Guest blog post by Rodney Hess, Principal Member Technical Staff at Beechwoods Software
If you missed the Open Source IoT Meetup last month, here’s a recap of the interactive meeting and where you can find details for upcoming meetups.
The Open Source IoT Meetup in Boston took place at WeWork’s North Station on February 15. (A shout out to Wework! Their location in the historic Bulfinch Triangle of Boston is quite cool.) The panel included myself—I work on the northbound and southbound interfaces of the EdgeX stack—and:
- Brad Kemp (moderator), CEO of Beechwoods Software and a member of the EdgeX Foundry Governing Board
- Tony Espy, Technical Architect at Canonical and EdgeX Foundry Technical Steering Committee (TSC) member and chair of the EdgeX Foundry Devices Working Group
- Riaz Zolfonoon, an RSA Distinguished Engineer who collaborates with members of the EdgeX Foundry Security Working Group.
Suffice to say, it was an excellent panel of which to ask questions.
This was our second Meetup for EdgeX, the first one was October 2017. EdgeX Foundry had just wrapped up the Barcelona release and was in the process of defining the California release. Since then, there’s been a lot of community feedback and discussions—we even had a TSC Face-to-Face meeting in Orlando—and finalized more details for the California release and preview. It was time to bring our Meetup members up to speed.
Around 25-30 participants, which is the largest audience we have had, attended the meetup and asked a lot of questions. They were quite engaged. They wanted to understand EdgeX and what you could do with it. How did the microservices work together? We delved into how the data flowed from sensors residing off of the Southbound interface to the clouds floating above the Northbound interface.
A question was raised as to whether EdgeX could handle video streams, for example video feeds from security cameras, with a follow up question as to whether one could set triggers based on values within the data stream. The panel explained that EdgeX has been built for discrete, event based data collected from sensors and devices. In a building automation use case, examples of discrete data include current temperature and humidity, target temperature, whether the heating system was on or off, and the like. When a camera or audio sensor generate a discrete data point, for example, a count of people in a room, then EdgeX can work with that data. EdgeX today does not handle raw video or audio streams. The discussion then moved on to how the Rules Engine microservice along with the Alerts and Notification microservice can be configured to trigger actions and notifications based on data arriving from the sensors.
When asked about implementing support for multiple cloud services, the panel discussed the modular nature of the Export Distribution microservice; that some services were already implemented, including Azure IoT Hub and Google IoT Core, but that work supporting other cloud platforms remains. Do they need to be clouds? No, the Export-Distro can export data to any application or enterprise HTTP/S or MQTT/S endpoints—cloud or otherwise—that is external to the EdgeX framework with support for additional endpoint types already in the EdgeX roadmap.
When asked, how does the security framework protect sensors, especially those legacy networks that have no inherent security, the panel talked about the security initiatives the EdgeX Foundry Security Working Group is undertaking, including a reverse-proxy that all external applications must go through to access sensors off of the EdgeX southbound interface.
The panel spoke to the larger IoT landscape and how EdgeX fits in and brings unique value, what the TSC has accomplished and what work lies ahead.
We are working on an agenda for the next Meetup. Suggestions for topics or speakers are always welcome. Find out more here and join our group: https://www.meetup.com/Open-source-IoT/.
If you have questions or suggestions, please reach out to Brad or Geof Cohler, our Open-Source IoT Meetup hosts. We meet every six weeks to hear from engaging industry experts, to network with other talented locals with diverse backgrounds, and to share our passions for all things IoT.
For more technical details, visit the EdgeX Foundry wiki page.