Qualcomm Debuts Roster of IoT Solutions to Drive Global Digital Transformation Across Industries

Qualcomm is in release mode these days—especially concerning chips for 5G and IoT. Last month was one new chipset. This month—four more. These will power many devices for your IoT / digital transformation initiatives.

Next-generation solutions deliver advanced Edge-AI performance, breakthrough power-efficiency, 5G connectivity capabilities and enhanced features for processing and security from entry level to premium tiers. 

The opportunity to connect the unconnected has never been more prevalent.  Qualcomm Technologies Inc.is enabling an IoT ecosystem of 13,000+ IoT customers to date, helping to accelerate the digital transformation and development of connected products. 

Qualcomm Technologies extends its support for the IoT ecosystem by introducing seven new solutions to help enable the proliferation of next-generation IoT devices: Qualcomm QCS8250, Qualcomm QCS6490/ QCM6490, Qualcomm QCS4290/ QCM4290, and Qualcomm QCS2290/ QCM2290. 

These solutions range from entry-level to premium tier to expand access to a variety of industrial and commercial applications. These latest IoT solutions from Qualcomm Technologies are purpose-built to help meet the needs of the expanding IoT ecosystem for key segments including transportation and logistics, warehousing, video collaboration, smart cameras, retail, healthcare, and more. 

“Qualcomm Technologies is uniquely positioned to lead the IoT ecosystem forward with our systems-level approach. Along with the recently announced Qualcomm 315 5G IoT modem, these new IoT solutions further exemplify our commitment to driving global digital transformation and providing a portfolio of solutions to transform industrial and enterprise IoT applications to achieve cutting edge performance and seamless connectivity,” said Jeff Lorbeck, senior vice president and general manager of connected smart systems at Qualcomm Technologies. “We believe in the power of technology to enrich lives through purposeful innovation with solutions to support the ecosystem in reimagining how the world connects, works and communicates. These new IoT solutions are a step towards achieving that goal.”

The seven new IoT solutions offer a breadth of capabilities for a range of smart devices and connected solutions with extended life hardware and softwareoptions forachieving long-term support for a minimum of eight years:

Qualcomm QCS8250 | Target applications: connected healthcare, digital signage, retail, and video collaboration The Qualcomm QCS8250 is Qualcomm Technologies’ next-generation premium-tier offering, optimized to deliver maximum performance at greatest power efficiency enabling compute intensive AI at the edge with support for Qualcomm Wi-Fi 6 solutions and 5G connectivity. This solution is designed to deliver premium-level performance through the Qualcomm Kryo 585 CPU architecture, the Qualcomm Artificial Intelligence (AI) Engine, and powerful image signal processor (ISP) to support up to 7 concurrent cameras with encode at up to 4Kresolution at 120 frames per second. This powerful solution offers a new Neural Processing Unit (NPU) for ultra-intuitive AI in addition to machine learning for compute-intensive IoT applications to enable smart cameras, video collaboration, AI hubs, connected healthcare and smart retail. Purpose-built for industrial and commercial applications, this platform delivers ultimate performance experience with flexible options enabled by our 3rd party ecosystem to accelerate deployment and commercialization at scale.

Qualcomm QCS6490/QCM6490 | Target applications: connected healthcare, logistics management, retail, transportation, and warehousing The Qualcomm QCS6490 and Qualcomm QCM6490 are Qualcomm Technologies’ first optimized IoT solutions built to deliver premium-tier features including global 5G connectivity and lightning-fast Wi-Fi 6E for high-tier IoT devices. With the Kryo 585 CPU architecture this solution delivers powerful performance and is purpose-built for industrial and commercial IoT applications such as transportation, warehousing, connected healthcare, logistics management and across retail point of sale (POS) kiosks. Equippe to support 5G mmWave/Sub-6 GHz and Wi-Fi 6E, this solution helps enable the latest generation of ruggedized handhelds and tablets, industrial scanners, and human machine interface systems. Through powerful connections, reduced latency, along with dynamic triple ISPs and advanced Edge-AI and compute based on 6th generation Qualcomm AI Engine, this solution delivers astonishing performance at reduced power compared to previous generation solutions. 

Qualcomm QCS4290/QCM4290| Target applications: cameras, industrial handhelds, and security panels The Qualcomm QCS4290 and Qualcomm QCM4290offer maximum mid-tier benefits delivering greater performance. With the Kryo260 CPU architecture for increased speeds and robust on-device performance, in addition to the 3rd generation Qualcomm AI Engine, this platform delivers powerful performance, dynamic camera capabilities and broad connectivity options (LTE Cat13, Wi-Fi 6-Ready), ideal for industrial and commercial IoT applications such as industrial handhelds in logistics and warehousing, security panels and cameras. For increased intuitive on-device intelligence, devices based on this new solution will help enable productive and efficient work environments.

Qualcomm QCS2290/QCM2290| Target applications: camera applications, industrial handhelds, retail and tracking   The Qualcomm QCS2290 and Qualcomm QCM2290 are robust entry-level offerings, enabling reliable performance and power-conservation with LTE connectivity, upgraded features and memory support for low power consumption. Equipped with the Cortex A53 CPU architecture, the entry-level platform is a cost-effective solution, delivering greater performance, higher graphics capabilities, better quality images, and improved power performance. This platform is well-suited for, retail point-of-sale (POS), industrial handheld, tracking and camera applications. Also, QCS2290/QCM2290 baseband chip is pin-to-pin compatible with QCS4290/QCM4290which helps customers utilize hardware and software across various IoT devices to reduce cost and time to market. 

The Qualcomm QCS8250, Qualcomm QCS4290/ QCM4290, and Qualcomm QCS2290/ QCM2290 solutions are available now. The Qualcomm QCS6490/ QCM6490 solution are expected to be available in second half of 2021. Qualcomm Technologies’ new solutions are fueling future technology developments to enable the next generation of innovation across the IoT ecosystem. 

Amtran 

“As a tremendous impact of COVID-19, the video conferencing system becomes a must. The development of the Qualcomm QCS8250 helps enable AmTran to deliver fine-tuned audio and video processing products, for communication without distance and interference,” Sam Wu, president, AmTram Technology. 

Aver 

“As a global leading supplier of camera and room solutions for meeting spaces, we are thrilled by the announcement of Qualcomm QCS8250 which will enable us to not only stay competitive but also to bring better UC&C solutions in the video conferencing ecosystem” said Andy Hsi, president, AVer Information Inc.

eInfochips 

“Given our strong focus on intelligent camera and machine vision solutions, eInfochips is excited about the launch of Qualcomm QCS8250 solution. Leveraging 25-plus years of product design experience, eInfochips enables intelligent devices, such as collaboration devices, smart robots, AR/VR devices, home/industrial automation and intelligent cameras based on this module,” said Parag Mehta, chief business development officer, eInfochips.

Fibocom

“The announcement of Qualcomm Technologies’ newest IoT solutions is an exciting step forward in the global proliferation of next-generation IoT devices.  Coupled with Fibocom’s end-to-end IoT modules and wireless communications solutions, these new solutions will enable powerful, intelligent, and revolutionary IoT solutions across a variety of industries and vertical applications,” said Lingpeng Ying,chief executive officer, Wireless Inc.

Hongtech

“As a leading IoT solution distributor in Taiwan, we have strong application insights and support customers from concept to design to manufacturing. The Qualcomm QCS8250 is a leading AI computing platform, and we are pleased to be collaborating with Taiwan customers to enable the high-performance, low-power computing IoT platform in 1H2022, including a SMARC module from iBase and video conference solution from Aver,” said Eric Cheng, president, Hongtech Electronics Co., Ltd.

iBASETechnology 

“With the recommendation of HongTech, we have adopted the next-gen premium-tier processor, the Qualcomm QCS8250 into our Qualcomm-based SMARC module which provides power efficiency and superior performance with 4K resolution at 120 frames per second video resolution, making it an ideal choice for high-tier multi-display/multi-camera signage, IWB, video conferencing or retail analytics applications,” said YN Chen, vice-chief executive officer, IBASE Technology.

Lantronix

“The new QualcommQCS8250 platform brings exciting new capabilities to the intelligent video market for developers. This development will enable Lantronix to provide IoT vertical market customers the ability to get to market quickly, especially in video collaboration, surveillance/smart cities, smart display, and AI retail boxes. The Qualcomm QCS8250 will drive the next generation of video developments by addressing important video processing and latency considerations, Lantronix looks forward to being part of this journey,” said Paul Pickle, president and chief executive officer, Lantronix.

MeiG

“As a global leading supplier of cellular modules for the IoT, we are thrilled by the announcement of Qualcomm Technologies’ next-generation IoT solutions. These new solutions will support us in developing next-generation IoT applications and usher in a new generation of IoT applications and expansion in the ecosystem,” said Benjamin Du, chief executive officer, MeiG Smart.

PAX

“Qualcomm Technologies’ newest IoT solutions are a strong step forward for the retail market and IoT ecosystem to enable the global proliferation of next-generation devices. We are proud to work with Qualcomm Technologies to continue to enable the growth of this market and ecosystem.” said Tom Luo, executive vice president, PAX Computer Technology (Shenzhen) Co.,Ltd. 

Quectel 

“Qualcomm Technologies’ newest IoT solutions mark an exciting step forward in the global proliferation of next-generation IoT devices. These solutions are highly compatible with Quectel’s existing 5G and LTE modules, allowing customers to accelerate their designs with fast time-to-market. We are very proud to work with Qualcomm Technologies as we continue to enable the growth of the Internet of Things,” said Patrick Qian, chief executive officer, Quectel. 

SUNMI

“The announcement of Qualcomm Technologies’ newest IoT solutions is an exciting step forward in the global proliferation of next-generation POS devices. Coupled with SUNMI’s flagship products, these new solutions will enable powerful, intelligent, and revolutionary devices across a variety of industries and vertical applications,” said Jeep, chief operations officer, SUNMI.

Sunsea

“SUNSEA AIoT is committed to utilizing advanced IoT technologies to develop all-in-one solutions for the IoT ecosystem from 5G modules to smart communities solutions. Through the introduction of Qualcomm Technologies’ latest IoT solutions, Qualcomm Technologies is enabling us to develop next-generation products, provide end-to-end 5G solutions, intelligent industrial applications and help enterprises keep leading of the industry forward with the latest IoT advancements,” said Yang Tao, chief executive officer, SUNSEA AIoT.

Tymphany

“Tymphany, a worldwide leader in audio ODM services, has collaborated with Qualcomm Technologies to bring to the market an integrated audio and video conferencing platform leveraging the Qualcomm QCS8250 on video collaboration bars. The video bar can support up to 3 video streams, 52M pixels sensor x2 and TOF with wide view angle lens. It’s also covered with modularized Wi-Fi 6 connectivity. Tymphany is also working with internal speaker and audio solutions for a best-in-class video collaboration experience for user. The Qualcomm QCS8250 enables a standalone architecture that is critical to enable certifications for today’s leading video collaboration software applications” said Tungwen Tu, director of conferencing products in professional audio division, Tymphany.

VIDERI

“VIDERI is sincerely grateful to be an early adopter of the Qualcomm QCS8250 with Qualcomm Technologies alongside its world-class engineers and developers,” commented Francois Gariepy, chief technology officer, VIDERI. “With its powerful graphics and neural network processing, not to mention the integratedWiFi6 capability, the Qualcomm 8250chipsetwill become the cornerstone of our next-generation, AI-curated retail visual experience platform.”

Zebra

“Based on our long strategic relationship, we congratulate Qualcomm Technologies on the launch of these cutting-edge solutions,” said Julie Johnson, vice president of product management, Zebra Technologies. “This innovation gives us more flexibility than ever before to build the right technology solutions for our customers based on their specific needs.”

About Qualcomm

Qualcomm is the world’s leading wireless technology innovator and the driving force behind the development, launch, and expansion of 5G.When we connected the phone to the internet, the mobile revolution was born. Today, our foundational technologies enable the mobile ecosystem and are found inevery3G, 4G and 5Gsmartphone.We bring the benefits of mobile to new industries, including automotive, the internet of things, and computing, and are leading the way to a world where everything and everyone can communicate and interact seamlessly. Qualcomm Incorporated includes our licensing business, QTL, and the vast majority of our patent portfolio. Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, operates, along with its subsidiaries, substantially all of our engineering, research and development functions, and substantially all of our products and services businesses, including our QCT semiconductor business.

IIC Busy on IoT Front Publishes Standards Guide and Launches Patterns Initiative

Two news items from The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) came my way recently regarding work on IoT. One announced the the publication of the Global Industry Standards for Industrial IoT whitepaper. The other announced launch of an IoT Patterns Initiative.

The whitepaper offers industry guidance in the development, adoption, and use of IIoT standards. The whitepaper outlines a vision and strategy to enable interoperability and system compatibility across the entire IIoT ecosystem.

“The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is a rapidly expanding world of connected objects. As IIoT systems proliferate, organizations consume large amounts of data through machine learning algorithms and share it between partners, customers, and others,” said Erin Bournival, Co-Chair, IIC Standards Task Group and Distinguished Engineer, Dell Technologies. “Integration and interoperability are critical in IIoT environments. That’s not easy to achieve in complex IIoT environments, so standards play a critical role.”

The whitepaper lists categories of standards and the organizations that produce them. It provides business cases for adopting standards as well as strategies for participating in standards development. “Users and vendors cannot engineer a custom interface every time components or systems need to interact,” said Erich Clauer, Co-chair IIC Standards Task Group, and VP Industry Standards & Open Source, SAP. “Standards are the lingua franca for interoperability and can make the explosion of interfaces manageable. For suppliers, standards can reduce or eliminate costs.”

“Operational Technology (OT) can no longer deploy isolated islands of automation,” said Claude Baudoin, Principal Consultant, cébé IT & Knowledge Management, and one of the authors of the whitepaper. “Information Technology (IT) and OT must work together to achieve digital transformation. IIoT environments are connected to enterprise systems through the internet, and must adhere to IT communication, security and data norms.”

What is more, customers require standards compliance to avoid vendor lock-in. Standards compliance creates a competitive environment in which failure to support standards — international, regional, industry- or function-specific — becomes a competitive disadvantage. Regulatory agencies require standards adherence to make their monitoring and auditing work feasible. Standards also make employee skills portable across divisions and companies.

“Organizations must define a standards strategy and execute it,” said Sven Toothman, Lead Project Editor and Industry Standards & Open-Source Architect, SAP SE. “IIoT stakeholders could adopt and implement standards as they emerge, but this limited engagement exposes an organization to surprises. By participating in standards development, organizations can anticipate the emergence of new standards. That involves a commitment and extends to processes, product design, and budget.”

IIC members who wrote the Global Industry Standards for Industrial IoT whitepaper and a list of members who contributed to it can be found here on the IIC website.

IOT PATTERNS INITIATIVE

The IIC also announced the IIC IoT Patterns Initiative to crowdsource, review, revise, and publish a library of high-quality and well-reasoned IoT patterns for use and reuse across industries.

A pattern describes a recurring design or architectural problem in a specific context and offers an established scheme for its solution. IoT patterns include architectural designs to represent essential cohesive components and their assembly; and design patterns that illustrate solutions to specific problems. 

“Patterns capture and condense teachings from developer and system architect experiences that others can use to tackle new problems,” said François Ozog, Director Edge & Fog Computing Group, Linaro, and Co-chair, IIC Patterns Task Group. “The IIC is also developing application notes to describe how to use patterns effectively in various contexts and to help identify the best patterns for solutions.” 

Use-cases describe various perspectives of a system based on user roles by defining user requirements and identifying essential functionalities. “Many patterns are technical,” said Daniel Burkhardt, doctoral student, Ferdinand-Steinbeis-Institut, and Co-chair, IIC Patterns Task Group. “But by focusing on end-user concerns and requirements, developers and system architects will use patterns effectively, and solution designs will improve.”

“Patterns enable industries to succeed through collaboration on best practices,” said Dr. Jason McC. Smith, OMG Vice President, and Technical Director. “IIC is leading the way in IoT by building a pattern repository that developers can use to solve new problems.”

IIoT developers and system architects can access the IIC IoT Patterns repository on the IIC Resource Hub. Developers can also join the IIC Community Forum to discuss patterns. Workshops to educate the IIoT developer community will follow. For more information about the IIC IoT Patterns Initiative, read our blog.

Qualcomm Unveils Purpose-Built 5G Modem Optimized for IIoT

Important news about IoT enabling technologies development. Europe and China are first targeted markets. Seemingly US engineers just don’t jump on new technologies and initiatives as quickly as the rest of the world. Management problem? Note that the supporting quotes are from Germany and France.

Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. helps lead the IoT ecosystem forward by introducing the company’s first, purpose-built Internet of Things (IoT) modem solution equipped with 5G connectivity and optimized for Industrial IoT (IIoT) applications. 

The Qualcomm 315 5G IoT Modem-RF System is a comprehensive modem-to-antenna solution designed to support the IoT ecosystem in building upgradeable LTE and 5G devices for IoT verticals, accelerate the adoption of 5G connectivity for IoT, and expand the overall opportunity for 5G in the IoT industry. 5G was conceived as a broad connectivity fabric and today the momentum is beginning to exemplify the promised impact and growth of 5G for emerging applications including IoT. Acting as a catalyst for digital transformation, Qualcomm Technologies is at the forefront enabling the ecosystem with the solutions to update existing IoT systems and make 5G for IoT a reality. 

The needs of modern IoT include seamlessly transitioning wired factories to wireless with solutions capable of supporting both LTE and 5G connectivity. The Qualcomm 315 5G IoT modem was designed with industrial and enterprise applications in mind, built with premium gigabit class performance, low-power, and thermal-efficient capabilities to enable a new generation of fast, powerful and high-performing IoT solutions. The Qualcomm 315 5G IoT modem is intended to meet the needs of industry segments including: retail, energy, automation and manufacturing, precision agricultural, construction, mining, public venues, and more. 

With the global expansion of 5G, the Qualcomm 315 5G IoT modem is a new solution serving the high end of IoT broadband modems, complementing Qualcomm Technologies’ existing portfolio of LTE IoT modems with a path towards 5G proliferation. Additionally, due to its reduced footprint and highly integrated RF front-end, this solution expands the portfolio, purposely designed to provide a pin-to-pin compatible solution for current LTE legacy modules. This provides legacy modules with ability to upgrade their solutions with no changes needed to existing hardware, minimizing development efforts, costs and providing a seamless transition from LTE to 5G. 

“Qualcomm Technologies is continuously optimizing and developing industry-leading technologies and modems ranging from the most power efficient NB-IoT solutions to new products like the Qualcomm 315 5G IoT modem, purpose-built to bring 5G connectivity capabilities to IoT,” said Jeffery Torrance, senior vice president, product management, Qualcomm. “We are pleased to unveil our new 5G IoT solution which will help stimulate and scale the 5G IoT industry and enable the transitions needed for Industry 4.0. This solution will help create long-lasting devices and promote growth and expansion in the 5G IoT industry, allowing seamless integration for customers utilizing previous generations of connectivity.”

The Qualcomm 315 5G IoT Modem supports global 5G NR sub-6GHz bands and operates in stand-alone (SA) only mode, with the capability to switch to LTE as needed, and can be deployed over private or public 5G networks, leveraging network slicing or in isolation. This solution is optimal for IoT applications that can be seamlessly integrated with existing ethernet and wired technologies. The new modem comes with extended life software and hardware maintenance and support, prolonging IoT devices for the duration of their life span. This new solution will help accelerate the digital transformation of the 5G IIoT industry, proliferating 5G for IoT.

The Qualcomm 315 5G IoT modem is expected to be commercially available in the second half of 2021. 

The Qualcomm 315 5G IoT Modem is a significant step for the IoT ecosystem: 

Bosch: 

“5G is an important standard for the factory of the future. We are therefore working intensively on integrating 5G into our products. The Qualcomm 315 5G IoT Modem enables interesting new functions specifically for industrial IoT applications and helps usto open up new applications with 5G,” summarizes Dr. Steffen Haack, Member of the Executive Board of Bosch Rexroth AG and responsible for development. 

HMS: 

“We recently released the first commercially available 5G router for industrial automation – _a solution that utilizes Qualcomm Technologies’ _5_G_ _solutions. The interest for 5G in industrial applications is steadily growing and we see many advantages with the announcement of the Qualcomm 315 5G IoT modem, as it will enable a smaller formfactor for industrial devices and open up new use cases,” said Jens Jakobsen, Development Manager at HMS Labs, HMS Networks’ initiative for new innovation and technology.

Schneider Electric: 

We are excited by the launch of Qualcomm 315 5G IoT modem which addresses the specific needs for massive bandwidth, reliability, and performance across industries. This technology has the potential to become a catalyst of digitization, helping unlock unprecedented opportunities and efficiencies in innovative 5G industrial applications,” said Benoit Jacquemin, Innovation director Industry business, Schneider Electric. 

Siemens:“Siemens and Qualcomm Technologies have a longstanding collaboration focused on technological cooperation in wireless communication technologies. With the release of products such as the Qualcomm 315 5G IoT Modem, Qualcomm Technologies shows its strong commitment to drive the digital transformation of industry and enables us to develop state-of-the-art Industrial 5G products,” said Sander Rotmensen, Director Industrial Wireless Communication, Siemens AG, Digital Industries. 

Video Streaming Plus 5G Bandwidth Equal a Safer Plant

Back in the 90s, I used to haul around a $25,000 vision system in the trunk of my car to perform demonstrations of machine vision technology applications.

Today, there is more video power in my smartphone than in that entire system.

Just like all the technologies we use in manufacturing, vision systems and video have become more powerful and useful,most often leveraging consumer electronics or IT innovations. I visited a small chemical refinery that installed streaming video into its operator interface for a unique, but essential, personnel safety/security application. Located in a rural area of Texas, the refinery operators periodically opened the gates to allow railway cars into the facility or to let the filled cars leave. The open gates became a welcome invitation to the local coyote population. Of course, these guys were not wanted wandering around the facility. The video system watched for incursions and alerted personnel.

Not too long ago, the bandwidth required by that streaming video would have been too expensive or awkward to be economical. Now, it’s just another sensor.

Intelligent Video for Health and Safety

These Covid pandemic days have led to new use cases for video. AT&T identifies a few key examples on their video intelligence page:

  • Temperature monitoring
  • PPE monitoring
  • Ensuring social distancing
  • Counting people to maintain safe capacity

Infrared thermal imaging has progressed to the point that strategically placed thermal imaging cameras can monitor personnel for fevers—an outward sign of potential Covid infection. We can potentially stop the spread of the virus at the plant entrance.

Another Covid-related application involves contact tracing and social-distancing assurance. These applications require high bandwidth along with sophisticated analysis software—both now readily available. And, both technologies are poised for improvement. We will see 5G installations before long that will improve bandwidth, speed, and latency forvideo applications.

“Outside of these pandemic applications, process plants with hazardous areas have found video sensors to be a perfect solution to determining personnel safety during an incident. Rescue teams need to know who is in the area and where they are. Security teams can be alerted if someone wanders into a hazardous or restricted area.

Intelligent Video for Quality Control

Then we return to the applications I once tried to solve—product quality. While it is best practice to fix the process such that defects are not produced, vision inspection is another step in assuring products that fail to meet specification are not shipped to customers. Taking a feedback loop from inspection information provides a pathway to solving the process problem. As network bandwidth improves and video sensors become smaller, cheaper, faster, these video IoT solutions become more attractive.

5G is the Foundation

Apple released its latest iPhone (one of which is lying on my desk) with great hoopla about 5G. Apple pundits were originally less than enthusiastic about the 5G bandwidth. I have been advising them, along with clients and readers,about the tremendous value that will be unlocked by 5G. It may not be as apparent in an individual iPhone, but we will see a massive shift in business and manufacturing applications.

5G skeptics do exist, but most technologists are decidedly bullish on the possibilities. I think that manufacturers of many varieties will begin deploying the networks for one or two of the reasons that fit them, and then discover that they’ve received more benefit than they expected. Then managers and engineers will have difficulty remembering why there was any debate over moving from LTE to 5G.

As the AT&T Business team puts it in their “Agility Refined” white paper: 

5G is the next generation of wireless communications technology. In essence, 5G will put the network edge closer to users and devices. It uses mid-band frequencies and millimeter wave (mmWave) to help accomplish this. 

5G offers significantly larger spectrum allocations and enables exponentially increased data rates. It has a reduced range compared to today’s 4G frequencies—but the antennae needed for 5G are much smaller. This will allow for a dense network of small cells, enhancing the current user experience.

As you lay out your 5-year-and-beyond scenarios, this intelligent video powered by 5G will be technology to keep in the narrative.

This post was sponsored by AT&T Business, but the opinions are my own and don’t necessarily represent AT&T Business’s positions or strategies.

Manufacturing Executives Say Real-time Data Key to Innovation and Competitive Advantages

The results of a recent survey. Where do you fit on their maturity index? Hopefully you are using the technologies and obtaining positive results.

Analog Devices, Inc. announced a newly commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Analog Devices, that shows that industrial manufacturers who have made investments in connectivity technologies (“high maturity”) are better positioned to drive innovation and gain a competitive advantage compared to firms that have been slower to implement connectivity (“low maturity”) across the factory floor. 

The study, based on a survey of more than 300 manufacturing, operations, and connectivity executives across the globe, found that 85% of high maturity firms are currently using Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technologies across much of the factory floor, compared to 17% of low maturity organizations. Over half (53%) of low maturity organizations report that their legacy equipment is unable to communicate with other assets.

“This past year was a true catalyst for digital transformation and many businesses needed to navigate and adopt connectivity strategies that helped them to become more agile and lay the groundwork for future innovation,” said Martin Cotter, SVP Industrial, Consumer & Multi-Markets at Analog Devices. “We see significant opportunity in the adoption of connectivity solutions, including 5G, to help organizations get data more quickly, enabling end applications.” 

Findings from the research include: 

  • Connected firms believe that improving network reliability (including adding 5G networks) will create significant opportunity: 68% of high maturity firms say this will enable them to make better use of existing cloud infrastructure and 66% believe their industrial data and IP will be more secure. Conversely, only 21% of low maturity firms believe that improving network reliability will help improve security. However, all respondents agree that improving network reliability will improve efficiency by freeing up employees who are constantly resolving downtime issues. 
  • Low maturity firms struggle with security risk: 54% say that their lack of sophisticated cybersecurity strategy puts their business, customer, and employee safety at risk. 
  • The human element continues to pose challenges: Almost half (47%) of low maturity firms say they lack the expertise to understand which connectivity technologies to invest in, indicating a skills gap. Even high maturity firms report that it is not easy for them to access the insights they need to make labor planning and safety decisions.  
  • Real-time monitoring of equipment and productivity demonstrates an acute awareness of the high cost of unscheduled downtime: High (5%) and medium (17%) maturity firms reported much lower occurrence of unscheduled downtime of their industrial technology or equipment each week than low maturity companies (53%). These interruptions, lead to higher cost of holding inventory and labor per unit, loss of production and customer confidence and decreased work capacity.

This research shows us that while many firms are benefiting from the promise of industrial connectivity, others have significant legacy and talent-related hurdles to overcome. Innovation is hindered by both a shortage of in-house expertise and interoperability of systems and data, two major hindrances to manufacturing modernization.

Methodology: For this study, “Seamless Connectivity Fuels Industrial Innovation” (March 2021) – commissioned by Analog Devices – Forrester Consulting conducted a global online survey of 312 industrial connectivity strategy leaders. Survey participants included decision-makers in IT, operations, cybersecurity, and general management manufacturing roles. The study was conducted in October 2020.

For the full study click here.

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.”