Connected devices at the edge present a major challenge for IT decision makers in the age of Industry 4.0. How can you manage thousands of Operation Technology (OT) network endpoints without significant investment in software development time? The cost of developing a custom internal management solution can be astronomical. Many companies believe that the development cost can’t be justified. Consider this: Instead of spending hundreds of thousands or maybe even millions of dollars developing and maintaining your own device management platform, why not invest in an existing one? Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers a suite of services for edge applications, designed to streamline your time to market. Using OnLogic and AWS Greengrass can help you to effectively manage your endpoints in a scalable way.
What is AWS Greengrass?
AWS Greengrass is an Amazon Web Services (AWS) product designed to bring the power of the AWS cloud to edge devices.
AWS allows those devices to:
- Respond to local events in real-time
- Operate independently of a network connection
- Leverage AWS cloud connected services
It does all that while operating securely with the end-to-end encryption that AWS provides. Using local hardware like OnLogic’s line of AWS Greengrass certified PCs brings the power of the cloud to connected devices at the edge.
How does AWS Greengrass Work?
AWS Greengrass works by using a locally deployed AWS IoT Greengrass Core, in our case an OnLogic Greengrass PC, as a local data aggregator for your connected devices, sensors, or other local connectors. The Greengrass core communicates to local devices in their native protocol such as OPC-UA, LoRa, or Zigbee using AWS IoT Connectors.
Data is sent back to the cloud via MQTT, a lightweight messaging protocol, and then routed through AWS IoT Core, an AWS managed service for managing your device connections to the cloud. From there, you can easily connect to AWS Services like Amazon S3, EC2, or Sagemaker depending on your application needs.
How Greengrass and AWS Cloud Services could be used for Smart City Projects
Let’s say you are the supervisor for a city road system managing traffic systems looking to improve traffic flow using data management. To reach your project goal to reduce congestion, you plan to deploy a series of AWS Greengrass-enabled embedded computers to interact with connected devices at the edge. For example, using local sensors and other devices out in the field to make smarter, more informed decisions.
Our first stop is looking at intersections. By deploying a Greengrass-enabled PC, we can use local cameras to detect the number of cars waiting at an intersection and have traffic lights act in real-time on that data using machine learning inferencing. Sending data back to the cloud to further train our ML model can further improve device functionality.
The application processes the data locally on the device. That means we only transmit the processed data to the cloud instead of a raw data stream. This saves you money on transmission costs. Additionally we can run the system offline if needed so even with intermittent WAN connection we can still have all of our systems running.
Leverage Smart City Data in the Cloud
Next let’s stop at our command and control center to see how we can leverage the AWS cloud with the data we’ve created. Using AWS Lambda will allow us to create, test, and run code without provisioning and managing servers. We can then update our runtime Lambda functions on our Greengrass devices all without needing to do any additional update.
We can use AWS IoT Analytics process, organize, and route data while making it available to other AWS services for use in applications like AWS Quicksight for data analytics.
Have 3rd party applications you want to tie into as well? OnLogic and AWS have you covered. We can leverage partners like EdgeIQ to add further functionality to your project.
What is EdgeIQ and how does it tie to Greengrass?
EdgeIQ is a platform designed to manage the lifecycle management and orchestration of your connected devices. OnLogic has partnered with EdgeIQ to bring a line of EdgeIQ-enabled embedded PCs to serve your application. EdgeIQ’s device lifecycle management allows you to onboard and provision devices with zero-touch deployment for EdgeIQ-enabled devices to automatically configure and boot on power-up. Whether you have 1,000 or 1,000,000 connected devices at the edge, EdgeIQ allows you to Monitor and Update devices all from a single pane of glass application to view all of your connected devices.
EdgeIQ also leverages data and application orchestration to help manage information flow for your Edge applications. Whether those Edge applications are built from the ground up or utilizing existing (such as AWS Greengrass), EdgeIQ can help seamlessly tie into those platforms. Using Greengrass can reduce development time by 90% and EdgeIQ natively integrates with AWS, Azure, or your private cloud.
So how can we leverage EdgeIQ as part of your traffic management system?
Back to your Smart City project, When your technicians go out onsite to install an OnLogic-enabled EdgeIQ PC for our Greengrass application, all they need to do is plug in the PC, log into their AWS account and take advantage of zero-touch provisioning to automatically deploy software, Greengrass, and Lambdas. After this simple installation, they can manage a connected device’s uptime. That means they can react in real time to device wellness using EdgeIQ’s built in tools. Now, we can centrally manage everything from your traffic control center. Your project goals can be accomplished while reducing costs and improving operating efficiency.
Why use OnLogic’s Industrial Computers as part of your Connected Edge Solution?
A traditional tower PC is not designed to survive in a typical environment at the edge of your network. Inside a NEMA enclosure at an intersection for a traffic project is no place for a tower PC. Neither is a direct mount on drilling equipment in the Oil Sands of Alberta or on a mountain cell tower. These edge locations would expose your system dust, temperature, shock, vibration, variable input power, and other non-ideal conditions. Even if your conditions are ideal, you will still want an incredibly reliable PC. OnLogic’s line of Industrial and Rugged PCs are the ideal hardware solution for AWS Greengrass or EdgeIQ – a great fit for your next project. We build all our PCs to order. Do you need an internal 4G modem for remote connectivity? Serial ports for legacy device communication? We’ve got you covered for that – and more.
Watch our OnLogic Live – IQ at the Edge with AWS
We’ve invited our friends from EdgeIQ and Amazon Web Services (AWS) to talk about the challenges of the modern factory. Managing dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of devices at the edge is possible. Using IoT orchestration solutions at the edge and in the cloud, you can manage device networks of any size in a single pane of glass. The event was informative and entertaining and is available to watch on demand.
Watch OnLogic Live On Demand
Ready to connect your devices at the edge with AWS Greengrass? Contact our technical sales team today, or explore our online store.
Note: Originally posted on September 10, 2020, updated on May 13, 2021.