Siemens Mindsphere has taken the lead as the open operating system for Industrial IoT, according to Forrester. The cloud-based platform is built to connect and integrate the entire manufacturing process, to give manufacturers the capability to implement a wide array of solutions like:
- Enhanced operational efficiencies
- Personalized customer experiences
- Closed-loop digital twins
Within Mindsphere, Siemens utilize a low code strategy for industries to accelerate development of applications, analytics and services for industrial usage. Lowering the barrier for industries entering their digital journey.
Siemens has also released a product family, the MindConnect connectivity devices, to simplify data collection from assets and sending to Mindsphere. For these devices Mindsphere offers the MindConnect Library to simplify development and connection to Mindsphere via the MindConnect API.
Mindsphere also offers the MindConnect IoT Extension, an integration layer that supports a number of protocols and allows nearly any IoT-Ready device from any vendor to connect with MindSphere.
Overall, the Mindsphere platform is a great tool for leveraging industrial data, centralized in the cloud. Integrating downwards to virtually any device or MES system, and upwards to any ERP or SCADA system.
Edge complementing Cloud for Industry 4.0
Mindsphere is built to integrate and process industrial data in the cloud. But when it comes to streaming analytics and actions of machine data at the shop floor, the edge of Industrial IoT, there are some use cases where Mindsphere needs complementary services. Especially if the use cases need custom code, Machine Learning or AI that is dependent on real-time data.
Furthermore the Mindsphere edge devices provided are built to send data to Mindsphere directly. Many industrial use cases of today contain real-time analytics and integration to other machines and systems on premise, here latency to the cloud and back are not viable.
A modern Edge Analytics and Integration platform will complement Mindsphere in these use cases, offering opportunities like:
- ML and AI at the edge Anomaly detection and process optimization, with cloud-based training, testing and deployment to any device.
- Deployment of custom code Distribute and run custom code in the edge. Machine to Machine Communication Real-time integration and communication between machines and assets on the factory floor.
- Edge Integrations Real-time integrations to on-premise systems and services.
The need for Flexibility, Independence and Smart Integrations
Industry 4.0 is all about opening up the full potential of machine and process data. It is a very complex task and needs a great deal of flexibility to be future proof. That is why it is wise to apply an independent abstraction and integration layer close to the machines, providing both the functionally we need today, and flexibility to address the opportunities we need for tomorrow.
That independent layer, in the edge, offers more opportunities than just sending data to an IoT platform. Avoiding vendor silos and bringing full flexibility to the plant owner. It is also called “Intelligent Integrations” - processing the data on its way from source to destination with advanced logic. Making the integration itself smart.
Edge Intelligence with Crosser
Crosser Edge Node
The Crosser Edge Node is a real-time engine that opens up for powerful integration and analytics close to the machines or assets. It is the runtime that executes all flows for collecting, transforming, analyzing, acting and integrating data. It integrates any machine, OT system, enterprise system or cloud. Enabling the Industry 4.0 concept for any plant or fleet of assets.
The Edge Node is complementing Mindsphere with intelligent integrations and a runtime environment for the ML and AI algorithms that need to be deployed at the edge in a custom gateway, PC or virtual machine.
At the edge, the Crosser node also enables:
- Intelligent integration between 3rd party devices and Mindsphere.
- Aggregation of multiple edge devices and data streams into Mindsphere or other systems and services.
- Enabling read and write capabilities to 3rd party PLC:s and edge devices.
Crosser Flow Studio
Flow Studio, the low code graphical interface, simplifies the design and development of intelligent edge deployments. This platform makes it very easy to connect and use data streams from any sensor, machine or system, ith pre-built connectors for the most common protocols and services (including Siemens S7 and Mindsphere).
The Flow Studio is built to simplify the testing and qualification phase for ML and AI projects, using real-life machine data for testing.
The Crosser Universal Connector is a great tool for creating reusable connectors to any cloud-based system or service using REST API:s. The wizard enables anyone in the organisation to contribute to a custom library of easy-to-use connectors.
The visual approach of the Crosser Flow Studio bridges the requirements of OT, IT and Data Science expertise within an IoT project. This complements Siemens’ low code strategy by offering low code abilities also for the edge.
Read more about how Crosser complements Siemens Mindsphere Low Code strategy →
Crosser Edge Director
The Edge Director enables life-cycle management of a deployed fleet of Edge Nodes with features for remote testing, deployment, upgrades, version control and monitoring of the intelligent edge. Thus, bridging Mindsphere’s operational gap for advanced analytics at the edge. This opens up for both plant owners and plant suppliers to enhance the power of the intelligent edge.
Following the flexible strategy and avoiding vendor silos, the independent edge layer can truly leverage a Siemens Mindsphere installation with Machine Learning and AI at the edge. The ability run the Crosser solution on premise - behind the firewall - is also a great complement to Mindsphere. Though the edge processing will continue to run, even without internet connectivity, buffering designated data for Mindsphere.
Following Siemens low code approach while opening up for any type of use case, these solutions work very well together.
Read more about Crosser for other cloud & IoT platforms →
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