Monthly Archives

November 2017

EdgeX Foundry Member Spotlight: IOTech

By Blog, EdgeX Foundry

Keith Steele, IOTech CEO, EdgeX Foundry Board member and Technical Steering Committee (TSC) Chair gives his views on why the EdgeX Foundry project has generated so much momentum in just six months and spotlighting the importance of credible commercialization partners.

Since the April launch, the EdgeX project has evolved into a growing and vibrant ecosystem of more than 60 companies contributing to the emergence of an open, secure platform to facilitate interoperability at the IoT edge.

The project dropped its first community release, dubbed ‘Barcelona’ in October, as part of a bi-annual release roadmap established by the project TSC and recently announced an alliance with the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) to collaborate on best practices and test beds.

The next release called ‘California’ will focus on security and manageability features as well as very significant performance and footprint improvements driven by the availability of new Golang based microservices.  There will be a California preview release in January with a full ‘California’ release in June 2018.

Many large technology providers are spinning up plans to adopt and end users are starting to incorporate EdgeX into their deployment roadmaps. Many POCs are also in progress.

EdgeX Momentum

What’s driving momentum?

First and foremost, there’s a market need. The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) market is projected to grow to $195B in the next few years (source Markets and Markets) , with at least 40% IoT data stored, processed, analyzed at or near the edge (source IDC).

Secondly, there’s a technology gap as identified by the IIC’s Edge Computing Task Group, the Open Fog Consortium and many other industry-leading companies. Peter Levine from Andreessen-Horowitz has provocatively suggested that the age of edge compute is taking over the cloud.

“The current model of cloud computing is too slow. A small difference in the time it takes to refresh a machine learning model for a drone or car could be the difference between life and death. Computation will move to the edge. The same drones, cars, and IoT devices that need their models updated quickly will form a peer-to-peer network with which to distribute time-sensitive tasks…cloud servers will still be around…responsible for doing offline computation across large data sets.”

The emergence of software platforms is recognized as vital to support this new paradigm at the Edge, having a pivotal strategic role to lowering barriers to IoT adoption to the larger market prize.  This means that EdgeX has hit the market at the right time to meet the growing needs for distributed computing to support the sheer scale of devices coming on steam and advanced analytics to produce business value.

The other big attraction is that it is truly open and vendor-neutral. The platform has been carefully architected to enable significant value-add around a lowest-common denominator interoperability framework, enabling companies of all sizes to innovate rather than reinvent.

EdgeX is a loosely-coupled, polyglot architecture, agnostic to silicon and operating system, the enabling microservices can be written in any programming language to run on any hardware; this level of flexibility is very important given the heterogeneous nature of IoT.

Openness is a critical success factor for scale by enabling an ecosystem of plug-and-play components that work together compared to proprietary platforms that further fragment the landscape

The EdgeX partner ecosystem is also a key factor in EdgeX momentum; the community has driven through open collaboration a well-defined roadmap, helping deliver well thought-out and relevant solutions for foundational functionality; the security working group is a notable example of this, with at least ten of the top IoT security companies on the planet working together to define EdgeX platform API requirements.

Vertical Solutions based on EdgeX are also starting to gain traction indeed Samsung is chairing a new Vertical Solutions Working Group in which end users will sponsor industry and use-case focused projects to define requirements for the core EdgeX platform and develop and deploy test beds in their respective industries.

As part of this initiative Samsung is spinning up a project for smart factories and National Oilwell Varco recently proposed one for Oil and Gas. We will see additional projects for use cases spanning Smart Cities to Buildings to Farms to make sure the foundational platform meets the needs of a wide variety of applications.

EdgeX Commercialization

There’s also another important player in the open source ecosystem: The commercialization partner.

EdgeX is targeted at the industrial segment of the Internet of Things, many applications here are business critical requiring long lifespan, therefore a key consideration organizations face is how to leverage Open Source in a sustainable and risk-free way.

Some companies will choose to take a cut of the open source code and maybe support themselves, but many companies simply want to exploit their value-added applications and leverage EdgeX to sell infrastructure or monetize services around IIoT deployment rather than focus on supporting the foundational code base.

For this reason, many companies are prepared to pay for professional highly proactive long-term support, guaranteed roadmap evolution, influence, and specialized services on top of the open source core.

As a founding member of the EdgeX project, IOTech realized this at an early stage of project development and strived to be the key commercialization partner, helping companies to enjoy the benefits and flexibility of open source, while mitigating the risks of its use.

In addition to taking a proactive role supporting the evolution of the EdgeX open source code, IOTech is creating professionally packaged, commercially supported versions of the core EdgeX software called Edge Xpert and developing complementary licensed IP which will offer through the partner ecosystem.

In summary, the EdgeX ecosystem is growing fast and there’s clear momentum for global adoption. I don’t think that’s an accident. EdgeX has all the attributes: it’s vendor-neutral open source, it meets a real market need, and it has a modern polyglot microservices architecture. At the same time, it is backed by some of the largest IoT players and vendors in the global IoT market.  Meanwhile, it has vendors like IOTech that can take the risk out of commercial adoption.

For a more information on IOTech’s EdgeX-related product and service offerings visit www.iotechsys.com or contact Keith at info@iotechsys.com.

IoT Evolution World: EdgeX Foundry: Less Than a Year Later

By EdgeX Foundry, In the News

While the grand vision for 50 billion devices being connected by the year 2020 may not be panning out exactly at the magnitude forecast by some IoT industry observers, our world is certainly becoming more connected every day.

Perhaps the “Real IoT” – in particularly the “Real Industry IoT” – is, if not a fine wine, a vision that needed to ferment a little longer, and like a refreshing fermented hard apple cider, ultimately will be less of one big bubble, and more of gazillions of little bubbles, or end-points naturally maturing at the very edge of the network.

Read more at IoT Evolution World.

Semiconductor Engineering: Move Data Or Process In Place?

By EdgeX Foundry, In the News

Chip architectures, and even local system architectures, long have found that the best way to improve total system performance and power consumption is to move memory as close to processors as possible. This has led to cache architectures and memories that are tuned for those architectures, as discussed in part 1 of this article. But there are several tacit assumptions made in these architectures that do not hold true when we start looking at larger systems. Discussions about the IoT and cloud computing have brought many of these to the forefront. The industry is still evolving, and it is not clear that the perfect solution has been found yet.

Read more at Semiconductor Engineering.

EdgeX enables Phenomenal Applications

By Blog, EdgeX Foundry

Guest blog by Marc Hammons and Tyler Cox (Dell Client CTO Software Architecture Team)

For those not yet in the know, EdgeX Foundry is a platform that provides IoT edge computing; making it easier to connect your “things” (sensors and devices) to the rest of your enterprise and allowing your enterprise to interact and help control those things.

Today, EdgeX is headless – there is no user interface.  The beauty of the platform is that it enables any type of interface – new or existing.   The idea is for organizations to use any preferred cloud or enterprise dashboard and management console with EdgeX to monitor and control their things that communicate via any standard.  The EdgeX community believes this presents an incredible opportunity for differentiation via entirely new and innovative user interfaces to help manage IoT deployments.  A few organizations like Dell have built some UIs for demonstration purposes. Now, we encourage EdgeX community members to add unique value by creating open source or commercial interfaces for EdgeX.

During a recent local hackathon, the Dell client CTO team completed a unique interface for interacting with sensors and devices that interoperate through the EdgeX framework.  The result was an amazing augmented reality (AR) interface to observe the readings coming from sensors and actuate the devices with hand signals.  Take a look at the video below demonstrating several things being controlled by the Dell AR app integrated with EdgeX.

EdgeX helps to normalize control of the edge to a common set of easy to use APIs regardless of the underlying communication protocols. This demo shows how those APIs allow some wonderfully new and imaginative ways to visualize and control resulting data feeds.  EdgeX helps users stop reinventing and instead focus on innovation – this is where the payoff of IoT and edge computing starts to show signs of revolutionizing our lives!

This demo shows connectivity and control of a Modbus motor, SNMP managed Patlite, and Bosch BLE sensor pack through the AR headset and EdgeX, but imagine how the same principles could be used by support technicians inside of a complex factory control room, workers performing field maintenance on machines, sensor-enabled distribution centers, or even working within your company’s own server room.  That’s what could happen as we, the IoT community, collaborate on common interoperability frameworks like EdgeX, which makes it easier for application providers to focus their efforts on creating amazing interfaces among other valuable innovations.

For those interested in more of the tech details, the team used the Meta 2 AR headset and the Darknet open source neural network framework with its “you only look once” (YOLO) algorithm to help enable the system to recognize the various connected devices.  Unity was used to create the AR application interface that interacts with EdgeX version 0.2 running on the Dell Edge Gateway 5000.  The entire application was created in the two day hackathon – which speaks to the ease of use and utility of the EdgeX framework.

For more information, you can check out these resources:

Pulse (Korean Media): Samsung Elec joins EdgeX Foundry to accelerate development of industrial IoT

By EdgeX Foundry, In the News

South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co., leading global manufacturer of consumer electronics and mobile devices, has joined a global project named EdgeX Foundry to step up its efforts to develop edge computing for industrial applications.

Edge computing is a distributed computing technology that enables devices to process data near its sources rather than sending it to the cloud. It has been emerging as a new solution to complement cloud computing as the proliferation of robotic technology, Internet of Things (IoT) devices and autonomous cars requires faster data analysis and sound security.

Read more at Pulse.

ZDNet: Edge, core, and cloud: Where all the workloads go

By EdgeX Foundry, In the News

There is a strange and uneasy tension standing at the base of a wind turbine, amid a power generation farm full of dozens more. The air can seem still even though you can clearly see, and hear, the turbines moving. Indeed, the sound never dies down, although you’re standing in precisely the space where you would most expect it to. With all these rotating blades the size of softball fields, it indeed feels and sounds like a place you’d expect to find something called “the edge.”

There’s no methodology for any of the world’s power grids to distinguish renewable power, such as wind-generated, from coal-based or hydroelectric power. So when a data center customer purchases wind power, usually it’s in the form of certificates issued directly by the renewable energy company. The data center owner then “retires” those certificates when it utilizes the kilowatt-hours it does purchase, a few of which may have actually been the wind-generated power from the issuing company.

Read more at ZDNet.

IT Business Edge: The Cloud and the Edge: The Twain Shall Meet

By EdgeX Foundry, In the News

An interesting paradox has emerged during the past few years. Ever more computing infrastructure is embedded in the cloud, which tends to put the computing smarts further away from users. At the same time, however, an increasing portion of services and applications that consumers and businesses use requires instantaneous reactions that can’t be handled in far-away clouds.

That can be a big problem. For instance, autonomous vehicles have to react to road conditions in real time. The cloud is not built for this level of interaction. The time it takes for signals to go from the vehicle to the control equipment and back almost certainly is too long. In addition to the distance the signals must traverse, time is spent working through network congestion and other impediments. And, to top it all off, the longer the distance, the greater the chances that a problem occurs. That isn’t a good thing when an AV wants to know whether to brake or not.

Read more at IT Business Edge.

Constellation Research: Open Business Ecosystems and Closed Technology Platforms Business Enabler, or Business Market Disrupter?

By EdgeX Foundry, In the News

WARNING; If you work for an Industry Sector leading Enterprise this piece may serious disturb your piece of mind in respect of your Digital Business strategy. Shifting from Products, to Services, to Outcomes to gain increased revenues at higher margins will be at the heart of your Enterprise Digital Business strategy. To maximizing Business opportunities through interactions almost certainly requires participation in an industry sector Business Ecosystem, and, that requires functionality to be provided by a Technology Platform. Enterprise IT department view Technology Platforms as a mixed blessing trading internal functionality ease against the restrictions of a closed proprietary environment. Will it any different externally when the Platform provider is supporting a Business ecosystem?

Read more at Constellation Research.