Pull the datasheets from the websites, compare features, price and select your carrier data plan. For a single point in time application, this can make perfect sense. We have all seen the rapid evolution of products and services that use data gathered from edge devices, often connected via cellular, to deliver improved efficiency, cost savings, and optimized asset management.
Consider instead the router’s ability to give you that return on investment over an extended period of time. What is your total cost of ownership? Does your router include free firmware updates, long term free technical support? As your network changes, can it adapt to host applications that reduce your data usage and data costs or are you faced with a rip and replace scenario? More than ever, decisions you make to build your network today have to be made with tomorrow in mind.
Greater than the sum of its parts
Finding a correlation in the natural world
The Relevance to Intelligent M2M and the Industrial Internet of Things
With SWARM intelligence, an edge device does not have to be a single physical device, with implicit limitations on interfaces, resources and expansion. Instead, it can be made up of a number of discrete physical devices, with each one contributing its interfaces and processing capabilities to the collective. Together, these individual devices can then be viewed, in architectural and functional terms, as a single entity.
This approach solves the scalability problem which has been the “elephant in the room” when discussing previous edge architectures. Doing so results in a quantifiable reduction in the total cost of ownership of an edge SWARM compared to other current solutions.
Five ways SWARM Intelligence reduces cost of ownership
Conventional edge devices are typically either relatively limited in their programmability providing, for example, simple scripting support, or may require detailed user programming that requires a high level of familiarity with the device and its underlying hardware and software structure. SWARM devices support both scripting and detailed programming, but dramatically reduce the time and risks involved in business logic development by providing fully rewireable services, coupled to an ontology engine that allows services to be broadcast throughout the SWARM. User programming becomes, to a much greater degree, an exercise in the binding of trusted services and user modules, while also allowing for the extension of the available services and modules for inclusion in the local SWARM.
The generation of local business intelligence is further simplified by the provision of an internal continuous query engine, allowing users to filter and enrich underlying data passing through the SWARM by invoking calls using a comprehensive high level query language which includes the concepts of both time and number bound operations.
This combination of features dramatically reduces the time and risk involved in the development and deployment of the business logic, analytics or other user programming required at the edge. This shortens the overall time to revenue for systems based on SWARM.
Adding future interfaces and resources
A SWARM edge is already future proof. If a new interface is required, or if a new edge application calls for more processing power, memory or storage resources, additional nodes with the necessary features can simply be added to the pre-existing SWARM, with no effect on any of the existing interfaces or the applications built upon them. As new classes of device emerge, the SWARM will absorb and incorporate them, thus increasing the overall capabilities of the collective.
This means that deployed devices can be sized for the known requirements at the point of deployment, without risk to the investment being made at the time.
Managed device infrastructure
A SWARM reports the status of connected devices and allows for the download of user programs to both individual devices and groups of devices. User programs are deployed in protected containers within the edge devices, and no user program can negatively impact services, interfaces or programs that are running outside of those containers. If a user downloads a program that contains bugs, the program itself may crash. But the edge device remains operational, and the user can remotely recover the situation.
SWARM devices also include the ability to support “zero touch” provisioning, automatically contacting a central server to obtain their initial configurations and user modules on initial power up. To bring an unconfigured SWARM device into service, the device need only be physically installed and switched on. This reduces the number of operational spares needed to support a system, as standard SWARM devices can be substituted without any pre-configuration process. Additionally, the installer needs no special skills.