ZEDEDA Edge Orchestration Closes Strategic Investment Round

ZEDEDA has been in the news here before. I also participated in a day-long conference with the company and many guests. The company has been making a splash with open-source and edge orchestration. Funding news, while exciting to the company, is not always that interesting to me. What I find intriguing here is that one of the investors is Rockwell Automation. That company has been making some forays outside its longtime control business. This will be fun to watch.

  • Oversubscribed round includes new strategic investors Rockwell Automation, Juniper Networks and EDF North America Ventures, along with existing investors Almaz Capital, Energize Ventures, Lux Capital and HBAM
  • New capital will accelerate investments in R&D, sales, and marketing
  • ZEDEDA expects to more than triple the number of customer edge nodes under management by mid-2021

ZEDEDA announced a $12.5 million highly oversubscribed expansion to its $16 million Series A round initially closed in February 2019, bringing its total funding to-date to $28.5 million. 

The latest round of institutional funding validates the traction ZEDEDA has achieved across the market as customers adopt its disruptive orchestration solution for the distributed edge. ZEDEDA will use the new influx of capital to continue to scale its operations, including investments in R&D, sales and marketing.

New strategic investors Rockwell Automation, Juniper Networks and EDF North America Ventures (a wholly owned subsidiary of EDF Trading North America) recognize the market opportunity of edge computing and ZEDEDA’s opportunity as the first in the industry to solve the unique challenges of deploying, managing and securing hardware and applications at the distributed edge on-premises, near-premises and in the field. Existing investors participating in the round included Almaz Capital, Energize Ventures, Lux Capital and HBAM.

Operationalizing Secure Distributed Edge Computing at Scale

With the edge computing market expected to more than quadruple over the next four years, enterprises realize that their strategic vision must implement an open foundation that enables visibility, control and security for their edge projects at scale. Companies can achieve those strategic imperatives only by leveraging an as-a-service model, which takes advantage of a recurring software subscription and enables enterprises with a cloud-native architecture at the edge that scales on demand while supporting legacy investments.

ZEDEDA’s cloud-based orchestration solution, sold and consumed itself entirely as-a-service, enables complete flexibility for end users, OEMs, machine builders, technology providers and system integrators, with support for any hardware, any application and any cloud or on-premises system. The company expects to more than triple the number of customer edge nodes under management by mid-2021 from today.

“Our new strategic investors, as well as the existing investors who joined in again, bring years of experience in our core industries of manufacturing, oil and gas, energy, telco and retail,” said ZEDEDA founder and CEO Said Ouissal. “Their investment is a validation of our progress, but it also means we have the opportunity to meet the needs of any company who needs to orchestrate applications and hardware outside of traditional data centers.”

Investor Perspectives on $12.5M Strategic Institutional Funding Round

“We see investment in software development to be a key opportunity for driving future growth, including accelerating our Software-as-a-Service opportunities,” said Brian Shepherd, Senior Vice President, Software & Control at Rockwell Automation. “With its focus on providing a flexible edge architecture that meets the needs of existing industrial customers while providing them a path to modernization, as well as enabling new customers seeking to leverage more agile, cloud-native technologies, ZEDEDA’s as-a-service solution fits naturally into our overall strategy.” 

“With our commitment to building a net-zero energy future, we believe it’s critical to enable energy providers to optimize operations, maximizing efficiency and output,” said Mary Ann Brelinksky, President, EDF Energy North America. “IoT and edge computing are instrumental in driving these efforts, and ZEDEDA provides the perfect computing foundation that will scale for the future, enabling our customers to implement new technologies that will analyze and respond in real time to their operations.”

“At Juniper, we see the AI-driven enterprise as an important strategic opportunity in the market to enable businesses to extract and utilize previously unrecognized value from existing and new sources of data,” said Kevin Hutchins, Senior Vice President, Strategy and Business Development, Juniper Networks. “ZEDEDA operationalizes distributed edge computing, making it possible to implement and manage the entire process, from hardware to applications, in a secure and scalable manner.”

“As one of ZEDEDA’s early investors, we have been excited to see the company’s execution of its vision,” said Geoffrey Baehr, General Partner, Almaz Capital. “The market size of the edge computing market, combined with ZEDEDA’s ability to realize its vision into a generally available solution of strategic importance to its Fortune 500 companies, makes this the right time to significantly increase our investment in the company.”

Seeq Announces Enterprise and Team Editions for Its Analytics Solutions

Seeq has developed some pretty cool analytics solutions. This announcement seems to be just some repackaging and rebranding of components, but it serves as a refresher for its suite of products.

New editions address end-user deployment requirements from individual plants and facilities 
to multi-plant enterprise and cloud deployments.

Seeq Corporation, a leader in manufacturing and industrial internet of things (IIoT) advanced analytics software, announces a new packaging of Seeq features and applications as Seeq Team and Seeq Enterprise editions. These editions address the needs of customers from a local water utility to a multi-national chemical, pharmaceutical, or oil & gas company.

Both Seeq editions, which run best as SaaS on AWS or Microsoft Azure, represent the culmination of learning and experiences with hundreds of Seeq deployments in process manufacturing organizations. For these manufacturers, Seeq enables advanced analytics insights to improve production and business outcomes across their organizations.

Seeq Cortex, a renaming of Seeq Server, is included in both editions and is the execution engine that delivers key features, including multi-source and type data connectivity, security, calculation scalability, and other features. Seeq Cortex ensures immediate and long-term support for customer data architectures and IT requirements.

“Seeq Cortex enables immediate access to analytics innovation with existing data architectures and silos, while also supporting customer data roadmaps and strategies on the cloud,” says Steve Sliwa, CEO and Co-Founder Seeq Corporation. “Cortex is the backbone of the predictive, diagnostic, machine learning, and descriptive analytics used by customers around the globe.”

Cortex benefits include:

·       Abstraction of data sources with high-speed connectivity to multiple and diverse time series and contextual data sources, including historians and SQL-based data sources.

·       Calculation speed with a highly parallelized, time-series specific engine to enable fast execution of analytics including data interpolation, filtering, cleansing, and modeling.

·       Data security and user access control through integration with OSIsoft PI for tag-level access control, or organizations may implement their own governance policies.

Seeq Team is optimized for new deployments in a single site facility such as a water utility or power generation plant with a limited number of time series and contextual data sources, or for the first usage of Seeq by a workgroup within a larger organization. Quick and easy deployment of Seeq and resulting ROI will demonstrate the benefit of leveraging existing data and expertise to improve production outcomes.

Seeq Enterprise is designed for complex single-plant, multi-site, or enterprise deployments with hundreds or thousands of users. It includes support for more complex data sources such as data lakes and ERP systems, along with features for integrating OT and IT data science teams driving digital transformation initiatives. Features specific to Seeq Enterprise include:

·       Seeq Data Lab is built on Jupyter Notebooks to enable easy Python access to Seeq functionality and to the vast library of open source modules and algorithms.

·       Unlimited Seeq users: Seeq Enterprise does not have a limit on number of users.

·       More and complex data sources: Seeq Enterprise supports up to 10 connections including data sources such as data lakes, ERP, and non-SQL databases.

·       Audit trail support: Seeq Enterprise includes features and administration tools for customers in regulated industries including support for CFR Part 11.

·       Data visualization tools: Seeq Enterprise supports data integration with BI and process applications such as Tableau, PowerBI, Spotfire and OSIsoft PI Vision.

In addition to support for large deployments with Seeq Enterprise, Seeq also has a licensing option for indirect usage of Seeq through its REST API and related software development kits for Java, C#, and Python, and Seeq connectivity to more than 10 enterprise data sources. This license, the Seeq Strategic Agreement, is appropriate for Seeq customers who require these capabilities and are making a multi-year commitment to Seeq success within their organization

“Seeq continues to release compelling analytics solutions for end users in process manufacturing and Industry 4.0 engagements,” comments Janice Abel, Principal Analyst at ARC Advisory Group. “The need for the faster and better insights provided by Seeq is a consistent requirement for organizations investing in IIoT and Smart Manufacturing.”

Seeq’s rapid growth is being fueled in part by its partnerships and commitment to cloud-based computing. Seeq is available in the AWS marketplace and is an AWS Industrial Competency Partner. On Microsoft Azure, Seeq has been available in the Azure Marketplace since 2019 and was recognized last year as a 2020 Microsoft Energy Partner of the Year Finalist.

The Open Group OSDU Forum Launches the OSDU Data Platform Mercury Release

Open Source, standards-based data platform to stimulate innovation, industrialize data management, and reduce time to market for new solutions in the energy industry.

Readers here know The Open Group perhaps mainly through the Open Process Automation Forum. But this technology consortium has many open-source projects in the works. Today’s news shows the continued vitality of the open-source movement.

The Open Group announced the OSDU Data Platform Mercury Release. Developed by The Open Group OSDU Forum, the OSDU Data Platform is an Open Source, standards-based, and technology-agnostic data platform for the energy industry that stimulates innovation, industrializes data management, and reduces time to market for new solutions.

The OSDU Data Platform will provide over time access to a vast portfolio of open and proven vendor-developed applications from a broad range of energy sources. By accessing this ecosystem, developers no longer have to develop and maintain the monolithic architecture needed to deliver unique value-add services. Now, with a single set of well-defined and industry-specific APIs, organizations can easily accelerate platform design and develop proprietary applications on top of the OSDU Data Platform. 

With an open-source approach, any company – from established corporations to start-up challenger companies – can contribute new features to the platform, supporting a variety of business workflows. All work is validated by the OSDU Program Management Committee (PMC) to ensure it is aligned with the overall direction of the Forum. 

With a single view of industry data, the OSDU Data Platform can be harnessed for innovative business applications. The Mercury Release of the OSDU Data Platform is now available to Operators and Software Developers who want to:

●      Liberate data from traditional silos and make all data discoverable and usable in a single data platform 

●      Enable new integrated exploration and development workflows that reduce overall cycle time

●      Take advantage of emerging digital solutions to provide scalability and accelerate decision making

Steve Nunn, President and CEO of The Open Group, commented: “The OSDU Data Platform Mercury Release represents an important achievement by the OSDU Forum in a very short space of time. Established in 2018, the OSDU Forum has accumulated over 185 Member organizations who are collaborating together to accelerate innovation and reduce costs in the energy sector. With a standard data platform, energy companies will be able to drive innovation by integrating digital technologies and utilizing open standards for better decision making. Looking ahead, this will be imperative to meet the world’s increasing energy demands while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.” 

Johan Krebbers, GM Emerging Digital Technologies / VP IT Innovation, Shell, commented: “At the heart of most energy companies’ strategies is embracing the transformational technologies taking us forward in today’s digital era. This makes the need for a common architectural design clear, one that underpins how our industry works with its data.”

David Eyton, EVP Innovation & Engineering, bp, commented: “Data is at the heart of bp’s transformation into an integrated energy company. We believe that the future of the energy industry will be data driven and dependent on its ability to manage data in a manner that promotes data sharing with partners, innovation through data science, and rapid decision making throughout the lifecycle of the energy value chains. Being a founding member of the OSDU, bp has had an opportunity to be part of an organization that is fundamentally changing the data landscape for our industry. By integrating energy organizations, cloud services providers and software vendors the OSDU is providing an opportunity for collaboration that will be beneficial for all involved. We are very excited about the release of OSDU Mercury and look forward to expanding this approach into engineering, emissions, and new energy.”

To learn more about how to develop applications the OSDU Data Platform, visit the application developer community page here

The current OSDU Forum Member List is available here.

Google Funds Linux Kernel Developers to Focus Exclusively on Security

As our world in manufacturing technology moves ever more quickly into software, open-source software becomes more prominent. This news is significant given funding from Google and the amount of work going on at the Linux Foundation that is benefiting manufacturing.

Google and the Linux Foundation announced they are prioritizing funds to underwrite two full-time maintainers for Linux kernel security development, Gustavo Silva and Nathan Chancellor. 

Silva and Chancellor’s exclusive focus is to maintain and improve kernel security and associated initiatives in order to ensure the world’s most pervasive open-source software project is sustainable for decades to come. 

The Linux Foundation’s Open Source Security Foundation (OpenSSF) and the Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard(LISH) recently published an open source contributor survey report that identified a need for additional work on security in open source software, which includes the massively pervasive Linux operating system. Linux is fueled by more than 20,000 contributors and as of August 2020, one million commits. While there are thousands of Linux kernel developers, all of whom take security into consideration as the due course of their work, this contribution from Google to underwrite two full-time Linux security maintainers signals the importance of security in the ongoing sustainability of open-source software. 

“At Google, security is always top of mind and we understand the critical role it plays to the sustainability of open-source software,” said Dan Lorenc, Staff Software Engineer, Google. “We’re honored to support the efforts of both Gustavo Silva and Nathan Chancellor as they work to enhance the security of the Linux kernel.”

Chancellor’s work will be focused on triaging and fixing all bugs found with Clang/LLVM compilers while working on establishing continuous integration systems to support this work ongoing. Once those aims are well-established, he plans to begin adding features and polish to the kernel using these compiler technologies. Chancellor has been working on the Linux kernel for four and a half years. Two years ago, Chancellor started contributing to mainline Linux under the ClangBuiltLinux project, which is a collaborative effort to get the Linux kernel building with Clang and LLVM compiler tools.

“I hope that more and more people will start to use the LLVM compiler infrastructure project and contribute fixes to it and the kernel – it will go a long way towards improving Linux security for everyone,” said Chancellor, Linux maintainer. 

Gustavo Silva’s full-time Linux security work is currently dedicated to eliminating several classes of buffer overflows by transforming all instances of zero-length and one-element arrays into flexible-array members, which is the preferred and least error-prone mechanism to declare such variable-length types. Additionally, he is actively focusing on fixing bugs before they hit the mainline, while also proactively developing defense mechanisms that cut off whole classes of vulnerabilities. Silva sent his first kernel patch in 2010 and today is an active member of the Kernel Self Protection Project(KSPP). He is consistently one of the top five most active kernel developers since 2017 with more than 2,000 commits in mainline. Silva’s work has impacted 27 different stable trees, going all the way down to Linux v3.16. 

“We are working towards building a high-quality kernel that is reliable, robust and more resistant to attack every time,” said Silva, Linux maintainer. “Through these efforts, we hope people, maintainers in particular, will recognize the importance of adopting changes that will make their code less prone to common errors.”

“Ensuring the security of the Linux kernel is extremely important as it’s a critical part of modern computing and infrastructure. It requires us all to assist in any way we can to ensure that it is sustainably secure,” said David A. Wheeler, the Linux Foundation. “We extend a special thanks to Google for underwriting Gustavo and Nathan’s Linux kernel security development work along with a thank you to all the maintainers, developers and organizations who have made the Linux kernel a collaborative global success.”

Funding Linux kernel security and development is a collaborative effort, supported by the world’s largest companies that depend on the Linux operating system. To support work like this, discussions are taking place in the Securing Critical Projects Working Group inside the OpenSSF

$30M Financing To Scale AI-powered Robotic Programming

The superlatives and hyperbole in this press release masked a good idea—bringing robotic programming into the 21stCentury. “Pioneering the next frontier of manufacturing through a combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and industrial robotics,” proclaims the press release. The meat of the announcement—Symbio Robotics announced its official company launch armed with $30M and a goal of modernizing industrial manufacturing by breathing new life into existing industrial robots — making them faster, more capable and more flexible.

At the heart of Symbio’s strategy is the introduction of SymbioDCS, an industrial robotics middleware and python programming framework that radically simplifies the programming of industrial robots to make them far more intelligent. SymbioDCS enables robot programmers to leverage real-time sensor information and feedback from existing automation sensors in combination with advanced control software. As a result, industrial robots that are programmed and managed with SymbioDCS quickly learn and execute tasks — increasing efficiency, improving quality and reducing ergonomic hazards.

Symbio currently is working with Nissan Motor Corporation and Toyota in addition to other major companies.

The recent investment was led by ACMECapital, with participation from existing investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Eclipse Ventures and The House Fund. 

“Symbio is doing for manufacturing what Windows did for DOS. Existing industrial manufacturing robots run proprietary programming languages making them slow and cumbersome. Not only do these robots lack dexterity, they lack the intelligence to make them do what they need to do,” said Max Reynolds, Symbio CEO and co-founder. “Our technology is designed to fundamentally reframe these existing manufacturing pain points by utilizing the best practices of AI and human robot interaction. That’s what we believe will drive success.” 

Symbio is focused on a different problem: building automation that enables the best of human-machine collaboration. Its framework is designed to support the programmers that are already working in these environments. 

“Developers are humans too, so the human-machine collaboration paradigm should apply to them as well!” said Anca Dragan, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences (EECS), at UC Berkeley. “Instead of exclusively providing automation solutions, Symbio is also designing the tools that enable the developers and domain experts working in manufacturing to create their own automation solutions and easily adapt them to new tasks. To do this, they are building products that leverage AI strengths and human insight in a symbiotic way.”

Symbio’s focus is on providing generalized solutions that enable companies to adopt AI as a core competency, as opposed to the traditional automation approach, which is to provide a custom solution to a specific problem. This means that AI solutions will look very different because it’s not just about creating the automation, it’s about creating and providing the tools that empower teams to design their own solutions through the use of AI, and easily adapt to the task at hand. 

“We’ve seen cars become much more complex and customized in the decades since the onset of industrial automation. Today’s automakers need more nimble and nuanced robotics to perform increasingly sophisticated assemblies,” said Greg Reichow, Partner at Eclipse Ventures and the former head of global manufacturing and automation engineering at Tesla. “Symbio provides the exact solution for forward-thinking manufacturers, through an AI-powered platform that combines advanced compute, sensing and precision-control software.”

The company’s framework runs on edge computing infrastructure through industrial networks to inform and instruct current factory systems to make final assembly tasks available that were never automated before. This allows, for the first time, the development of new sets of applications and programs that can inform and instruct current factory systems to perform more complex and dexterous tasks, in addition to improving automation that already exists like door, wheel and windshield assembly, fastening, welding and painting.

“We believe that tech-enabled automation is defining the modern economy. Symbio is on the leading edge of the shift toward an era of software-defined manufacturing where

intelligent, self-aware devices will be capable of automating even the most complex tasks like assembly. The company is taking a thoughtful approach and has proven that their technology works with some of the toughest customers possible, Automotive OEMs. We are excited to partner with the Symbio team as they scale across the automotive sector and beyond.” Hany Nada, Co-founder and Partner, ACME Capital.

Autonomous Driving With Next Generation Zero Accidents Sensing Platform

Not my normal news item, but this has general interest for those interested in the latest developments in autonomous driving. Maybe in my lifetime…

NPS 500 Autonomous Sensing Platform, the Most Compact, AI-Powered, Ultra Long-Range System that Intelligently Fuses and Integrates LiDAR, Radar and Cameras

Disruptive New Technology Establishes New Standard for Transportation Safety 

New High Performance LiDAR of More than 500 Meter Range and Innovative Radar Technology to See Around Corners

Neural Propulsion Systems (NPS), a pioneer in autonomous sensing platforms, today emerged from stealth to launch NPS 500™, the safest and most reliable platform for autonomous vehicles that enables the industry to reach Zero Accidents Vision. NPS 500 is the world’s first all-in-one deeply integrated multi-model sensor system focused on Level 4/5 autonomy.

The radically new sensor-fused system precisely interconnects the NPS revolutionary solid-state MIMO LiDAR, super resolution SWAM radar and cameras to cooperatively detect and process 360° high resolution data giving vehicles the ability to prevent all accidents. The densely integrated sensor system enables vehicles to see around corners and over 500 meters of range with ultra-resolution accuracy together with highly adaptive frame rate. The NPS 500 breakthrough capabilities make it 10X more reliable than currently announced sensor solutions.

“LiDAR, radar and cameras will all play significant roles in creating the ideal autonomous driving platform and there is no question that tightly connected sensors with onboard data fusion for automated driving enables more functionalities,” said Pierrick Boulay, senior analyst at Yole Développement. “This direction is unique and is likely to succeed in a market that could reach $25B in 2025* for sensing and computing in both ADAS and robot vehicles.” 

“Our goal to prevent all transportation accidents is the holy grail for autonomous vehicles,” said Behrooz Rezvani, founder and CEO of NPS. “We are the sensing system behind the Zero Accidents Platform for large volume deployment at affordable cost. Existing technologies are not sufficient to achieve this paradigm, so we created our own more powerful LiDAR and radar. Our AI-driven sensor-fusion system processes this ultra-high resolution data to create the safest and most reliable solution in the market today. The NPS 500 slashes time-to-market for autonomous vehicle manufacturers, while being the most cost-effective.”

NPS 500 Product Details

The NPS next generation precision-built, multi-modal sensor system is the industry’s most advance autonomous driving solution that addresses physics-based limitations of each sensory system. The NPS 500 enhances and combines the strengths of LiDAR, radar and cameras to create a platform that leverages the capabilities of each technology, while addressing today’s challenges of Level 4/5 autonomy, including:

  • Cameras: Provide high resolution images, but lack depth information and depend on lighting conditions
  • Radar: Measure velocity with great precision, but have lower resolution than LiDAR and are vulnerable to interference from other radars
  • LiDAR: Provide super precision depth information, but its performance and reliability degrade in adversarial, weather and light conditions, and it can get occluded fairly easily

NPS 500 is the world’s first all-in-one deeply integrated multi-model sensor system focused on Level 4/5 autonomy.

Features:

  • LiDAR: Revolutionary new solid-state MIMO-LiDARTM architecture doubles range to ≥ 500 meters with super resolution and adaptive multi-beam search
  • Radar: New class of radar technology with 10X better detection reliability, simultaneous, multi-band 360° FoV, 70X better against other radar signal interference
  • Software: First ever AI fusion technology to “see-around-the-corner”
  • Chips: 650 Tb/s sensor-data processing on network of tightly connected custom signal processing chips

Benefits:

  • Range ≥ 500 meters @ 10% reflectivity
  • Doubling the reaction time currently available LiDAR
  • Significant increase in sensor data reliability 
  • See-around-the-corner capabilities
  • Anticipating pedestrian’s movement well before reaching cross section 
  • Detecting moving objects approaching intersections well in advance 
  • Built-in redundancy for maximum reliability in harsh environments, bad driving and tough terrains
  • Low maintenance, automakers can efficiently rely on NPS sensors once the vehicles leave the dealership
  • Multi-beam adaptive scan up to 100 FPS to detect and track subtle movements 
  • See thru occlusion
  • Reduced time to market
  • Cost effective
  • Low CAPEX and OPEX for OEM customers

Pricing & Availability

Customers and partners may contact [email protected] for more information.

About Neural Propulsion Systems (NPS)

The NPS mission is to eliminate all transportation accidents to achieve the Zero Accidents Vision. Founded in 2017 by Silicon Valley luminaries, including entrepreneur Behrooz Rezvani, former Ikanos and Quantenna founder and CEO. NPS is delivering the world’s first all-in-one deeply integrated multi-model sensor system for Level 4/5 autonomy for large volume deployment at an affordable cost. Its flagship product NPS 500™ precisely interconnects the NPS revolutionary solid-state MIMO LiDARTM, super resolution SWAMTM radar and cameras to cooperatively detect and process 360° high resolution data. The densely integrated deep sensor-fusion system gives vehicles the ability to see around corners and over 500 meters away, making it 10X more reliable than competitors.