The OPC Unified Architecture communication standard has been tremendously successful over the last years in the industrial automation space, but has a lot of beneficial functionality to offer for other vertical markets, as well.
Complete and seamless interoperability between devices is definitely the goal, when a company is transforming its business digitally and OPC UA is providing all to be a great asset in this context. We at Wechsler Consulting are supporting our customer’s efforts with architectural consulting and training. Being a corporate member in the OPC Foundation standards body enables us to be on top of the newest developments and decisions for this very capable and efficient communication standard. Due to this, we will be able to apply these, as fast as possible, in real world projects.
We have already started working on an “Getting Started” online course to help interested customers to jump start their OPC UA project. The currently available course preview is free and gives a first glimpse, on what is to expect, laying the groundwork to be successful with OPC Unified Architecture.
Microsoft is currently really pushing the envelope with its secure IOT connectivity and management solution Azure Sphere. Olivier Bloch and Caitie McCaffrey explain how the Security Service is used for on-boarding and updating devices in the episode below.
This is all quite exiting, because the infrastructure provided is great and can be used to register devices securely, but also to distribute OS as well as application updates. However, it is early and the user interface is well, an API. You can either leverage the CLI version or a REST API to be called from your management solution. This is great for the start, but as an IOT device manufacturer/end-user a device management SaaS offering related to Azure Sphere (can we call it Intune for devices?), would certainly have the potential to become a game changer in the IOT market.
We already have been talking about Azure Sphere in our recent posts and a Cloud News video earlier this year. Seems like momentum is building up around this very interesting technology, as Swiss company qiio presents the first Azure Sphere guardian module having mobile (up tp 4G), WiFi and Ethernet connectivity options.
This is definitely an important step for the Azure Sphere eco-system, as seamless connectivity is the essential ingredient for any innovative IOT scenario.
Cosmos DB is a document based database, which is a great asset especially for high-performance, high-availability solutions. If you have not done so, you should try out multi-master mode. It is a reliable solution to get rid of synchronization headaches by clicking a check mark to sync data between Azure regions. There are interesting features now newly available for Cosmos as Scott Hanselmann and Kirill Gavrylyuk show in this Azure Friday episode.
A new free tier is introduced, an automatic scaling feature called Autopilot and a 33% discount for multi-master accounts are announced, as well (https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/updates/cosmos-db-multi-master-promo/). The first two features are in pre-view, while the discount is valid right away. Important to know is that existing Cosmos DB accounts cannot yet be used to leverage the new features, due to the fact that the new stuff is limited to new accounts, yet. Obviously, this is going to change with GA. Autopilot RU cost rates are also a bit higher than normal ones, but you still should be able to be better off looking at the weekly or monthly average , if your application’s DB usage is not constantly spiking.
As a former Windows Embedded Standard expert and former embedded MVP, I watched the most recent episode of the IOT Show by Olivier Bloch on Channel 9 with quite some interest.
Seems like Yocto is filling the large gap, Windows Embedded Standard, as a configurable operating system for IOT devices, had left for Microsoft customers. With access to source one certainly gains some flexibility, but in normal project life build times matter and the construction kit approach of WES is, even today, not easy to match. However, it is great to see that there is a configurable OS solution out there, which is supported to some extent and with IOT Edge by Microsoft. Containerization, somehow, made the underlying OS commodity, anyway.
In any case, I want to recommend the IOT Show as a great source of information on the newest development in Azure IOT as well as Microsoft IOT efforts! Olivier is a great host and his guests are explaining complex stuff the easy way.