Advantech Embedded and Network Computing Group has delineated its forward looking strategy for European markets, developing from industrial cloud computing, through intelligent systems, to the ubiquitous Internet of Things.
With the Industrial Automation and Industrial Communications markets evolving to encompass Cloud Computing, Advantech’s Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems strategies and solutions will be the major drivers for forthcoming developments. Advantech’s five year goal is to take the strategies from their initial articulation in the Far East, North America and elsewhere, to a global audience aided by local support in throughout Europe.
According to IDC, the worldwide market for cloud computing is predicted to grow from $18billion to $42billion (€14.4b to €33.5b) in 2012, bolstered by its adoption in the industrial systems segment. Advantech has long-recognised that cloud computing would be the direction of future industrial development and has developed solutions specifically designed to help its business partners construct their own industrial cloud.
Advantech designed the first industrial cloud services for embedded applications. These services include intelligent auto-detection of devices and integrated on-demand services, to help system integrators streamline and simplify software installation and system maintenance when they build private clouds for their own industrial applications.
“Intel is leading the intelligent systems transformation with much of our technology already woven into the fabric of our daily lives, from retail kiosks to intelligent telecommunications networks,” said Simon Wilyman, EMEA Director, Channel and Broadmarket, Embedded Sales Group (Advantech supply partner). “By working closely in collaboration, Advantech is able to develop first-to-market embedded solutions across multiple segments including digital signage, healthcare and industrial.”
Key attributes of intelligent systems
Key elements of the industrial cloud offering are: identification; manageability; interconnectivity; security protection. These elements align strongly with Microsoft’s vision of intelligent systems, which identifies six key attributes as essential to deliver sustainable business value – identity, security, connectivity, manageability, analytics and user experience.
Windows Embedded general manager Kevin Dallas has assured partners like Advantech that existing Microsoft skills could be harnessed to deliver future intelligent systems that would work with multiple devices and could span the network and into the cloud. For Advantech the focus is on vertical applications; and business models and services, as the company refocuses on this definition of intelligent systems.
Advantech’s approach for the market is to develop hardware and software for the major sectors in which it is engaged (traffic management and environmental monitoring, for example) in collaboration with Microsoft, Intel and channel partners that are also engaged in these markets. Software development will allow hardware and operating systems to cooperate more fluently in typical industrial cloud solutions, and also provide easier maintenance and services for the complete system.
Going further, Advantech has begun the process of preparing the company, its product lines and sales channels, to meet the demands of this new intelligent world. It embraces the Internet of Things as a key concept driving company development for the coming years.
Ubiquitous Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT), or Intelligent Planet, goes beyond the familiar people-to-people networks (social media, for example) or machine-to-people information (for example, accessing public transport information in real-time) by collecting and controlling data anywhere anytime and deriving intelligence from these data.
At Advantech, the concept of IoT is disseminated throughout the business and has led to the development of products and services that will enable end users to collect, use, manage and control the flow of information and data. As precursors to this new technology, RFID and M2M have been applied in the same way, but IoT goes much further. Automation devices backed by cloud intelligence will gather data from sensors buried in the environment and many other places to auto-manage our industrial systems and urban areas. Automation will shift from open automation to intelligent automation with always-on interconnected and pervasive intelligent devices that keep systems and services running smoothly.
With ubiquity still some way in the future, Advantech is nevertheless preparing the path by embedding IoT features in relevant products, so that they will be IoT-ready as soon as customers and their systems are. As IoT grows in popularity, the second stage is to enhance product value. For example, intelligent sensors with self-judgment features can enable sleep modes when the power supply is low. The third stage is the so-called “ubiquitous network” where the Internet of Things is built into in all things and complete object-to-object omnipresent communication has become a reality.
The recently launched Advantech online Solution Forum (ASF) has live seminars and online trade shows featuring leading automation products and technology highlights.