- 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.
The world is in Barcelona at the Mobile World Conference (except for me). But that’s OK, I’m seeing plenty of news. Much of it relates to the Edge. And as 5G heats up, expect that to emphasize compute at the edge even further. (Talk of 6G is best left for politicians who by and large are not technical…)
This news comes from Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) where VP and GM Tom Bradicich has been using Twitter to tease this week’s announcement. HPE Edgeline EL8000 Converged Edge System designed to help communication service providers (CSP) capitalize on data-intensive, low-latency services for media delivery, connected mobility, and smart cities. The system enables CSPs to process vast amounts of data in real time directly at the edge, based on open standards to boost flexibility and reduce costs. HPE also announced collaborations with Samsung and Tech Mahindra to accelerate CSPs 5G adoption, leveraging the HPE Edgeline EL8000 Converged Edge System to deploy the next generation of edge-centric virtual 5G applications.
IDC forecasts that more than 150 billion devices will be connected across the globe by 2025, most of which will be creating data in real time. As a result, IDC predicts real-time data to represent nearly 30 percent of the Global Datasphere by 2025. Estimated to be 33 zettabytes in 2018, IDC forecasts the Global Datasphere to grow to 175 zettabytes by 2025.
To deliver new services that tap into this massive growth of real-time data, CSPs must transform their telecommunications network edge towards standard IT systems and software-defined architectures, such as virtual radio access networks (vRAN) and virtual cable modem termination systems (vCMTS). The open-standards-based HPE Edgeline EL8000 Converged Edge System was therefore developed as a cost effective replacement for CSPs’ current proprietary edge systems, with enhanced performance and versatility for data-intensive real-time digital services. Additionally, the HPE Edgeline EL8000 Converged Edge System’s unique design delivers high performance and ultra-low latency for the most demanding use cases, including media streaming, IoT, artificial intelligence, and video analytics, in a compact and ruggedized form factor, equipped with edge-optimized serviceability and remote systems management.
“CSPs have come a long way in virtualizing their networks. As this continues, the distribution of converged communications and compute capacity throughout the network will accelerate lower costs and improve service”, said Dr. Tom Bradicich, Vice President and General Manager, Converged Servers, Edge and IoT Systems, HPE. “The HPE Edgeline EL8000 Converged Edge System delivers the capabilities of closed proprietary systems and more, but on an open-standards platform, combined with proven data-center class IT.”
The EL8000 delivers the capabilities of closed proprietary systems but on an open-standards platform
Designed for the real-life challenges
The massive growth of data volumes requires that CSPs deploy high-performance edge systems in their cell sites, often in remote and harsh environments. Moreover, this infrastructure must support many workload and quality-of-service requirements for which tailored slices of the network are employed. The HPE Edgeline EL8000 Converged Edge System delivers an combination of capabilities to meet these challenges, including:
- Compact and ruggedized design optimized for harsh cell-site locations – Exceeding the requirements of industry standards NEBS and ASHRAE class 3 and 4, the system is resistant against hazardous environmental influences like heat, shock and vibration, as well as failover, supporting continuous operation between 0 and 55 degrees Celsius. The system can run rack mounted or stand-alone in any space available, with either a front-to-back and back-to-front cooling design.
- Low-latency, high-performance system design powers data-intensive applications at the edge – The single-socket design, equipped with high-end Intel® Xeon® Scalable Processors, reduces latency and energy consumption. System components can be combined, scaled and hot-swapped to meet changing demands, supporting, among others, NVIDIA® Tesla® GPUs, FPGAs from Intel and Xilinx, NICs from Intel or Mellanox, up to 1.5TB of memory and 16TB of storage.
- Modular blade and chassis options for use-case flexibility – With a range of depth and width options for blades and chassis, the system can be flexibly configured and scaled to meet new or changing use-case requirements. The flexible design allows CSPs to extend small- and micro-cell deployments, ensuring that cellular coverage can keep pace with increasing numbers of connected devices.
- One-click provisioning and remote systems management ensures continuous availability and performance in far-flung cell-sites – HPE’s proven HPE iLO 5 technology and the newly developed chassis manager software enable remote provisioning, ongoing system health monitoring, updates, and management of HPE Edgeline EL8000 Converged Edge Systems across thousands of cell sites, from cell towers to oil rigs, without needing IT expertise on site.
“Collaboration between HPE and Intel has resulted in this versatile platform for network transformation at the edge,” said Sandra L. Rivera, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Network Platforms Group, Intel. “Powered by Intel Xeon Scalable processors and based on open standards, the HPE Edgeline EL8000 Converged Edge System will enable high performance, flexible and intelligent networks that are required to deliver high bandwidth and low latency for edge and 5G services.”
HPE and Samsung Electronics Corporation (SEC) are collaborating to provide a joint edge-to-core vRAN commercial solution based on Samsung’s radio network technologies and system integration services and the HPE Edgeline EL8000 Converged Edge System.
“Samsung and HPE combine their strengths in radio networks, edge systems, and telecommunications infrastructure to drive the change towards a standard-IT based and software-defined network edge,” said Wonil Roh, Vice President, Head of Technology Strategy at Samsung Network Business. “The HPE Edgeline EL8000 Converged Edge System will play a key role in Samsung’s challenge to evolve our customers’ networks with 5G vRAN demanding intense low-latency.”
While some CSPs aim to deploy 5G from 2020 onwards, others may not be able to do so for a few years, potentially leaving entire regions without 5G coverage. As part of this interim process CSPs are turning to multi-access edge computing (MEC) software, which delivers many of the benefits of 5G, but using 4G LTE infrastructure. For this reason, HPE is collaborating with Tech Mahindra, a global leader in MEC software, to deliver MEC solutions based on the HPE Edgeline EL8000 Converged Edge System.
“Our collaboration with HPE and the introduction of the HPE Edgeline EL8000 Converged Edge System is a major step for driving a fast and smooth transformation towards open standards at the edge in the Telco and Comms marketplace,” said Karthikeyan Natarajan, Global Head, Engineering, IoT & Enterprise Mobility, Tech Mahindra. “As a leader in Telco and Comms software and services, Tech Mahindra sees HPE as ideally positioned to help us deliver significantly improved user experiences, particularly through the often-uneven transformation from 4G to 5G.”
The HPE Edgeline EL8000 Converged Edge System will be available worldwide from June 2019.
Programmers of machine control in the US still stick with the old Ladder Diagram editor, so Opto 22 adds it to its groov EPIC controller. This is sort of the outlier of the things I learned at last weeks’s ARC Industry Forum in Orlando. Most of my interviews were either cyber security or HMI/SCADA it seems. I had wall-to-wall meetings and then travel. So, I’m just catching up on thoughts.
Somewhere around 25-30 years ago I could program (not proficiently, but turn out work anyway) in BASIC, C, C++, Java, Pascal. Then I ran into Ladder Logic. Why would anyone do this, I exclaimed! In the US all this time later, it’s Ladder or nothing in much of the country. Maybe the millennials can move this forward???
Recognizing this fact of life, the prototypical flow chart programming company, Opto 22 has added a free software upgrade with standard IEC 61131-3 programming methods.
Opto says, “Adding these new programming options to the existing flowchart and custom user-written options in groov EPIC gives control engineers the ability to program using a variety of languages they already know, while taking advantage of the EPIC’s extended capabilities for automation and industrial internet of things (IIoT) applications. All IEC 61131-3 standard languages are supported by groov EPIC, including Function Block Diagram (FBD), Structured Text (ST), Sequential Function Charts (SFC), and Ladder Diagram (LD).”
Engineers can mix and match several software tools to build control and IIoT solutions on one unified platform. Plus companies can continue to leverage existing employee knowledge in IEC 61131-3 programming methods, including decades-old ladder logic.
The PC-based CODESYS® Development System V3 is used to create and compile IEC 61131-3 programs for download to a pre-installed CODESYS Runtime running on groov EPIC. The CODESYS Development System is available at no charge from the CODESYS Store. The CODESYS Runtime on groov EPIC is enabled by a free software license available from Opto 22.
“As the world’s leading manufacturer of independent IEC 61131-3 software,” stated Markus Bachmann, President of the U.S. subsidiary of the CODESYS Group, “we are excited that CODESYS has been chosen to boost Opto 22’s groov EPIC to the next level in industrial automation products, integrating state-of-the-art industrial control with new IIoT and Industry 4.0 applications.”
In addition to IEC 61131-3, groov EPIC can also be programmed using Opto 22’s native PAC Control. Field-proven, flowchart-based PAC Control with optional scripting offers 400+ plain English commands for analog process and digital sequential control, complex math, conditional branching, string handling, and other complex functions.
groov EPIC integrates the easy-to-use HMI software groov View with its control programs. Once an IEC-61131-3, PAC Control, or custom software application is developed, the control program’s tags and I/O are available for building a groov View HMI. Data from other systems and equipment on premises, at remote locations, and in the cloud can also be included in the HMI. The drag-drop-tag HMI construction is quick, security is built in, and trending and user notifications are included.
Authorized users can view this HMI to see data and control processes on the integral, industrial-grade color touchscreen display on the front of the EPIC processor. They can also view the HMI on an external HDMI monitor, and from any web browser or mobile device.
Free Product Upgrade
To take advantage of this new programming option, current groov EPIC owners can simply install a free upgrade. As with all quarterly upgrades to groov EPIC since its introduction in February 2018, this upgrade requires only a software download. Unlike all other industrial automation products and platforms, groov EPIC is improved quarterly based on user feedback, with no need to replace existing hardware. These software upgrades provide significant performance improvements and protect user hardware investments, all at little or no cost. The groov EPIC system can change with you as your application grows or changes.
groov EPIC System
Based on Opto 22’s 45 years of experience as an automation manufacturer, the groov EPIC system merges tough industrial hardware with open protocols and standards to provide an ideal system for both automation and IIoT applications. Built to withstand conditions at the edge of networks in factories and remote locations, EPIC is approved for use by UL in hazardous locations and is ATEX compliant. EPIC can be used to collect, process, view and exchange data where it is produced, and this data can then be securely shared among databases, cloud services, PLC systems and other components. In recognition of its unique capabilities, groov EPIC won the 2019 Control Engineering Engineers’ Choice Award in the Industrial Internet of Things Connectivity category.