SAN FRANCISCO, June 7, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- ThingLogix, a provider of IoT solutions and services optimized for the serverless IT environment of Amazon Web Services (AWS), has extended the functionality of its cloud-based solution development and management platform Foundry to incorporate AWS Greengrass. In collaboration with AWS, ThingLogix has announced the general availability of Foundry for Greengrass to coincide with AWS' announcement today of Greengrass becoming generally available for AWS customers.
As the Internet of Things (IoT) has evolved from an academic concept to a deployed reality, first to limited-scale experimental deployments, and then to full-scale field deployments, IoT technologies have increasingly become the backbone of many essential business processes and business models for companies in multiple industries. Many IoT deployments rely on constant Internet connectivity to deliver accurate and timely information on the status of device ecosystems and individual devices, detect anomalous incidents, assess situational contexts, and take timely, rules-based actions to respond to events or proactively create desired outcomes. In many field settings, constant connectivity is either not possible or cannot be guaranteed with a degree of confidence required to support stringent business, technical, or compliance requirements. In such situations, only connected devices that can operate autonomously and with only periodic or sporadic connectivity can allow IoT solutions to be viable.
With these challenges in mind, AWS developed Greengrass — a software solution that extends AWS cloud capabilities to local devices, allowing them to act locally on the data that they generate while still using the cloud for management, analytics, and durable storage. Greengrass allows connected devices to collect and analyze data closer to the source of information, securely communicate with each other on local networks, keep device data in sync, and operate even when Internet connections are intermittent or latency is a significant factor. Greengrass works in tandem with another powerful AWS solution, Lambda, which runs code on virtual servers from Amazon EC2 in response to events. Greengrass and Lambda are critical enablers of market-facing IoT applications, insofar as Lambda imparts intelligence to deployed connected devices and Greengrass allows those devices to properly operate autonomously and with each other, even in the absence of constant connectivity. IoT application developers can use Greengrass to author serverless code in the form of Lambda functions in the cloud and conveniently deploy them to devices for local execution of applications.
Leading organizations in multiple industries have embraced cloud computing and adopted AWS as their trusted provider of critical compute, networking, and storage services. As the world's leading cloud infrastructure and services provider, AWS delivers a wide range of powerful, enterprise-grade capabilities that help businesses and other types of organizations succeed in a world increasingly governed by digital technologies. Organizations seeking to create differentiated, high-performance, high-availability IoT solutions are wise to select AWS for core infrastructure and services, as well as specialized functionality.
While many organizations that have embraced cloud computing and IoT technologies have adequate internal capabilities and resources to develop and deploy IoT solutions on AWS, they often neglect to consider the implications of managing such solutions across their entire lifecycle, the scale and resource challenges of introducing additional solutions to the portfolio, the time-to-value associated with managing these activities, and the opportunity cost associated with engineering the underlying AWS architecture vs. engineering the market-facing IoT application itself. Organizations must evaluate the implied time and resource commitment over the full lifecycle of an IoT solution and address the question of which activities generate the greatest value.
ThingLogix developed Foundry — a cloud-based IoT solution development and management platform — to address these challenges. Foundry quickly and reliably brings enterprise-grade IoT solutions to market, not just once, but on a sustainable basis, with full-lifecycle management as a standard feature. With its platform-as-a-service (PaaS) architecture and its tight integration with AWS infrastructure and services, it is a 100% serverless, cloud-based solution. Organizations using Foundry experience the full benefits of the AWS cloud — infinite scalability, simple and modular extensibility, high availability, high performance, security, and cost efficiency — while also accessing a dynamic platform purpose-built for the unique requirements of creating and managing IoT solutions.
ThingLogix Foundry and AWS Greengrass are complementary solutions that enable powerful, differentiated, scalable, and extensible IoT solutions in environments where connected devices perform critical tasks but may not always have Internet connectivity. Greengrass moves computing power from the cloud to the edge, allowing AWS Lambda functions and AWS IoT functionality to operate locally on virtually any connected device. Devices interact with each other without needing to connect to the cloud, enabling continuous operations even when intermittent connectivity or high latency are factors. Events occurring locally on or near a device, messages sent from the cloud, or messages sent from other sources can trigger the device to execute rules-based actions. Greengrass also allows secure, over-the-air updates of software versions and Lambda functions. Together, these features eliminate the complexity involved in programming and updating IoT devices by allowing customers to use AWS Lambda to run code locally on virtually any connected device in the same way they do on the AWS Cloud.
Foundry further reduces the complexity inherent to IoT solutions by abstracting the task of working directly with the underlying AWS solutions, including Lambda, AWS IoT, and even Greengrass itself, not to mention all of the other AWS solutions that often contribute to the functionality of a cloud-based IoT solution. With Foundry, developers have a simplified framework for creating logic to power their devices, while Greengrass moves this logic from the cloud to the device (i.e., the edge of the network). By simplifying the way that development teams work with AWS and providing the basis for holistic IoT solutions, Foundry extracts the developer from the tedium of writing custom code to make AWS work, and transforms the developer role into something more akin to a creative artist blended with a system administrator. Foundry allows developers and product teams to focus on making their IoT solutions better.
"ThingLogix Foundry simplifies the process of developing, deploying, and managing IoT solutions using AWS Greengrass, by obviating the need to write custom code, optimizing the functionality of underlying AWS products and features (AWS IoT, AWS IoT Rules Engine, AWS Lambda), and providing full-lifecycle management capabilities for an IoT solution across all deployed devices," says Carl Krupitzer, Chief Executive Officer of ThingLogix. "We have built AWS Greengrass into Foundry so that our customers will have the ability to utilize Greengrass to power their market-facing IoT solutions," he adds.
Some representative use cases that highlight the capabilities of Foundry for Greengrass include:
Agriculture: greenhouse temperature management
- Standard approach: sensors in the greenhouse relay temperature information to the cloud, where a program decides whether and how many vents to open or close to regulate temperature
- Potential risk: if connectivity to the cloud is lost, plants in the greenhouse may suffer from too high or low a temperature
- With Foundry for Greengrass: the "open/close" and "number of vents" logic resides directly on the vents, which operate properly with or without constant Internet connectivity
Utilities: water leak detection
- Standard approach: a "smart" water meter detects that water is running outside of normal business hours, and sends this observation to a cloud-based program; the program infers that this off-cycle water usage indicates a probable leak
- Potential risk: intermittent Internet connectivity or loss of connectivity results in valves left open during an actual leak, or in valves being shut during a "false positive" resulting from interrupted connectivity
- With Foundry for Greengrass: water detection logic is embedded directly in the valve that regulates water flow, enabling water usage detection, diagnosis of a probable leak, and action to shut off the valve, even without Internet connectivity
"Foundry provides an environment that allows developers to manage all of the pieces required to utilize Greengrass," notes Rob Rastovich, Chief Technology Officer of ThingLogix. "Developers working directly with Greengrass quickly get to the point at which they have to ask 'Where do I even go to write a Greengrass function?', "How do I even test my solution?', and "How can I test my solution not just once, but over and over again?'. Foundry addresses those questions by providing a simplified way to interact with Greengrass and other IoT-relevant AWS solutions."
In January of 2017, ThingLogix began conducting field tests of Foundry for Greengrass with customers in several different industry verticals. The tests focused on the efficacy of Foundry at orchestrating IoT functionality with Lambda, AWS IoT Device Shadows, and Greengrass local messaging capabilities. Successive rounds of testing demonstrated that Foundry for Greengrass was highly effective and delivered a positive user experience. These early successes in limited-scale field deployments led to two large multinational corporations deciding to adopt Foundry for Greengrass for large-scale IoT deployments in their respective industries, consumer electronics and specialty chemicals. In both cases, full-scale solution deployment is expected to be completed in 2H 2017. Due to competitive considerations associated with their respective strategies for IoT, neither company has authorized ThingLogix to disclose the company name or details about their IoT-related activities at this time.
"Foundry provides a simple and efficient way to deploy Lambda functions right to the edge," notes John Mack, Chief Marketing Officer of ThingLogix. "Just as AWS is completely serverless, so is Foundry, because we architected it directly on top of AWS. Foundry allows developers to model the solution in the cloud and then deploy it to the edge, allowing devices to operate with minimal cloud connectivity but still empowering businesses with complete control over their IoT environments. This is a robust and powerful capability, and has the potential to spur IoT innovation in a wide variety of industries and use cases."
As of today, Foundry support for Greengrass is available as an option for all Foundry customers.