Simplifying industrial M2M applications with open source

Open source embedded platform built on Linux for M2M.

Machine-to-Machine (M2M) communications and the Internet of Things (IoT) hold enormous potential for industrial and manufacturing companies. Gartner forecasts that, all told, global businesses will derive nearly $2 trillion in value from IoT by 2020. But the biggest impediment to realizing that potential is the complexity involved in developing connected applications. It’s no longer enough merely to plug a device into a connected gateway. Now, industrial companies need intelligence at the edge to remotely collect and process data and sophisticated embedded applications. To add to the complexity, industrial solutions already encompass a dizzying array of standards, protocols and certifications in an environment dominated by highly specialized applications.

In today’s marketplace, that specialization extends all the way through the device. Most industrial applications are custom-built end-to-end, designed from the ground up for a specific vendor’s proprietary hardware and chipset. The result is that a solution to connect an air compressor, for example, is an entirely different application – with its own separate design, development, integration, deployment, and ongoing management – than a solution connecting an assembly line robot located a few feet away on the same factory floor.

All this complexity makes developing industrial M2M solutions an expensive and time-consuming proposition. OEMs must dedicate R&D resources, assemble and integrate basic application components, and test and validate each solution separately. This requires developers with highly specialized expertise and little ability to port that expertise, much less the code itself, from one project to another. It’s a far cry from an environment like smartphones, where universal software platforms like Android allow companies to develop applications once, using standardized tools and components, and run them virtually anywhere.

This requires that OEMs building advanced industrial M2M applications provide solutions that are:

  • Ready to Run, with all solution components pre-integrated, pre-tested, and validated to run on wireless modules and connect to cloud platforms.
  • Ready to Build, with an open-source application environment that includes all the building blocks, APIs, and industrial interfaces developers need to create embedded applications, pre-tested and fully customizable.
  • Ready to Connect, with “out-of-the-box” integration that makes it easy to deploy, manage, and upgrade devices in the field over mobile, wired, or wireless networks.

Introducing Legato

Built on a fully-tested Linux distribution, with a tightly integrated application framework and a suite of pre-integrated and validated M2M tools, the Legato embedded platform provides everything OEMs need to simplify the process of building and deploying connected applications.

By providing a fully tested Linux distribution for embedded applications, Legato empowers developers to draw on the large and growing body of industrial tools, protocols, and drivers created by the worldwide Linux community. Developers don’t need to recreate each embedded application from scratch; they can use pre-existing, pre-tested components and radically accelerate development timelines. And with built-in integration with the AirVantage M2M Cloud platform, they can deploy, scale, and connect those applications with enterprise systems much more easily. The result is that industrial OEMs can focus their time and resources on developing innovative applications, instead of continually reinventing basic application building blocks.

Legato in Action

Legato goes beyond basic connectivity to industrial assets by allowing OEMs to easily control large numbers of sensors and various types of devices and equipment. Developers creating an industrial application to control air compressors, valves, robotics and other equipment can draw on a large set of APIs. This includes pretested and validated solutions from Sierra Wireless, as well as protocol-specific components developed by the large Linux community.

Since Legato applications are built on a Linux kernel with validated open-source components, OEMs can continually change and upgrade their solution. Legato’s open-source platform also means OEMs are not locked into a single vendor. They can change interfaces, hardware components and cloud platforms at will without having to rebuild the application.

Unlocking Industrial Innovation

Industrial companies and their OEMs and suppliers stand to realize enormous benefits from the IoT. With the solutions like the Legato open-source platform, they can simplify the complexity of embedded industrial applications, and build comprehensive device-to-cloud solutions much faster.

Click here to learn more about Legato.