Components of an Industrial Unified Namespace (UNS)


In a rapidly evolving world of Industrial IoT, the concept of the Unified Namespace (UNS) has established itself as a strategic step towards efficient data management and interoperability. Successful implementation of the concept includes the design and development of the UNS architecture. The following functional components are crucial when implementing an Industrial Unified Namespace (UNS):

Components of an Industrial Unified Namespace (UNS)


Connectivity Layer: Integrate Everything to your UNS

The connectivity layer is of crucial importance as a component of an Industrial Unified Namespace (UNS), as this layer serves as a fundamental element for the seamless integration of various components within the industrial ecosystem. In industrial environments, various IT systems, machines, sensors and devices work with different protocols and communication standards. The connectivity layer acts as a universal translator that enables these systems to communicate effectively with the Industrial UNS.


Harmonization Layer: The Real Hero for a scalable UNS architecture

The harmonization layer is the real hero and forms the backbone of a scalable UNS architecture. This is because in the heterogeneous world of OT systems, data sources speak different languages and work with manufacturer-specific data structures and semantics. Without their harmonization, no UNIFIED namespace – and you end up with individual OT / IT integration projects again. Just like the old world of point-to-point integration of OT / IT systems. By creating a unified language space, the Harmonization Layer eliminates potential data chaos and enables consistent and effective data processing within your UNS.


Message Broker: Core Component of a Industrial Unified Namespace (UNS)

In the field of industrial communication, MQTT and/or Kafka brokers form the core of a UNS architecture. The message brokers enable bidirectional OT/IT communication in “real time”. The lightweight nature of MQTT is suitable for connecting IoT devices such as machines, while Kafka provides a reliable backbone for event processing and streaming analytics.


Microservices: Scalability despite dynamic use-cases

Microservices form an agile data processing layer within the UNS architecture. They divide complex functions into modular and manageable components. Each microservice fulfills a specific function (e.g. the calculation of a live OEE), which keeps the architecture flexible, efficient and easy to maintain. This makes it possible to react to changes, for example in the requirements of agile data analytics projects.



Each component of the UNS architecture plays an important role in the implementation of a scalable Industrial Unified Namespace (UNS) architecture. The connectivity layer ensures the seamless integration of your OT and IT systems. The harmonization layer ensures standardization, the message broker enables real-time communication and the microservices ensure scalability despite dynamic use cases. A basic understanding of the importance of these critical components is the basis for a robust and sustainable implementation of an Industrial Unified Namespace (UNS) architecture.


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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