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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

50 companies join EdgeX open framework for IoT edge computing

By Nick Flaherty

The Linux Foundation has launched an open source project to build a common open framework for Internet of Things (IoT) edge computing and an ecosystem of interoperable components for Industrial IoT.

The EdgeX Foundry aims to simplify and standardise Industrial IoT edge computing, although this is still at the level of the intelligent gateway rather than further down into the edge of the network. 

So far 50 companies, including AMD, Analog Devices, Dell and sensor company RFmicron as well as energy harvesting EnOcean Alliance have signed up, although Intel, ARM and board and gateway makers are conspicuous by their absence at this point. 

The project however is dominated, naturally, by the IoT software services companies as it aims to develop a range of microservices written in Java, Javascript, Python, Go or  C/C++ (see figure) that can sit on a range of operating systems and hardware (whether x86 or ARM). The choice of operating systems -Windows, Linux (of course) and even MacOS - highlight the gateway focus of the project. However, an OS-agnostic project lends itself to porting to real time operating systems further towards the network edge.  

"EdgeX Foundry is part of our commitment to playing a major role in providing solutions to help customers bridge the physical and digital world through IoT," said Michael Murray, General Manager of Industrial Sensing Products at Analog Devices. "We want to reduce complexity, democratize IoT standards and provide trusted data for customers, and we look forward to working with the EdgeX community to achieve those goals."

The Linux Foundation points to widespread fragmentation and the lack of a common IoT solution framework that are hindering broad adoption and stalling market growth. The complexity of the current landscape and the wide variety of components creates paralysis, and EdgeX is intended to solve this by making it easy to quickly create IoT edge solutions that have the flexibility to adapt to changing business needs.

"Success in the Internet of Things is dependent on having a healthy ecosystem that can deliver interoperability and drive digital transformation," said Jim Zemlin, Executive Director of The Linux Foundation. "EdgeX Foundry is aligning market leaders around a common framework, which will drive IoT adoption and enable businesses to focus on developing innovative use cases that impact the bottom line."

EdgeX Foundry is unifying the marketplace around a common open framework and building an ecosystem of companies offering interoperable plug-and-play components. Designed to run on any hardware or operating system and with any combination of application environments, EdgeX can quickly and easily deliver interoperability between connected devices, applications, and services, across a wide range of use cases. Interoperability between community-developed software will be maintained through a certification program.

Dell is seeding EdgeX Foundry with its FUSE source code base under Apache 2.0. The contribution consists of more than a dozen microservices and over 125,000 lines of code and was design following feedback from hundreds of technology providers and end users to facilitate interoperability between existing connectivity standards and commercial value-add such as edge analytics, security, system management and services.

"One of the key factors holding back IoT designs in the enterprise is that there are too many choices to safely and easily implement a system that will provide a return on investment in a reasonable timeframe," said Mike Krell, Lead IoT Analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy. "EdgeX Foundry will fundamentally change the market dynamic by allowing enterprise IoT applications to choose from a myriad of best-in-class software, hardware and services providers based on their specific needs."

According to a Gartner report, there will be 20.4 billion connected things in use globally by 2020. The sheer quantity of data that will be transmitted from these devices is driving adoption of edge computing, where connected devices and sensors transmit data to a local gateway device instead of sending it back to the cloud or a central data center. Edge computing is ideal for deploying IoT applications because it allows for quicker data analytics and reduced network traffic. This is essential for applications which require localized, real-time data analysis for decision making such as factory optimization, predictive maintenance, remote asset management, building automation, fleet management and logistics.

"Businesses currently have to invest a lot of time and energy into developing their own edge computing solutions, before they can even deploy IoT solutions to address business challenges," said Dr Philip DesAutels, Senior Director of IoT at The Linux Foundation. "EdgeX will foster an ecosystem of interoperable components from a variety of vendors, so that resources can be spent on driving business value instead of combining and integrating IoT components."

Adopting an open source edge software platform allows hardware makers to scale faster with an interoperable partner ecosystem and more robust security and system management, while Sensor and Device Makers can write an application-level device driver with a selected protocol once using the SDK, and System Integrators can get to market faster with plug-and-play ingredients combined with their own proprietary inventions.

The Linux Foundation will establish a governance and membership structure for EdgeX Foundry and a technical steering committee will provide leadership on the code and guide the technical direction of the project.

The full list of founding members includes: 
  1. Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), 
  2. Alleantia, 
  3. Analog Devices, 
  4. Bayshore Networks, 
  5. Beechwoods Software, 
  6. Canonical, 
  7. ClearBlade, 
  8. CloudPlugs, 
  9. Cloud of Things, 
  10. Cumulocity - IoT consolidation drives with Cumulocity buy
  11. Davra Networks, 
  12. Dell, 
  13. Device Authority, 
  14. Eigen Innovations, 
  15. EpiSensor, 
  16. FogHorn Systems - Moving IoT analytics to the network edge
  17. ForgeRock, 
  18. Great Bay Software, 
  19. IMS Evolve, 
  20. IOTech, 
  21. IoTium, 
  22. KMC Controls, 
  23. Kodaro, 
  24. Linaro, 
  25. MachineShop, 
  26. Mobiliya, 
  27. Mocana - Infineon teams with Mocana for network security
  28. Modius, 
  29. NetFoundry, 
  30. Neustar, 
  31. Opto 22, 
  32. relayr, 
  33. RevTwo, 
  34. RFMicron, 
  35. Sight Machine, 
  36. SoloInsight, 
  37. Striim, 
  38. Switch Automation, 
  39. Two Bulls, 
  40. V5 Systems, 
  41. Vantiq, 
  42. VMware
  43. ZingBox. 
Industry affiliate members include: Cloud Foundry Foundation, EnOcean Alliance, Mainflux, Object Management Group, Project Haystack and ULE Alliance.

For more information on EdgeX Foundry including how to participate, see

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