Technological advancements have enabled embedded devices to communicate with sensors and other assets in a simple, effective and cost-effective way. Thanks to embedded software platforms, these devices can collect data and transfer them via the Internet: these are typical functionalities of IoT gateways. The role of cloud computing and cloud-based data centers is crucial here: they provide remote connectivity to and remote management of OT infrastructures and a place for data storage and analytics to trigger important business decision. Nonetheless, cloud computing has three main limits: latency, connection and costs.
Mission-critical applications require hundreds or thousands of parameters to be constantly monitored, thus generating increasingly larger data flows to be sent to the cloud. Response time from data centers has been reduced with technological advancements, but it could be not sufficient for some applications that require immediate feedback.
Connection issues may arise in some IoT applications. Imagine you have to manage a fleet of locomotives equipped with sensors and intelligent devices that constantly send data about the vehicle status and position. During the journey, vehicles can travel across mountain or remote areas where Internet connection is bad, or even areas without Internet. Devices must keep managing those insights and provide response to trigger critical issues or malfunctions even without remote support.
The number of intelligent devices and smart sensors is constantly increasing: maintaining such device infrastructures is becoming more and more expensive, due to the fact that huge amount of data have to be transferred to central data center via the Internet. Bandwidth-related costs can be even higher in cellular networks. Moreover, data coming from the field could have not been filtered at the source, thus loading data centers with unnecessary and redundant information.
Edge computing is the ability to provide secure computing and storage capabilities at the edge along with data analytics, filtering, aggregation, routing and device management in the field. Edge computing provides advanced management functionalities where data is produced, thus reducing latency, connection issues and infrastructure costs. Integration with cloud platforms becomes an additional feature for a more complete, end-to-end infrastructure management. Eurotech has more than 25 years of experience in developing and manufacturing miniaturized computers for the harshest embedded environments in many vertical markets.
Under the brand name of Everyware IoT the company provides an integrated hardware and software edge-to-cloud IoT infrastructure enabling edge and cloud computing. Its capabilities go from advanced analytics and device management at the edge to seamless and secure integration with enterprise data centers and IT applications for remote infrastructure management and further analytics.
Eurotech Multi-service IoT Edge Gateways provide native support for industrial protocols and are powerful enough to enable data processing, logging and management: they come pre-configured with Everyware Software Framework (ESF), an IoT Edge Framework that provides a web-based development environment for edge computing and IoT applications. ESF bridges the real and the digital world: digital twins allow easy asset and device management and configuration without the need of writing thousands of lines of code. ESF also provides advanced data management functions and analytics in the field and connectivity to cloud platforms such as Everyware Cloud (EC) for remote data and device management and integration with IT applications.
Edge computing as a concept has been around for many years. However, today’s applications require huge amounts of data to be quickly and reliably processed in a secure way, arising the need for more computing, storage and analytics capabilities at the edge. More powerful and intelligent devices mean more value extrapolated from data, more efficient operations and cost-effective business decisions for organizations. Eurotech is facing the challenges of future edge computing providing HPEC systems (High Performance Embedded Computers) to win the challenges of deep learning and AI applications such as autonomous driving.