The Internet of Things has transformed the way industrial manufacturers conceptualize product development and go-to-market strategies. Now, rather than ship and forget, these organizations are intimately bound to the entire product lifecycle through connectivity and the cloud, which presents new challenges but also new potential.
Realizing the opportunity for deeper customer engagement and recurring revenue streams, many industrial manufacturers have endeavored to go beyond their traditional core competencies and invest in IoT cloud platform technologies and associated enterprise networking solutions.
If revised growth predictions in the IoT cloud platform market are any indication, these efforts have only been marginally successful at best.
The trouble many of these industrial manufacturers and system integrators have experienced with IoT cloud platforms is that the technology can only be turned into a competitive advantage if two specialized, yet distinct skillsets are present:
- Domain expertise in the markets and applications the company serves, including in-depth knowledge of data collected from industrial assets and how it can be transformed into useful information.
- Proficiency in transferring data and/or information between industrial assets and enterprise systems where high-powered analytics can be applied, historical data can be stored, and trends or anomalies can be rendered in a consumable way for humans and business machines.
Unfortunately, the intersection of these two competencies is less common than originally thought. For this reason, many early IoT adopters have been unsuccessful in their attempts to develop IoT middleware solutions in house, or license/contract general-purpose PaaS solutions on the open market. Indeed, many ISVs and networking entities have struggled moving in the opposite direction because of the same challenges.
What’s required for an IoT platform that enables a continuum of intelligence from edge to cloud is an organization with intimate experience in developing domain-specific industrial systems, as well as a sustained success in the enterprise networking arena. As a third-party offering, the partner company must have the resources to support IoT middleware for a range of vertical markets and applications, but also the flexibility to enable OEMs and system integrators to innovate with their own value.
Advantech’s WISE-PaaS platform is one of the few IoT middleware solutions on the market that meets the requirements of industry, enterprise, and support for companies looking to drive intelligence across their IoT offerings.
A Flexible PaaS for Dedicated Domains
What sets WISE-PaaS apart from other IoT middleware and cloud solutions is that it was designed from the bottom up to serve equipment Advantech deployed into markets such as factory automation, energy and utilities, retail, healthcare, and smart cities.
To meet the specific regulatory, environmental, and design requirements of these various application segments, Advantech was forced to develop discrete cloud solutions. For example, a system of systems serving factory automation use cases must support SCADA software and private cloud deployments, while a healthcare application likely requires strict adherence to data privacy and protection standards like HIPAA.
In each domain also needed support for specialized connectivity protocols, data management and storage schemes, and user access controls, as well as an open, extensible infrastructure that allowed users to modify or expand.
In response, Advantech evolved its WISE-PaaS platform to serve these specific applications through the use of dedicated application clouds.
The company’s Industrial IoT platform, for example, integrates a set of industry-specific functionality on top of the base WISE-PaaS infrastructure. Within the IIoT software stack, Advantech delivers a private cloud architecture, centralized big data storage, and web-based HMI and SCADA software. The combination of these tools, shown in Figure 3, allows industrial operators to transform SCADA assets from simple data acquisition devices to multi-tenant big data analytics and business intelligence engines.
The flexibility of the WISE-PaaS platform also plays an important role in ecosystem enablement and the development of specialized applications. Behr Technologies Inc. (BTI), for instance, is a provider of wireless IIoT connectivity solutions that needed a deployment platform for worker safety wearable devices. The smart wearables were designed to monitor the health and location of thousands of remote field operators working in commercial and industrial environments.
Leveraging Advantech’s ARK-2250L fanless industrial box PC and the WISE-PaaS middleware, BTI was able to ingest wearable data from NFC sensor stations through the ARK-2250L gateway and into the cloud using their MIOTY LPWAN technology. The multi-tenancy and extensibility of WISE-PaaS also allowed the company to integrate key functional components that ensured reliability and security of the end-to-end solution. These included IoT services from Hitachi Solutions and Microsoft, as well as discovery, provisioning, and authentication features of Intel® Secure Device Onboard (Intel® SDO).
Onramp your Industrial IoT solutions with WISE-PaaS
Although it’s difficult to quantify, the use case above demonstrates the ease with which industrial organizations can develop and deploy connected solutions while remaining focused on their core competency. Rather than investing time and engineering budgets towards reinventing existing IoT services, cloud, security, or connectivity technologies, each partner involved in the connected wearable for worker safety project was able to emphasize their key strengths for a more complete, robust solution.
When paired with devices like the ARK-2250L, WISE-PaaS acts as just one component of Advantech’s “Solution-Ready Platforms (SRPs),” which allow industrial partners to bring their technology and services to market quickly. Service providers can also make their software, solutions, and connectivity available to the WISE-PaaS ecosystem through a series of open APIs and connectors.
If you’re looking for an onramp or upgrade to Industrial IoT connectivity and analytics, Advantech is hosting a live virtual event on April 4th at 10:30 AM Pacific Daylight Time that will demonstrate how to leverage the WISE-PaaS co-creation model. Attendees will discover the features and functionality of WISE-PaaS that can be applied to their specific vertical use case, and the details of how partners like BTI turned the platform into a competitive advantage.
Interested parties can register for the complimentary event by searching “2019 IoT Co-Creation Partner Conference”, or by visiting the following link: http://bit.ly/2EO5Hvz
While the early days of IoT have been challenging, the market will not wait. Developers interested in getting started now with WISE-PaaS data acquisition, data analytics, visualization, and database services can access the following links for more details.