1. The Architecture of IoT Platform Lumada
The rise of information technology (IT) has led to a high level of interest in the Internet of Things (IoT) because of its ability to utilize information collected from various devices connected to networks. Companies can use IoT systems to combine information they have with various types of information newly obtained from devices, expanding the possibilities of business transformation. This is why business entrepreneurs are focusing on the IoT.
IoT systems require connectivity with a variety of devices, but many different types of communication protocols are used depending on the device; unifying them into one specific protocol is difficult. Connecting devices with these diverse communication protocols is thus becoming an issue. Companies that are adopting the IoT have to proceed by trial and error to find out how the IoT can trigger innovation for their business, giving rise to the need to create prototypes in short periods of time and at low cost. IoT systems also often handle information that is a source of competitive strength for a company, and many companies are reluctant to allow data on these production systems to be taken outside the company.
Hitachi provides the Lumada IoT platform with a set of common functions for rapid and effective development of IoT systems. It classifies the common functions that are essential for the IoT into five function groups called Edge, Core, Analytics, Studio, and Foundry (see Figure 1.1).
“Edge” refers to a group of functions that relay device data to IT systems. This is normally implemented near the devices in the form of a IoT gateway. It also includes data processing (data filtering and analysis) on the IoT gateway.
“Core” refers to a group of functions that collects and accumulates data. In addition to data lakes that accumulate data, it also includes device management functions. Device management requires systematic management of device data attributes and digital modeling of devices, in addition to individual management of connected devices. Hitachi calls the digital model for devices connected to IoT systems “Asset Avatars.”
“Analytics” refers to a group of functions used for analyzing collected data. In addition to analysis functions including artificial intelligence (AI), it contains functions that generate data sets suitable for analysis by combining information from devices and various types of IT systems.
“Studio” refers to a group of functions relating to user interfaces for end users and developers, such as application dashboards and application development environments.
Lastly, “Foundry” refers to server and network functions that support IoT systems.
Lumada provides common functions based on the two concepts of “composable” and “portable.”
“Composable” means the ability to configure IoT systems that combine functions suited to customer needs. An example on the OT data collection platform (which collects data from devices) would be the ability to use PTC Inc.'s* ThingWorx* and Axeda*, or the MQTT protocol in addition to communications systems supported by the Hitachi, in order to widen the range of connectible devices. For other function groups also, components can be selected as needed from several options (see Figure 1.2).
“Portable” means that the system can be built on the cloud or on-premise. Hitachi provides Lumada on-premises to accommodate the need for on-premises operation of IoT systems developed in the cloud during the proof of concept (PoC) phase.
And, in order to meet the needs of users for agile implementation of IoT systems during PoC, Hitachi provides a Node-RED-based application development environment as one of the Studio functions. This function allows program development by connecting function blocks using a graphical user interface (see Figure 1.3).
In this way, Hitachi can co-create IoT systems that inspire business innovation by easily combining various functions supplied as IoT platform Lumada through trial and error together with customers.
- See the list of “Trademarks.”