ZEDEDA Announces Integration with Microsoft Azure IoT

Ah, the competition among Microsoft Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud heats up. Here ZEDEDA, whom I’ve written about several times recently, has picked Azure IoT.

  • Native integration with ZEDEDA’s orchestration solution for the distributed edge enables end-to-end remote management of the entire Azure IoT Edge software stack on distributed edge computing nodes at hyperscale
  • Solution helps customers consolidate and manage a diverse mix of software workloads and edge hardware while harnessing the power of Azure IoT to drive new business outcomes
  • State-of-the-art Zero Trust security model from silicon to cloud ensures protection of critical data, assets and processes spanning both OT and IT operations
  • Together with SI and distribution partners, the solution simplifies all phases of scaling projects involving IoT, AI, 5G, networking and security technologies at the distributed edge, including distribution, integration services and deployment

ZEDEDA announced an integration with Microsoft Azure IoT services that provides customers with full lifecycle management capabilities (edge hardware, OS, Azure IoT Edge Runtime, Azure IoT Edge modules and additional apps), single-click bulk provisioning, risk-free updates and a built-in app marketplace. With Azure Device Provisioning Service (DPS) integration, the solution also enables instant, automated device onboarding and connection to Azure IoT Hub.

The diversity of hardware and software cluttering the distributed edge landscape keeps many edge projects from scaling effectively. ZEDEDA’s open orchestration solution supports any combination of Docker containers, Kubernetes clusters and virtual machines (VMs) deployed on any edge computing node while connecting to any cloud. This solution enables customers to run existing legacy applications in VMs alongside cloud-native containerized applications while harnessing the power of Azure IoT hyperscale cloud to organize, monitor, query and orchestrate changes across massive fleets of edge computing nodes.


“The cloud-based ZEDEDA dashboard provides customers with a bird’s-eye view into their entire distributed edge infrastructure, including the status of all computing nodes and applications,” said Said Ouissal, ZEDEDA’s CEO and founder. “With scale and security, they can instantly deploy all Azure IoT Edge services on large fleets of nodes with a single click and manage the full lifecycle of both the software and hardware.”

ZEDEDA, from this collaboration, also secured co-sell ready status as part of Microsoft’s One Commercial Partner program. ZEDEDA, Microsoft and their partners go to market together to increase IoT and edge technology adoption in industries including oil and gas, manufacturing, energy, retail, healthcare and transportation.

ZEDEDA Edge Orchestration for Azure IoT is now available for purchase through Azure Marketplace. It is eligible for Azure benefits, allowing qualifying customers to apply the marketplace purchase toward their Azure consumption commitment.

Built On a Secure Foundation


ZEDEDA’s Zero Trust security model and optimizations for deployment and management at scale provide the ideal foundation for Azure IoT Edge. Features include support for hardware root of trust (e.g., TPM), measured boot, remote attestation, encryption, I/O port blocking to prevent tampering in the field and distributed firewall to govern data flow from edge to cloud. This policy-based, per-app firewall can segment field assets from upstream networks and data systems to protect critical operations.

Deep Integration Reduces Costs and Provides Flexibility to Adapt

Customers have reduced their management and security costs by more than 50% by using ZEDEDA’s orchestration solution to deploy their existing investments, such as legacy Windows-based apps, alongside new cloud-native, container-based innovations.


“We are shaping the future of the packaging world where every phase in the production process is connected, digitized and automated,” said Serge Morisod, Head of IoT Lab at BOBST. “With ZEDEDA, we sped up our production readiness in the area of device management by six months, and we received a first working proof of concept within a few days, while becoming production-ready in less than two months.”


“Azure IoT Edge offers customers the opportunity to transform their operations by bringing analytics and other workloads from the cloud to the edge, but customers often have complex computing environments that can pose challenges for scaling,” said Tony Shakib, General Manager, Azure IoT at Microsoft Corp, “ZEDEDA enables businesses to easily deploy Azure IoT Edge solutions and manage them in a single pane with their other edge workloads.”


The open-source edge component of ZEDEDA’s solution (EVE-OS from Project EVE within the Linux Foundation’s LF Edge organization) provides customers with long-term flexibility for orchestrating heterogeneous edge hardware and applications in the field. This ensures that they don’t have to worry about vendor lock-in and obsolescence as their needs adapt. EVE-OS can be thought of as “the Android of the Distributed Edge”, serving to unify a diverse hardware and software ecosystem, spanning the broader market and open source community, ZEDEDA’s own Open Edge Ecosystem and long-standing Microsoft partners.

“PTC is proud to count Microsoft and ZEDEDA among the members of our robust customer and partner network,” said Abby Eon, General Manager, Kepware, PTC. “Together, we’re able to deliver a universal remote orchestration foundation that enables customers to quickly scale their projects from pilot to production. We look forward to innovating upon these industry-leading technologies as we remain committed to helping our customers achieve their digital transformation initiatives.”

Additional Partnerships Further Simplify Deployment at Scale

To further help customers accelerate time to value, ZEDEDA is actively working with the majority of leading hardware OEMs to qualify and pre-install EVE-OS on edge hardware in their factories. This enables customers to drop ship hardware to the field, and once power and networking are connected, the technician can leave the site and perform all lifecycle management functions remotely.

Building The Intersection of OT and IT Teams

Executives at software companies have been explaining their roles in “IT/OT Convergence” for at least 20 years. I hope to lead a banning of that term. It’s actually a bit of nonsense.

Permit me an analogy. Sometimes in a soccer match a hard foul occurs. Suddenly opposing players are in each other’s faces. The referee pops in the middle and has a word (or more). Often the situation ends with the players grudgingly slapping hands in a bit of a handshake, and the game continues.

I think that some software supplier executives, both on the operations side and on the enterprise side, thought they would play the role of that referee, bringing the OT and IT teams together. It was never going to happen this way. Neither would it happen by various management efforts to merge the departments. Each team has a critical, but different, role in a manufacturing organization. What concerns us is the intersection of these roles.

This intersection lies in the realm of data. OT requires data from the processes, assets, materials to fulfil its role of efficiently and profitably producing products. IT requires much of the same data for its enterprise management requirements. This is where we should look.

I am beginning to interview people at companies tackling the issue from this point-of-view. Enter Element Analytics and an interview I recently had under the cover of the ARC Industry Forum with Steve Beamer, VP.

The essential focus of Element Analytics is data connection. It uses drag & drop coding, is source agnostic, and utilizes knowledge graph model. Beamer  says Element Analytics is tackling one of the most critical gaps in Industrial IoT — the fact that 95% of data across the Industrial Enterprise is unusable because it’s fragmented and disconnected. Element Unify breaks through the data silos by bringing IT and OT data together on a single solution. With Element Unify, IT and OT teams can collaboratively make data-driven operational and business decisions around rich, contextualized metadata, while ensuring scale, reliability and security. 

This allows IT and OT teams to work collaboratively to build rich data context at scale with no-code, automated data pipelines. The end result is a single federated, contextualized source of data from which users can establish their own single version of the truth, all with a powerful governance engine ensuring data integrity across the enterprise.

By aligning and scaling critical OT/IT data, the value of data is unlocked, enabling the delivery of high impact, enterprise-wide analytics that improve core business performance outcomes like asset flexibility, security, reliability, safety, and cost.

This lets them serve their OT partners better, helping satisfy OT business analytical application requirements, all while delivering the enterprise scale, reliability, security, and adaptability enterprise IT applications require.

Value to IT

Add meaningful value to the OT data domain by delivering a single IT/OT data management solution that satisfies the OT analytical application requirements. Additionally, no “rip and replace” — Element Unify easily snaps into IaaS Cloud systems and IoT services.

Value to OT

Enabling a layered process in which every team continues to add to the overall enterprise data model by providing their perspective. This drives an increasingly rich, more contextual view of the assets — and corresponding metadata — informing the manufacturing process.

For example, here is a glimpse at a use case we discussed.

Evonik is one of the world’s leading specialty chemical companies. When plant managers from two production sites in Mobile, AL, discovered that emergency maintenance for pumps and compressors represented nearly 75% of corrective maintenance costs, they decided to take action. 

To avoid equipment failure and increase uptime, the team wanted to leverage condition-based monitoring, predictive maintenance, and root cause analytics. While the plants had a variety of data available from systems like GoPlant and Emerson EMS, the production data was messy. Data scientists spent 50-70% of their time on data cleanup — leading to slower realization of analytics benefits. 

Arpan Seth, Senior Data Scientist and Process Engineer, turned to Element Unify
to produce clean, contextualized asset data models that integrate metadata from source systems and ultimately enable dashboards in Microsoft Power BI-providing a 360-degree view of the plant’s pumps and compressors. 

In just eight weeks, Evonik was able to deploy two asset data models for 464 pieces of rotating equipment at both plants. The results? The plant operations team is now able to predict equipment failure and make informed maintenance decisions using Power BI dashboards. Plant managers estimate a potential savings of $2M over five years, based on the ability to prevent four pump failures per year from just one analytic at one plant. 

Going forward, the team will be able to rapidly scale these analytics to other plants, as well as test and validate new AI and machine learning technologies at speed thanks to Element Unify. 

Challenges 

  • Connecting and integrating disparate sources of asset data 
  • Time and expertise needed for data cleanup and preparation 

Solution 

  • Connect to Aspen InfoPlus.21, SAP and Emerson EMS using Element Unify, to automate data extraction and cleanup 
  • Purpose-built IT/OT data management solution for data scientists; 360-degree view of equipment for plant operations teams 

Results 

  • 80% less time to build asset models 
  • 40% less analytics deployment work 
  • Potential savings of $550K over 5 years, from one analytic at one 

plant 

  • Improved data accessibility, enabling future analytics and AI/ML initiatives 

GE Digital Remote Operations for Oil & Gas and Chemical Industries

GE Digital presented to us during the ARC Industry Forum press and media conference this month. It introduced an enhanced remote operations solution for oil & gas and chemical industries.

GE Digital introduced Remote Operations for Oil & Gas and Chemical Industries, a software and appliance solution that provides remote / mobile employee access to essential equipment monitoring and control functions. GE Digital began offering Remote Operations earlier in 2020 in the Power Generation industry and already has many leading worldwide industrial customers using the solution.

With distant upstream facilities and harsh operating conditions, the Oil & Gas industry faces challenges in providing safe and cost-effective equipment monitoring, maintenance, and emergency response. At the refinery or plant, the global pandemic and economic pressures are triggering both Oil & Gas and Chemical companies to re-think their strategies regarding contingency operations, worker location flexibility, and on-site staffing. GE Digital Remote Operations solution, proven in power generation, addresses these, and other challenges faced by industrials.

Remote Operations provides remote and mobile workers with secure and managed access to equipment controls regardless of type. NERC-CIP and ISA 99/62443 compliant security, multi-factor authentication, and operational safeguards enable failsafe control flexibility and cooperation across all staff, on site and off site.

Typical use cases for Remote Operations in the Oil & Gas and Chemical industries include: 

  • Centralized monitoring of distant and dispersed equipment  
  • Lights-out operation of distant facilities 
  • Remote monitoring and controls over refinery or plant equipment 
  • Mobile controls and HQ collaboration for maintenance crew activities
  • Anytime/anywhere access to experts to aid in equipment maintenance 
  • Remote/mobile monitoring and controls for in-house power generation facilities 

“Our success in the Power Generation industry leads naturally to offering Remote Operations to Oil & Gas and Chemicals companies,” said Linda Rae, General Manager for GE Digital’s Power Generation and Oil & Gas business. “These and other industries are seeking the benefits of remote and centralized monitoring centers, worker location flexibility, and increased safety and productivity for mobile workers. We are here to serve that need with a proven product already road tested in the stringent environment of power generators.”

Remote Operations is available in three upwardly compatible packages, accommodating needs from urgent continuity to fault tolerant operations centers. All include the core end-to-end security and compliance features.

Remote Operations Response is a special packaged offer to rapidly enable remote monitoring and assistance. It is compatible with existing systems and requires only the addition of a preconfigured secure network appliance and firewall. Upon equipment arrival, installation can be done in a single working day with remote support from GE Digital. No operations shutdown is required. 

Remote Operations Standard (limited availability) delivers enhanced remote / mobile functions guarded by permitting and policy controls. Central operators can control remote / mobile worker access by time, equipment type and more. An interactive interface ensures that remote, mobile, and on-site staff can work independently or together in a secure and compliant environment.

Remote Operations Advanced (limited availability) provides full remote / mobile controls and additional optional operating capabilities in a high availability configuration with failover. Remote Operations Advanced is the best choice for industrials adopting remote and distributed controls as a standard, failsafe operating model across a fleet of plants or equipment. 

GE Digital’s Remote Operations for Oil & Gas and Chemical Industries is generally available.

Podcast 220 Software is Eating the Manufacturing World

“We tend to overestimate risk and under estimate value when we’re evaluating digital technology implementation,” stated a keynoter during the 25th annual ARC Advisory Group Forum. Another keynoter told us that if we are evaluating digital transformation initiatives using a spreadsheet, we are off base. Some things have too great a risk of not doing. A Wall Street analyst told us that over the past year industrial software companies outperformed industrial companies. Software for digital transformation is where it’s at. Check out the new Schneider Electric initiative promoting software defined control based on IEC 61499. This is an outgrowth of the Open Process Automation initiative that seems to be gathering some momentum. Software is eating the world–or at least the industrial one.

Manufacturing SaaS Platform Tracks Material Flow, Not Assets

I recently heard about a new company, ThinkIQ talking with Niels Andersen, someone I’ve known in the industrial software business for (ahem) many years. We conferenced in Brian Anderson, also with ThinkIQ to introduce me to a different take on industrial software–Track material flow, not assets.

Industrial companies are facing disruptions. The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing how things are made, bought, used, and shared. The always-on, always-connected world is changing how consumers expect to conduct business. The combination of Big-Data Analytics, Machine Learning and Cloud computing is changing how applications are built and what they can do.

They told me about embracing digital transformation to run a supply chain more efficiently and collaboratively, make its products safer, and increase the quality of the output, all whilst driving down costs.

ThinkIQ developed what it dubs Digital Manufacturing Transformation SaaS. It delivers material traceability and insight into ways to improve yield, quality, safety, compliance, and brand confidence. “Our fact-based granular and data-centric contextualized view of material flows and related provenance attribute data integrates into existing IoT infrastructures and crosses supply chains to manufacturing processes and beyond. Our customers have saved $10’s of millions by identifying waste and underperforming assets, as well as reducing warranty reserves for quality and safety issues.”

The occasion for the conversation was a recent release of new functionalities.

New functionalities improve yield, quality, safety, compliance, and brand confidence while reducing waste and environmental impact.

ThinkIQ, a pioneer of digital manufacturing transformation SaaS driving continuous intelligence on the shop floor and throughout the global supply chain, today announced added functionality to its SaaS Manufacturing platform. This new release adds significant product enhancements, which include UI components that allows customers to build custom dashboards, simplified analysis of time series data, and reusable type systems that help to accelerate deployment.

In this release, ThinkIQ addresses core issues that have hindered broad adoption of manufacturing analytics with features that power continuous intelligence driven by sensor data and control systems rather than transactional capabilities.

The new added functionality adds to ThinkIQ’s platform which delivers fact-based granular and a data-centric view of material flows and related providence attribute data. The platform integrates into existing IoT infrastructure to help manage everything from supply chains to manufacturing processes and beyond. These added capabilities will continue to build upon ThinkIQ’s unprecedented material traceability and insight which helps manufacturers improve yield, quality, safety, compliance and brand confidence while reducing waste and environmental impact.

“Most manufacturing systems are transactional in nature, which creates a disconnect between the transactional information systems and the real-life continuous nature of the processes,” said Niels Andersen, CPO of ThinkIQ. “This has limited manufacturers’ ability to analyze operations and find opportunities for improvements. Traditional data lakes do not structure manufacturing data in a reusable schema that is easy to analyze, which results in a vast amount of custom code being written for every analytics scenario where every dashboard has to be created from scratch.”

The following new features break down these barriers:

  • Consistently Analyze Sensor Data – ThinkIQ features a richer type and instance system model that provides additional meaning to sensor data, making it easier to build systems in a repeatable manner and consistently analyze the data across many production units.
  • Dynamic Data Calculations for Continuous Intelligence – The upgraded product features a simplified approach to performing calculations on time series data while fully embracing the complexities of how sensor data must be processed. These ValueStream Expressions include manufacturing specific functionality such as material flow alignment of the data, rich interpolation algorithms and unit of measure conversion. ValueStream Functions are able to process time series data at its full resolution with no need to downsample or resample the data prior to performing calculations. This process can be compared to the power of Digital Signal Processing (DSP) for live data streams with the simplicity of 5th grade arithmetic.
  • User Interface (UI) – ThinkIQ features updated UI Components that allow people with simple web site development skills to build rich dashboards and user interfaces. The UI Components are an integral part of ThinkIQ’s Content management system and embraces ThinkIQ’s type and instance system model so that users don’t have to worry about how to map the UI Components to the underlying data.

“The newest functionalities to our platform will allow our customers to achieve a more precise understanding of their manufacturing data which can be utilized to better fine tune their production execution,” said Mr. Andersen, CPO of ThinkIQ. “Our customers are continuing to push the boundaries of material traceability and we are committed to giving a holistic view of the supply chain process from farm to fork.”

ThinkIQ’s SaaS Manufacturing cloud-based platform simplifies the creation of web-based applications and leverages the strengths of the Internet of Things, Big Data, Data Science, Semantic Modeling and Machine Learning. The platform is able to collect data inputs across supply chain (existing & IIoT sensors) and analyze with AI, ML to identify correlations and root causes. It creates a new set of value-added traceability data which is delivered with actionable insights and decisions to guide systems across the supply chain.

“We are continuously looking at ways we can improve our platform in order to help our customers obtain the most information possible to manage their supply chains,” said Doug Lawson, CEO of ThinkIQ. “The latest functionalities we have added to our platform will give our customers more ease of use which in turn will allow them to operate their supply chains and material flow with even greater efficiency.”

ZEDEDA Unveils Open Orchestration Solution for the Distributed Edge

The pitch from the PR person included “open orchestration for distributed edge” and an interview with long-time acquaintance Jason Shepherd, VP of Ecosystem at ZEDEDA. Ok, that hit many key words and opened up a number of questions.

The news in short:

  • Deployed for over a year by leaders in manufacturing, oil and gas, energy and retail—trusted by enterprises like Rockwell Automation, Invenergy, BOBST and Agora
  • Delivers the ultimate flexibility to customers by supporting any combination of Docker containers, Kubernetes clusters and virtual machines (VMs) for legacy applications, deployed on any edge computing node while connecting to any cloud
  • Uniquely extends operational best practices for uptime, security and simplicity to the field
  • Purpose-built for edge/OT by leveraging EVE-OS from the Linux Foundation’s LF Edge, insuring against lock-in and facilitating interoperability across an open ecosystem
  • Protects valuable edge computing resources deployed outside of data centers using its unrivaled and state of the art Zero Trust security architecture

ZEDEDA announced a cloud-native solution that delivers visibility, control, and security for edge computing deployments. Companies can now have full-stack remote management and observability for any distributed edge computing hardware and edge application while connecting to any cloud or on-premises system. 

“The explosion of edge data requires more processing closer to the source, and existing solutions simply do not meet the unique needs for orchestrating apps and hardware outside of physically-secure data centers,” said ZEDEDA’s CEO and founder Said Ouissal. “Our solution enables customers to operationalize secure distributed edge computing at scale and is based on a truly open foundation and backed by the world’s leading open edge ecosystem.”

ZEDEDA simplifies distributed edge operations by enabling customers to deploy and manage compute nodes anywhere with no IT expertise required on site. An unparalleled out-of-the-box experience includes a built-in app marketplace for on-demand deployment of custom innovations and featured offerings from leading ISVs. By activating functions such as data ingestion, AI/ML, networking and security, customers can instantly unlock the value of edge data to make real-time decisions, maximize operational efficiency and drive new business outcomes.

The ability to deploy this level of security at the distributed edge is what sets ZEDEDA’s solution apart. As Gartner Research Vice President Bob Gill writes in Gartner’s 2021 Strategic Roadmap for Edge Computing: “One thing that stands out when developing a POC for an edge implementation is that creating a single system for a trial can be straightforward, but implementing such a system at scale, including enterprise-grade security, orchestration, life cycle management and governance, is a daunting task.”

“Edge computing is key to the future of industrial automation, and ZEDEDA provides an unmatched scalable and secure universal orchestration solution,” said John Zepecki, Vice President, Software and Control at Rockwell Automation. “Their solution unlocks the digital future of the IoT edge across Rockwell’s ecosystem of software and hardware partners.”

“We are shaping the future of the packaging world where every phase in the production process is connected, digitized and automated,” said Serge Morisod, Head of IoT Lab at BOBST. “ZEDEDA provides a cloud-based solution, orchestrating the software lifecycle of our IoT devices deployed worldwide. This enables frequent and secure updates of new advanced software, which are required for our customers who operate, more than ever, in an agile business.”

Open Ecosystem Accelerates Time to Value

ZEDEDA’s open edge ecosystem offers the developer community and enterprises a choice of market-leading solutions and services delivered by industry experts. Participating companies include Accenture, Advantech, Dianomic, Google, HPE, Inductive Automation, Lanner, Microsoft, PTC, SAS, Supermicro and SUSE.

“HPE Edgeline systems are deployed at far-edge locations, and the users value simplified management of platforms and applications,” said Bharath Ramesh, Head of Global Product Management, Converged Edge and IoT Systems, HPE. “ZEDEDA provides a remote orchestration foundation that addresses this need for our customers.”

“We’re seeing customers commence Kubernetes projects with thousands to tens of thousands of nodes, and this requires a foundation that provides visibility,” said Sheng Liang, President of Engineering and Innovation at SUSE. “ZEDEDA provides a secure foundation for us to extend our supported Kubernetes offer outside of data centers.”

“ZEDEDA’s support for both VMs and containers is valuable for customers,” said Abby Eon, General Manager of PTC Kepware. “This enables deployment of Windows-based ThingWorx Kepware Server alongside containerized applications like Azure IoT Edge on the same device.”

Zero Trust Security Architecture Protects Edge Computing Software and Hardware

Deploying valuable resources outside of secure data centers calls for increased safety measures, so ZEDEDA employs a Zero Trust security model with considerations down to the hardware level. Operating under the principle of “never trust, always verify,” ZEDEDA’s solution authenticates and approves requests at every point, not just the perimeter.

Additional Customer and Partner Perspectives on ZEDEDA’s Solution

“Our edge computing platform is leveraging ZEDEDA’s unique approach to orchestrating our partner apps,” said Agora President and CEO Sujit Kumar. “Our customers can easily deploy edge AI and IoT solutions to meet regulatory requirements, increase production efficiency, and improve worker safety.”

“Video surveillance integrators typically lack remote orchestration and management of customer infrastructure because IT tools are too complex and cost-prohibitive,” said Tom Larson, Director of Safety and Security at MBX. “ZEDEDA makes simplified deployment and remote management of existing video management software a reality, while future-proofing for new innovations.”  

“Deploying predictive maintenance apps through ZEDEDA’s IoT edge orchestration solution has provided new insights into our wind turbines and is expected to both improve uptime and reduce O&M costs,” said Matthew Conwell, Director, Operations Engineering at Invenergy.

“Our customers and community are deploying Industry 4.0 edge applications for continuous monitoring, predictive maintenance, OEE, and safety using our leading IIoT open-source platform FogLAMP,” said Tom Arthur, CEO of Dianomic. “ZEDEDA enables them to securely manage edge operating environments at scale combined with FogLAMP’s tight integration with existing ISA95 operational systems (e.g., OSIsoft, Rockwell, Emerson, ABB, Siemens, AVEVA, SAP, Oracle) and clouds (Google, AWS and Microsoft).”  

Flexible Purchasing Models

ZEDEDA’s distributed edge orchestration solution is sold and consumed as a service with a subscription-based enterprise license, including 24/7 support. The “pay-as-you-go” model enables customers with the flexibility to start small and scale as their edge computing needs evolve. White-label models are also available for OEMs and SIs. For pricing, contact ZEDEDA.