IIC releases industrial-grade ‘cookbook’ for edge computing
The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) has issued a white paper with practical guidance on edge computing in industrial internet-of-things (IIoT) settings. The publication seeks to define edge computing architectural functions and drivers, highlight key use case considerations.
The IIC paper, called IIC Introduction to Edge Computing in IIoT, covers discusses standards, practices and characteristics best suited for addressing edge computing, crosscutting functions for edge deployments, and extensions to current models that expand the functionality of edge computing devices.
Notably, the report makes clear the ‘edge’ is a logical layer, rather than a specific physical divide, and its precise location is up for discussion. The report’s authors describe a “continuum of fundamental capabilities” for IIoT solutions, and place the edge anywhere along it according to the technical requirements of the individual solution.
“The business and usage viewpoints provide clues, while the functional and implementation viewpoints deal with the technical aspects. From the business perspective, the location of the edge depends on the business problem to be addressed,” the report says.
It also examines its principle benefits, versus centralised cloud computing, including its promise of improved performance, greater operational efficiencies, and greater compliance, security and privacy. It covers safety management, fleet tracking, predictive maintenance, and product traceability as crucial use cases for IIoT edge computing.
The white paper was written, in the main part, by a trio of IIC members from Cisco, Huawei and SAP.
Todd Edmunds, co-author and senior solution architect at Cisco, commented: “The IIC has been at the vanguard of the industrial internet since its inception, and edge computing has been an integral part of driving the transformational outcomes that go along with it. With the publication of this white paper, we provide practical guidance on where the ‘edge’ is and the key drivers for implementing edge computing. We also provide detail on edge computing architectures and real-world use cases.”
Mitch Tseng, co-author and ‘distinguished consultant’ at Huawei, said: “Almost every use case and every connected device on the industrial internet requires some sort of compute capability at its source at the edge. Oil rigs in remote locations have sensors gathering data but they need to be mindful of the challenges of data transmission because of bandwidth issues or the cost of transmission. The white paper is a first step in the development of an industrial grade ‘cookbook’ for edge computing.”
Lalit Canaran, co-author at vice president at SAP, said: “Organisations adopting an IIoT strategy need to understand what data is available, how to use it to drive industrial processes and how to orchestrate, manage and secure data. This paper and subsequent technical report will enable enterprises to unlock the full potential of the edge-cloud continuum and drive the business outcomes enabled by next-generation IoT devices, machine learning and AI.”
The IIC said it will follow the release with a technical report in the coming months with in-depth technical information.