John Jones, Director of Innovation at Avnet spoke with the crowd gathered at Hardware Pioneers’ event ‘The Industrial IoT Revolution’ in London, 13 July, about Avnet’s solutions for ‘Edge to Enterprise IoT’.
What is needed for real IoT implementation?
For real IoT implementation you need to have devices that are connected. They have to go through a network and get the data into a server. Then the data has to get analysed and the results of that analysis get delivered into business software for a business outcome.
That’s not news. But that’s not the point I’m trying to make.
When you go from Edge to Enterprise there are lots of technological challenges, but what we found is that Avnet Components and Avnet Technology Solutions previously had never spoken to each other, and could not understand each other.
The two worlds have got to come together, and that is what we have been working on. You can’t take it for granted that the IoT world knows what the embedded world is doing.
So that’s basically what Visible Things is, we have packaged it into an easy form so that either an enterprise customer or an embedded customer can understand it.
This is our strategy as Avnet for customers who are designing things.
This is a very simple diagram, but there is a lot of technology in there. This is the Scope of Visible Things.
First level POC: Visible Things Starter Kit
This is the first starter kit put together last April. From our point of view, we tried to design hardware as close as possible to a production design as we could.
We have nothing against Raspberry Pi and nothing against Arduino; it’s perfect for makers.
What we are trying to do for makers, is allow them to take their reference design to large-scale deployment, ready as a production design.
That’s the philosophy of the hardware.
Then out of the box you you connect over Bluetooth Smart and the gateway and then there is an an app you download from the app store, you configure the data gateway, the SSID and password and connect with your router. So you configure the local connection, and then automatically the sensor connects through the gateway up to the cloud, publishing MQTT messages onto the IBM cloud.
Out of the box within a few minutes you have an end-to-end solution, which is really good for proof of concept. It allows the user to get to market quick, by getting their technology demonstrated.
Visible Things Industrial Starter Kit
So now we’ve done another kit. Why? A number of reasons.
We decided to add a lot more connectivity, so there is some industrial connectivity on there; CAN, industrial Ethernet, power over Ethernet.
We’ve added NFC, and there is still WiFi and Bluetooth on board.
The previous kit was great for proof of concept but it was very fixed in terms of functionality. You couldn’t develop on it.
So when our customers wanted to go to the next step, they had to completely take the technology apart.
This one you can go a step further, because there’s an RTOS on there, it’s a Renesas Synergy operated platform. It has a display and so lends itself to developing applications.
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