Introduction to Edge Xpert

The Internet of Things (IoT) has driven the need to process data in or near the actual devices; edge computing supports this by gathering and analyzing data locally. Small servers placed between endpoints and the Cloud allow you to drive data away from the Cloud, or central server, providing real-time analytic capability and reducing costs. This approach maximizes the efficiency and effectiveness of industrial and residential automation.

Edge computing allows you to:

  • Collect real-time data from devices in remote locations
  • Dramatically reduce the amount of data transmitted to a central data center or to the Cloud
  • Quickly analyze data
  • Cut costs

Edge Xpert uses the latest stable release of the Linux Foundation’s open source EdgeX Foundry to provide a commercial-quality, commercially-supported solution that is suitable for both Industrial and Consumer IoT edge applications. This approach minimizes any risk of open source adoption and is key to users deploying in mission- and business-critical systems.

Edge Xpert is a flexible, platform-independent, highly-scalable and industrial-grade edge software platform. It is supported by a rich ecosystem of microservices that can quickly and easily deliver interoperability between things, applications and services, across a wide range of use cases.

Based on a loosely-coupled microservices architecture, the Edge Xpert platform allows independent microservices to:

  • Run on a single host
  • Be distributed across discrete hardware devices
  • Be written in different languages, such as Java, Go Lang, C, and C++
  • Communicate using industry-standard protocols, such as HTTP-REST, MQTT and ZeroMQ

You can use the supplied microservices, or replace any microservice with a third-party microservice to suit your requirements.

Edge Xpert supports the integration of multi-protocol Operational Technology (OT) devices and sensors (including Modbus, BACnet, and OPC UA devices) and IT or Cloud endpoints (including the Microsoft Azure IoT Hub, Google IoT Core and AWS IoT Platform) through normalized Device and Export Service APIs.

Edge Xpert Layers

Edge Xpert consists of the following layers:

  • Device Services. This layer interacts with the devices. The data collected from the connected devices is converted and sent to the Core Services layer and other layers in Edge Xpert. Device Services can be run independently on other types of edge device, such as a programmable automation contoller (PAC), programmable logic controller (PLC) or smart sensor. Device Services are provided for some industry-standard protocols, such as MQTT, BACnet and Modbus. Device Service SDKs are available for the C and Go programming languages, allowing you to develop your own Device Services
  • Core Services. The Core Services and deployment framework have been architected to be as hardware- and OS-agnostic as possible, while providing the ability for Edge Xpert to be tailored to the hardware and OS of choice as required. This layer separates the Northbound (Cloud or Enterprise system) and the Southbound (IoT devices) layers at the edge. Core Services include the following:
    • Core data. This microservice is a persistence repository and associated management service for data collected from the Southbound devices
    • Command. This microservice is a service that facilitates and controls actuation reuqests from the Northbound to the Southbound
    • Metadata. This microservice is a repository and associated management service of metadata about the devices connected to Edge Xpert. It provides the capability to provision new devices and pair them with their owning Device Services
    • Registry and Config. This microservice provides other Edge Xpert microservices with information about associated services within Edge Xpert and microservices configuration properties
  • Supporting Services. This layer comprises a range of microservices that provide the following:
    • Analytics and intelligence on the edge and services for local decision-making in low-latency mission-critical systems
    • Intervals and events for data collection
    • Alerts and notifications
    • Logging
  • Export Services. This layer provides a set of microservices that do the following:
    • Allow off-gateway clients to register interest in data from the Southbound devices
    • Specify where and when to deliver data
    • Specify the format and manner in which to deliver the data

Edge Xpert Key Features

Edge Xpert has the following key features:

  • Professionally-packaged commercial-quality distribution delivered as native Linux (.deb and .rpm) packages. For further information, see Installation
  • World-class support with guaranteed service levels
  • Edge Xpert Management GUI to support IoT project development and deployment. For further information, see Edge Xpert Manager
  • Device Services: Out-of-the-box support for integration with multi-protocol OT device/sensor endpoints including: BACnet, Modbus, MQTT, REST/HTTP, OPC UA, Zigbee, Bluetooth, Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and Global Positioning System (GPS)

Note

Some protocols are supported on specific hardware only.

  • Additional Services: Included 3rd party software to support your projects
  • Export Services: Out-of-the-box support for integration with Enterprise IT Systems or Cloud endpoints including: Microsoft Azure IoT Hub, Google IoT Core and Amazon Web Service IoT Platform

Further Information

The following sections provide more useful information on edge computing and its application: