Industrial IoT

Tricloud can help your business take advantage of Industry 4.0 capabilities, by assisting your company in envisioning and implementing an Industrial IoT solution, which enables cost savings, new revenue streams and increased security.

Industrial IoT vs. IoT

IoT(Internet of Things) is a very broad concept, covering everything from wearable items, remote sensors, smart home devices and cars. As a subcategory of IoT is the concept of Industrial IoT (IIoT), where IoT is used in an industrial context.
IIoT is an enabler for Industry 4.0, where it opens the door for creating many new business and market opportunities. It can be said that Industrial IoT is an evolution of the classical distributed control systems (DCS), by taking advantage of the benefits that IoT facilitates. Enablers such as secure- and easy connectivity, lightweight setup and edge computing capabilities provide better flexibility, reduced costs and better competitiveness.

Tricloud can help companies facilitate this transition by providing deep technical knowledge and experience in planning, designing and implementing industrial IoT solutions, that can help realize new business opportunities, such as:

  • Increase machine utilization / optimize performance
  • Reduce maintenance costs
  • Improve security
  • Reduce infrastructure costs
  • Faster Time-to-market for changes and optimizations
  • Realtime monitoring
  • New revenue streams

The Intelligent Edge

Large scale IoT solutions potentially produce vast amounts of data, from a variety of sources like sensors, equipment and system integrations. One of the key problems is being able to ingest and process the data at the pace it arrives. IoT devices are often constrained by network latency and bandwidth limitations, and further complicating the task, data types are often very diverse.

An approach to optimizing data ingestion is to distribute computation. At the same time edge hardware is becoming increasingly powerful to perform complex processing, including the possibility to aggregate, pre-process, filter or enrich data. Instead of processing all data centrally in the cloud, computation can be distributed such that you bring it closer to the data source – to the edge.

An edge solution has several other advantages over traditional IoT solutions.
Latency and scalability: Processing data at the edge reduces latency since data must travel a shorter distance. Additionally, it provides the opportunity to carefully select what to send back to the cloud. By only sending the data that you really need, you potentially reduce the volume of data drastically, as well as network bandwidth and cloud ingestion resources.

Privacy

Data captured by edge devices can contain sensitive information, such as video- or microphone streams. By processing data on the edge, it is possible to keep the sensitive data private, by only sending the anonymized result to the cloud. The sensitive data never leaves the device, which means that the risk of security breaches is reduced.

Offline operation

Another feature that edge applications provide is the possibility of autonomous operation. The key to obtain this is to reduce dependencies towards central systems by allowing data processing to run independently from cloud functionality. Machine learning models, tag configurations or other data that is required to perform the processing of data, can be stored directly on the edge device. This ensures continuous operation even during an outage in Internet connectivity. Data integrity is ensured by implementing two-way (up- and downstream) asynchronous communication, where data is buffered in the event of a network outage and forwarded (store-and-forward) as soon as the connection is restored. Autonomous and offline operation results in better uptime, and in the end, improved data quality.

Typical Edge applications could be:

  • Data collection / aggregation
  • Condition Monitoring (vibration, temperature)
  • Decision support systems (AI)
  • Video processing / detection

Tricloud provides off-the-shelf frameworks for data collection, time series aggregation and Python script integration, which drastically speeds up development. In addition, Tricloud has expertise in applying machine learning and computer vision technologies.

Security

Security is paramount when Cloud-enabling a device, machine or even an entire factory.
Tricloud builds systems based on software from Microsoft, that was designed with security in mind. By using industry standards and best practices in designing IoT security we ensure that assets are kept safe and communication uncompromised and private.


All communication between devices and the Cloud is confidential and tamper-proof by using TLS encrypted communication, where X.509 certificates provide authentication of the device. Communication is always initiated from the device, which means that devices have no Internet facing ports open, reducing the attack surface.


Our solutions support hardware level security TPM (Trusted Platform Module), which ensures that secrets on a device, like connection strings and private keys, are kept secret if a device is compromised.
Edge applications run in isolated environments (containers) within the devices, that have no direct access to the Internet, to ensure that the OT network (factory floor) is not connected directly to the Internet. Connectivity is provided through a security proxy.

Advanced analytics for automatic security monitoring and intrusion detection can be applied to detect any anomalies from each individual device and connected networks. In the event of a breach, the impact can be minimized by revoking privileges for a single device or group of devices.

Edge Hardware

Edge applications can be implemented on different types of hardware, ranging from small and simple System-on-a-chip (SoC) devices to embedded high performance devices and even existing server infrastructure.

At Tricloud, we have partnered up with a vendor of embedded hardware solutions, and can deliver many kinds of distributed processing solutions for different environments and in accordance to different standards (MDD, ISO13485, IEC60601 and IEC61010).

Development

Tricloud develops custom Edge solutions that meets the customers individual needs. Our solution accelerator framework reduces development time from months, or even years, to a matter of weeks. Using our production grade high-quality framework reduces risk and time to market substantially.

Tricloud uses Azure IoT Edge Runtime (https://azure.microsoft.com/da-dk/services/iot-edge/) for implementing Edge Solutions, in combination with IoT Hub and Device Provisioning Service. Azure IoT Edge Runtime supports different hardware setups, ranging from small and simple embedded devices to reusing existing server infrastructure.

Managing devices at scale

Handling devices at scale presents an entire new set of challenges. Handling thousands of devices require a high degree of automation and carefully thought out management strategies.

Provisioning of new devices must be automated as well as maintaining device configuration. Devices may have different configuration depending on customer, location or other properties. At the same time, devices can be distributed physically, which can trigger legal restrictions, latency issues or other challenges that require the use of multiple data centers.

Microsoft provides a Device Provisioning Service (DPS) that allows provisioning and management of devices at scale, which is supported by the Tricloud solution accelerator framework.