Today, the Linux Foundation launched yet another open source group — this one relating to the Internet of Things (IoT) and edge computing. The new group is EdgeX Foundry, and its goal is to standardize industrial IoT edge computing.
According to the Linux Foundation, IoT efforts are fragmented, and they need a common IoT framework. In addition, the sheer quantity of data that will be transmitted from IoT devices is driving adoption of edge computing, where connected devices and sensors transmit data to a local gateway device instead of sending it back to the cloud or a central data center.
“There were a group of companies that had come to us with a repeated problem; they had devices with different protocols, and they wanted them to interoperate,” said Philip DesAutels, senior director of IoT at The Linux Foundation.
Last autumn, the Linux Foundation began working on a project it called IoTX to address these issues. It also began working with Dell, which had created its own FUSE software for IoT. The new EdgeX Foundry open source project combines the work done by these two groups. Dell is seeding EdgeX Foundry with its FUSE source code base under Apache 2.0. The contribution consists of more than a dozen microservices and more than 125,000 lines of code.
Nearly 50 companies, including Dell, Cumulocity, and VMware, have joined EdgeX Foundry as initial members. Their software and products comprise a marketplace, offering interoperable IoT components that can run on any hardware or operating system and with any combination of application environments.
Interoperability between community-developed software will be maintained through a certification program.
The Linux Foundation will establish a governance and membership structure for EdgeX Foundry. A governing board will guide business decisions and marketing and ensure alignment between the technical communities and members. The technical steering committee will provide leadership on the code and guide the technical direction of the project.
The IoT Ecosystem
It seems like every day we learn of a new IoT platform that’s been created by big companies such as GE Digital (Predix); Verizon (ThingSpace); and Cisco (Jasper).
Asked how EdgeX Foundry will relate to all these IoT platforms, DesAutels said, “Most of these platforms presume something is sending data to them. Where they lack is in the last mile to the device. There’s a gap in the infrastructure. EdgeX Foundry is a great way to feed data to one of these platforms.”
Besides not competing with vendors’ IoT platforms, EdgeX Foundry does not plan to create a new standard. It aims to unify existing standards and edge applications. It is collaborating with relevant open source projects, standards groups, and industry alliances to ensure consistency and interoperability. Groups it named in today’s announcement include:
- Cloud Foundry Foundation — Maintains an application platform for cloud computing;
- EnOcean Alliance – Innovates an IoT wireless standard;
- Linaro IoT and Embedded (LITE) Group — Uses open source software for IoT and embedded applications;
- Object Management Group — Creates standards for distributed computing;
- ULE Alliance — Promotes ULE radio technology.
ETSI’s Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) group was not named in today’s announcement. But DesAutels said there are a lot of IoT and edge computing groups, which EdgeX Foundry is in the process of reaching out to.