Ignition Cloud Edition Now Available in Microsoft Azure Marketplace

Pay-As-You-Go Solution Provides a Simpler Way to Leverage More Cloud Capabilities

Inductive Automation recently moved its flagship Ignition software to the cloud. Now it’s available on the Microsoft Azure Marketplace on a pay-as-you-go plan.

Ignition Cloud Edition works together with the standard Ignition platform and Ignition Edge, creating a fully integrated and scalable system that connects people, processes, and programs for true digital transformation.

Ignition Cloud Edition on Azure combines the vast power of the Ignition platform with Azure’s extensive cloud computing services. Adding this listing to Azure’s marketplace provides an additional avenue for access, bringing additional flexibility to architectures and opening up even more possibilities for innovation,” says Kevin McClusky, Chief Technology Architect, Inductive Automation.

Ignition Cloud Edition comes packaged with Ignition Core Modules: Perspective, Reporting, SQL Bridge, OPC UA, Enterprise Administration Module (EAM), Tag Historian, and Alarm Notification. It also includes the Web Development, Twilio Notification, and Voice Notification modules, as well as the MQTT Engine, MQTT Distributor, MQTT Transmission modules from Cirrus Link Solutions. A cloud connector module called the MongoDB Module is also included, and Cloud Edition users will get new cloud connector modules as they become available.

Ignition Cloud Edition’s pay-as-you-go purchasing model opens up budget options, allowing companies to use part of their operating expenditure budget allotted for cloud services instead of capital expenditures. It is important to note that Cloud Edition is not SaaS, and users are responsible for configuration, backup, and upgrades of the software. Cloud Edition is backed by TotalCare Support, which includes unlimited phone and web support, upgrade protection, discounts on training courses, and more.

Ignition Cloud Edition Now Available in AWS Marketplace

Inductive Automation had announced a Cloud Edition for Ignition. The latest news is that Ignition Cloud Edition is now available in AWS Marketplace, a digital catalog with thousands of software listings from independent software vendors that make it easy to find, test, buy, and deploy software that runs on Amazon Web Services (AWS). This pay-as-you-go solution extends on-premises data and enterprise operations, and brings elasticity to architecture design. Ignition Cloud Edition works together with the standard Ignition platform and Ignition Edge, creating a fully integrated and scalable system that connects people, processes, and programs for true digital transformation.

“We are excited to work with AWS to bring Ignition Cloud Edition into the industrial cloud space. This new solution offers Ignition’s most popular capabilities with seamless scalability, and opens the door for true industrial hybrid cloud architectures,” says Kevin McClusky, Chief Technology Architect, Inductive Automation.

Ignition Cloud Edition comes packaged with Ignition Core Modules: Perspective, Reporting, SQL Bridge, OPC UA, Enterprise Administration Module (EAM), Tag Historian, and Alarm Notification. It also includes the Web Development, Twilio Notification, and Voice Notification modules, as well as the MQTT Engine, MQTT Distributor, MQTT Transmission modules from Cirrus Link Solutions. A cloud connector module called the MongoDB Module is also included, and Cloud Edition users will get new cloud connector modules as they become available.

Ignition Cloud Edition’s pay-as-you-go purchasing model opens up budget options, allowing companies to use part of their operating expenditure budget allotted for cloud services instead of capital expenditures. It is important to note that Cloud Edition is not SaaS, and users are responsible for configuration, backup, and upgrades of the software. Cloud Edition is backed by TotalCare Support, which includes unlimited phone and web support, upgrade protection, discounts on training courses, and more.

HiveMQ Expands Cloud-Based MQTT Platform Offering

MQTT is a fast, light-weight protocol for moving data. The origins were with an IBM application. It is now widely adopted in manufacturing and industrial applications when you don’t need the full information modeling of OPC UA. HiveMQ is a relatively new company specializing in MQTT application development. This new product from them is a starter kit for using a cloud-based MQTT solution.

HiveMQ announced HiveMQ Cloud Starter plan, a dedicated, fully-managed, self-service MQTT platform. HiveMQ Cloud allows customers to rapidly procure a production-ready MQTT platform based on hourly usage, with unlimited connections and devices. 

With HiveMQ Cloud, companies can develop, test, deploy, and scale production IoT use cases without the large investment and complexity of maintaining their own infrastructure. Customers in any industry from transportation to connected products to manufacturing can get started quickly and easily for free, then scale as use cases expand and require additional features to enable security, observability, administration and data integrations. 

“We are proud to be the first and only MQTT platform on the market to offer multiple plans that are not capped by the number of connections to the platform,” said Dominik Obermaier, Co-founder and CTO, HiveMQ. “We feel this will be a game changer for the adoption of MQTT from the developer to the enterprise.” 

HiveMQ Cloud offers the following plans:

  • Serverless: Community-supported, multi-tenant MQTT broker ideal for experimenting and learning; 100 sessions free.
  • Starter: Self-service, single-tenant MQTT platform deployed in a Platform-as-a-Service environment; pay hourly as you grow.
  • Professional: Everything in Starter plus access to robust support, observability, security, and integration extensions; pay hourly as you grow or choose an annual subscription.
  • Enterprise: Dedicated MQTT infrastructure and custom systems integration for scaling sophisticated, enterprise-grade projects; pricing upon request.

The HiveMQ Cloud Serverless, Starter, Professional, and Enterprise plans address a wide range of customer needs for value-priced, cloud-based MQTT Platform-as-a-Service offerings to fit any deployment stage or budget. Any size customer from start-up to enterprise can start with the Serverless or Starter plans for pilot projects and POCs, and feel confident in their ability to scale to a comprehensive and feature-rich offering on the same platform.

Industry IoT Consortium Publishes Guidance On Cloud vs. Edge For AI-based Industrial Applications

The Industry IoT Consortium, part of the Object Management Group, gathers interested technical people together to study and publish guidance on a variety of industrial connectivity applications. This one provides guidance for when to use cloud or edge computing for AI-based applications such as machine vision.

The Industry IoT Consortium (IIC) published the Optimal Use of Cloud and Edge in Industrial Machine-Vision Applications whitepaper. The paper is a brief guide for developers who want to integrate machine vision with industrial cloud and edge computing applications.

“With advances in technology, industrial machine vision is becoming increasingly sophisticated. For example, today you can perform AI vision analysis directly on a camera. You can also process this data on a nearby computer, an on-premises server, or remote data center,” said Daniel Young, IIC Technology Working Group Co-Chair and Senior Manager at Toshiba. “Understanding where image processing should occur is an engineering decision based on many different factors.  For example, cloud computing offers industrial applications flexibility and scalability for machine learning models, while edge computing is best for real-time industrial tasks.”

The whitepaper covers the following sections:

  • Applications of Industrial Machine Vision gives a broad description of how companies use industrial machine vision.
  • Edge Computing in Industrial Machine Vision provides an overview of applying edge computing to industrial machine vision applications.
  • Cloud Computing in Industrial Machine Vision discusses cloud computing in industrial machine vision.
  • Deciding Where the Edge Lies in Industrial Machine Vision talks about typical edge computing configurations that incorporate industrial machine vision.

Metaverse Solutions For Enterprises

Press releases and extensive news coverage provoked some thinking about the Metaverse and its assorted technologies—Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), eXtended Reality (XR), and Mixed Reality (MR). It’s enough to distort in one’s mind just what is reality. Some psychologists and philosophers think there is no reality outside of what’s in your head. At this rate, they may be right. I even devoted a podcast to thoughts about this.

Mostly I’ve been exploring AR usually in the form of glasses that project the digital over the physical or VR usually in the form of an eye covering totally immersing you in the digital world. I’ve controlled machines while wearing glasses such as Microsoft’s HoloLens and seen training demos in VR. But VR can be on a flat panel, too. My wife the other day was holding her iPhone up and pointing at the walls of her “reading room.” She was visualizing a piece of furniture.

But I am here today to talk about constraints and overcoming them. 

Dijam Panigrahi, COO and co-founder of GridRaster, talked with me the other day. 

We started with constraints. Even AR requires a lot of compute power. And memory. And networking/communication bandwidth. Not to mention an electric power source. It’s hard to fit all that into an acceptable form factor. Rumors were that Apple was about to release its long awaited AR and VR products. The rumors pointed to the need for the wearer to have a battery pack clipped on their belt with a cable to the device. (For those who don’t wear pants with belts, well, I have no idea what you would have had to do.)

Panigrahi told me they started from a different point. They saw the power of the cloud plus the power of new communications networks such as 5G. Add to this advances in 3D CAD. Why, they asked, should designers try to put everything into the wearable device. Why not host the data in the cloud and use advanced networking to communicate with the device.

GridRaster does not design and sell end user devices. It works with any device and cloud service. It has what they call a unified and shared software infrastructure that enables enterprise customers to run AR, VR, XR, and MR applications.

Here are some underlying ideas and technologies:

  • Ultra-low latency high fidelity remote rendering using distributed GPUs for graphics heavy computing for high-fidelity rendering without time-consuming polygon reduction, and wirelessly streaming the solution to headsets, mobile phones, and tablets. 
  • Millimeter precision 3D AI based spatial mapping achieving accurate 3D spatial mapping with high fidelity 3D scene reconstruction, scene segmentation, and 3D object recognition using 3D computer vision and deep learning-based AI running on discrete GPUs on the server. 
  • Auto scaling and deployment using DevSecOps applying gaming tools and concepts in a cloud native environment that allows for agile, secure, and rapid development, deployment, and operations on the cloud/on-premises. GridRaster uses Kubernetes for deployment and scaling. It follows a CI/CD pipeline for deployment of its services into the cluster following the best practices and CNCF graduated projects. This enables loosely coupled systems that are resilient, manageable, and observable, and future proof.
  • Easy API-based integration open architecture approach enables a frictionless onboarding and seamless integration with existing content formats and provides future proof cross-platform support. This also allows the platform to integrate with other systems to share data and allow for interoperability.

And some use cases:

DESIGN & ENGINEERING

Enables Real-time Collaboration for Rapid Prototyping

  • Enables quick iteration on the ideas and concepts 
  • Clearer communication among team members
  • Quick decisions. 
  • Precise overlays of virtual models on real-world on any commercially available mobile devices, HMDs, smartglasses and PCs in real-time.

REMOTE MAINTENANCE, REPAIR AND TRAINING

  • Enables photo-realistic visualization and remote collaboration.
  • Create a virtual environment close to real world settings, along with photo-realistic product visualization and real-time collaboration, so that the most effective environment can be created for remote maintenance, repair and training.

LARGE SCALE SIMULATIONS AND TRAINING

  • Manages ultra-realistic mixed reality simulations.
  • Combines the best of the gaming and traditional simulations to provide a massive multi-user and multi-platform ultra-realistic large world simulations in AR,VR and MR. 
  • Provides a cloud-based agile and secure deployment and operation that distributes complex computations across compute server nodes and handles scaling in real time using Kubernetes.

AVEVA World Announcements

I had committed to a couple of events when the invitation to attend the AVEVA conference in San Francisco in November came my way. Many of my colleagues went out there thinking they had better opportunities to sell advertising than the alternative. Subsequently I received two announcements from the event. Both relate to data.

  • Constellation Energy chooses AVEVA solution to enable easier, faster, cheaper data analytics
  • Vision for connected industrial ecosystems revealed at AVEVA World in San Francisco

Weird thing to me is how marketing over the past few years regards data as something new. Way back in 1976 while working for a manufacturing company, I was moved from a position in operations to one in product development with the principle role as sort of “data czar.” I learned as far back as then about how crucial it was to have verified data in a form usable by all areas of the corporation. I was sort of at the nerve center for a few years.

We just have technologies for compiling, storing, verifying, and visualizing data that I couldn’t even dream about back then.

Constellation Energy for data analytics

AVEVA announced a partnership with Constellation Energy, provider of carbon-free energy, to give third-party analytic vendors secure access to select real-time data from Constellation’s operations.

Constellation will implement the latest release of AVEVA Data Hub, a cloud-based data management SaaS solution, which will help the company accelerate collaboration with trusted analytic partners and implement learnings more quickly, increasing the return on its analysis projects.

Currently, industrial operators, who are focused on data-driven solutions and decision-making, use a variety of methods to make real-time data available to internal and external teams. These methods are time-consuming to develop, maintain, coordinate, and some of them introduce security vulnerabilities that increase business risk. With IT staff in short supply, companies find themselves unable to respond quickly to new data requests or test out new solutions.

Constellation (formerly Exelon Energy), a long-time user of AVEVA PI System, decided to expand their data management solution into the cloud to easily share wind turbine data with a third-party analytics vendor. The company uses AVEVA PI System to collect, enrich, store, and manage sensor and time-series operations data in real-time. It then transfers that data natively to AVEVA Data Hub, a SaaS solution, where they can set up and manage select data sharing with authorized users, applications, and analytic tools both inside and outside the company. The new cloud-based addition to their data management solution is ready to use immediately; users can begin analyzing and processing data to achieve deeper insight in hours, rather than days or weeks.

Vision for connected industrial ecosystems

AVEVA showcases how industrial organizations are using real-time data to connect teams, empower them with data-led insights that speed up decision-making and unlock business value.

“We are witnessing the birth of an industrial universe that is completely connected, enabling a new kind of collaboration across colleagues, suppliers, partners, and customers,” said Peter Herweck, CEO at AVEVA.“Taking a data-centric approach empowers teams by connecting different players across the entire industrial ecosystem. This in turn transforms value chains into agile, profitable, sustainable networks. It is what we at AVEVA mean by the new, connected industrial economy.”

A recent survey, commissioned by AVEVA, of 650 senior international business executives across the chemicals, manufacturing, and power industries in North America, Europe, and the Middle East, found that 87% said they plan to increase their organization’s investment in industrial digital solutions over the next 12months.

Herweck added: “When you bring your data together and apply analytics so that you can visualize it in context, you unlock new ways of working. We are seeing leading companies like Shell and Worley breaking down data silos, building digital twins to deepen collaboration, drive transparency, and deliver actionable insights that enable their teams to work in a smarter and more connected way.”

AVEVA World has shown how leading companies such as Kellogg, Barry Callebaut, Pfizer, Dominion Energy, and Henn, starting to put in place the building blocks of these connected industrial ecosystems.  As the adoption of cloud-based industrial software becomes more widespread, organizations will be able to engage experts within and beyond their enterprise to deliver on innovative capital projects, optimize the operations lifecycle, accelerate decision-making, and reach sustainability targets that drive responsible use of the world’s resources.

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