Industrial Internet of Things begins with “things”, of course. But it really needs to end with a decision by either a human or a control. In between the thing and the human is software that takes data input from the thing, analyses the data, and provides information in a digestible form.
Swift Sensors not only manufactures wireless sensor systems, it provides a Manufacturing Analytics Dashboard. Newly released are eleven new predictive maintenance tools for the Dashboard.
These new tools add trend analytics to key manufacturing metrics of compliance, utilization, maximum, minimum and average measured values monitored by the wireless sensor system. Eleven new dashboard panels have been added for measuring analytic trends across multiple shifts.
”We have deployed more than 100 Swift Sensors in our manufacturing facility to improve operational efficiency,” said Jackson Minear, Continuous Improvement Engineer at Meggitt Airframe Systems. “We use just about every feature in the Analytics Dashboards to track utilization of our equipment as well as critical trends across multiple shifts over time. Conservatively, we’ve improved our machine utilization by 20% while saving six figures in capital equipment expenditures.”
“Our manufacturing customers, particularly those using our wireless temperature and vibration sensors, frequently ask for advanced analytics tools to improve operational efficiency through higher overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) and lower maintenance costs,” said Sam Cece, founder and CEO of Swift Sensors. “With the access to data from our wireless sensor system, Predictive Maintenance (PdM) programs can be easily created using our Manufacturing Analytics tools, which is included in the new Trend Analytics Dashboards.”
With the new dashboard panels, a trend line is calculated using the best fit line algorithm for the measurement data across each shift. The slope of the trend line represents the trend per shift, which indicates the overall tendency of the analytics value to increase or decrease by a specific amount from one shift to the next.
The trend analytics include a confidence percentage to indicate how well the trend line correlates with the historical data. A high confidence level indicates the trend is more likely to continue. Conversely, a low confidence level indicates the trend is not a reliable predictor of future values because the historical data is too chaotic.
Companies and organizations band together to develop open platforms to drive manufacturing technology use cases forward. I’ve received notice of two more announcements from Hannover. The problem as I see it lies in the proliferation of these alliances.
Everyone says they want to be open and attract everyone. However, someone is always driving these organizations. Evidently competitors don’t want to sign in with each other. So, they go off and start another one. With any luck, each platform will construct open connectors such that the broader industry will be served.
Note to my American readers—there is a decidedly European flavor to these announcements. Many American companies seem to have a “go it alone” mentality shunning collaboration and open standards. It will take pressure from their customers to get them to open up to the new world.
In this post, I’ll take a quick look at the Open Manufacturing Platform and the Open Industry 4.0 Alliance.
Microsoft and the BMW Group launched the Open Manufacturing Platform, an initiative to drive open industrial IoT development, help grow a community to build future solutions and enable faster, more cost-effective innovation in the manufacturing industry. The OMP is the latest step in Microsoft’s commitment to the advancement of innovation in the manufacturing space by enabling open platforms. The new community is being formed now and will support the development of smart factory solutions shared by OMP members and partners. The Advisory Board is expected to be set up with four to six partners by the end of 2019.
Built on the Microsoft Azure Industrial IoT Cloud platform, the OMP is designed to:
· Provide community members with a reference architecture with open source components based on open industrial standards and an open data model.
· Foster collaboration with community members and partners who will have the capability to develop their own solutions and services while maintaining control of their data.
· Address common industrial challenges such as machine connectivity and on-premises systems integration.
Microsoft will also continue its longstanding work with SAP and other partners in the Open Industry 4.0 Alliance, also announced today, further supporting industry collaboration now and into the future.
The Open Manufacturing Platform is an open industrial IoT platform to accelerate production and logistics optimization efforts.
- Data standardization across data producers for faster insights correlation
- Central auditability and dashboards
- Data monetization opportunities through controlled sharing and ownership
- Open source for OMP components
- Community approach ensures requirement prioritization. All partners contribute and can shape the future of the platform, focusing on common industrial use cases and challenges.
An alliance for the IIoT
At the Hannover Messe 2019 trade fair, seven leading suppliers from mechanical engineering, industrial automation and software announced the foundation of the Open Industry 4.0 Alliance. With this cooperation, the companies want to overcome proprietary solutions and give a decisive boost to the digital transformation of the European industry.
Founding members of the alliance are Beckhoff, Endress+Hauser, Hilscher, ifm, KUKA, Multivac and SAP. In principle, the alliance is open to all companies. Balluff, Gebhardt, Pepperl+Fuchs, Schmidtsche Schack, Samson and WIKA have already joined the alliance as members. All companies are mutually committed to the creation of a standardized and open ecosystem for the operation of highly automated factories and process plants with the integration of logistics and services.
“The open architecture of the Open Industry 4.0 Alliance meets all the requirements of the process industry,” emphasized Matthias Altendorf, CEO of the Endress+Hauser Group. “It is based on standards, ensures transparency across all business processes and guarantees the integrity of the systems. This enables process plant operators to leverage the potential of digitalization.”
The alliance members are planning to realize a so-called Open Industry 4.0 Framework based on existing standards such as I/O Link, OPC UA and RAMI for the entire route from objects in the workshop to services. Customers can choose from a modular system of compatible and scalable solution and service components, such as digital services from Endress+Hauser’s Netilion IIoT ecosystem.
The connection to the SAP software portfolio ensures the integration of a company’s business processes as well as collaboration with partners across company boundaries. The open architecture allows the simple connection of further system landscapes.
- Survey of More Than 1,700 IoT Developers Reveals Top Hardware, Software “Stack” Choices
- Eclipse Foundation survey finds security, connectivity and data collection/analysis are top three current “developer concern” areas as commercial IoT adoption marches forward
The Eclipse Foundation, the platform for open collaboration and innovation, released the 2019 IoT Developer Survey that canvassed more than 1,700 developers about their IoT efforts. The survey was conducted by the Eclipse IoT Working Group in cooperation with member companies (including Bosch Software Innovations, Eurotech, and Red Hat), and support from the IoT community at large.
IoT developers are driving real commercial outcomes, as evidenced by the fact that two-thirds of respondents in the survey were working on IoT projects professionally. Their top three concerns in building out IoT systems were Security (38% of respondents), Connectivity (21%), and Data Collection and Analysis (19%). Performance (18%), Privacy (18%), and Standards (16%) were also areas cited as particularly challenging for IoT development.
“This year’s survey results reflect the opportunities and challenges surfaced by the accelerating market adoption of IoT solutions and services,” said Mike Milinkovich, Executive Director of the Eclipse Foundation. “Developers are contending with interoperability and performance challenges across key areas like constrained devices, device gateways, and scalable cloud platforms. Connectivity, in particular, is a rising developer concern because of the proliferation of incompatible networking technologies in the market ”
Other Survey Highlights included:
- IoT Cloud Platforms (34%), Home Automation (27%), and Industrial Automation / IIoT (26%) were the respondents’ three most common industry focus areas.
- The top three CPU architectures for constrained devices used by respondents were ARM-based, with significant use of niche 8-bit, 16-bit and 32-bit MCUs.
- Respondents cited 70% usage of gateways and edge nodes with ARM variants, and 42% gateways and edge nodes with Intel x86 and x86_64 CPUs.
- Communication Security (38%) Data Encryption (38%), and JSON Web Tokens (JWTs) (26%) were the top three security technologies cited in the survey, with virtualization also starting to play a stronger role in IoT Security.
- C dominated as the programming language of choice for constrained devices, while Java was most popular for gateways/edge nodes and IoT cloud.
- AWS, Azure, and GCP maintain their status as the leading IoT cloud platforms.
- 45% of respondents used the Eclipse IDE for their IoT development, while 32% used Visual Studio.
- HTTP (49%), MQTT (42%), and Websockets (26%) were the top three communications protocols used by IoT developers.
“MQTT is clearly the dominant IoT-specific protocol, second only to HTTP itself,” said Milinkovich. The Eclipse Tahu project is now the home of the Sparkplug specification which extends MQTT with well-defined topic and payload structures to improve interoperability of industrial devices, while leveraging the bandwidth efficiency and low latency features of MQTT.
The findings of this survey support the idea that IoT development is expanding at a rapid pace, fueled by the growth of investments in predominantly industrial markets. The sustained focus on areas like IoT platforms, home automation, and industrial automation suggests these are likely to continue to be key targets for developer activity in IoT.
Where is there room for startup companies who can disrupt industrial technology?
I was recently pondering this problem—and indeed, I consider it a problem.
Inductive Automation did it years ago partly with a state-of-the-art technology, but mostly it was by building a company that could be profitable with a disruptive pricing model.
ThingWorx did some cool things. But it exited via acquisition by PTC, which combined it with Kepware into a new division. I’m not sure, yet, the extent of disruption that has caused.
Then I had an introduction to two CEOs of very interesting start ups. Check out yesterday’s thoughts on a new take of AI, voice applications, and maintenance.
This post is about UrsaLeo freshly off a chat with CEO John Burton. It’s a story about software, science, and Raspberry Pi.
The story begins with a Google cloud based platform which is enterprise ready (can support 500K messages a second on a mid-range server). It’s also highly secure—separate servers for user login and data which communicate via a secure certificate, so a hacker can’t get into the data side with a user name and login.
Burton told me, “Today we take in sensor data (mostly environmental), store it, display on dashboards, and make it available for download. We also have a robust events / alerts engine almost ready for rollout that will generate email, text, Slack messages and also can be used to control equipment (turn things on/off etc.). Our provisioning process includes create an account on our website, enter a serial number (type or scan), and boot the device. Certificates are installed automatically and a virtual server spun listening for data from the device.”
In the area of object recognition, they are working with a new class of AI chips (Google, NVIDIA) making it possible to run machine learning algorithms at the edge. Combine with a $30 camera and a Raspberry Pi and you have a 1-2 frames / second object recognition system that can be trained to recognize 20-30 separate objects. “We’re using this to look at nuts welded to a steel plate for a customer in the UK (are the nuts the right size, in right locations?). This is their biggest source of customer returns.”
When you combine 3 or more cameras doing object recognition you can triangulate to do 3D positioning with reasonable accuracy. This is a great edge application.
Not to be ignored is another current digital trend—Digital Twinning. For UrsaLeo, this means 3D models combined with real time data. “We have a unique way of creating the 3D models utilizing technology one of the founders developed. You can click and drag objects together while wearing a VR headset. The approach being used everywhere else is to utilize gaming technology (Unreal engine or Unity engine) which is very expensive. You need a game developer to drive them as well. So add the 3D positioning with a digital twin and we can start to show goods moving through a facility in real time.”
An Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) project can easily run into the millions of dollars. UrsaLeo is developing its technology with a combination of low cost single board computers, cameras, and AI devices combined with inexpensive digital twinning technology. This means a mid-sized manufacturer can get a sophisticated IIoT system for maybe $30K (and then ongoing cloud charges).
“We also think it’s important to make the system as open as possible so it can be connected to any hardware and also send it’s data to other applications. We’ve defined API’s for the sensors and on the cloud side we have a REST API, also a web hook, and a web streaming API. We think this approach is going to give the big monolithic players a tough time and also open up many new customers.”
There is a lot here to digest. I can think of a large number of my contacts in the industry who would be very interested in this. Stay tuned, I’m sure.
FogHorn comes up more and more often in my research on Internet of Things (IoT). And as we know, IoT is nothing without analytics and mobile. Today’s release touts FogHorn’s release of Lightning Mobile, an edge computing solution built specifically for industrial mobile devices.
According GSMA Intelligence, Industrial IoT connections will overtake consumer IoT connections in 2023, increasing more than five-fold to 13.8 billion in 2025. This is driven by a number of factors, including the emergence of LTE-M, NB-IoT and 5G, the benefits of leveraging battery powered, low cost devices, portability and re-configuration flexibility, growth in high-density deployments and the coverage and security benefits of mobile technologies.
Lightning Mobile empowers operational technology (OT) and field professionals with real-time analytics, machine learning (ML) and AI on mobile, battery-powered devices, without having to rely on connectivity to the cloud, speeding decision making and industrial workflow. This approach enables a new class of edge intelligence applications not possible with devices restricted to fixed locations, while making it easy to build and market off-the-shelf common solutions using FogHorn’s software. Additionally, support for edge-based deep learning model inferencing solves critical issues such as image recognition of bar codes and health and battery monitoring of high-volume deployments of mobile devices. The company has also launched a broad ecosystem initiative to expand the universe of applications that can run on Lightning Mobile.
“Over 85% of mobile operating systems worldwide are Android,” said Mike Guilfoyle, Director of Research at ARC Advisory Group. “For FogHorn’s customers, more of their operations technology staff can leverage edge intelligence for real-time analytics in the field, without the restriction of fixed-position devices. By enabling OT-staff access to edge computing on handheld Android devices, it will expand the pool of thinking about what is possible at the edge. This will inevitably lead to new use cases for industrial and commercial organizations.”
FogHorn’s Android App, in addition to providing the core analytics and ML capability on the live data, supports ingestion of all the Android event data coming from various sources. This provides an operator-friendly view of actionable insights right on the device, and a delivers highly efficient way to process digital, audio, video and image-based content.
“We are extremely excited to bring FogHorn’s next wave of edge computing innovation to market with Lightning Mobile, pushing real time analytics and AI to OT professionals through their mobile devices.” said Sastry Malladi, CTO at FogHorn. “This will unleash a wave of new industrial use cases including next-generation bar code scanners, portable factory environmental monitors, manufacturing using a high-density of devices such as smart screwdrivers, advanced fleet applications and more. We see a tremendous global opportunity for this technology.”
The greater IT community makes abundant use of open source projects. These projects have proven great worth in operating systems, networking, and applications. The OT community, well, not so much. Maybe some. Microsoft and Dell Technologies, among many others, have donated millions of lines of code to open source projects.
However, the Internet of Things has proven to be one of the places where IT and OT can come together.
Meanwhile, The Eclipse Foundation has been a favorite of mine for probably 20 years. I remember downloading and playing with the Eclipse IDE for Java a long time ago. The foundation makes the news again this year announcing open source advancements in IoT.
It announced major milestones that make Eclipse IoT a leading collaboration of vendors working together to define an open, modular architecture to accelerate commercial IoT adoption. Similar to the early days of the Internet–where open source and vendor collaboration on standard building blocks brought the web to ubiquity–industry leaders including Bosch, Red Hat, Cloudera, and Eurotech are collaborating to standardize open source, modular IoT architecture components within the Eclipse IoT Working Group.
In 2011, the Eclipse IoT Working Group was launched with three projects aimed at reducing the complexity of developing Machine-to-Machine IoT solutions. Eclipse IoT quickly evolved as vendors signed up to collaborate on IoT’s end-to-end interoperability and performance challenges across key areas like constrained devices, device gateways, and scalable cloud platforms. Today the Eclipse IoT community has grown to 37 projects, 41 member companies, and 350 contributors who are building IoT solutions based on Eclipse IoT code.
In a recent case study, Bosch Software Innovations detailed the reasons why it decided in 2015 to participate in Eclipse IoT and the major advantages that open source community involvement has brought to its cloud-based IoT platform, the Bosch IoT Suite. Bosch today has more than 60 developers working on Eclipse IoT projects and has contributed around 1.5 million lines of code. The Bosch IoT Suite is based on the Eclipse Ditto, Eclipse hawkBit, Eclipse Hono, and Eclipse Vorto open source projects.
“We have accomplished so much since we began our open source strategy at Bosch,” added Caroline Buck, Product Owner, Bosch IoT Suite. “Open source development has enabled us to transform how we build software internally and it is making our organization a better product company. Any company that is serious about IoT should consider an ‘open source first’ strategy. If you are planning to do open source IoT, then Eclipse IoT is THE community we recommend.”
In a recent report–Eclipse Foundation’s Open Source IoT Activity Reaches Critical Mass–industry analyst firm 451 Research concluded: “It is time to take a look at what Eclipse IoT has to offer as organizations that choose vendor-specific (proprietary) alternatives to get started begin to run into challenges regarding scale, complexity or cost that has them interested in open source alternatives. While it is not necessarily easier to get an IoT project up and running using open source software, the long-term advantages once an IoT system reaches critical scale are clear–more predictable costs and avoidance of vendor lock-in–and they are driving enterprises to investigate open source options.”
“We are proud that Eclipse IoT is the open source community of choice for commercial-grade IoT innovation,” said Mike Milinkovich, Executive Director of the Eclipse Foundation. “Eclipse IoT projects are where industry leaders collaborate on developing the production-ready, interoperable, and flexible open source building blocks needed for the market adoption IoT. Our members are at the forefront of accelerating IoT innovation with the quality and sustainability that the Eclipse Foundation is known for.”
On Eclipse Foundation’s blog, Milinkovich described how–similar to the early trajectory of the commercial Internet, and the importance of the LAMP stack in particular–industrial IoT’s progress is being catalyzed by open source standards and interoperability that allow vendors to drive solutions forward while competing above the common infrastructure level. Eclipse IoT represents the largest open source community that’s driving these open, interoperable, and flexible components.
Eclipse IoT projects are broadly grouped under three categories of innovation critical for building an end-to-end IoT architecture:
- Constrained Devices — the set of libraries that can be deployed on a constrained embedded device to provide a complete IoT development stack.
- Edge Device Gateways — projects that provide capabilities to coordinate the connectivity of a group of sensors and actuators to each other and to external networks.
- IoT Cloud Platform — projects that deliver the highly scalable, multi-cloud software infrastructure and services required to manage and integrate devices and their data. These technologies support deployment flexibility for running IoT workloads at the edge, on any of the leading cloud platforms (e.g. Amazon Web services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud), or in enterprise data centers. These projects also facilitate the interoperability of Eclipse IoT-based solutions with existing enterprise applications and other IoT solutions.
In addition to the Bosch IoT Suite, Eclipse IoT technologies are powering production-ready, commercial IoT offerings from other leading vendors. Eurotech’s award-winning Everyware IoT integrated IoT portfolio is based on Eclipse IoT projects. Everyware Software Framework is an enterprise-ready IoT edge framework based on Eclipse Kura, a Java/OSGi middleware for IoT gateways. Everyware Cloud, an enterprise-ready edition of Eclipse Kapua, offers an open, modular, and microservices-based IoT cloud platform.
“The market adoption of new business models is driving the demand for more agile, secure, and flexible solutions based on open standards and open source technologies. This trend contributed to Eurotech’s decision, in 2012, to become a founding member of the Eclipse IoT Working Group hosted by the Eclipse Foundation”, said Giuseppe Surace, Chief Product and Marketing Officer at Eurotech. “The Eclipse Foundation is the place where industry leaders collaborate to deliver innovative and extensible tools, frameworks, and runtime components for an open development environment. Within Eclipse IoT, Eurotech is working with Cloudera, Red Hat, and others to develop key IoT runtimes and other enabling technologies that will deliver an integrated, end-to-end open IoT architecture. Eurotech was the original contributor to the Eclipse Kura and Eclipse Kapua projects within the IoT Working Group. Our core objective is to ensure that when customers are ready to deploy IoT, the solutions will be there.”
IoT ecosystem leaders join Eclipse IoT to take advantage of the following opportunities:
- Participate in industry collaborations to develop common open IoT platforms for Industrial IoT, Industry 4.0, Smart Home, Edge Computing, and more.
- Ensure the quality and sustainability of an end-to-end enterprise IoT architecture fully based on open source and open standards
- Play a role in defining Eclipse IoT strategic priorities
- Gain insights into the Eclipse IoT technology roadmap and direction
- Benchmark and learn best practices from peers for leveraging open IoT technologies to accelerate product development and improve time-to-revenue
Learn more about joining the Eclipse IoT or participating in any of its projects.