation of concrete and measurable goals (in addition to typical UNS advantages such as scalability) is crucial in order to establish a link to the company’s goals. Therefore, identify and understand the key challenges and requirements of your business areas (e.g. realizing sales growth with existing production systems). Derive targets for data management at company, business unit and operational level (e.g. standardized analysis of equipment effectiveness OEE). Define priorities and set measurable targets (e.g. global increase in OEE by 15%). This is important for monitoring and reviewing your UNS pilot project at a later date.


2. Analyze data landscape & identify key stakeholders

Start an analysis of your current data environment to uncover data sources, formats and types as well as potential integration challenges. First, limit yourself to OT and IT systems that are crucial for achieving your goals from point 1. This can include machines, sensors, SCADA, historians, databases, MES and ERP systems. Identify the stakeholders in your current data landscape (e.g. data consumers and producers) and actively involve them in the development of your UNS strategy.


3. Define requirements for data architecture, security and infrastructure

UNS merely describes the concept. You must define how the concept is implemented. Therefore, derive the requirements for your data architecture, security and infrastructure on the basis of your objectives defined in point 1. While data architecture defines the basic organization and flow of data, data security refers to measures to ensure the confidentiality and integrity of data within the UNS and to protect it from unauthorized access or loss. The data infrastructure ultimately implements the data architecture and security physically by providing hardware and software. Together they form the basis for your UNS.

One example: If scalability is an important requirement, the implementation of information and data models (data architecture) for the standardization of machine data is crucial. In order to make the standardized data securely and globally available in the UNS, the transmission is encrypted and via a multi-level access control (data security). The fulfillment of this requirement is ensured by the integration of software and hardware components such as cloud services, servers and middleware (data infrastructure).


4. Form a Unified Namespace (UNS) team

Form an interdisciplinary team that represents the most important stakeholders from point 2. Make sure that your team covers both the key specialist areas (e.g. OT and IT) and subject matter experts (e.g. for data architecture and security). The expertise of team members from different areas ensures that the UNS can be implemented effectively and meet the diverse needs of your organization. The UNS team is typically responsible for:

Team for the introduction and continuous optimization of a Unified Namespace (UNS)

  1. Planning and strategy: Develop a clear strategy for the implementation of the Unified Namespace based on business goals and requirements.
  2. Architecture design: Design of the architecture of the unified namespace, including the definition of data structures, standards and integration methods.
  3. Implementation of the data infrastructure and integration: Responsible for the actual implementation of the Unified Namespace, including integration with existing IT and OT systems.
  4. Security and data protection: Implementation of security measures and data protection guidelines in connection with the Unified Namespace to ensure the integrity and confidentiality of the data.
  5. Internal training: Training of employees and relevant stakeholders in the company to ensure that they can work effectively with the Unified Namespace.
  6. Continuous optimization: Identify optimization opportunities in the Unified Namespace and implement improvements to ensure it meets the changing needs of the business.
  7. Troubleshooting and support: Providing support for problems that arise in connection with the Unified Namespace and implementing solutions.
  8. Compliance management: Ensuring compliance with legal and regulatory requirements in connection with data management and data protection.


5. Invest in Unified Namespace (UNS) data infrastructure

A robust data infrastructure consists of software and hardware components such as on-premise and cloud services, servers and middleware (e.g. MQTT Broker). It forms the backbone of your UNS. Therefore, invest in state-of-the-art data infrastructure and make sure that your infrastructure is tailored to your specific requirements. By making targeted investments, you can meet your requirements and ambitions and provide your team with the optimal “tools” to make your company competitive in the age of data analytics and AI.


6. Set up a Unified Namespace (UNS) pilot, convince the organization

Prioritize potential UNS use-cases based on their cost/benefit ratio. Identify a pilot use-case and monitor your pilot with regard to the defined goals from point 1, differentiating between improvement KPIs (e.g. OEE) and stabilization KPIs (e.g. number of faulty data points). This allows you to differentiate business success from teething troubles in your UNS pilot and make targeted adjustments. Do pioneering work and use lighthouse projects to get your organization moving. In an iterative process, your UNS team from point 4 ensures that your UNS is constantly evolving in line with business objectives and technological progress.



By setting precise objectives, analyzing the status quo in detail and developing a forward-looking data architecture, security and infrastructure, you lay the foundation for the successful introduction of a Unified Namespace (UNS). The formation of an interdisciplinary UNS team, supported by targeted investments in modern data infrastructure, maximizes your chances of success in implementation. Test and refine your strategy with a pilot project, do pioneering work and use a successful lighthouse to convince and inspire your employees.


i-flow Industrial Unified Namespace (UNS)

About i-flow: At i-flow, we are dedicated to empowering manufacturers with the world’s most intuitive software to seamlessly connect factories at scale. Over 400 million data operations daily in production-critical environments not only demonstrate the scalability of the software, but also the deep trust our customers place in i-flow. Close cooperation with our customers and partners worldwide, including renowned Fortune 500 companies and industry leaders such as Bosch, Sto and Lenze, is at the heart of our business. i-flow Industrial Unified Namespace (UNS)About the software: i-flow provides the central tools for the implementation and operation of a scalable Industrial Unified Namespace Architecture.

  1. Connectivity Layer: With more than 200 connectors, you can integrate common OT and IT systems into your UNS with just a few clicks.
  2. Harmonization Layer: The i-flow software harmonizes source data before it is made available in a central message broker.
  3. Message broker: i-flow comes with a fully integrated MQTT broker, but also supports existing brokers (e.g. MQTT, Kafka).
  4. Microservices: Combine, aggregate and transform OT and IT data via i-flow microservices, for example to calculate KPIs or realize complex integrations.

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