With all the predictions for billions of connected devices to come online in the next several years, lines of communication between those devices is emerging as an important aspect of making this happen.
To that end, a company called Sierra Wireless is doing its part to promote an interoperable industrial IoT at the industrial level -- known more commonly as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) -- with investment in open-source projects, standards, and development tools to take the connectivity complexity out of the IoT for those building solutions and devices.
Sierra, which has been in the business of wireless connectivity for more than 20 years, has developed a device-to-cloud solution for IoT applications. More importantly, perhaps, the company also has made recent investments in open-source initiatives and technologies to open up connectivity to support the broader IIoT, Olivier Pauzet, vice president of market strategy at Sierra, told Design News.
(Source: Google images)
To ensure IIoT interoperability, there must be collaboration across the industry to contribute to both open source projects and standards bodies, he said. Open source and standards-based solutions can take some of the complexity and cost out of ensuring that different wired, wireless, sensor, and cloud technologies communicate effectively.
One of those solutions Sierra thinks will help do this is Project mangOH, which the company launched last June. The open-source project is a new open hardware design that makes it easy to develop industrial-grade IoT products with vetted components, open-source software, and a business-friendly open license to modify and reproduce the design, Pauzet said.
MangOH is pre-integrated with the open-source Legato Linux platform -- another Sierra-led project -- to provide application-level development, and includes an application sandbox that provides a secure environment on which to run and control multiple applications, he said.
Other features of mangOH include connectivity APIs that allow for access to cloud and network services such as voice calls, SMS, data, radio controls; customizable middleware components such as configuration, DB, resource arbitration, secure IPC; multilanguage support for writing and integrating embedded applications in different programming languages; and a maintained Linux distribution based on the long-term supported Linux kernel (LTSI) hosted by the Linux Foundation.
One of the key challenges for those developing IIoT solutions is initial prototyping for those applications, which can be complex and costly, Pauzet said. MangOH can help solve this issue with its framework based on open hardware that is Arduino compatible and has plug-and-play IoT connectors to add wireless, wired, and sensor technology seamlessly, he said.
“Project mangOH is a simple solution that provides 90% of an IoT prototype out-of-the-box to enable developers to quickly begin creating their software and web applications for the Internet of Things,” he said.
Some of the specific features of mangOH that make prototyping easy include built-in libraries to connect any Arduino shield to the cloud; automatic detection of IoT connectors to load drivers and applications; and a data-management service that builds local intelligence at the edge of the network as well as pushes data to big data servers, Pauzet said.
Elizabeth Montalbano is a freelance writer who has written about technology and culture for more than 15 years. She has lived and worked as a professional journalist in Phoenix, San Francisco, and New York City. In her free time she enjoys surfing, traveling, music, yoga, and cooking. She currently resides in a village on the southwest coast of Portugal.