Machine-to-machine (M2M) communications strategies and cloud computing are transforming embedded connectivity from an assortment of fragmented, proprietary technologies to open standards easily integrated into new designs. This new direction in M2M connectivity enables a wide range of applications and services by exchanging real-time data between remote devices, one or more central servers, and authorized third parties. In addition, these improved M2M solutions can reduce capital and operating expenditures, while creating opportunities for new and increased revenue streams. In part 1 of this series, I presented an overview of M2M communications requirements and focused on software and Intel-based hardware products available for the remote terminal. This second part covers the connectivity options for various applications and the cloud-based services available to simplify or eliminate M2M infrastructure.
The major goal of M2M communications is to combine real-time data from remote devices with enterprise applications to automate everyday company decisions in order to optimize business output and lower costs. For example, a major retail chain can collect and analyze remote data from warehouses, delivery vehicles, and outlets to accurately manage inventory, reduce costs, and quickly respond to unexpected demand. With the new, low-cost data collection platforms described in part 1, the amount of streaming data can easily overwhelm existing enterprise infrastructure as the number of endpoints grows. To deal with these new data collection and analysis challenges, Intel has teamed with several M2M companies to create development kits to simplify the data filtering and reduce or eliminate burdens on existing processing systems.
For example, ILS Technology recently introduced the deviceWISE M2M Application Deployment Kit offering customers the tools to create secure and scalable M2M applications for critical infrastructure in the commercial and industrial markets. The kit combines the company’s configurable deviceWISE M2M Gateway software, a gateway hardware platform, and a developer cloud subscription (See figure 1). The M2M aggregation gateway features an Intel® Atom™ processor for rapid prototyping of configurations requiring wired, wireless, serial, Wi-Fi, and ZigBee interfaces. The software includes a device connection library, edge processing, and event engine allowing customers to create workflows to translate the raw data into intelligent events for secure transmission to applications residing in the cloud or at customer locations. Customers can readily implement monitoring and predictive maintenance applications that exchange data from remote devices to existing enterprise applications on a global scale with no custom programming required.
Eurotech’s Everyware Device Cloud (EDC) is another M2M system that enables designers to develop cloud-based solutions to exchange data between distributed devices and business applications (See figure 2). The EDC consists of several easy-to-use building blocks including the Everyware Cloud for data access and management, the Everyware Software Framework (ESF) based on the Eclipse Integrated Development Environment, the Wind River Linux operating system and development tool chain plus Eurotech’s Intel Atom-based family of hardware platforms that I covered in part 1of this series. Eurotech offers a broad range of standard interfaces and application programming interfaces (APIs) that make the EDC viable for a variety of business applications. The EDC is also available through a device-as-a-service (DaaS) purchasing model in which the customer pays a predictable monthly fee for the data and services provided with no upfront hardware or software investment required.
Both of these M2M development kits and tools rely on Intel processors to capture, process, and stream real-time data from distributed terminals into the cloud for delivery to enterprise or third party analysis computers. The low, cost, low power architecture of the Intel Atom fits a wide range of these applications including those destined for extended temperature environments, or long life embedded applications, or even those with enhanced graphics requirements. The combination of the Intel® Atom™ processor at the data collection end and powerful software features from Eurotech and ILS Technology could be just the ticket for your next M2M development project. If you are starting or have completed a cloud-based M2M embedded design, please offer your suggestions and share your experience or questions via comments with fellow followers of the Intel® Embedded Community. You can keep up with related technical articles and product announcements at the Embedded Computing Design archives on cloud connectivity.
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Eurotech and Wind River Systems are Associate members of the by Intel® Embedded Alliance. ILS Technology is an Affiliate member of the Alliance.