IIoT versus SCADA, Technology 2021 Untangled, And More

I just wondered when Michael Bird of HPE was going to release another Technology Untangled podcast and, voila, here came one this morning into my Overcast feed. In this episode, Bird interviews Anthesis Group CEO Stuart McLachlan, HPE President and CEO Antonio Neri, Micro:bit Educational Foundation CEO Gareth Stockade, and ROKiT Venturi Racing CEO Susie Wolff. Bird summarizes, “2021 was a year to press on toward the future. We learned successful organizations are resourceful. The message of taking it on the chin and moving on came from each speaker. Each of us changed over the past two years, but there was also opportunity. As Wolff summarized in an earlier podcast, ‘Live in the moment, enjoy right now, be part of the journey instead of focusing just on end results.’ “

Interested in knowing more about what Artificial Intelligence (AI) consists of? Well, the podcasters from MIT’s Technology Review concocted a game show style explanation presented on its In Machines We Trust podcast.

The Internet of Things began to gain prominence a decade or more ago with the sensors added to smart phones and then to smart watches. GE touted the “Industrial Internet.” Then the Industrial Internet of Things swept the manufacturing and production landscape.The IT companies jumped on the wave. I went to Dell Technologies conferences (long since abandoned) followed by Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) first with Aruba networking and then the now dormant (I guess) IoT group, and briefly by Hitachi Vantara, which abandoned its manufacturing IoT emphasis faster than fans leaving after another Cleveland Browns loss.

On the other hand, smaller software startups began building IIoT platforms and either acquiring or being acquired. I noticed just a few years ago how my long-time sponsor, Inductive Automation, began adding components to its SCADA platform transforming into also an IoT platform. Talk sprung up about IoT Platforms replacing SCADA platforms. I listened today to a webcast from Litmus “Will Industrial IoT Platforms Replace SCADA?” This is a clearly presented comparison of the two with some MES thoughts thrown in for good measure. It is worth a listen. Definitely not a sales pitch.

NOTE: The “Subscribe” links goes to a MailChimp sign up page. I have stopped using MailChimp due to its obnoxious marketing tactics. WordPress stopped its service of sending a notice of updated posts. I am now using the Web page and email service of Hey, developed by BaseCamp. Please visit world.hey.com/garymintchell to register for the newsletter. There is no tracking or other privacy-invading tech.

IoT Security in the News

The “Subscribe” links goes to a MailChimp sign up page. I have stopped using MailChimp due to its obnoxious marketing tactics. WordPress stopped its service of sending a notice of updated posts. I am now using the Web page and email service of Hey, developed by BaseCamp. Please visit world.hey.com/garymintchell to register for the newsletter. There is no tracking or other privacy-invading tech.

Meanwhile, I spoke at the IoT Workshop of the Precision Metalforming Association and MetalForming magazine virtual IoT Experience with some ideas about IoT projects why and how.

Following is news from my IoT and Networking Security folder that has been accumulating since late summer.

Siemens and Zscaler partner on integrated zero trust security solutions for OT/IT

  • Enables secure, on-demand remote access to OT applications and systems
  • Delivers Zero Trust OT/IT security approach for office and production networks
  • Improves plant uptime and efficiency with secure remote access

Siemens and Zscaler are partnering to enable customers to securely access Operational Technology (OT) systems and applications in the production network from the workplace – whether in the office or working remote. These new capabilities enable users to remotely manage and control quality assurance or diagnoses issues. 

To ensure that the OT network is not exposed to any increased threat potential, Siemens and Zscaler have expanded the “Defense-in-Depth” OT concept secured by a Zero Trust Architecture. Based on the principle of “least-privilege access”, Zero Trust only authorizes application-specific access based on verified user identity and context. In combination with the existing OT security mechanisms, such as cell protection firewalls, this allows implementation of a granular access concept.

In addition, production requirements for availability and real-time capabilities continue to be met. This is operationalized by installing the app connector for the cloud-based remote access service Zscaler Private AccessTM (ZPATM) on a Docker container in the Siemens Scalance LPE local processing platform, thus creating an access solution for industrial environments. Centralized management in the Zscaler Zero Trust ExchangeTM cloud platform and the use of outbound connections facilitate more restrictive configuration of existing firewall rules, and the reduction of operating costs for administration and monitoring. Existing legacy systems can also be easily retrofitted with the Zero Trust Exchange solution. This offering is now available to customers through Zscaler and Siemens.

Context

Industrial networks mainly use a protection concept in which the system is subdivided into separate production cells. Each of these cells is individually protected by appropriate measures, such as a cell protection firewall. In office networks, the Zero Trust concept is steadily gaining traction, with all participants, users and devices first having to prove their identity and integrity before communication with a target resource can take place.

Open Source Security Foundation Raises $10 Million in New Commitments to Secure Software Supply Chains

The Linux Foundation https://www.linuxfoundation.org/, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, announced it has raised $9 million in new investments to expand and support the Open Source Security Foundation (OpenSSF), a cross-industry collaboration that brings together multiple open source software initiatives under one umbrella to identify and fix cybersecurity vulnerabilities in open source software and develop improved tooling, training, research, best practices, and vulnerability disclosure practices. Open source luminary Brian Behlendorf will serve the OpenSSF community as General Manager.

Financial commitments from Premier members include Dell Technologies, Ericsson, Facebook, Fidelity, GitHub, Google, IBM, Intel, JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, Oracle, Red Hat, Snyk and VMware. Additional commitments come from General members Anchore, Apiiro, AuriStar, Deepfence, Devgistics, GitLab, Nutanix, TideLift and Wind River.

According to industry reports (“2021 State of the Software Supply Chain,” by Sonatype, software supply chain attacks have increased 650 percent and are having a severe impact on business operations. In the wake of increasing security breaches, ransomware attacks and other cybercrimes tied to open source software, government leaders around the world are calling for private and public collaboration. Because open source software makes up at least 70 percent of all software (“2020 Open Source Security and Risk Analysis Report” by Synopsys), the OpenSSF offers the natural, neutral and pan-industry forum to accelerate the security of the software supply chain.

The OpenSSF is home for a variety of open source software, open standards and other open content work for improving security. Examples include:
● Security Scorecard https://github.com/ossf/scorecard – a fully automated tool that assesses a number of important heuristics (“checks”) associated with software security
● Best Practices Badge https://bestpractices.coreinfrastructure.org/ – a set of Core Infrastructure Initiative best practices for producing higher-quality secure software providing a way for OSS projects to demonstrate through badges that they are following them
● Security Policies – Allstar https://github.com/ossf/allstar provides a set and enforce security policies on repositories or organizations
● Framework – supply-chain levels for software artifacts (SLSA) https://slsa.dev/ delivers a security framework for increasing levels of software supply chain integrity
● Training – free secure software development fundamentals courses https://openssf.org/training/courses/ educating community members on how to develop secure software
● Vulnerability Disclosures – a guide to coordinated vulnerability disclosure for OSS projects https://github.com/ossf/oss-vulnerability-guide
● Package Analysis https://github.com/ossf/package-analysis – look for malicious software in OSS packages
● Security Reviews https://github.com/ossf/security-reviews – public collection of security reviews of OSS
● Research – studies on open source software and critical security vulnerabilities conducted in association with the Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard (LISH) (e.g., a preliminary census and FOSS Contributor Survey).

For more information about OpenSSF, click here.

Dell Technologies:
“The Linux Foundation’s focus on security is fundamental to addressing the increasing risks associated with software,” said John Roese, Dell Technologies’ Global Chief Technology Officer. “The Open Source Security Foundation’s work will help us collectively make sure critical software programs and the end to end software delivery pipeline is secure and trustworthy.”

Fidelity
“Open Source Software plays a critical role in Fidelity’s technology strategy. We are proud to be part of the Open Source Security Foundation and to work with others to ensure that Open Source solutions and their supply chains are safe, secure, and reliable, enabling Fidelity to better serve our customers and clients,” said John Andrukonis, SVP, Fidelity Application Architecture.

Intel
“As a long-standing member of the open source software community, Intel contributes daily in the upstream projects we collaborate with,” said Greg Lavender, senior vice president, CTO and general manager of Software and Advanced Technology at Intel Corporation. “Along with the Linux Foundation, we believe the Open Security Foundation (OpenSSF) is a unique opportunity to engage in projects and efforts focused on improving the quality and security for today and our future. Intel remains committed to providing contributions that benefit open source software supply chains and improving the security posture of critical projects on which our ecosystem depends.”

JPMorgan Chase
“JPMorgan Chase is deeply committed to working with the open source community to solve our most pressing security challenges. As a founding member of the Open Source Security Foundation, we have worked together to improve the security of open source and the integrity of all software. We commend the US Government’s recent initiative to raise awareness on this pressing topic and call to action the technology community to solve one of the most complex security challenges of our time. We welcome the new members to OpenSSF and look forward to continuing the journey of innovation and bringing meaningful change to how we build, secure, and validate software,” said Pat Opet, Chief Information Security Officer, JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Microsoft
“As open source is now core to nearly every company’s technology strategy, securing open source software is an essential part of securing the supply chain for every company, including our own. All of us at Microsoft are excited to participate with others in contributing new investments to the Open Source Security Foundation and we look forward to building more secure software through community-driven efforts to create solutions that will help us all,” said Mark Russinovich, Azure CTO and Technical Fellow, Microsoft.

Snyk
“Open source is built by millions of empowered developers, who also need to secure this critical foundation of the digital world,” said Guy Podjarny, Founder & President, Snyk. “The vital work of the Linux Foundation and the OpenSSF ensures we collectively live up to this responsibility. The Snyk community is fully committed to this important, collaborative effort and we look forward to working closely with the other OpenSSF members to better secure OSS so it can continue to safely fuel innovation.”

VMware
“Every company that uses software should be concerned about their software supply chain,” said Kit Colbert, chief technology officer, VMware. “For two-plus years, VMware has engaged in contributions to open source projects in the broader software supply chain security space and invested in initiatives to help customers further strengthen their security policies and processes. As a member of the Open Source Security Foundation, we’re committed to collaborating across the industry to drive increased level of software supply chain security.

BlackBerry and Deloitte Join Forces to Secure IoT Software Supply Chains

BlackBerry Limited https://www.blackberry.com/us/en and Deloitte https://www2.deloitte.com/ca/en.html announced the two organizations are teaming up to help OEMs and those building mission-critical applications secure their software supply chains. 

As part of the agreement, Deloitte will leverage BlackBerry’s flagship software composition analysis tool, BlackBerry Jarvis https://blackberry.qnx.com/en/software-solutions/blackberry-jarvis to provide Open-source Software (OSS), Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) and Software Bill of Materials (SBOM) analysis on behalf of their clients across the medical, automotive and aerospace industries, empowering them to keep software safe and secure based on the actionable intelligence the platform provides.

A G7 Transportation Ministry has selected the companies’ joint software and services offering to ensure the security of its traffic management and broader transportation infrastructure. 

Designed to address the increasing complexity and growing cybersecurity threats among multi-tiered software supply chains, BlackBerry Jarvis empowers OEMs to inspect the provenance of their code and every single software asset that comes into their overall supply chains to ensure their products are both secure and updated with the most recent security patches. 

BlackBerry Jarvis addresses the need to identify and remediate vulnerabilities by identifying them and then providing deep actionable insights in minutes – something that would otherwise involve manual scanning that would take large numbers of experts and an impractical amount of time.

For more information on BlackBerry Jarvis please visit BlackBerry.com/Jarvis

 

Networking News 5G and IoT

The “Subscribe” links goes to a MailChimp sign up page. I have stopped using MailChimp due to its obnoxious marketing tactics. WordPress stopped its service of sending a notice of updated posts. I am now using the Web page and email service of Hey, developed by BaseCamp. Please visit world.hey.com/garymintchell to register for the newsletter. There is no tracking or other privacy-invading tech.

Meanwhile, I spoke at the IoT Workshop of the Precision Metalforming Association and MetalForming magazine virtual IoT Experience with some ideas about IoT projects why and how.

Following is news from my IoT and Networking folder that has been accumulating since late summer.

Communication Service Providers share of enterprise 5G deals down

This news is a bit old, but shows an interesting point about 5G growth. Beyond by BearingPoint, in collaboration with Omdia, released its annual enterprise 5G report revealing that the share of enterprise 5G deals led by Communications Service Providers (CSPs) has fallen from 21% in 2020 to 16% today. While the number of enterprise 5G projects doubled over the course of the year, and despite telcos recognizing the need for a multi-technology, omni-partner, solution-oriented approach for enterprise 5G, competition from alternative service providers has significantly impacted CSPs share of the market. The study found that CSPs are starting to realize the importance of the enterprise 5G market but must fully commit and put the dedicated resources in place faster if they are to capture the opportunities as they emerge.

In 2020, the first report Industries and Enterprises are ready to reap the benefits of 5G found that 72.3% of CSPs already believed that most 5G revenues would be derived from B2B, B2B2C, or government/smart city opportunities. But it also found that CSPs were being cut out of the enterprises 5G engagement and the solution building by enterprises and other players in the market. Only 21% of enterprise 5G deals were led by CSPs and in 40% of the deals CSPs were the secondary supplier. 32% were led by enterprises and 7% by alternative service providers.

One year on, CSP thinking has evolved. The study reveals that CSPs now realize that solution-oriented production models also require mastering multiple technologies (such as cloud, edge, AI, Wi-Fi 6 etc) and partnership options to complement 5G networks. According to this year’s report, more CSPs understood the opportunity and started to provide private networks and 5G solutions to the enterprise. However, they are still too slow to react to enterprise demands. In fact, the research shows that in the past 12 months, the number of Enterprise 5G projects doubled while the share of CSPs deals dropped to 16%. On the contrary, alternative service providers such as private networks specialists, ramped up their efforts and operations and outpaced CSPs. Indeed, alternative service providers increased their share of enterprise 5G deals from 7% last year to 27% this year.

The report also looks at the role of CSPs in the ecosystem through the eyes of potential partners such as systems integrators, global vendors and vendor specialists. Surprisingly, all ecosystem players expect CSPs to take the lead on orchestrating different services, technologies, and capabilities and believe there is more to be done by CSPs to capture this role.

The report emphasizes the need for CSPs to assimilate lessons such as agility, speed and focus from alternative service providers; they must accelerate into the enterprise market and not wait for network slicing, complete 5G coverage, or other 5G capabilities. It also highlights that 5G network design is only one component of enterprise digitalization and that CSPs need to offer additional value to become preferred partners. They must demonstrate more flexibility within their commercial and business models.

EMnify Brings No-Code Automation to Cellular IoT Management

Also news from last summer. EMnify, the leading cloud communication platform provider for IoT, has launched its new integration with workflow automation tool Zapier, making it the first IoT CPaaS provider to offer customers no-code automation for cellular IoT management.

For IoT solution providers operating connected products globally, efficient internal processes for device deployment, troubleshooting, and support are critical. EMnify’s integration with Zapier allows businesses to build trigger-based operational workflows –quickly and intuitively– using the tools that work best for them. EMnify customers can now automate IoT device and connectivity management at scale with a few simple clicks.

PiCo, an Australian smart-retail solution provider, is among the first users of EMnify’s Zapier integration. Andrew Lowe, managing partner at PiCo, commented: “Zapier has been a great help to us in managing projects globally across disparate platforms, and we have about 15 Zaps already in use. With this integration, we were able to rapidly integrate EMnify into our project management tool that manages workflows across three continents in under five minutes.”

By integrating with Zapier, a leading brand in the rapidly growing no-code economy, EMnify can now connect with 3000+ systems worldwide, including top CRM, ERP, and project management platforms—without the need for specialist developers.

Using Zapier, IoT operations and support teams can select pre-defined EMnify triggers or actions and quickly combine them with their internal tools to create automated workflows, called Zaps. The combination of cellular IoT and no-code automation increases control and visibility for IoT businesses as they scale to deploy and operate thousands of devices globally. EMnify’s customers can efficiently manage and stay on top of their device connectivity using the tools they already rely on—without having to switch between applications. 

Knud Kegel, VP of product at EMnify commented: “No-code is to source code what cloud was to on-premises servers. No-code tools enable a higher degree of autonomy for non-technical teams, enabling business teams to participate by automating workflows, building operational dashboards, and more, so that development teams can focus on more strategic engineering tasks. EMnify’s goal is to enable everyone to contribute to the connected world, and no-code is critical to making that happen.”

To empower customers with more tailored workflows that streamline IoT operations on a global scale, EMnify is working to expand its set of actionable cellular IoT triggers and actions on Zapier. In the future, the company plans to integrate with an even wider range of no-code tools to bring greater automation possibilities to IoT businesses.

Digital Performance Management Tool Targets Efficiency Gains

Remember The Goal by Eli Goldratt? The plant manager began investigating constraints in the production line. In order to find the data, the IT guy had to make a special report run overnight resulting in printing reams of paper that they had to read through the next day looking for insights into the next bottleneck or constraint. Now, we can get this information almost real-time on our smart phone. That context is what I think of as I wade through the hype of PTC’s latest announcement from last week’s virtual customer event.

I wish people marketing software could just say what they do instead of phrases such as “investment accountability by validating outcomes for transformational investments with real-time production data.” And the executives quoted bemoaned that digital transformation was only incrementally improving manufacturing performance. My experience tells me that if you are looking for something like 50% or 100% boosts, then you should have been terminated long ago as a terrible manager. Incremental boosts in efficiency done consistently over time will yield a viable manufacturing company.

At any rate, I’m sure that this new product, “Digital Performance Management Solution,” will help well run manufacturing companies continue to improve. The news in brief:

  • New IIoT Offering from PTC Is a Self-Monitoring, Self-Measuring Tool for Closed-Loop Problem Solving.
  • With the New Solution, Manufacturers Are Empowered with Visibility into Current Performance, Analysis of Production Bottlenecks, and Outcome Validation for Investments.

And here is the release: PTC announced the immediate availability of the new ThingWorx Digital Performance Management Solution (DPM), a first-of-its-kind offering that represents a significant advancement in manufacturing companies’ ability to drive efficiency.

DPM provides performance insights and enables real-time, closed-loop problem solving.  It delivers one universal view of performance, communicated in an understandable business metric: hours.  This metric is easily understood across frontline workers, managers, and executives, and provides a foundation for an enterprise-scale solution.  DPM supports investment accountability by validating outcomes for transformational investments with real-time production data and easy-to-calculate financial improvements.

With DPM, companies can identify the right performance issues to drive efficiency; empower frontline workers to take corrective action; gain visibility into bottlenecks, root causes, and the most critical areas to focus on for improvement; measure results with performance data to ensure actions produce the desired outcomes; and achieve rapid time to value and scale, with initial results in as little as 90 days.

“The release of PTC’s ThingWorx DPM Solution represents a significant milestone in our IIoT business,” said Jim Heppelmann, President & CEO, PTC.  “This software marks the beginning of a new phase in PTC’s IIoT growth strategy as we evolve our positioning of ThingWorx as a suite of powerful enterprise solutions that power significant enterprise efficiency to drive business value.”

IoT technology market attractiveness: Where to invest going into 2022

One of the analysts for the German-based analyst firm, IoT Analytics, found me a bit over a year ago. The firm, founded by Knud Lasse Lueth, specializes in research and consulting on IoT broadly speaking. I am affiliated with the firm as an advisor. I’ve participated in some research and recommend it if you’re in the market.

Lueth authored a report on digital and IoT markets. I’ve included some of the interesting findings. You can download a summary or purchase the report by following the link. 

Key Insights

  • Digital and IoT markets continue to accelerate, with North American and European enterprise customers leading the way.
  • Cloud and cybersecurity—but also topics such as no-code—are becoming more important to end-users.
  • Pharma and energy verticals are leading the recovery, while automotive, buildings, and oil and gas lag behind.

Why it matters?

  • Due to the current uncertain business environment, IoT technology vendors can win market share by targeting the most attractive regions, technologies, and verticals while deprioritizing the less attractive ones.

The opportunities and threats of highly dynamic technology markets

We recently interviewed an IoT technology provider that almost lost the entire business due to COVID-19 effects but then pivoted quickly. The company had found initial market success providing solutions for the digitalization of commercial office buildings. In early 2020, COVID-19 hit, and overnight, all investments in commercial office buildings were halted as people stayed home. Six months later, while still in the middle of lockdowns, the company was thriving again. 

Why? They had shifted their efforts toward the digitalization of specialty buildings, such as airports and hospitals, which were in urgent need of tracking and other IoT applications.

This example shows that, in changing times, the success of an entire technology business can depend on understanding which market segments are or remain attractive and which ones are limiting their budgets. Markets can change radically in a matter of months, and technology vendors need to be aware of these changes and be ready to pivot.

The current state of the Internet of Things: Twice a year, we provide our view on the current IoT market environment, offering our clients a general market overview of enterprise technology with a focus on Internet of Things-related businesses and use cases. The latest 148-page State of IoT report highlights 100+ recent IoT-related news stories, the 100 largest IoT-related funding rounds of the last nine months, major acquisitions in the space, our team’s input on 36 current trends, and a view of the IoT vendor landscape.

The report also includes our view of the IoT technology market attractiveness and general sentiment in 20 industry verticals, the four main global regions, and along 10 elements of the IoT tech stack. Here are some of the highlights from our summer 2021 analysis.

Regional view: North America and Europe leading out of the pandemic

Tech budgets in 2021 and going into 2022 differ greatly by region. These budgets are still strongly correlated to regional COVID-19 impacts, with North America and Europe increasing IoT tech spending, while most places in APAC and the rest of the world are cautious when it comes to innovation and tech investments.

Overall business sentiment across all companies in North America has surpassed pre-COVID-19 levels. In North America in the second quarter (Q2) of 2021, business sentiment indexed at 107, compared to an index of 100 in Q2 2019. Europe is also strong at 104.

Technology view: Opportunities across the entire stack

Lueth includes eight technology topics the research found trending. I’ve included brief comments on them.

1.     Cloud migration and modernization services

The migration of software workloads and entire software applications to private and public cloud environments accelerated in 2021. Growth rates for both Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure climbed back above 50% (year on year) in Q2 2021. For IoT vendors in general, there is a large opportunity in helping clients move their IoT assets and existing IoT-based applications to the cloud. Containers have become the de facto standard in modern software design. Leading software firms are modernizing their applications with serverless architectures (at least partially). Consistent data structures and state-of-the-art data warehouses are also a large area of investment.

2.     Low-code/No-code development interfaces

The low-code/no-code trend is in full swing. Given the current shortage of global tech talent, it is more important than ever that companies allow non-techy users to easily use applications and develop solutions.

3.     State-of-the-art cybersecurity setups or features

Cyberattacks have increased in the last two years, driven by the remote work trend and IT integrations with multiple (supplier) systems alongside poor cybersecurity practices in many firms.

4.     End-to-end solutions that are easy to configure

Complexity is still the enemy of all IoT initiatives. IoT practitioners remain extremely thankful for solutions that allow a portion of the overall architecture to be seamlessly connected. Zero touch is the name of the game in IoT connectivity (i.e., onboarding new devices and connecting them to a network instantly).

5.     Solutions supporting open application programming interfaces (APIs) and data ecosystems

There is an increasing focus on clean data and/or semantic data structures for contextualizing, synthesizing, and solving IoT data issues. The OPC Foundation, in collaboration with CESMII, for example, announced the launch of the OPC Unified Architecture (UA) cloud library joint working group (JWG) in October 2020 . The goal of the JWG is to specify how OPC UA information models of machines, supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), and manufacturing execution systems will be stored in and accessed from a cloud-based database.

6.     Intelligent and connected edge solutions

The edge continues to become more intelligent, and vendors are racing to support more connected and smart edge devices.

An edge trend we have discussed in depth is the migration of control away from traditional programmable logic controllers (PLCs) in manufacturing environments. As further proof of this trend, several industrial automation vendors recently introduced new products that decouple industrial control software from the underlying hardware, enabling more flexible and interoperable control systems.

7.     Offerings that support sustainability initiatives

Sustainability has become a CEO priority, as highlighted in some of our recent “What CEOs talked about” articles. IoT plays an important role for a sustainable planet, as also highlighted in previous research.

8.     AI-infused software applications

Artificial intelligence is becoming ingrained in many legacy software applications, giving rise to new themes, such as machine learning model monitoring (MLOps or autoML), which automates the task of data integration and model creation.

Cloud-Capable PLCs Enable More IIoT Applications

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.