The Internet of Things: How manufacturers balance the risks and rewards

Food Dive | April 04, 2016

The Internet of Things (IoT), which enables data exchange and analysis between equipment and devices, offers manufacturers opportunities to become more flexible, efficient, and cost-effective across supply chains.
However, manufacturers have integrated smart technology or embedded intelligence into only about one-quarter (median) of their production equipment and processes, according to a study from The MPI Group. Often manufacturers lack the infrastructure to make IoT usage within their operations possible or cannot readily justify the costs.
More than three-quarters of manufacturers said they would increase implementation of IoT in the next two years to achieve various objectives, such as to "improve product quality, increase the speed of operations, decrease manufacturing costs, improve maintenance/uptime, and improve information for business analytics," according to Packaging World.

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INDUSTRIAL IOT

Quectel Launches Connectivity-as-a-Service and Integrated SIM to Simplify IoT Deployments in Asia Pacific

Quectel | June 29, 2022

Quectel Wireless Solutions, a global IoT solutions provider, is continuing to build on the successful EMEA roll-out of its Connectivity-as-a-Service (CaaS) and is now launching global connectivity sales in the Asia Pacific region. This new launch complements Quectel’s heritage of providing innovative modules and antennas to support cellular applications and allows customers to simplify their edge-based deployments by purchasing SIM cards and connectivity management alongside modules, antennas and design services. Adding connectivity broadens the Company’s portfolio and helps its customers to simplify the journey of designing, building, connecting and commercializing their IoT offerings. Quectel connectivity is available now in more than 190 countries via over 500 network operators, and currently provides 2G, 3G, 4G, NB-IoT and Cat-M connections. Connectivity from Quectel is available to the whole market and will particularly benefit deployments that can realize accelerated time-to-market and optimized business efficiencies from using a single supplier for module, antenna and connectivity. Embedded and integrated SIM (eSIM and iSIM) offerings are now entering mainstream adoption, and Quectel has recently launched the new BG773A-GL ultra-compact LTE Cat M1, NB1 and NB2 module which offers integrated SIM (iSIM) support. The iSIM capability of this new module provides huge flexibility and simplicity for integrators and IoT service providers, simplifying customer deployments which previously would have needed to have a local-market traditional SIM card installed and managed. With an eSIM or iSIM enabled module plus Quectel connectivity, the module, once powered up, will attach to the best available network. “Quectel connectivity is built on the backbone of service, quality and reliability, backed by Tier 1 providers and robust service level agreements (SLAs),” said Richard Hart, the Director of Global Connectivity at Quectel. “Our focus is on providing commercial flexibility for our customers to ensure they receive high quality connectivity that enables their IoT solutions regardless of where they are located in the world. Using self-optimizing tariffs, we can minimize the risk of additional charges when issues such as over-the-air (OTA) software updates utilize extra bandwidth and therefore prevent bill shock.” Alongside its long-standing global expertise in modules and antennas, Quectel also has significant experience in connectivity, having developed its QuecConnectivity platform that already manages more than 30 million SIMs in Asia. “Our module and antenna offering can now be combined with Connectivity-as-a-Service providing customers a single point of entry to Quectel’s full portfolio of products and services,” said Michael Wallon, VP Sales, APAC & ANZ. “By adding connectivity to our capabilities, Quectel is reducing complexity for our customers by simplifying and accelerating IoT device deployment, Quectel is committed to innovation that drives benefits for customers in the IoT industry, and our connectivity launch in the Asia Pacific region is another milestone in that journey. Quectel has helped IoT companies build a smarter world for more than a decade, now we will also connect a smarter world.” Patrick Qian, the Chief Executive Officer of Quectel About Quectel Quectel’s passion for a smarter world drives us to accelerate IoT innovation. A highly customer-centric organization, we are a global IoT solutions provider backed by outstanding support and services. Our growing global team of over 4,000 professionals sets the pace for innovation in cellular, GNSS and WiFi/BT modules, antennas and IoT connectivity. Listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange (603236.SS), our international leadership is devoted to advancing IoT across the globe.

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ENTERPRISE IOT

IOTech announces a major new release of Edge XRT, its software platform for time-critical OT systems

IOTech Systems | June 24, 2022

IOTech, the edge software company, has announced the general availability of Edge XRT v2.0. This is a major release of its open software platform designed for time-critical and embedded OT applications at the industrial IoT edge. Edge XRT 2.0 greatly simplifies the development of OT applications and enables faster time-to-market for new edge systems. It is hardware agnostic, independent of the silicon provider (Intel or ARM) and operating system. Users have complete deployment flexibility. They can deploy it as a native application, containerized and/or into a virtualized environment. With its small memory footprint and efficient use of computing resources, Edge XRT 2.0 is also suitable for microcontroller-based applications where CPU and memory resources are limited. This makes it ideal for use cases such as connected commercial or consumer electronic devices (e.g., refrigeration unit), medical device applications or automotive engine management systems. The product's open APIs make third-party application integration very easy. Major industrial OEMs and ISVs are leveraging the product's multi-vendor OT connectivity, cloud interoperability and high-performance, real-time edge processing capabilities to create a new generation of protocol-agnostic edge solutions. "As a configurable, embeddable, high-performance OT platform, Edge XRT 2.0 is unique, It provides a rich set of OT and IoT capabilities that our customers can easily use to create their own edge solutions. In most cases, this is through simple configuration without the need for lots of custom code." Andrew Foster, Product Director at IOTech The new release adds a number of important features including: OT connectivity: In addition the existing pluggable OT connectivity for Modbus, EtherNet/IP and EtherCAT, BACnet and OPC UA protocols, the platform now supports PROFINET, S7, GPS and BLE. For protocols that support device discovery such as OPC UA, BACnet and EtherNet/IP, devices can be discovered and then onboarded easily without any manual configuration. A new MQTT API allows Edge XRT clients to easily manage the lifecycle of connected device/sensors, support read/write OT data access, control device discovery and resource scheduling. When deployed on an Azure Sphere device, an Edge XRT application can now be dynamically configured and reconfigured via a Device Twin running on Azure IoT Hub. IOTech has made scalability and performance improvements to address customer demand for concurrent access to an increasing number of OT devices and their data. Edge XRT is designed for high-performance edge computing use cases, such as industrial control and real-time signal processing applications across a variety of vertical markets. These include factory automation, renewable energy, building management, retail and hospitality. It also enables integration between the real-time edge applications and higher-level enterprise IT, SCADA and cloud applications. About IOTech IOTech builds and deploys vendor neutral software platforms and tools to support the rapid development, deployment and management of applications at the IoT Edge helping drive IoT innovation, global market adoption, velocity and scale. The company's products address the full spectrum of secure hard and soft real-time edge computing needs, dramatically reducing time to market, development and system integration costs for its partners who are the supply chains to multiple vertical IoT market domains. IOTech leverages an open-source ecosystem to collaboratively improve time to market, develop global channel partnerships and achieve pervasive adoption of its software products.

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ENTERPRISE IOT

New Digi ConnectCore MP1 Family of System-On-Modules Extends Digi’s IoT Solutions for Medical, Transportation and Industrial Sectors

Digi | June 23, 2022

Digi International, a leading global provider of Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, connectivity products and services, today extended its IoT solution portfolio with the unveiling of its new Digi ConnectCore® MP1 family of system-on-modules (SOMs). The MP1 is the industry’s smallest STM32MP1 SOM that integrates Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and wired connectivity without comprising design flexibility. This solution is made complete with its Connected Device platform as well as its well-tested development tools and design support. This makes Digi ConnectCore MP1 SOMs a cost-effective wireless solution for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) seeking to reduce risk and effort in their product development. Ideal Digi ConnectCore MP1 applications include handheld products with cameras and/or displays such as medical devices, environmental test equipment, industrial human machine interfaces, or headless devices such as EV charging stations, renewable-energy controllers and others. Leveraging both new and market-proven STM32MP1 micro processing units (MPUs) from STMicroelectronics (STM), Digi ConnectCore MP1 SOMs offer more features with a lower total cost of ownership. The form factor is smaller than a postage stamp (29x29 mm), which is ideal for form-factor-challenged applications with low-profile requirements. These off-the-shelf family of Digi ConnectCore MP1 SOMs bring scalability, compatibility and pre-certified wireless connectivity in a solution suitable for a broad range of applications in the healthcare, transportation and industrial sectors. The unique Digi SMTplus™ surface-mount form factor provides design flexibility by enabling more complex applications through land grid array (LGA) pads and less complex applications using edge-castellated pads. By eliminating the need for connectors, ConnectCore SOMs shrink the bill of materials and offer greater suitability for high-vibration and harsh environment applications where connectors are prohibitive. Small Form Factor Packed with High-Performance Features STM32MP15x, single/dual Cortex-A7 @ 650 MHz Cortex-M4 companion processing core for real-time tasks (STM32MP15x only) Pre-certified Wi-Fi 5 802.11a/b/g/n/ac + Bluetooth 5.0 (including DLE) option Up to 1 GB SLC NAND flash, up to 1 GB DDR3 Unique ultra-low power and wake-up state management Dual 10/100/1000 Ethernet connectivity (single 10/100/1000 Eth for STM32MP15x) Fully validated embedded Linux software platform (Digi Embedded Yocto) Digi TrustFence® embedded security framework – ready-to-use security features Off-the-shelf development board and low-cost gateway reference design Industrial reliability and operating temperature with leading hardware warranty “Digi ConnectCore MP1 SOMs respond to the challenge of building intelligent, connected and secure wireless products in strongly regulated markets such as the healthcare, transportation, and industrial sectors, Unlike other SOMs, Digi ConnectCore MP1 provides a scalable, highly integrated solution that encompasses a complete set of development tools, design support, software, and security building blocks to accelerate time to market. Digi also provides remote management and security services to simplify deployment and ongoing maintenance throughout the entire product lifecycle.” Andreas Burghart, Senior Product Manager with Digi About Digi International Digi International is a leading global provider of IoT connectivity products, services, and solutions. It helps companies create next-generation connected products and deploy and manage critical communications infrastructures in demanding environments with high levels of security and reliability. Founded in 1985, Digi has helped customers connect more than 100 million things and counting.

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INDUSTRIAL IOT

InfluxData Announces InfluxDB Edge Data Replication

InfluxData | June 20, 2022

InfluxData, creator of the leading time series platform InfluxDB, today announced Edge Data Replication, a new capability for centralized business insights in widely distributed environments. Edge Data Replication enables developers to collect, store and analyze high-precision time series data in InfluxDB at the edge, while replicating all or subsets of this data into InfluxDB Cloud. With Edge Data Replication, InfluxData delivers on both platform breadth and simplicity, scaling time series data processing in a new way that embraces the precision of the edge and the power of the cloud. Modern applications are highly distributed across architectures and produce enormous volumes of time series data at the edge. Effectively managing the data in these applications and associated assets is a time-consuming, resource-intensive process, and developers often don’t have the capabilities or budgets to manage hundreds or thousands of data pipelines. InfluxDB Edge Data Replication changes the way developers and operators process time series data across distributed environments using a new edge database configuration that durably queues and mirrors select datasets to the cloud. The availability of Edge Data Replication marks a critical first step in InfluxData’s journey to solve key time series data integration and orchestration challenges for customers building distributed Industrial and Internet of Things (IoT) applications in energy, manufacturing, aerospace, and other high-tech industries. "Data has gravity, and much of it is created far from clouds and data centers. This pulls applications out to the edge, where the data is born and produces its greatest value. Unfortunately, most databases don’t acknowledge or respect these emerging hybrid edge-cloud environments,” said Rick Spencer, Vice President of Products, InfluxData. “Edge Data Replication sets a new benchmark for time series platforms by combining the power of cloud with the precision of the edge – a best of both worlds solution that’s key to tomorrow’s distributed applications.” According to Gartner, “Enterprises are now employing machine learning models and computing at the edge in order to preprocess data rather than just migrating data to the cloud. Rather than one-way archiving, early adopters are doing multidirectional synchronization of data between edge, core data center and public cloud. Two-way synchronization allows enterprises to make use of the elastic nature of the compute infrastructure found among cloud service providers. Furthermore, with the upcoming expansion of edge computing, there will be a growing need for solutions that enable data workflow among edge, storage and multiple public cloud providers.”* Unlock Centralized Business Insights with Edge Data Replication InfluxData’s Edge Data Replication creates a new and intuitive experience for developers building at the edge by allowing data from an InfluxDB instance to automatically replicate to InfluxDB Cloud with a simple configuration setting. By leveraging Edge Data Replication in tandem with the full power of the InfluxDB platform, including Flux, InfluxDB’s native data scripting language, users can: Integrate edge and cloud DataOps: Connect edge and cloud workloads to automatically mirror data from InfluxDB edge sources to InfluxDB Cloud instances in real-time. Reduce cloud ingress and egress costs: Filter and aggregate data intelligently from InfluxDB at the edge before replicating it to InfluxDB Cloud. Downsampling data with Edge Data Replication delivers faster processing and reduced transfer costs. Transform data before transfer: Dynamically add context to edge data that is needed for processing in the cloud. Cloud processing may require extra dimensions to query on or feature engineering. Enforce edge/cloud consistency: Withstand planned and unplanned disruptions in network connectivity by queueing data at the edge until it can be safely transferred to the cloud. Full data workflow at the edge: Full support for applications at the edge by enabling data preprocessing close to the data sources. “Loft Orbital’s mission is to deliver space infrastructure as a service to give our customers rapid access to space, Our network edge extends onto our spacecraft in low Earth orbit, requiring real-time access to highly distributed mission-critical data. With Edge Data Replication, it’s easier than ever for us to centralize our time series data while ensuring we don’t lose data from edge storage locations.” Caleb MacLachlan, Head of Software Integration, Loft Orbital “Every year there are 10 times more IoT edge devices deployed. Developers know that expectations for consistency, efficiency, and reliability are growing at a similar rate,” said Rick Spencer, InfluxData. “With this kind of scale, IoT developers need excellence in local operations, taking advantage of granular data for real-time insights and control, while also having a centralized view across all of the edge operations, sometimes at an enormous scale. The combination of Edge Data Replication, InfluxDB at the edge, and InfluxDB Cloud makes building such IoT applications not only possible, but also incredibly simple.” About InfluxData InfluxData is the creator of InfluxDB, the leading time series platform. We empower developers and organizations, such as Cisco, IBM, Siemens and Tesla, to build real-time IoT, analytics and cloud applications with time-stamped data. Our technology is purpose-built to handle the massive volumes of data produced by sensors, systems or applications that change over time. Easy to start and scale, InfluxDB gives developers time to focus on the features and functionalities that give their apps a competitive edge. InfluxData is headquartered in San Francisco, with a workforce distributed worldwide.

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