Real-time problem solving within the manufacturing industry requires the simplification and acceleration of application development and deployment.
Eurotech, an internet of things (IoT) solution enabler, delivers edge hardware integrated with software and services to help manufacturers to connect their assets to the cloud and make them smarter by leveraging computational power and even artificial intelligence (AI) at the edge. The functionalities in Eurotech’s solutions allow manufacturers to directly monitor and control their industrial equipment, assets, processes and events, and thereby improve decision-making across their factories and supply chains.
“By combining its experience in the operational technology (OT) world with Microsoft’s expertise in cloud applications, Eurotech provides a unique and robust value proposition to the manufacturing market,” says Robert Andres, chief strategy officer at Eurotech. “It extends the global Microsoft Azure ecosystem for both customers and system integration partners, enabling them to create and use edge and cloud computing solutions for the industrial IoT with- out compromising OT requirements when it comes to solutions in the field.”
Eurotech offers application-optimised Edge Gateways with a fully developed edge stack, including a managed Linux operating system and a powerful IoT Edge Framework with Everyware Software Framework (ESF). This ensures simple and flexible southbound connectivity towards field assets and seamless northbound connectivity to Microsoft Azure cloud services.
“ESF significantly reduces the complexities involved in developing edge applications and enables customers and system integration partners to effectively build, deploy and manage IoT solutions in demanding environments while directly interfacing them with the powerful and versatile cloud services of Microsoft Azure,” says Andres.
The partnership between Eurotech and Microsoft enables seamless integration between the OT and IT domains for easier application development and deployment, and asset management.
“Customers can choose whether to leverage this powerful Edge software functionality natively on Eurotech Gateways or in a containerised implementation, depending on what best suits their specific application requirements,” says Andres. “Our ESF edge software natively integrates a connector towards Azure IoT Hub services, to aggregate, compute and send data collected in the field to IT applications in the cloud. Customers might require a different integration with Microsoft Services to happen directly at the edge. So, Azure IoT Hub and Azure IoT Edge can run as containers on top of Eurotech’s edge hardware leveraging a container orchestrator.”
“Providing customers with Edge Gateways that are certified to operate with Azure IoT Hub or directly with Azure IoT Edge, with the benefits offered by a complete edge stack, reduces the amount of data being sent to the central cloud services, and thus also associated costs,” says Andres. “By deploying edge computing where the data is generated and needed, availability is increased and latency is reduced.”
The company’s Edge Gateways can also be directly managed from the Microsoft Cloud through Azure IoT Edge. However, Eurotech recommends the deployment of Everyware Cloud for customers that require full life cycle management, extended logging, system health monitoring and advanced remote management.
Manufacturing companies can benefit from the integration flexibility and the no-code edge development associated with Eurotech’s ESF, significantly simplifying the interfacing of a large number of different device types, sensors and industrial protocols with Microsoft Azure.
“The first requirement for customers who want to develop edge IoT applications is the ability to communicate with operational technology protocols,” says Andres. “ESF comes with a wide range of supported field protocols, like for example Modbus, OPC-UA or S7, addressing the development and connectivity challenges encountered in the OT realm. With minimal configuration and set-up, ESF users can interface with field devices and protocols and efficiently publish data to Azure IoT Hub in minutes.
“The Eurotech IoT offering ensures the efficient consolidation of data streams coming from multiple sensors, actors and other field assets, allowing simultaneous processing and sensor fusion at the edge. Azure offers the possibility to work with digital twins, which are digital models of assets and products generated based on the data collected. Our customers can work with those digital models directly on Azure, automatically generated, to improve situational awareness, gather important insights and create business value.”
Eurotech is working continuously with Microsoft to ensure robust and secure IoT solutions. Just recently, Microsoft and Eurotech, in a collaborative effort with Infineon and GlobalSign, published a blueprint for secure, zero-touch onboarding with Azure. Eurotech now aims at delivering products that implement this blueprint to allow a secure and scalable deployment of IoT devices.
This article was originally published in the Spring 2022 issue of Technology Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.