The Industrial Internet of Things FEATURE NEWS

Harnessing the Power of IoT: Industry Leaders Gather Around Tridium's Niagara Framework and Growing Partner Ecosystem

By Matthew Vulpis April 07, 2022

The number of IoT-connected devices globally reached 11.7 billion in 2020, and a new Gartner research expects the total number of IoT devices to exceed 25 billion by the start of 2022. IoT and Industrial IoT (IIoT) is continuing to flourish for many reasons, including operating efficiencies, product innovation, new service revenue opportunities, improved safety and security, and simply better living in homes, offices, and entire communities and cities.

This week in Charlotte, North Carolina, hundreds of innovators in the IoT ecosystem gathered at the 2022 Niagara Summit was held, bringing together a full community of master systems integrators, building engineers, application developers, building owners, and facility managers. The Niagara community is growing steadily, and Tridium (an independent company under the Honeywell umbrella) invests annually in this gathering, providing Niagara partners an opportunity to demonstrate their solutions; this year's event is focused on the ideas of making commercial buildings, data centers, and industrial plants more intelligent, cyber-secure, and energy-efficient.

The Niagara Framework is a comprehensive software infrastructure that addresses the challenges of creating device-to-enterprise applications. "It serves as a central console for connecting real-time operational data to the people and systems that manage workflows in smart buildings, data centers, industrial processes, smart cities, and other aspects of business enterprises," according to Tridium's website.

Niagara provides the critical, cyber-secure device connectivity and data normalization capabilities needed to acquire and unlock operational data from device-level and equipment-level silos, Tridium also explains. "The control engine at the core of Niagara enables users not just to monitor data flows, but to create logic sequences that effect controls programming based on data observation."

Systems integrators use the data management and user presentation applications built into Niagara to manage histories, schedules, and alarms. SI's create custom user interfaces for end-users with the tools built into Niagara or purchase graphical UI templates and components from the many Niagara partners that specialize in graphics and dashboarding.

The event featured more than 70 guest speakers over the three days, with speakers coming from industries of all types. Among the guest speakers was Allen Salmasi, Chairman & CEO at Veea Inc., a New York-based leader in integrated smart edge connectivity, computing, and security technologies. Salmasi spoke about how advancing the adoption and innovation of IoT technology can open new opportunities and bring about new applications.

Salmasi started his presentation by discussing the current state of edge computing technology and what are the key imperatives driving the growth.

"The cloud round-trip delay is too long for latency-sensitive applications and for many use cases; data generated by loT devices must be collected, stored, and processed at the edge for privacy, security, or regulatory reasons," Salmasi said.

He also explained that edge computing solutions that are implemented through a multitude of point solutions have traditionally required separate installations, integration, management, and maintenance, all of which can be very expensive for an enterprise.

"Industrial Edge computing solves the problem of extracting data from legacy industrial assets like PLCs, DCSs, robots, and other controllers and the challenges of interfacing with hundreds of protocols, vast numbers of connected sensors, disparate data sources, and incompatible data formats that exist in the wild," Salmasi explained in this talk. "5G changes everything when it comes to bridging edge computing and cloud applications. With wireless, super-fast, and extremely secure connectivity, with better in-building coverage, and the ability to support IoT and Industrial IoT use cases across a campus environment or an entire city, we are just at the threshold of innovation."

Salmasi shared that the private 5G market was already valued at USD 1.7 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 35.7 percent over the next five years, with the market value predicted to be USD 8.3 billion by the end of 2026. This stunning forecast growth, he said, made sense given the natural ROI for enterprise digital transformation across many use cases is clearly understood.

"A private 5G network offers bespoke 5G coverage and greater control of the capacity and the network operations within the private operator's premises," Salmasi said. "Unlike public 5G, a private 5G network can be reconfigured by its operator to allow different levels of priority access when certain network activities are deemed more business-critical than others."

Salmasi also explained that private 5G networks allow operators to completely or partially isolate end-user devices from MNOs' public networks. This is a valuable security feature that reduces threats by limiting exposure to public interfaces when necessary, such as with personal data, intellectual property, or other sensitive activities.

However, many enterprise applications must remain on-premises for business, legal, and technical reasons, and enterprise networks that connect these applications to users and devices are straining under increasing workloads. For enterprises to be able to meet the desired level of technology in today's digital world, converged private 5G networks can address the challenges, Salmasi said.

"A platform solution that combines private 5G network solutions, with distributed edge computing and Wi-Fi / IoT connectivity at the Device Edge, addresses enterprise challenges," said Salmasi. "In combination with Wi-Fi 6 mesh and IoT connectivity, we can now offer ultra-low latency, capacity, coverage, privacy, and reliable network capabilities required by enterprise customers for a wide range of edge device types and use cases."

The VeeaHub is a Smart Computing Hub product platform with a unique software architecture and a comprehensive range of wired and wireless connectivity, supported by an extensive cloud-based network management, monitoring, and maintenance services.

The Niagara Framework is a comprehensive software infrastructure that addresses the challenges of creating device-to-enterprise applications, serving as a central console for connecting real-time operational data to the people and systems that manage workflows in smart buildings, data centers, industrial processes, smart cities, and other aspects of business enterprises.

"When we combine VeeaHub and the Niagara 4 platform, we go beyond traditional control systems," Salmasi explained. "Together, we offer a complete building management solution – an advanced automation infrastructure that functions predictably and efficiently at the edge, with hardware, software, and a platform as a service that supports standards-based wired and wireless protocols while addressing the need to orchestrate resources deployed at the far edge of the network."

"There's a wide range of use cases for VeeaHub & Niagara," Salmasi concluded, noting that opportunities exist outside buildings, across campuses, and entire communities, including rural communities. "For example, we can support greenhouses with environmental sensors, and automated real-time management and controls on the inside, and can support precision agriculture in the fields and herd management for ranchers with LoRaWAN approaches. When it comes to manufacturing, sensors can analyze efficiency and safety at every step of the supply chain, from factory floors to warehouses, to the delivery process. In one city alone, there are over 20 technologies that can be leveraged to optimize and enhance the experience, from public transport to parking to utilities, security, and more. The key is how we can automate deployments and monitor and manage the diversity far more efficiently – this is where the combination of VeeaHubs and the Niagara framework can drive extraordinary value."

Edited by Maurice Nagle
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