IIC stands for something different today than yesterday. Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) announced a new direction and a new name – Industry IoT Consortium (IIC). The news release states, New focus on technology innovation that fosters business transformation. I have been downplaying that IoT term for some time. These terms grow old in buzz factor within just a few years. Engineers working in manufacturing and production have been connecting “things” for a long time and using Internet Protocol (Internet of Things) for a decade. The current buzz is all about “digital transformation”, so a revised focus (while probably doing much of the same thing) is in order.
IIC has become the world’s leading organization transforming business and society by accelerating the Industrial IoT. The consortium’s new mission is to bring transformative business value to organizations, industry, and society by accelerating the adoption of trustworthy IoT systems. IIC’s new focus will drive technology innovation that fosters business transformation so that organizations can realize a return on their IoT investments.
“We recognized the need to focus on technology deployments to solve technical problems,” said Dr. Richard Soley, Executive Director, Industry IoT Consortium. “We’re applying technology to address customer pain points and improve business results. Industry organizations and technology providers turn to IIC and its members for IoT support and guidance. Now we’ll guide them on the application of IoT technology and digital transformation enablers to achieve positive business outcomes.”
I like Richard’s comment about addressing customer pain points and improving business results. Technology should solve real world big problems not just another technology problem.
The new direction will strengthen the IIC ecosystem by unifying members around successful IoT deployment outcomes. New programs, which combine several approaches to digital transformation, will identify customer pain points, improve go-to-market abilities, and enhance business outcomes. Existing programs will change to reflect this focus, and new initiatives will emerge to help members reach more of their customers.
IIC will continue its work on best-practice frameworks, innovative testbeds, and providing standards requirements to standards development organizations. It will also target IT, networks, manufacturing, energy & utilities, healthcare markets, and academia & research.
The newly branded IIC will help organizations identify best technology practices, build credible brands, and grow their businesses. Industry IoT Consortium delivers transformative business value to industry, organizations, and society by accelerating the adoption of a trustworthy internet of things. Industry IoT Consortium is a program of Object Management Group (OMG).
I had a friend who has since retired who speculated on what one could do with the data from sensors installed all over a large petroleum or petro-chemical production facility. Just think of what you could know in order to be able to manage the entire facility, he’d exclaim. Recently I interviewed a team at a large automation supplier who discussed concentrating data from sensors and inputs from large machine lines into a PLC.
Sometimes the project you’re contemplating or the business model you have requires thousands of sensors, many gateways, large compute power. What if you built a business model that is profitable servicing different customer needs? What if instead of a few customers buying thousands of sensors you had thousands of customers who needed only a few sensors in each area? Sounds like Chris Anderson’s The Long Tail.
Ray Almgren, President and CEO of Swift Sensors, recently took time out to talk with me about what’s happening there. When I first met Swift Sensors about five years ago, it reminded me of the companies built up around the ZigBee wireless mesh networking standard of about 20 years before. Much progress in terms of products and business models has come the past couple of years.
Swift has designed more robust sensors and developed gateways and cloud-based software making life better for customers. It has found a place in that long tail of many companies who require fewer sensors per location but have many locations. Working with managed services suppliers mostly from the IT market has proved to be a good channel for recurring revenue from satisfying customers’ ongoing needs.
I’ve promoted to a subset of suppliers for years to look outside traditional manufacturing for expanded markets. Swift Sensors markets to schools, pharma companies, agriculture, hospitality, small manufacturing. There continues to be a robust market for taking 4-20 mA signals to the cloud. That’s sort of a cave man meets StarTrek scenario, but still fills a need.
I suggest keeping an eye on the Managed Services, or “as-a-Service”, area for growth if you are a supplier and better service if you are a user.
Following is more description of the latest of Swift Sensors from its Website.
Swift Sensors is a simple and cost-effective solution for the automated monitoring of all your important assets. There are three components of the Swift Sensors system:
Sensors. The Sensors record measurement readings and transmit this vital information wirelessly using encrypted BLE5 technology to the Gateway.
Gateway. The Gateway transmits the measurement readings up to the cloud over a SSL-secured WiFi, ethernet or cellular connection.
Cloud Software. You can access your secure cloud account right from your phone, desktop, laptop, or tablet. Check readings, create thresholds, monitor alerts, leave notes, review historical data and export reports.
Sensors are powered with 2 AAA lithium polymer batteries with an average lifespan of 6 – 8 years. Sensors can be powered on or put into sleep mode by pressing the center of the sensor. A green LED in the sensor blinks when the sensor powers on, turns solid when transitioning to sleep mode, and will blink when the “Find my Sensor” command is sent from the Console. All sensors send encrypted data to the gateway.
The Cloud makes it simple and easy to store sensor data without the hassle of setting up wires, servers and storage devices. Our state-of-the-art console combined with our seamless integration of cloud sensing technology allows you to work without the stress of monitoring your data 24/7. The Swift Sensors Console gives you the peace of mind knowing your equipment, products, and facility are monitored 24/7. Notifications can be set based on specific thresholds that you apply to specific measurements. These thresholds, whether set low or high, can trigger email, SMS, or phone call notifications that are sent immediately when a problem occurs. This security not only helps optimize your facility but also prevent the most catastrophic events. Third-party developers can create their own custom front-end web or mobile app to display and manage Swift Sensors data and hardware. Web API documentation is available for free, and provides full access to the Swift Sensors cloud system. APIs can be found here.
Jason Shepherd, Ecosystem VP, has been busy building this edge ecosystem and took time to chat with me about this news from ZEDEDA. The bullet points below summarize. First, I thought I do a reminder about “edge orchestration”, the core of ZEDEDA’s offering. Essentially edge orchestration makes it easier (on the typical engineering scale of easy) to build management and security of hardware and applications as you build out your IoT system.
Partnerships are a growing trend, and this release details several both with commercial companies and with consortia. Google Cloud makes another appearance on my blog, as well. As I’ve said, these enterprise cloud services are getting very interesting. This release focuses on the energy vertical. Look for additional focus industries coming in the future.
- Google collaboration to leverage ZEDEDA’s expertise in distributed edge computing
- Additional partnerships include Juniper Networks, Advantech, Dianomic and the IOTA Foundation
- ZEDEDA joins LF Energy, OSDU and Project Alvarium to advance open collaboration to address industry challenges
The energy industry is undergoing rapid evolution as it adjusts to sweeping changes in everything from aging infrastructure to an imbalance in traditional ways consumers use and produce energy.
To address this complex equation, ZEDEDA, the leader in orchestration for the distributed edge, today announces significant advances in three key areas—partnerships, industry consortiums and a developer program—that position open collaboration as a key enabler for the industrial market, including companies looking to address the macro trends in the energy space.
ZEDEDA will provide its zero-trust, cloud-based orchestration solution for distributed edge computing to help Google Cloud customers securely scale deployments of any edge application, including AI/ML, on choice of hardware. This is in response to the growth of cloud infrastructure in industrial markets for centralized data storage and management, cross-facility analytics and visibility, and hyperscale compute capabilities to augment workloads deployed at the edge.
Together with joint edge application partners like Dianomic, customers will be able to drive new efficiencies through insights derived from edge environments. While the solution is horizontal in nature, the partnership is placing an initial focus on the energy space with target edge assets, including wind turbines, solar farms, and more.
“We see a number of edge use cases for multiple industries, including energy, that can be addressed with this Google Cloud partnership,” said Said Ouissal, ZEDEDA founder and CEO. “Our zero-touch provisioning and simplified lifecycle management enable businesses to start realizing business value with Google Cloud together with choice of edge hardware and applications.”
“As high-speed connectivity grows, organizations with presences at the network edge stand to benefit from low-latency access to business applications and cloud capabilities that can help modernize business processes, manage data, and more,” said Tanuj Raja, Global Head, Strategic Partnerships at Google Cloud. “We’re excited that ZEDEDA will make its edge orchestration capabilities available with Google Cloud, helping enable greater access to these applications and capabilities for customers across industries.”
In addition to its recent partnership with Agora, ZEDEDA has added additional partnerships to support energy customers facing key challenges such as digitizing legacy infrastructure, remotely monitoring critical assets, and balancing the grid with unpredictable renewable energy sources. Those partnerships announced today include:
- Juniper Networks: a joint offering for secure-edge computing with Juniper’s Session Smart Router and the vSRX Virtual Firewall secure networking capabilities on top of ZEDEDA’s zero-trust edge orchestration foundation. Together, ZEDEDA and Juniper provide customers with the simplicity of cloud orchestration and the flexibility of either backhauling data to the cloud or keeping it on-prem.
- Dianomic: an edge application platform for Industrial IoT use cases. ZEDEDA’s edge orchestration solution simplifies secure deployment of Dianomic’s FogLAMP platform and management of the underlying hardware.
- IOTA Foundation: a key collaborator for Project Alvarium, focused on facilitating trust in interconnected ecosystems through its feeless Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). IOTA is leading a number of decentralized, innovative projects in the energy space.
“We are pleased to be working with ZEDEDA to provide advanced solutions for the energy sector,” said Karen Falcone, Sr. Director of Enterprise Marketing at Juniper Networks. “Combining our broad networking experience, including software-defined capabilities with the Juniper Session Smart Router and the vSRX Virtual Firewall with ZEDEDA’s Zero Trust architecture, provides customers with a robust security foundation for any mission-critical use cases within the energy vertical and beyond.”
“Together, Dianomic, ZEDEDA and Google deliver a complete Industry 4.0 edge stack built on an open-source foundation,” said Tom Arthur, CEO at Dianomic. “The energy industry faces new challenges as its generation and storage systems become massively distributed. Combining Dianomic’s FogLAMP for edge application development and data acquisition with ZEDEDA’s secure orchestration solution and Google’s state-of-the-art ML and cloud services delivers a robust and flexible foundation for edge computing challenges in industrial use cases.”
ZEDEDA is also increasing focus with Advantech as a strategic hardware partner for the energy space due to its broad portfolio of edge computing offerings, including models with C1/D2 certification for critical environments and new NVIDIA Jetson-enabled boxes to power edge AI.
“We are always looking for new and innovative ways to make edge computing solutions easier, more efficient, and more secure for customers in an industry that is seeing tremendous change,” said Jeff Brown, Sr. Sales Director for Advantech’s Industrial IoT Group. “Working with strategic, domain-focused partners such as ZEDEDA and Dianomic allows us to do just that. Advantech has one of the broadest hardware portfolios in the market, and our expansive Class 1, Division 2 product line allows for reliable, rugged solutions in remote and hazardous locations. We are thrilled to be a part of this ground-breaking group that’s putting digital transformation into the hands of the energy industry.”
Collaboration with PVHardware
ZEDEDA continues to make great progress with energy customers, recently closing a win with PVHardware. The company is using ZEDEDA’s orchestration solution to deploy and manage edge hardware and applications that aid in tracking the sun to maximize power generation.
“As we looked to leverage edge computing to help maximize power generation, we needed a solution to securely scale deployments in solar plants, including the ability to remotely manage the overall deployment lifecycle,” said Ivan Arkitpoff, CTO at PVHardware, “ZEDEDA provided us with a solution that makes it easy to deploy hardware and applications in the field and perform fail-proof updates from the cloud without having to send a technician out to the plant.”
ZEDEDA Joins Industry Consortium Groups LF Energy, OSDU and Project Alvarium
The emerging trends that face the energy industry are so wide-ranging that they require industry collaboration to address. ZEDEDA has joined several industry consortiums to drive standards via open source:
- LF Energy, a Linux Foundation project, is seeking to accelerate the energy transition of the world’s power and transportation systems through open-source technology. As a member, ZEDEDA will work with the LF Energy community to integrate EVE-OS into its reference architecture.
- The OSDU Forum, part of the Open Group and focused on developing an open, standards-based foundation to accelerate innovation in the energy space. ZEDEDA and Dianomic are assisting in building a proof-of-concept for OSDU’s edge computing reference architecture leveraging EVE-OS and Fledge from LF Edge, with more open-source efforts to be integrated over time.
- Project Alvarium, an emerging project within the Linux Foundation, is focused on enabling data confidence through the concept of trust fabrics. ZEDEDA is collaborating with Dell, the IOTA Foundation, Intel and other industry leaders to formally launch the project, with energy being an initial focus vertical.
“ZEDEDA’s capabilities enable zero-touch deployments of IOTA and Project Alvarium, creating scalable connective fabrics at the edge,” said Mat Yarger, Head of Smart Mobility at the IOTA Foundation. “This can enable a peer-to-peer utility of data in the energy sector, which has massive implications to address critical problems with grid management and oversight. It will also allow new business models around electric vehicles and smart grids to thrive, as well as the realization of new asset structures. All with trust being ingrained in how these systems operate.”
To learn more about how ZEDEDA is partnering with Google Cloud and Dianomic on edge solutions, register for ZEDEDA Transform 2021 on August 18-19. This free online event brings together experts from across the edge computing and IoT landscape to discuss today’s trends, challenges and opportunities. (Shameless self-promotion plug, you might find me among the participants there.)
Containers have become a must have technology for those pursuing some form of Digital Transformation, or whatever you wish to label it. I’ve written little about the subject. Following is a news release concerning a way for cloud-native Microsoft SQL Server.
DH2i, a provider of multi-platform Software Defined Perimeter (SDP) and Smart Availability software, announced June 22 the general availability (GA) of DxEnterprise (DxE) for Containers, enabling cloud-native Microsoft SQL Server container Availability Groups (AG) outside and inside Kubernetes (K8).
Container use is skyrocketing for digital transformation projects—particularly the use of stateful containers for databases such as Microsoft SQL Server. This growing stateful database container use is also generating a hard production deployment requirement for database-level high availability (HA) in Kubernetes.
For medium and large organizations running SQL Server, database-level HA has traditionally been provided by SQL Server Availability Groups (AGs). However, SQL Server AGs have not been supported in Kubernetes until now—hindering organizations’ ability to undergo digital transformations. DxEnterprise (DxE) for Containers is the answer to the problem.
DxEnterprise for Containers accelerates an enterprise’s digital transformation (DX) by speeding the adoption of highly available stateful containers. DxEnterprise (DxE) for Containers provides SQL Server Availability Group (AG) support for SQL Server containers, including for Kubernetes clusters. It enables customers to deploy stateful containers to create new and innovative applications while also improving operations with near-zero RTO to more efficiently deliver better products and services at a lower cost. Additionally, it helps organizations generate new revenue streams by enabling them to build distributed Kubernetes AG clusters across availability zones/regions, resulting in hybrid cloud and multi-cloud environments which can rapidly adapt to changes in market conditions and consumer preferences.
“Kubernetes lacks SQL Server AG support, which is essential for using stateful containers in production,” said Shamus McGillicuddy, Vice President of Research, EMA Network Management Practice. “DxEnterprise for Containers solves this problem. It enables AG support in Kubernetes.”
“DxE for Containers is the perfect complement to Kubernetes’ pod/node-level cluster HA,” said Don Boxley, DH2i CEO and Co-Founder. “DxE for Containers enables Microsoft users to confidently deploy highly available SQL Server containers in production, speeding their organizations’ digital transformation.”
DxEnterprise for Containers Features & Benefits:
– Kubernetes SQL Server Container Availability Groups with automatic failover, an industry first – Enables customers to deploy stateful containers to create new and innovative applications
– Near-zero recovery time objective (RTO) container database-level failover – Improves operations to more efficiently and resiliently deliver better products and services at a lower cost to the business
– Distributed Kubernetes AG clusters across availability zones/regions, hybrid cloud and multi-cloud environment with built-in secure multi-subnet express micro-tunnel technology – Enables customers to rapidly adapt to changes in market conditions and consumer preferences
– Intelligent Health & performance QoS monitoring, alerting management – Simplifies system management
– Mix and match support for Windows and Linux; bare metal, virtual, cloud servers – Maximizes IT budget ROI
Organizations can now purchase DxEnterprise (DxE) for Containers directly from the DH2i website to get immediate full access to the software and support. Customers have the flexibility to select the support level and subscription duration to best meet the needs of their organization. Users can also subscribe to the Developer Edition of DxEnterprise (DxE) for Containers to dive into the technology for free for non-production use.
DH2i Company is the leading provider of multi-platform Software Defined Perimeter (SDP) and Smart Availability software for Windows and Linux. DH2i software products DxOdyssey and DxEnterprise enable customers to create an entire IT infrastructure that is “always-secure and always-on.”
An example of software integration and pulling data for improved business.
GE Digital announced it is adding Proficy Operations Analytics to its Proficy suite of software solutions. As an integral part of the Proficy suite, Proficy Operations Analytics can use the data already collected in Proficy Historian, Proficy Plant Applications / MES, and Proficy Manufacturing Data Cloud to achieve 2-5% more efficiency from manufacturing operations year over year.
Proficy Operations Analytics is a self-provisioning, ready-to-deploy SaaS-based predictive operations center for industrial IoT and AI. This cloud analytics solution helps operations, engineering, and executive teams gain data visibility, uncover efficiencies and operational proactive actions at enterprise scale. Within minutes of connecting Proficy Operations Analytics to operational and maintenance data sources, users can achieve visibility to insights that can improve operational and revenue performance.
To achieve speedy visibility, Proficy Operations Analytics includes 100+ industrial pre-built data agents that automatically connect to historians, PLCs, MES, SCADA, ERP, Lab DBs, and IoT devices in a secure-by-design, frictionless way with automated normalization of disparate properties for immediate analysis. Self-provisioning processes configure Digital Twins automatically to add the context required to automate analytics on all process and event data. Thirty pre-built industrial predictive applications easily assigned to Digital Twins without any data science or application development requirements help to optimize operations.
With Proficy Operations Analytics, typical deployments achieve fast Return on Investment on the subscription investment. These gains are accelerated with pre-built predictive analytics applications such as Predictive Quality, Predictive Throughput, Predictive Energy Efficiency, Predictive Uptime, Predictive Asset Reliability, and Predictive Asset Life. These applications do not require data science expertise to implement and incorporate curated datasets that are easily visualized in traditional analytics dashboards, so operators can surface the economic impact of actions to executives.
As part of an overall plan to continuously optimize quality and production, a progressive manufacturer of specialty film products has leveraged predictive technologies to pull in data from multiple disparate data sources, monitor more than 400 measures of line stability, and leverage machine learning to continuously predict top potential causes of line instability and film breaks in real time. Predictive insights are presented to the process engineers in easy-to-understand displays, distilling thousands of pieces of data into just the elements needed to address the current problems. Process engineers can use analytics to understand the causes of line instability and make real-time recommendations to the operations team.
“GE Digital is uniquely positioned to help industrial companies accelerate AI and ML with a full set of industrial data management and analytics-based solutions that feature a scalable architecture, single pane of glass for visibility, and security and availability on premise and in the cloud,” said Richard Kenedi, General Manager of GE Digital’s Manufacturing and Digital Plant business. “Proficy Operations Analytics puts industrial data to work to empower workers and lead global decision-making frameworks, putting data in context to drive resilient business outcomes that make people, assets, and processes work together efficiently.”
Juliet justifying her love with a man from a rival family argues, “O, be some other name! What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet…” A modern manufacturing OT/IT architecture includes some manner of compute and storage at the site close to the operations that contains robust networking to the cloud.
Generally, we call that rose Edge Computing. But we can also call it a “micro data center” if we wish. This news discusses a partnership between Schneider Electric data center business and Stratus Technologies server business that has a positive effect upon the AVEVA software business and the effectiveness of Systems Integrators (Sis). This news popped last month during the flurry of conferences I was attending.
Stratus Technologies, a provider in simplified, protected, autonomous Edge Computing platforms, has announced that Schneider Electric has released EcoStruxure Micro Data Center architectures standardized on Stratus Edge Computing platforms to accelerate the move of traditional data center capabilities to the factory floor.
The new micro data center architectures integrate Stratus’ fault tolerance and virtualization with Schneider Electric’s uninterrupted power to consolidate software workloads and run critical equipment with no downtime. Jointly developed, the micro data centers are fully tested, validated, and available with pre-loaded software to reduce engineering complexity for System Integrators (SI).
Industry 4.0 Micro Data Centers for Automation and Control
The Schneider Electric EcoStruxure Micro Data Center with Stratus ftServer enables end users to move data center operations to the edge, bringing computing power close to critical equipment to solve data latency and bandwidth issues. Stratus ftServer’s virtualization enables end users to concurrently run monitor and control, on-premises historian, manufacturing execution, asset performance management, and automated material handling applications as well as advanced AI and ML applications. Purpose-built for the operational environment, the unit is physically protected in a single enclosure.
John Knorr, VP of Global IT Alliances, at Schneider Electric said, “When partnering with Stratus, we spoke about the many day-to-day responsibilities of a System Integrator and the security and privacy concerns raised with outsourcing IT. We made it our mission to not only bridge the gap of IT and OT but simplify the purchase, deployment and management cycle all together with a one-stop-shop solution.”
Less Engineering Complexity and Faster Time-to-Market
Previously, SIs and end users had to source the compute platform and power components from separate vendors and distributors, align requirements and costs, and then assemble, configure, and test. With the combined solution, teams have a prevalidated solution available from a single source with service and support from both Stratus and Schneider Electric. As a result, organizations are able to deploy an OT-ready micro data center for 40% less field engineering cost and 20% faster time-to-market.
Tim Black, Global SI Program Manager, at AVEVA said, “This Stratus and Schneider Electric collaboration drastically reduces the engineering work and logistical complexity for AVEVA SIs and distributors deploying micro data centers in OT environments. The EcoStruxure Micro Data Center with Stratus ftServer should be the standard fault tolerant platform for Edge-to-Enterprise digital transformation projects, enabling fast deployments for Performance Intelligence.”
EcoStruxure Micro Data Center Configurations and Sizing
System Integrators and customers can order the EcoStruxure Micro Data Center systems in a range of configurations as well as pre-loaded with industrial software such as AVEVA System Platform and others.
The EcoStruxure Micro Data Center with Stratus ftServer is available in 6U, 12U or 42U rack sizes powered by Schneider Electric Secure Power solutions. Each micro data center has integrated cooling and optional environmental monitoring (temperature, humidity, fluid, smoke) and security (door sensors and camera). The 42U enclosure adds NEMA-12 with filters and ventilation fans and is ideal for larger deployments where additional IT gear is required, and dedicated IT space is not available. Schneider Electric’s smart, uninterrupted power supply (UPS) offers protection against electrical hazards, remote support, and “graceful” calculated shutdown.
Stratus ftServer delivers virtualization to run a range of concurrent software workloads and fault tolerance to eliminate downtime and data loss. Each rack size enclosure offers three Stratus ftServer configurations:
- Stratus ftServer 2900 supports up to 10,000 I/O’s and two (2) remote clients. The unit is powered by a 1.5kVA APC Smart-UPS (uninterrupted power supply) with on-line UPS with network management card with additional capacity for lower power devices.
- Stratus ftServer 4900 is ideal for 25,000-50,000 I/O’s and five (5) remote clients. The unit is powered by a 2.2kVA APC Smart-UPS On-line UPS with network management card. The solution offers an additional 6U of rack space for switches, KVM and other IT gear.
- Stratus ftServer 6900 supports up to 100,000 I/O’s and twenty (20) remote clients. The unit is powered by a 3kVA APC Smart-UPS On-line UPS with network management card.