EdgeX brings open source interoperability to IoT

A new open source framework is a major step in bringing IoT into mainstream interoperability.

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In a ground-breaking development, the Linux Foundation and 50 other companies announced the launch of an open-source Internet of Things (IoT) interoperability framework to standardise and simplify edge computing through the new open-source consortium EdgeX Foundry. IoT hasn’t enjoyed the predicted positive market growth due to lack of conformity and fragmented edge computing development resulting in non-compatibilities of applications and security reservations. Adapting IoT technology to business needs is fraught with difficulties and integration issues due to separate development and discordant systems. The evolution of edge computing, however, provides a standardised framework in which to integrate business applications of significant value-adds or standalone systems.

With the imminent arrival of this open source framework, businesses can better allocate their resources, instead of squandering time developing edge solutions for their required applications, the opportunity is there to customise and add features to an already developed interface.

Through the looking glass

Without a common framework, the development of the IoT market has been sluggish and its potential unplumbed. The complexity of the current paradigm is currently stifling progress, but EdgeX seems to offer a solution. This technology provides a platform enabling consumers to rapidly create IoT edge solutions instead of building integrations from scratch and the open source allows users the versatility to adapt IoT applications to varying commercial requirements.

EdgeX Foundry’s attempt to provide interoperable components with plug-and play features is poised to change the face of the IoT game. The result will be a simple framework of interoperability that supports any hardware and application, promoting connectivity between devices, applications and the server.   

Philip DesAutels, The Linux Foundation’s Senior Director of IoT, stipulates EdgeX aims to promote an ecosystem of interoperable components with plug-and-play capability. That will allow developers to better allocate resources to drive business value instead of on integrating IoT components.

The advantages for end users include flexibility and speed of deployment that can be adapted to the shifting dynamics of business needs. From a security perspective, having open source software essentially levels the playing field, offering an opportunity to develop more robust security systems instead of hundreds of fragmented add-ons and fixes.

The nuts and bolts

With a predicted 20.4 billion connected ‘things’ by 2020, the sheer volume of potential network traffic is driving the change to edge computing. This negates the need for devices to connect to the cloud or to a central data center, but rather through a local gateway device, allowing faster data analytics and reduced network pressure. Applications for industrial IoT technology include those where instantaneous decision making is essential. For Opto 22, one of the founding members of EdgeX foundry, the move toward edge computing is a strategic one to promote industrial automation and process control and accelerate the advancement of industrial applications of IoT.

Dell’s FUSE, has already laid the groundwork using Apache 2.0. This code provides a layer that will effectively provide an interface for integration between sensor networks, the cloud and the server. The beauty of this stacking arrangement is ease of integration and interoperability between any system and required value-adds. Third party applications can be easily integrated without redesigning connectivity.

The future of open source interoperability

IoT has irrefutable potential to enhance business value through increasing efficiency and revenue through automation and analytics. This evokes the question of whether this system is capable of protecting the data it is capable of collecting, such as applications for entrepreneur visas. And therein lies the rub. IoT capability is becoming affordable, faster and more available. Anything that can be connected to the internet will be, necessitating a framework that decreases the ambiguity, accelerates the time to market and facilitates scale. All of which fall within EdgeX Foundry’s assurances.  

EdgeX brings a rather large can of attitude to the table and if it can deliver, it will open many avenues of exploration. Providing a stable, consistent and safe platform for vendors and consumers, EdgeX is a step in the right direction when it comes to edge computing and aligning IoT adoption and business objectives.

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