Keep it simple: Secure cloud connections for smart products

Philip Hooker
Oct 15 · 3 min read

Learn, share and connect with thin-edge.io’s connected product community

Last year, IoT was considered to be important in 50% of all embedded projects for the first time, according to the EE Times Embedded Markets Study. This is a huge statement considering the heterogeneity of the projects: Split across hardware architectures, software environments, connectivity alternatives, with and without operating systems,…

However, the market’s drive for more sophisticated connected products is outpacing the embedded software developer’s ability to deliver them at the required cost, time-to-market and quality level. That means 58% of projects are being completed after their scheduled completion date regardless of the advances in development tooling and methodology. In fact, the first significant change in the size of the average embedded development team over the last five years has been the 200% increase of the non-typical embedded software resources — including those with connectivity and analytics expertise.

So, what’s the problem?

In developing connected products, several shared challenges need to be overcome.

Networks are unreliable, unsecure and, in some cases, expensive to use. This is a challenge to connected product manufacturers who need to ensure that their data is transferred reliably over these unreliable networks.

Connected products are built to a tight bill-of-materials which is optimized to be as price efficient as possible at production scale. This approach often results in bespoke builds which typically require specific software for the hardware and IoT platform combinations.

Hasn’t secure edge-to-cloud connectivity been solved already?

Of course, there are already solutions out in the market that solve some of these problems, like connectivity agents or SDK’s from cloud and hardware vendors. However, these only support their own specific platform, which imposes vendor lock-in. That might be okay for some enterprises but is not acceptable for most.

It is for this purpose that the lead contributors, ifm, Software AG, Nexus, ADAMOS and Inetum, combined their experiences securely connecting millions of IoT devices to the cloud to initiate the open source thin-edge.io project.

How open is open?

thin-edge.io is available under an Apache 2.0 license, so you are free to make it part of your own connected products, deploy it on your own hardware and run it next to your own software.

Anyone can contribute to this initiative, with the best way to do this via Github. Not all contributions need be code; they could be demos, suggestions, market insight, testing, etc. Check out the thin-edge.io website, YouTube channel, Twitter and Medium pages.

To enable more embedded software engineers and software developers to learn about, experiment with and contribute to the open source project, we are kicking off a regular series of interactive technology-focused community meetups.

thin-edge.io community meetup kick-off

The first thin-edge.io community meetup will highlight a range of interactive presentations from the thin-edge.io team and contributing partners. We plan to repeat the session over two days to cater for the demand in different time zones.

thin-edge.io Community Meetup #1 | Europe & Americas
Wed, Oct 27, 10:00 Washington DC / 15:00 London / 16:00 Berlin
Sign up!

thin-edge.io Community Meetup #1.1 | Asia Pacific
Wed, Nov 3, 12:30 New Delhi / 16:00 Tokyo / 18:00 Canberra
Sign up!

We’ll cover the following topics:

  • An overview of thin-edge.io
  • Technical deep dives into cloud connections, software management, and extensions
  • Contributor sessions on security, industrial protocol adapters, streaming analytics, and more

Check out the full agenda in the event details.

I will look forward to seeing you there.

thin-edge.io

- The open edge framework for lightweight IoT devices