The Internet of Things (IoT) is everywhere in the news today. Everyone talks about how fast it is growing, how valuable it will be to a wide range of industries, and what an enormous impact it will have on the world economy. But if you’re the CEO of an industrial company with hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in equipment isolated in legacy infrastructure, you might not be so eager to hop aboard.
Fortunately, three companies—Intel, Wind River Systems, and McAfee—have figured out a way that legacy equipment can stay right where it is and be connected to the IP-based world of the IoT. Through a simple IoT gateway designed to handle a wide range of connectivity protocols for analog and digital data, these companies are enabling a wide range of industries to connect devices to the Internet to start taking advantage of all the valuable data buried in their equipment.
In this post, I’m going to look at how two member companies of the Intel® Internet of Things Solutions Alliance (Intel® IoT Solutions Alliance), Advantech and Portwell are using the robust hardware and software stack of the Intel® Gateway Solutions for the Internet of Things (Intel® Gateway Solutions for the IoT) to help industries connect legacy infrastructure. Using their solutions, companies are collecting and analyzing data in ways that enable greater operational efficiency, big data solutions, and new services for business transformation (Figure 1).
The Intel® Gateway Solutions for the IoT
Intel Gateway Solutions for the IoT—the result of an Intel collaboration with McAfee and Wind River—provide pre-integrated, pre-validated hardware and software building blocks for gateway devices. These gateway solutions are designed to connect legacy and new emerging systems, enabling seamless and secure data flow between edge devices and the cloud.
Intel Gateway Solutions for the IoT do this by integrating key technologies and protocols for networking, embedded control, enterprise-grade security, and manageability—all while providing a software stack for running application-specific software (Figure 2). By enabling secure, scalable compute gateways using standards-based interfaces, they enable industries to securely and seamlessly connect, aggregate, filter, and share data from the edge to the cloud with confidence.
Built on open architecture, the Intel Gateway Solutions for the IoT include:
· A proven software stack including the Wind River Intelligent Device Platform (IDP) XT 2.0* development environment and McAfee Embedded Control* security technologies
Wind River Intelligent Device Platform (IDP) XT 2.0*
The Wind River IDP XT enables developers to quickly build enterprise-grade intelligent systems for a large number of industrial applications. It provides an integrated, pre-validated software stack with a wide range of hardware components, libraries, and tools that support:
· Communications and Connectivity. Supplies drivers for a number of hardware vendors’ products and software for wireless and wired links, including cellular 2G/3G/4G, Bluetooth*, Serial, USB, Virtual Private Network (VPN), Wi-Fi* Access Point, the MQ Telemetry Transport (MQTT) messaging protocol, and ZigBee*2.
· Manageability. Enables long-term secure remote manageability through support for industry-standard interfaces, including Open Management Alliance Device Management (OMA DM), Technical Report 069 (TR-069), and web-based configuration interfaces.
· Security. Provides strong security to help protect the device and data from boot to operations and management. Wind River IDP XT supports comprehensive device protection, from a hardware root of trust through boot and software loading, and offers a wide array of protocols and services, including secure boot, whitelisting with McAfee Embedded Control, secure storage, and more.
· Runtime Environments. Supports applications written in a variety of environments, including Lua,* Java,* and OSG*, to enable portable, scalable, and reusable application development.
McAfee Embedded Control*
McAfee Embedded Control maintains system integrity and automates the enforcement of software change control policies through:
· Application Whitelisting. Automatically creates a dynamic whitelist of the allowed code on the platform. Once the whitelist is created and enabled, the system is locked down to the known good baseline. No program or code outside the authorized set can run, and no unauthorized changes can be made. This shields applications and related binaries at the kernel level—protecting files on disk or in memory, helping prevent malware and zero-day exploits, and minimizing the need to patch the environment.
· Change Control. Allows only policy-based changes that are expected and authorized. The software monitors files and prevents unexpected changes while logging any attempts. Using the data collected, one can verify that no changes have been made to critical system files, directories, or registries, and then report these findings to regulatory officials to help meet compliance requirements.
Using Intel® Gateway Solutions for IoT to Drive Industry Innovation
Members of the Intel IoT Solutions Alliance are proving to be quick in customizing versatile industrial solutions based on the Intel Gateway Solutions for the IoT. In this post, I’m going to look at just two solutions: an Intel Atom processor E3826-based example from Advantech and an Intel Quark SoC-based example from Portwell, both Premier members of the Alliance.
Measuring only 4.6 x 5.6 x 1.4 inches, the Advantech UTX-3115 IoT Gateway is a fanless mini-size system supporting a operating temperatures from -20 ~ 60° C, and rich I/O expansion (Figure 3). Designed for IoT applications such as factory automation, the unit delivers high performance and low power through an Intel Atom E3826 processor that is 3X faster and delivers up to 3X better energy efficiency than its predecessors. For connectivity, the UTX 3115 offers one serial port, which can be connected to sensors or control devices for data aggregation, dual gigabit LAN ports, 1 USB 3.0 port and two USB 2.0 ports. In addition, it includes one half-size miniPCIe slot and one full-size miniPCIe slot to support Wi-Fi and 3G/4G proprietary WWAN networks.
In addition to providing all the Intel Gateway Solutions for the IoT’s flexibility in connecting legacy devices, the UTX-3115 is bundled with Advantech SUSIAccess. This remote device management software allows efficient remote monitoring, quick recovery and backup, and real-time remote configuration. It includes system recovery powered by Acronis and system protection powered by McAfee, enabling users to easily monitor, configure, control and even recover multiple systems through a single remote console.
The Portwell PI-81A0 IoT Gateway is another Intel Gateway Solutions for IoT solution, but it uses the ultra low-power Intel Quark SoC X1000. With a maximum thermal design power (TDP) of just 2.2 watts, this new SoC is ideally suited to small footprint, headless designs in thermally constrained environments (Figure 4). The 15mm x 15mm SoC features a 32-bit, single-core, single-thread Intel® Pentium® processor instruction set architecture (ISA)-compatible CPU operating at speeds up to 400 MHz.
Using the Intel Quark SoC X1000, Portwell has designed a versatile gateway with several highly-integrated connectivity features. These include dual 10/100 Fast Ethernet, a USB 2.0 host port, two USB 2.0 device ports, and an 8-channel analog-to-digital convertor input interface. A WiFi or wireless module is optional.
Immense Industrial Potential
Designed to securely connect edge devices to the cloud, the Intel Gateway Solutions for IoT is ideal for a vast array of industrial applications. By capturing and analyzing data from legacy and emerging sources, it opens up new opportunities for accelerating business transformation through innovation and efficiency by enabling the collection and transmission of data from the edge to the cloud.
Contact featured members:
Solutions in this blog:
· Internet of Things and Big Data - Top Picks (blogs, white papers, and more)
· Security - Top Picks (blogs, white papers, and more)
· Manageability - Top Picks (blogs, white papers, and more)
· Interoperability - Top Picks (blogs, white papers, and more)
· Industrial - Top Picks (blogs, white papers, and more)
Roving Reporter (Intel Contractor), Intel® Internet of Things Solutions Alliance
Associate Editor, Embedded Innovator magazine