Executive Speakout: Hyperconnecting the Internet of Things

February 1, 2015 OpenSystems Media

Harnessing the Internet of Things (IoT) and making it a reality promises immense opportunities to companies worldwide, but it is not without some serious challenges. Today, the market is fragmented and characterized by incompatible systems and stovepiped solutions. To deliver a viable end-to-end IoT implementation requires an approach that removes the barriers between traditional information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) to form a hyperconnected infrastructure. IoT applications such as those supporting predictive maintenance, analytics and big data requires a holistic methodology so there is ample cohesiveness between hardware and software suppliers, service providers and communication infrastructure vendors.

Few suppliers are offering a broad breadth of IoT solutions today. Only solving a part of the problem has led to a lack of necessary interoperability. Individual islands of automation don’t provide the capabilities needed unless suppliers can integrate with the enterprise aligning the entire solution. Taking this type of global approach allows companies to share data and analysis with partners or consumers, or take in data from other IoT sources.

Most organizations do not have the expertise to develop an end-to-end IoT solution. Suppliers end up supporting just a subset of capabilities rather than providing crucial technologies that meet multiple protocol requirements, the diverse set of application development strategies, trusted device insertion and management needs and real-time capabilities combined with enterprise scale and cloud-based services.

One-size-fits-all won’t work

A good example of the challenges facing designers is in the development of industrial IoT (IIoT) that need to connect beyond one cluster of devices. Compounding the issue is these developers rarely have a "greenfield" to work with. For developers to deploy applications that enable an enduring IoT transformation mandates that they do more than plug devices into a common network protocol or use a single hardware and software development model for a set of pre-defined services. The complexity involved in a typical IIoT deployment consists of:

  • Multiple connectivity protocols, both wired and wireless, call for gateway and protocol conversion capability.
  • Hardware requirements range from tiny, power-efficient microcontrollers to single-board computers (SBCs) and systems to massive, workload-optimized datacenter infrastructure.
  • Software frameworks vary in development approaches, programming languages, standards compliance, completeness, robustness and openness.
  • Services need to blend traditional information technology (IT) with operational technology (OT), integrating end-to-end capability from real-time performance to analytics.

To simplify these types of "brownfield" deployments, new development models are necessary. Hyperconnecting is a multi-faceted vision for how the IoT should be built. It allows events distant or near to be sensed, combined, interpreted, and understood – with the ability to access actionable information whenever and wherever it is needed. Hyperconnecting allows end-to-end IoT implementations to combine the following attributes:

  • Sensor aggregation with multiple wireless protocols, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and ZigBee
  • Scalability across hardware platforms with support for ARM and Intel architectures
  • Co-existence of C and Java development with open application programming interfaces (APIs) and dynamic components
  • Flexible messaging including RESTful web services and DDS or MQTT for publish/subscribe
  • IT-style management such as trusted boot, role-based access, certificates, and authentication
  • Integration with leading enterprise databases and predictive analytics packages

End-to-end IoT Readiness

Kontron is perfecting the approach to IoT. Its hyperconnecting architectures on a foundation of standards-based solutions fully enable development flexibility and enterprise integration with openness for future requirements. Backed by two decades of embedded computing evolution, Kontron can leverage extensive experience incorporating thousands of real-world application deployments in the commercial, industrial, medical, and transportation markets, just to name a few. Kontron knows that to achieve IoT success means helping organizations develop true end-to-end solutions that also reduce costs and enhance revenue streams.

Kontron
www.kontron.com

Jens Wiegand (Kontron)
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