When AutomationDirect was PLCDirect and control platforms were developing with much technical development and innovation, I visited the company and its control developer in Knoxville, TN frequently. They were adding Ethernet and IT technologies. Great times. Then that part of the industry matured and AutomationDirect became a master electrical and automation distributor, while still keeping a foot in the automation development door.
This information came to me last week. Given all the interest in automation and sensor and OPC to the cloud, I thought this was interesting. AutomationDirect here discusses the PLC as an integral part of a cloud-based system. Good for them.
PLCs can now be directly integrated with cloud-based computing platforms, empowering end users and OEMs to quickly and easily add IIoT functionality to their systems.
Damon Purvis, PLC Product Manager at AutomationDirect, wrote an article for the August 2021 edition of Machine Design. The article is titled Modern PLCs Simplify Cloud-Based IIoT and it talks about how the newest BRX PLCs can securely connect directly to the leading cloud platforms from AWS, Microsoft, and others.
Industrial automation systems created by end users and OEMs have long had some IIoT data connectivity capabilities—but getting to this data and working with it has often been a chore, prohibitively expensive, or both.
Cloud computing options have eliminated many of these barriers, providing a cost-effective way to deploy and scale up IIoT projects. This is especially the case now that the BRX PLC can connect natively to cloud services, without requiring intermediate layers of processing.
Cybersecurity has been a frequent topic lately at The Manufacturing Connection. Bedrock Automation founders built on a secure chip set as a foundation for an Industrial Control System (ICS) that is secure in many ways. Founder and CEO Albert Rooyakkers has devoted hours explaining the details and nuances of the many ways the product is nearly invincible. (He would take issue with my qualifying word.) This case study offers a few details about a utility bolstering its defense with an upgrade to Bedrock control platform.
A Colorado utility is transitioning legacy PLCs and RTUs to the intrinsically secure Bedrock OSA (Open Secure Automation) platform. The transition is part of a multi-year automation upgrade plan, which utility management saw as an opportunity to deepen its cyber security protection while also modernizing its controls.
“Like most other public utilities, we must adapt to an ever-changing world and that includes cyber security. We’ve always had robust physical security and required usernames and passwords for access to critical systems and controls, but we saw the world around us changing quickly. Many of today’s automation technologies are not as secure as they could be because they were developed long before security was a major issue in the industry. Most of the security added to them was an afterthought,” said Shay Geisler, I&C Administrator for Colorado’s East Cherry Creek Valley (ECCV) Water & Sanitation District.
ECCV’s legacy control architecture involved SCADA software that is housed on a dedicated Windows desktop or server along with a communications driver, in this case, an OPC Server that speaks to the PLCs via legacy protocols. Each ECCV upgrade target was using two PLCs to concentrate field data for use by the plant SCADA system, which had also been upgraded to a more secure version.
“We knew security could not be limited to the SCADA software only. There were too many downstream systems and assets that, if left untouched, would present a huge vulnerability. We determined that the vast majority of these potential vulnerabilities could be solved by addressing the PLC and SCADA communications system,” said Geisler.
Securing SCADA and control networks
Geisler and his team concluded that the most secure and cost-effective approach would be to connect the SCADA network and control networks with a secure communications channel. Fully implementing this, however, would have required ripping and replacing their entire system immediately, which would have been costly and required significant disruption. Instead, working with automation supplier Process Control Dynamics and system consultant RSI Company, they adopted a phased-in approach using secure Bedrock OSA Remote control units as proxy servers to enable transition ultimately to a full Bedrock platform.
“We are slowly upgrading the remote sites that have been serviced by legacy data concentrators, one-by-one as we convert each to use the secure Bedrock controller. The new controllers at the remote sites bypass the legacy concentrators and now report directly to the Bedrock proxy. Once all sites are converted, we will remove the legacy concentrators,” said Russ Ropken, with RSI Company, the system integrator who developed the architecture that enabled the seamless transition.
The ultimate result is secure, certificated communications from the SCADA software down to the Remote PLCs/RTU. The Bedrock OSA Remote proxy units will switch over to a peer-to-peer network of infinitely scalable secure Bedrock control units connected by an encrypted radio network.
ECCV already has field data running through 12 of its target sites, with some 74 left to go. For more details, including the architecture of each phase, download the case history here.
Qualcomm is in release mode these days—especially concerning chips for 5G and IoT. Last month was one new chipset. This month—four more. These will power many devices for your IoT / digital transformation initiatives.
Next-generation solutions deliver advanced Edge-AI performance, breakthrough power-efficiency, 5G connectivity capabilities and enhanced features for processing and security from entry level to premium tiers.
The opportunity to connect the unconnected has never been more prevalent. Qualcomm Technologies Inc.is enabling an IoT ecosystem of 13,000+ IoT customers to date, helping to accelerate the digital transformation and development of connected products.
Qualcomm Technologies extends its support for the IoT ecosystem by introducing seven new solutions to help enable the proliferation of next-generation IoT devices: Qualcomm QCS8250, Qualcomm QCS6490/ QCM6490, Qualcomm QCS4290/ QCM4290, and Qualcomm QCS2290/ QCM2290.
These solutions range from entry-level to premium tier to expand access to a variety of industrial and commercial applications. These latest IoT solutions from Qualcomm Technologies are purpose-built to help meet the needs of the expanding IoT ecosystem for key segments including transportation and logistics, warehousing, video collaboration, smart cameras, retail, healthcare, and more.
“Qualcomm Technologies is uniquely positioned to lead the IoT ecosystem forward with our systems-level approach. Along with the recently announced Qualcomm 315 5G IoT modem, these new IoT solutions further exemplify our commitment to driving global digital transformation and providing a portfolio of solutions to transform industrial and enterprise IoT applications to achieve cutting edge performance and seamless connectivity,” said Jeff Lorbeck, senior vice president and general manager of connected smart systems at Qualcomm Technologies. “We believe in the power of technology to enrich lives through purposeful innovation with solutions to support the ecosystem in reimagining how the world connects, works and communicates. These new IoT solutions are a step towards achieving that goal.”
The seven new IoT solutions offer a breadth of capabilities for a range of smart devices and connected solutions with extended life hardware and softwareoptions forachieving long-term support for a minimum of eight years:
Qualcomm QCS8250 | Target applications: connected healthcare, digital signage, retail, and video collaboration The Qualcomm QCS8250 is Qualcomm Technologies’ next-generation premium-tier offering, optimized to deliver maximum performance at greatest power efficiency enabling compute intensive AI at the edge with support for Qualcomm Wi-Fi 6 solutions and 5G connectivity. This solution is designed to deliver premium-level performance through the Qualcomm Kryo 585 CPU architecture, the Qualcomm Artificial Intelligence (AI) Engine, and powerful image signal processor (ISP) to support up to 7 concurrent cameras with encode at up to 4Kresolution at 120 frames per second. This powerful solution offers a new Neural Processing Unit (NPU) for ultra-intuitive AI in addition to machine learning for compute-intensive IoT applications to enable smart cameras, video collaboration, AI hubs, connected healthcare and smart retail. Purpose-built for industrial and commercial applications, this platform delivers ultimate performance experience with flexible options enabled by our 3rd party ecosystem to accelerate deployment and commercialization at scale.
Qualcomm QCS6490/QCM6490 | Target applications: connected healthcare, logistics management, retail, transportation, and warehousing The Qualcomm QCS6490 and Qualcomm QCM6490 are Qualcomm Technologies’ first optimized IoT solutions built to deliver premium-tier features including global 5G connectivity and lightning-fast Wi-Fi 6E for high-tier IoT devices. With the Kryo 585 CPU architecture this solution delivers powerful performance and is purpose-built for industrial and commercial IoT applications such as transportation, warehousing, connected healthcare, logistics management and across retail point of sale (POS) kiosks. Equippe to support 5G mmWave/Sub-6 GHz and Wi-Fi 6E, this solution helps enable the latest generation of ruggedized handhelds and tablets, industrial scanners, and human machine interface systems. Through powerful connections, reduced latency, along with dynamic triple ISPs and advanced Edge-AI and compute based on 6th generation Qualcomm AI Engine, this solution delivers astonishing performance at reduced power compared to previous generation solutions.
Qualcomm QCS4290/QCM4290| Target applications: cameras, industrial handhelds, and security panels The Qualcomm QCS4290 and Qualcomm QCM4290offer maximum mid-tier benefits delivering greater performance. With the Kryo260 CPU architecture for increased speeds and robust on-device performance, in addition to the 3rd generation Qualcomm AI Engine, this platform delivers powerful performance, dynamic camera capabilities and broad connectivity options (LTE Cat13, Wi-Fi 6-Ready), ideal for industrial and commercial IoT applications such as industrial handhelds in logistics and warehousing, security panels and cameras. For increased intuitive on-device intelligence, devices based on this new solution will help enable productive and efficient work environments.
Qualcomm QCS2290/QCM2290| Target applications: camera applications, industrial handhelds, retail and tracking The Qualcomm QCS2290 and Qualcomm QCM2290 are robust entry-level offerings, enabling reliable performance and power-conservation with LTE connectivity, upgraded features and memory support for low power consumption. Equipped with the Cortex A53 CPU architecture, the entry-level platform is a cost-effective solution, delivering greater performance, higher graphics capabilities, better quality images, and improved power performance. This platform is well-suited for, retail point-of-sale (POS), industrial handheld, tracking and camera applications. Also, QCS2290/QCM2290 baseband chip is pin-to-pin compatible with QCS4290/QCM4290which helps customers utilize hardware and software across various IoT devices to reduce cost and time to market.
The Qualcomm QCS8250, Qualcomm QCS4290/ QCM4290, and Qualcomm QCS2290/ QCM2290 solutions are available now. The Qualcomm QCS6490/ QCM6490 solution are expected to be available in second half of 2021. Qualcomm Technologies’ new solutions are fueling future technology developments to enable the next generation of innovation across the IoT ecosystem.
“As a tremendous impact of COVID-19, the video conferencing system becomes a must. The development of the Qualcomm QCS8250 helps enable AmTran to deliver fine-tuned audio and video processing products, for communication without distance and interference,” Sam Wu, president, AmTram Technology.
“As a global leading supplier of camera and room solutions for meeting spaces, we are thrilled by the announcement of Qualcomm QCS8250 which will enable us to not only stay competitive but also to bring better UC&C solutions in the video conferencing ecosystem” said Andy Hsi, president, AVer Information Inc.
“Given our strong focus on intelligent camera and machine vision solutions, eInfochips is excited about the launch of Qualcomm QCS8250 solution. Leveraging 25-plus years of product design experience, eInfochips enables intelligent devices, such as collaboration devices, smart robots, AR/VR devices, home/industrial automation and intelligent cameras based on this module,” said Parag Mehta, chief business development officer, eInfochips.
“The announcement of Qualcomm Technologies’ newest IoT solutions is an exciting step forward in the global proliferation of next-generation IoT devices. Coupled with Fibocom’s end-to-end IoT modules and wireless communications solutions, these new solutions will enable powerful, intelligent, and revolutionary IoT solutions across a variety of industries and vertical applications,” said Lingpeng Ying,chief executive officer, Wireless Inc.
“As a leading IoT solution distributor in Taiwan, we have strong application insights and support customers from concept to design to manufacturing. The Qualcomm QCS8250 is a leading AI computing platform, and we are pleased to be collaborating with Taiwan customers to enable the high-performance, low-power computing IoT platform in 1H2022, including a SMARC module from iBase and video conference solution from Aver,” said Eric Cheng, president, Hongtech Electronics Co., Ltd.
“With the recommendation of HongTech, we have adopted the next-gen premium-tier processor, the Qualcomm QCS8250 into our Qualcomm-based SMARC module which provides power efficiency and superior performance with 4K resolution at 120 frames per second video resolution, making it an ideal choice for high-tier multi-display/multi-camera signage, IWB, video conferencing or retail analytics applications,” said YN Chen, vice-chief executive officer, IBASE Technology.
“The new QualcommQCS8250 platform brings exciting new capabilities to the intelligent video market for developers. This development will enable Lantronix to provide IoT vertical market customers the ability to get to market quickly, especially in video collaboration, surveillance/smart cities, smart display, and AI retail boxes. The Qualcomm QCS8250 will drive the next generation of video developments by addressing important video processing and latency considerations, Lantronix looks forward to being part of this journey,” said Paul Pickle, president and chief executive officer, Lantronix.
“As a global leading supplier of cellular modules for the IoT, we are thrilled by the announcement of Qualcomm Technologies’ next-generation IoT solutions. These new solutions will support us in developing next-generation IoT applications and usher in a new generation of IoT applications and expansion in the ecosystem,” said Benjamin Du, chief executive officer, MeiG Smart.
“Qualcomm Technologies’ newest IoT solutions are a strong step forward for the retail market and IoT ecosystem to enable the global proliferation of next-generation devices. We are proud to work with Qualcomm Technologies to continue to enable the growth of this market and ecosystem.” said Tom Luo, executive vice president, PAX Computer Technology (Shenzhen) Co.,Ltd.
“Qualcomm Technologies’ newest IoT solutions mark an exciting step forward in the global proliferation of next-generation IoT devices. These solutions are highly compatible with Quectel’s existing 5G and LTE modules, allowing customers to accelerate their designs with fast time-to-market. We are very proud to work with Qualcomm Technologies as we continue to enable the growth of the Internet of Things,” said Patrick Qian, chief executive officer, Quectel.
“The announcement of Qualcomm Technologies’ newest IoT solutions is an exciting step forward in the global proliferation of next-generation POS devices. Coupled with SUNMI’s flagship products, these new solutions will enable powerful, intelligent, and revolutionary devices across a variety of industries and vertical applications,” said Jeep, chief operations officer, SUNMI.
“SUNSEA AIoT is committed to utilizing advanced IoT technologies to develop all-in-one solutions for the IoT ecosystem from 5G modules to smart communities solutions. Through the introduction of Qualcomm Technologies’ latest IoT solutions, Qualcomm Technologies is enabling us to develop next-generation products, provide end-to-end 5G solutions, intelligent industrial applications and help enterprises keep leading of the industry forward with the latest IoT advancements,” said Yang Tao, chief executive officer, SUNSEA AIoT.
“Tymphany, a worldwide leader in audio ODM services, has collaborated with Qualcomm Technologies to bring to the market an integrated audio and video conferencing platform leveraging the Qualcomm QCS8250 on video collaboration bars. The video bar can support up to 3 video streams, 52M pixels sensor x2 and TOF with wide view angle lens. It’s also covered with modularized Wi-Fi 6 connectivity. Tymphany is also working with internal speaker and audio solutions for a best-in-class video collaboration experience for user. The Qualcomm QCS8250 enables a standalone architecture that is critical to enable certifications for today’s leading video collaboration software applications” said Tungwen Tu, director of conferencing products in professional audio division, Tymphany.
“VIDERI is sincerely grateful to be an early adopter of the Qualcomm QCS8250 with Qualcomm Technologies alongside its world-class engineers and developers,” commented Francois Gariepy, chief technology officer, VIDERI. “With its powerful graphics and neural network processing, not to mention the integratedWiFi6 capability, the Qualcomm 8250chipsetwill become the cornerstone of our next-generation, AI-curated retail visual experience platform.”
“Based on our long strategic relationship, we congratulate Qualcomm Technologies on the launch of these cutting-edge solutions,” said Julie Johnson, vice president of product management, Zebra Technologies. “This innovation gives us more flexibility than ever before to build the right technology solutions for our customers based on their specific needs.”
Qualcomm is the world’s leading wireless technology innovator and the driving force behind the development, launch, and expansion of 5G.When we connected the phone to the internet, the mobile revolution was born. Today, our foundational technologies enable the mobile ecosystem and are found inevery3G, 4G and 5Gsmartphone.We bring the benefits of mobile to new industries, including automotive, the internet of things, and computing, and are leading the way to a world where everything and everyone can communicate and interact seamlessly. Qualcomm Incorporated includes our licensing business, QTL, and the vast majority of our patent portfolio. Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, operates, along with its subsidiaries, substantially all of our engineering, research and development functions, and substantially all of our products and services businesses, including our QCT semiconductor business.
NI has always served smaller businesses—most of whom do work for big businesses or projects solving interesting engineering problems. This month I received an announcement of NI’s partner network focusing on small-to-medium businesses (SMBs). We must remember that the true engines for economic growth come from startups and smaller businesses doing innovative things.
NI announced the expansion of its global distribution channels within the NI Partner Network, a strategic move to support its omnichannel strategy dedicated to serving small-to-medium business (SMB) customers to help them do what they do best — innovate.
NI is focused on providing value and choice to its SMB customers, strategically connecting them to partners and resources on ni.com to provide a positive, efficient experience. Shifting to a multi-channel approach in this way leverages established, well-known distributors and ni.com to meet customers’ buying needs.
“We know our customers, especially those in the SMB space, need simple and efficient ways to buy so their time is spent on moving their business forward,” said Josh Mueller, GM of the Portfolio Business Unit at NI. “That’s why we’re taking important steps to serve our customers in ways that help them the most, including new avenues to purchasing NI products and solutions.”
NI is also committed to purchasing more from small and diverse businesses. As outlined in its 2030 Corporate Impact Strategy, Engineering Hope, NI has put forth a goal stating that by 2030, 16% of NI suppliers will be small or diverse businesses. Diverse and equitable procurement has a positive ripple effect throughout entire communities and NI is taking steps, such as increasing access to its global distribution program, to cultivate opportunities for small or diverse business suppliers.
To show appreciation for its SMB customers and community, NI is celebrating Small Business Month in a big way, from providing access to best-in-class test tools and technology at a discount, to sharing customer success stories.
During the month of May, members of the SMB community can look forward to:
- Customer stories and the “Secrets of Small Business” video series featuring SMB CEOs and their perspectives on overcoming some of the greatest engineering challenges of today.
- Limited-time promotions on tools, software and solutions designed to help SMB customers advance their engineering initiatives, including LabVIEW, FlexLogger™ software and CompactDAQ.
- Webinars about NI software and solutions to help SMBs address quality in validation designs and flexibility in engineering.
“Connecting our customers to the right technologies and services helps them accelerate their pace of innovation and better serve their organizations and end customers,” said Jim Ramsey, vice president of the Global Partner program at NI. “We’re excited to celebrate Small Business Month for this reason — to help equip more engineers with the tools and technologies they need to take on their next big opportunity.”
Learn more about NI’s expanded global distribution network and how it’s celebrating the SMB community this month.
Important news about IoT enabling technologies development. Europe and China are first targeted markets. Seemingly US engineers just don’t jump on new technologies and initiatives as quickly as the rest of the world. Management problem? Note that the supporting quotes are from Germany and France.
Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. helps lead the IoT ecosystem forward by introducing the company’s first, purpose-built Internet of Things (IoT) modem solution equipped with 5G connectivity and optimized for Industrial IoT (IIoT) applications.
The Qualcomm 315 5G IoT Modem-RF System is a comprehensive modem-to-antenna solution designed to support the IoT ecosystem in building upgradeable LTE and 5G devices for IoT verticals, accelerate the adoption of 5G connectivity for IoT, and expand the overall opportunity for 5G in the IoT industry. 5G was conceived as a broad connectivity fabric and today the momentum is beginning to exemplify the promised impact and growth of 5G for emerging applications including IoT. Acting as a catalyst for digital transformation, Qualcomm Technologies is at the forefront enabling the ecosystem with the solutions to update existing IoT systems and make 5G for IoT a reality.
The needs of modern IoT include seamlessly transitioning wired factories to wireless with solutions capable of supporting both LTE and 5G connectivity. The Qualcomm 315 5G IoT modem was designed with industrial and enterprise applications in mind, built with premium gigabit class performance, low-power, and thermal-efficient capabilities to enable a new generation of fast, powerful and high-performing IoT solutions. The Qualcomm 315 5G IoT modem is intended to meet the needs of industry segments including: retail, energy, automation and manufacturing, precision agricultural, construction, mining, public venues, and more.
With the global expansion of 5G, the Qualcomm 315 5G IoT modem is a new solution serving the high end of IoT broadband modems, complementing Qualcomm Technologies’ existing portfolio of LTE IoT modems with a path towards 5G proliferation. Additionally, due to its reduced footprint and highly integrated RF front-end, this solution expands the portfolio, purposely designed to provide a pin-to-pin compatible solution for current LTE legacy modules. This provides legacy modules with ability to upgrade their solutions with no changes needed to existing hardware, minimizing development efforts, costs and providing a seamless transition from LTE to 5G.
“Qualcomm Technologies is continuously optimizing and developing industry-leading technologies and modems ranging from the most power efficient NB-IoT solutions to new products like the Qualcomm 315 5G IoT modem, purpose-built to bring 5G connectivity capabilities to IoT,” said Jeffery Torrance, senior vice president, product management, Qualcomm. “We are pleased to unveil our new 5G IoT solution which will help stimulate and scale the 5G IoT industry and enable the transitions needed for Industry 4.0. This solution will help create long-lasting devices and promote growth and expansion in the 5G IoT industry, allowing seamless integration for customers utilizing previous generations of connectivity.”
The Qualcomm 315 5G IoT Modem supports global 5G NR sub-6GHz bands and operates in stand-alone (SA) only mode, with the capability to switch to LTE as needed, and can be deployed over private or public 5G networks, leveraging network slicing or in isolation. This solution is optimal for IoT applications that can be seamlessly integrated with existing ethernet and wired technologies. The new modem comes with extended life software and hardware maintenance and support, prolonging IoT devices for the duration of their life span. This new solution will help accelerate the digital transformation of the 5G IIoT industry, proliferating 5G for IoT.
The Qualcomm 315 5G IoT modem is expected to be commercially available in the second half of 2021.
The Qualcomm 315 5G IoT Modem is a significant step for the IoT ecosystem:
“5G is an important standard for the factory of the future. We are therefore working intensively on integrating 5G into our products. The Qualcomm 315 5G IoT Modem enables interesting new functions specifically for industrial IoT applications and helps usto open up new applications with 5G,” summarizes Dr. Steffen Haack, Member of the Executive Board of Bosch Rexroth AG and responsible for development.
“We recently released the first commercially available 5G router for industrial automation – _a solution that utilizes Qualcomm Technologies’ _5_G_ _solutions. The interest for 5G in industrial applications is steadily growing and we see many advantages with the announcement of the Qualcomm 315 5G IoT modem, as it will enable a smaller formfactor for industrial devices and open up new use cases,” said Jens Jakobsen, Development Manager at HMS Labs, HMS Networks’ initiative for new innovation and technology.
“We are excited by the launch of Qualcomm 315 5G IoT modem which addresses the specific needs for massive bandwidth, reliability, and performance across industries. This technology has the potential to become a catalyst of digitization, helping unlock unprecedented opportunities and efficiencies in innovative 5G industrial applications,” said Benoit Jacquemin, Innovation director Industry business, Schneider Electric.
Siemens:“Siemens and Qualcomm Technologies have a longstanding collaboration focused on technological cooperation in wireless communication technologies. With the release of products such as the Qualcomm 315 5G IoT Modem, Qualcomm Technologies shows its strong commitment to drive the digital transformation of industry and enables us to develop state-of-the-art Industrial 5G products,” said Sander Rotmensen, Director Industrial Wireless Communication, Siemens AG, Digital Industries.