ClearBlade* IoT Connectivity and Insight

worker using iot technology

Unified connectivity delivers cross-system access to operational data

“ClearBlade* was built to cut through the problems technology leaders face when developing IoT solutions for their organizations.” —Eric Simone, founder and CEO, ClearBlade

Executive Summary

Data-driven insight derived from the Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly changing the competitive and operational landscape for a wide range of enterprises and industries. But achieving modern levels of connectivity across devices, systems, protocols, legacy equipment, and multiple locations presents complex challenges from interoperability to security. ClearBlade offers an innovative middleware platform designed to seamlessly connect the disparate things that comprise IoT. Running on Intel® architecture from the edge to the cloud, the ClearBlade Edge Platform* is leveraging local compute, artificial intelligence, and actionable visualizations while integrating with any enterprise system—all from a single platform.

Challenges

Today’s enterprises and vertical industries face a competitive imperative to access insight provided by data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI). At the same time, they often face complex challenges trying to get data from disparate systems and equipment with diverse protocols, standards, and life-cycles. Legacy systems were typically not designed to talk to the internet or each other. Vendor lock-in can delay modernization and increase costs. Merging OT and IT can require changes not only in infrastructure, but in processes.

Gartner notes that “while most IoT projects involve a complex mix of technologies, from communications to analytics, the foremost challenges for many enterprises remain connecting to heterogeneous assets or products and extracting the information in a way that enterprise stakeholders can use.”1

Flexibility becomes increasingly important, as the sheer volume of data continues to grow and the types of questions data needs to answer evolve. Security is paramount, as connectivity increases risk to IP and operational data. Older devices and equipment were designed to operate behind a firewall and use older security protocols that are ineffective against modern cyber threats. Likewise, databases may be older and less accessible for the kinds of near-real-time decision-making and responsiveness that are fast becoming a priority for organizational growth. Data aggregation needs to occur across devices from a multitude of vendors, all without being tied to a single cloud provider.

As important, streaming data to the cloud can limit processing speed and delay actionable intelligence, as well as impact the bottom line—as large data sets are costly to transmit over the network.

Solution

The ClearBlade Edge Platform* provides a single IoT middleware platform that operates in the cloud, on premise, and at the edge. It brings a breadth of capabilities to allow enterprises and industries to take advantage of IoT connectivity in a way that meets their specific business and operational requirements.

With ClearBlade, organizations gain heterogeneous connectivity across legacy and modern systems, equipment, and devices to access and analyze data in near-real time. The resulting insight can create operational efficiencies, reduce costs, inform new business models, and generate new services and revenue streams. The Edge Platform eliminates the complexity of connecting multiple devices from disparate vendors, and can aggregate data without being tied to a specific cloud provider.

Because the platform can run AI and algorithms either at the edge or cloud—and adjust this as needed—it enables a highly flexible infrastructure. The entire stack can run on an edge device, such as an Intel® NUC or Intel® architecture based gateway, or on any on-premise or public cloud, including Microsoft Azure*, Google Cloud Platform*, and Amazon Web Services (AWS)*.

Gartner notes the increasing importance of purpose-built middleware for solving IoT challenges: “IoT platforms have emerged as the critical middleware tool to connect to the asset and extract data. They are part of a broader IoT solution that will include elements such as communications, security, advanced analytics gateways, and business applications.”1

Eric Simone, ClearBlade’s founder and CEO, concurs and highlights the importance of edge intelligence: “In order for us to move to the next generation and take advantage of all IoT has to offer, technology has to become local again. Edge computing platforms encompass sensors that collect data (such as RFID tags), an on-site data center, and the network that connects them all to power local computing. Data processing happens at the source, far away from the cloud—at the edge. Edge computing networks can still connect to the cloud when necessary, but they don’t need the cloud to function. Edge computing wins out over cloud processing when time-sensitive events are happening.”

With ClearBlade and Intel, massive amounts of data can be gathered from devices, sensors, cameras, and equipment despite myriad protocols and standards; data sets can be merged and normalized; and algorithms can run and talk back to the edge for near-real-time responsiveness. A user friendly interface displays data in a visual, mobile device– ready format to help speed informed decision-making. The entire solution works with an organization’s standard business processes and database. Legacy equipment can be integrated via new sensors.

In short, by delivering a software-defined IoT solution, organizations gain the ability to ingest all data points in a common understanding so devices can talk to each other and act at the edge, as well as put this data into storage for deeper analysis.

ClearBlade services infographic
ClearBlade Edge Platform* delivers middleware on Intel® architecture-based systems—providing the key layer connecting devices, applications, algorithms, and the database

ClearBlade Edge Platform* Benefits

Simplified IoT

  • Synchronize, configure, manage states, and deploy IoT systems with one common software stack
  • Consistent platform for cloud, on-premise, and edge
  • Visualize and interact with your data

Scalable

  • Connect to any device and any protocol
  • Integrate with any legacy system
  • Communications network agnostic

Flexible

  • Fully extensible architecture
  • Tune your solutions without changing your architecture
  • Connect as many devices as you need, using whatever protocols they require
  • Adapt and update in near-real time

Open platform

  • Open solution framework with APIs and SDKs
  • Open visualization solution

Streamline development

  • Reduce development time up to 80 percent2
  • Helps avoid the risks and costs inherent to building systems from the ground up
  • Fully customizable via prebuilt components and a robust library of API calls
  • Define your own business rules, logic, and orchestration

Support business growth

  • Digitize your products and create new business models to deliver unique competitive advantages, new revenue streams, improved margins, and stronger customer relationships
  • Build near-real-time data-driven business models and differentiate in the market with “connected products as a service”
  • Designed for enterprise-class scalability and security to accelerate time to market for IoT solutions

Sample Use Cases

The ClearBlade Edge Platform* and Intel® architecture support a wide range of industries’ use cases

man using a tabletSmart factories: Implement Industry 4.0 with seamless smart operations by connecting people, places, and things to MES, ERP, and CRM business systems. Reduce costs by precise monitoring, visualization, and operational controls. Monitor and react to working conditions, industrial processes, environmental emissions, and storage conditions.

modern skyscrapersSmart buildings: Optimize resources via near-real-time data aggregation across disparate commercial building systems. Connect traditional building management systems (BMS) with HVAC units, thermostats, sensors, lighting equipment, security devices, elevators, and escalators using a single, flexible interface.

transport ship loaded with containersSmart freight and logistics: Improve safety and management of transportation resources via secure, near-real-time status, location, and disposition of assets.

speeding trainSmart rail: Improve lone-worker safety with man-down alerts, wayside monitoring, asset tracking, and predictive maintenance via near-real-time positioning and monitoring.

technicisan working with roboticsPredictive maintenance: Optimize maintenance schedules and costs based on both near-real-time operational parameters and historical performance metrics.

How It Works In Brief

The Linux* based ClearBlade Edge Platform runs autonomously, independent of network connectivity, helping to ensure resiliency and security. Data can be stored, modified, analyzed, managed, and routed at the edge. ClearBlade’s trademarked, communications-agnostic Auto Sync* technology guarantees environments are always up-to-date. The platform is fully extensible with a suite of proven components and integrations to deliver solutions quickly and at scale.

Connectivity is provided via MQTT, REST, and Sockets, along with prebuilt patterns for Bluetooth® low energy*, Zigbee*, Thread*, and more. Both user and device states are synced with IoT systems as devices go online and off line.

Business rules can be set to trigger and react to events and analyze results locally via business logic. The Edge Platform, with its small footprint and no external dependencies, powers activities at the IoT edge, including near-realtime business rules, filtering, online and offline modes, and messaging.

ClearBlade’s products are developer friendly and feature fully open APIs and SDKs, industry-leading security practices, reusable enterprise-grade solutions, device life-cycle management, customizable visualizations, and a future-proof architecture that seamlessly integrates new technologies and legacy systems.

Putting security first

Because it is connecting the unconnected, IoT inherently introduces new security vulnerabilities. As we’ve seen, the risks are caused by factors including a mix of devices, older security protocols and databases, a more complex ecosystem with products from diverse vendors making up solutions, and distributed vs. centralized systems. To address this highpriority issue for organizations, ClearBlade brings additional security via its Edge Platform, as well as working closely with its industry partners such as Intel and third-party security experts like Digimarc to help ensure best practices are followed. The moment a device or system connects to the platform (even when that device or system is not itself secured), authentication and encryption begin and an audit trail is established.

For developers working in the ClearBlade system, applications have to go through numerous security checks. Platform security policies are clear and provide an ongoing view of controls and access.

  • Industry-leading security practices
  • Run securely in any public or private cloud
  • Role-based authentication and authorization for both devices and users
  • All data traveling over public networks is encrypted and trusted
  • Encryption, authentication, and authorization of API access, including tokens and certificates
  • Helps ensure that security profiles, application state, and infrastructure are all kept up to date as new vulnerabilities are identified, fixes are made available, and new technologies enter the market

Ship at loading dock with containers

The Foundation for IoT

ClearBlade solutions provide one example of how Intel works closely with the IoT ecosystem to help enable smart solutions based on standardized, scalable, reliable Intel® architecture and software. These solutions range from sensors and gateways to server and cloud technologies to data analytics algorithms and applications. Intel provides essential end-to-end capabilities—performance, manageability, connectivity, analytics, and advanced security—to help accelerate innovation and increase revenue for enterprises, service providers, and industry.

Conclusion

With ClearBlade, companies can ingest, analyze, adapt, and act on any data in near-real time and at extreme scale. Together with Intel, ClearBlade is enabling data acquisition, analytics, and sharing for enterprises and industries by delivering a convenient platform with the flexibility to adjust and adapt to changing business needs and requirements.

About ClearBlade

Headquartered in Austin, Texas, ClearBlade edge computing software solutions enable organizations to rapidly engineer and run secure, near-real-time, scalable IoT applications.

ClearBlade was named a cool vendor in the 2018 Gartner Cool Vendors in IoT Platforms report profiling “cool vendors that can help enterprise architecture and technology innovation leaders design, secure, integrate, and build IoT solutions.” ClearBlade
ClearBlade Logo

Learn More

For more information about ClearBlade, please visit ClearBlade  or contact us at info@clearblade.com.

For more information about Intel® IoT Technology and the Intel® Internet of Things Solutions Alliance, please visit Intel Internet of Things (IoT).

Footnotes

  1. Cool Vendors in IoT Platforms, Alfonso Velosa et al., Gartner, May 1, 2018, Cool Vendors in IoT Platforms.
  2. Based upon a customer analysis by ClearBlade of dual-stream connected product development.

Intel® technologies’ features and benefits depend on system configuration and may require enabled hardware, software or service activation. Performance varies depending on system configuration. No computer system can be absolutely secure. Check with your system manufacturer or retailer or learn more at Intel® Internet of Things (IoT).

Cost reduction scenarios described are intended as examples of how a given Intel® based product, in the specified circumstances and configurations, may affect future costs and provide cost savings. Circumstances will vary. Intel does not guarantee any costs or cost reduction.

For more complete information about compiler optimizations, see our Optimization Notice.