In Dell's ongoing quest for accelerating digitization https://www.automation.com/files/pluginfiles/item_99811/field_376/DB3_reg.png
By Bill Lydon, Editor, Automation.com
Last year we looked into the search for Dell Technologies to the edge of the IoT accelerate. I recently returned to the people of Dell to pursue this mission. In an interview with Jason Shepherd, Dell's IoT and CTO of Edge Computing, he shared how customers can accelerate digitization by using IoT to improve business performance. Through numerous discussions and presentations over the last few years, Dell Technologies has clearly focused on providing industry with solutions that range from edge-of-the-edge computing to cloud services. This commitment to building this vision comes from the top:
"The IoT is fundamentally changing how we live, how organizations work, and how the world works. Dell Technologies leads our customers with a new distributed computing architecture that brings together IoT and artificial intelligence in an interdependent ecosystem from edge to core to cloud. The impact on our global society will be profound. Michael Dell, Chairman & CEO
For Dell's vision, Jason Shepherd is the evangelist. As a CTO focused on enabling standards, developing strategic ecosystems, and planning solutions for the IoT Solutions division of Dell Technologies, Shepard has a proven track record as an IoT thought leader. His efforts included setting up the Dell IoT Partner ecosystem and setting up The Linux Foundation's proprietary open source EdgeX Foundry project to enable better interoperability in IoT edge computing. He also holds 14 issued and 11 pending US patents.
Jason Shepherd is passionately interested in the democratization of the IoT.
The Advance of EdgeX Foundry
One of the first things Shepherd discovered was that EdgeX Foundry has noticed this is really starting to break down as the number of developers using the technology has grown rapidly. EdgeX Foundry has undergone rapid refinement, with the reduction in computer resource requirements from the initial 2.5GB to 128MB of memory.
In addition, companies such as IOTech produce real-time versions of EdgeX Foundry. Shepard shared how to maintain the vendor-neutral APIs so that EdgeX Foundry plug-ins for communications, security management tools, cloud plug-ins and in addition to real-time core industrial control applications can use an embedded PLC. 19659009]
EdgeX Foundry Architecture Provides Open Edge Computing Platform
EdgeX Development Kits
Shepard noted that EdgeX is much mature and the organization has begun to put development kits on the market bring to. "With the advent of these developer kits, developers have the opportunity to prototype their choice of ingredients while leveraging the plug-in components from the growing vendor-neutral EdgeX ecosystem," said Shepard. "This will allow them to focus more on innovation." as a reinvention, in addition to the ability to add and share components at any time to optimize their solution throughout the development and deployment cycle.
There are two different types of developer kits - Community and Commercial - The EdgeX Community DevKits provide options for developers who want to get started quickly with pre-tested, ready-to-build development kits, which refer to configurations of the EdgeX software For example, the first kit is based on the Samsung Artik with Grove sensor, and more options will grow with community contributions over time.
While reviewing the EdgeX I found the Samsung ARTIK 710 single-board system to be a particularly interesting platform, developed for building and factory applications, with 8 cores for local analysis to improve latency and response time, each Samsung ARTIK IoT Module is a true system-on-module (SoM), the CPUs, networks, wireless radio and complete system software stack, all based on a single package. It also offers several connectivity solutions for communicating with a range of things and has a multimedia processor for video and audio processing. Key features include:
- 8-core, 64-bit ARM® Cortex A-53 processor and Wi-Fi, Bluetooth®, ZigBee, Thread
- ARM-MALI GPU for multimedia and graphics applications
- 1 GB RAM, 4 GB Flash (eMMC)
- Enterprise-class security with secure hardware and Secure OS (710s)
- Ubuntu Linux package with multimedia, connectivity, graphics, power management, and security libraries  The Democratization Dilemma
] Shepard's vision has a caveat. "The kicker, the holy grail of the digital, is about the doer mechanism," he said. "This is the dilemma of the innovator." He explained that technology needs to be democratized so subject matter experts can leverage their knowledge to create great results with easy-to-use hardware and software applications.
Shepard's vision reminded me of switching from mainframe and minicomputers to PCs. Many of these computers required custom application development services from hardware vendors and system vendors. However, with the advent of PC hardware, this shifted dramatically. Based on the open bus architecture, third parties began developing for PCs. Software has been developed that dramatically reduces costs and allows subject matter experts to create solutions directly without programming. Examples include spreadsheets, Visual Basic, database programs, and report builders (eg, PFS File and PFS Report (1984) by Software Publishing Corporation).
The Three IoT and Edge Rules by Jason Shepherd
Shepherd Finally Discussed Its Three Rules for IoT and Edge Computing are based on the industry's experience:
- It is important to separate the infrastructure from applications. EdgeX, in combination with other open frameworks and platform-independent infrastructure, is central to the commercial infrastructure.
- Decouple the edge from the cloud through open, cloud-native principles, as close as possible to the point of data creation in the physical world. Disconnect the transport of logs, application frameworks, and operating systems. In this way, you can control your data destiny through any permutation of local or cloud data integration, as opposed to pumping your data into a cloud and then having no choice but to access and use it in all applications numbers.
- It is important to decouple industry-specific domain knowledge from the underlying technology. Many providers of IoT platforms offer the ability to perform predictive maintenance, but their developers do not have the years of experience and expertise to define data loss patterns for a particular machine type.
Bill's Thoughts and Observations
I would add or supplement Shepard's rules that - to succeed - for IoT, IIoT, and Industry 4.0, developers must apply the same structured design and object-oriented principles to success of the internet.
EdgeX provides an edge computing architecture that has traditionally been in the industrial automation middleware and currently hosts software applications such as Historian, HMI, MES, and others. This provides a platform that works closer to sensors, actuators and real-time controls to create richer and more responsive industrial automation systems.
EdgeX Foundry highlights the desire for open architecture interoperability for multiple vendors in the open source technology community.  For some years, regular readers have known that I predicted the demise of traditional vendors of industrial automation when they are not involved in collaborations to create open architectures. This is because it is likely that the IT and IoT industries will eventually displace them. We've seen this trip before. It took until 1984 for the value of desktops to be sold in the US to overtake the sale of large mainframe machines.
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