UNLOCKING THE EDGE

Any industry. Any system. Any process.

The IoT.nxt big thing

By Steven Meyer, editor, SA Instrumentation and Control October 2017, IT in Manufacturing

Better, cheaper, faster. The digital technologies of the fourth industrial revolution have disrupted markets around the world, but many companies cannot afford just to rip and replace their existing systems in an effort to stay competitive. Luckily, they do not have to. Local technology innovator IoT.nxt is one step ahead of the game and has set itself up to partner with any enterprise wishing to take advantage of the efficiency of digitisation. All without having to discard any existing legacy systems or the valued operational know-how accumulated over decades.

“We see ourselves in the business of digitalisation, rather than as system integrators,” explains IoT.nxt’s chief operations officer, Terje Moen. “Our speciality is incorporating all the different moving parts and components of an organisation into a single integrated view designed to give managers the support they need to make better business decisions in real-time. Working in isolated silos is simply no longer economical.”

Early days

IoT.nxt evolved out of a company that was contracted to work on a project which required the integration of multiple complex subsystems – 16 in total. The team found it tough going. They needed to engineer one common user interface across all of the platforms, but everything had to be developed from scratch. On completion, the power of what they had accomplished dawned on them, along with the understanding that there simply had to be a better way to do things.

Shortly thereafter, the seed company was sold to the firm of consulting engineers that had managed the original project. “This gave us the opportunity to refine our solution,” explains Moen. “We realised that what we had just done could easily be replicated across almost any organisation, but we had to have a common reusable infrastructure before we could offer this as a service to industry.”

In December 2015, IoT.nxt was founded to do exactly that. The solution – Raptor – looks unremarkable from the outside. It’s a deception. The modestly sized enclosure is jam-packed with all the functionality required to implement a successful Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) project. Moen describes Raptor as a combination intelligent field gateway, able to handle all device connections; a data manager that regulates the load as it is transmitted across the network; plus a translation platform, which incorporates all common industry standard protocols.

Raptor is an edge device that amalgamates the data from any number of disparate systems and orchestrates this data into the IoT.nxt platform and upstream systems, all the way up to the cloud.

Read more: http://www.instrumentation.co.za/9027a

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