Cisco this week unwrapped details of its collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS) that would enable companies to move data at scale from across various IoT devices to the cloud, without worrying about converting the data into consistent format.
The two companies have agreed to integrate the Cisco Edge Intelligence software and the AWS IoT Core cloud service, allowing customers to process, communicate with and manage thousands of IoT devices across their industrial network.
“AWS and Cisco customers are looking for ways to easily and securely connect devices to the cloud,” said Michael MacKenzie, general manager, IoT Connectivity and Control, AWS. “Cisco has developed a simple end-to-end solution to collect data from the industrial edge and move it to AWS IoT Core at scale. Instead of spending time on custom integrations, Cisco Edge Intelligence with AWS IoT Core allows customers to move faster and focus on innovating in their core business.”
Solving the conundrum of converting edge data into insights
In a blogpost published last Wednesday, Samuel Pasquier, director of product management, Cisco Industrial IoT Networking Portfolio said the integration solves challenges companies face in extracting, processing and delivering IoT data from the network’s edge to the cloud for analytics, which tends to be too costly especially over cellular networks.
Pasquier pointed out that whether a company is monitoring factory-floor robot vibration, vehicle telemetry, or wind turbine speed for preventive maintenance, to get the right data to the cloud it needs to answer these questions:
- What data matters and which is irrelevant?
- How can I transform data from different vendors’ IoT devices so it’s consistent— for example, all temperatures in C instead of F?
- How can we store data and make it available to other systems and business teams?
- What happens when we need to scale the process for more devices from more vendors?
- How can we harness the power of the network between the edge and the cloud to minimise hardware investments?
- How do we ensure that our data is secure at every stage of the journey?
The answer, Pasquier, said is securely moving the right data to the cloud in a consistent format.
“The new integration makes it simpler to extract, transform, govern, and deliver edge data to AWS. Extracting the right data is simpler because popular machine protocols are built right into Edge Intelligence software, saving you from doing the integration work,” he said.
By using the same interface to transform data and make them consistent, companies can specify – for example – that all temperatures should be expressed in C0 even when some sensors report them in F.
Defining data governance
Before moving the transformed data to the cloud, Pasquier advised companies should define data governance policies as well as rules about where particular elements of their data can be delivered.
“This protection gives you flexibility not only to keep your data safe but also to define at the granular level what information goes where. This feature allows you to inform more than one data instance on AWS without compromising control,” Pasquier said.
With governance in place, companies can deliver data to AWS IoT Core with a click. The web-based management interface allows companies to specify continued or scheduled data delivery. Edge Intelligence uses a just-in-time provisioning workflow to seamlessly provision Cisco gateway and associated device certificates into AWS IoT Core Registry.
“Once a gateway is provisioned, you can start sending data to AWS IoT Core. Actions can be performed on the data using Rules for AWS IoT to transform, filter, enrich, and route data in the cloud. This in-turn unlocks a variety of use cases for analytics, reporting, and visualisation for the enterprise,” Pasquier said.
He added that because of this end-to-end integration, data is secured all the way along the journey from the edge to the cloud, using multiple authentication and transport security protocols. Once in the cloud the data is backed by AWS’ comprehensive cloud security, tailored to the requirements of the most security-sensitive organisations.