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James Butcher, IOTech Product Manager

IOTech are excited to announce the release of Edge Xpert 1.6. This is a significant new product release for a number of reasons but I wanted to highlight in this blog about how version 1.6 includes the initial availability of Edge XRT.

What is Edge XRT?

Edge XRT is a new IOTech product we are launching and is the first real-time edge computing platform for the Industrial IoT. Aimed at real-time industrial process automation and embedded microcontroller applications, XRT enables ultra-low latency, high frequency data processing in a powerful edge computing platform. Edge control systems can utilize XRT to make key data-driven decisions within the deterministic timeframes demanded by time-critical IoT applications. We designed XRT to be a fully integrated and complementary extension to EdgeX Foundry, the leading open source edge computing platform. XRT now makes EdgeX the only IoT edge platform capable of supporting the full spectrum of secure hard and soft real-time IoT edge computing needs, and I think our users will really like this new capability.

Edge XRT Delivered with Edge Xpert

Edge XRT will shortly be available as a standalone product, but our first delivery of XRT is as part of this Edge Xpert 1.6 release.

To step back for a moment, Edge Xpert is IOTech’s commercial implementation of the EdgeX Foundry platform and so, as per the EdgeX architecture, includes a set of so-called Device Services that directly interface with each edge protocol technology. For example, there are Device Services for Modbus, BACnet, OPC UA, MQTT, Zigbee and BLE, to name a few. With the release of Edge Xpert version 1.6, each Device Service will be embedded with XRT technology adding a whole new set of features and making them smart device subsystems in their own right.

Edge XRT-Enabled Device Services

When embedded within an Edge Xpert Device Service, XRT can be configured to apply its own local filtering, perform decision making and run pluggable analytics or control algorithms all within the context of a Device Service – that is before the data is even passed to the other Edge Xpert services. This means Edge Xpert can provide higher frequency and lower latency control over edge devices than was previously feasible.  All the processing can be done within the Device Service itself, really close to the actual edge devices!

Advanced OT Connectivity

Another key aspect of the Edge Xpert 1.6 release is the first availability of new industrial Device Services that add support for EtherCAT, PROFINET and CANbus systems. Only available from IOTech, these advanced connectors enable the integration of a large number of industrial systems to Edge Xpert. Having these new Device Services as XRT-Enabled means users will be able to integrate to an extended range of industrial systems and support their low-latency deterministic processing requirements.

The EdgeX “Fuji” Release

As well delivering Edge XRT-enabled Device Services and support for the above new OT connectors, Edge Xpert 1.6 provides commercial support for the latest enhancements delivered by the EdgeX Foundry “Fuji” release.  New capabilities delivered in Fuji, now supported in Edge Xpert include:

  • Improved security features including the safe storage of microservice secrets in isolated secret stores and improved PKI management
  • Store and Forward functionality supporting the holding and re-transmission of data during periods of northbound disconnection
  • Improved Application Services and an SDK for easy addition of new northbound endpoints
  • Benefitting from greatly improved EdgeX Foundry unit and black box testing

Great credit goes to the team for bringing together so many new features in this new release and I’m looking forward to hearing how they are deployed by our customers and partners.

Check out the latest product information on the Edge Xpert webpages and download the software for a free trial! 

Posted: 17th Jan 2020


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