IPv6 and IoT News

PTC adds secure data access to CNC and injection molding machines with new release of Kepware industrial connectivity platform

By Anasia D’mello

PTC announced the release of the KEPServerEX Version 6.6 industrial connectivity platform. The latest version of KEPServerEX includes several new innovations and security enhancements that extend Kepware’s market-leading position in computer numeric control (CNC) and injection molding machine (IMM) connectivity, enabling manufacturers to accelerate their digital transformation initiatives.

“Connectivity to industrial assets in operational environments is driving valuable insights that allow manufacturers to improve productivity, efficiency, and safety. However, due to their age and the complexity of the protocols used, some assets, such as CNCs and IMMs, have proven to be notoriously difficult to tap for data,” said Howard Heppelmann, general manager, Connected Operations Solutions, PTC.

“PTC has helped countless manufacturers overcome this data integration challenge and create holistic industrial IoT ecosystems. With KEPServerEX V6.6, we’re providing users with access to an even wider, more diverse set of industrial assets, thereby enabling smart manufacturing across the entire factory.”

A key component of the KEPServerEX V6.6 release is the new EUROMAP 63 driver. EUROMAP 63 is an open source, file-based protocol used by many industry-leading IMM manufacturers. Prior to KEPServerEX V6.6, manufacturers with IMMs had limited choices for collecting data, such as using vendor-specific proprietary MES software or producing a home-grown solution. Inclusion of this new driver gives organisations real-time data monitoring and parameter control of EUROMAP 63-enabled IMMs, increasing production visibility and enabling those organisations to reduce waste and downtime.

Updates to the existing Fanuc Focas Ethernet driver are also included in this release. With KEPServerEX V6.6, manufacturers can access more data from their Fanuc CNC machines, with the ability to read and leverage data from any parameter specified in the manual’s parameter table.

KEPServerEX Version 6.6 demonstrates PTC’s continued investment in helping manufacturers reduce risks associated with security threats. With the increased focus on application security, users can confidently upgrade to the latest version, knowing PTC is continuously improving product security to keep up with modern standards.

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Sixgill Backstops Security with Blockchain Data Integrity for IoE Applications

By A.R. Guess

According to a new press release, “Sixgill, LLC, the leader in sensor data services for governing Internet of Everything (IoE) assets, today unveiled its breakthrough blockchain or distributed ledger-based solution for sensor network data integrity. Sixgill Integrity is a ledger-agnostic solution and is designed from the ground up to solve the fundamental need for an […]

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Are You Prepared for the 5G Data Crush?

By Alex Woodie

The introduction of fifth generation wireless technology in 2019 and 2020 will provide a big speed boost to mobile networks, on the order of 100x or more. All that extra bandwidth (not to mention lower latencies) will be a boon for consumers, who will be presented with all manner of new entertainment options. But 5G will also bring new opportunities and challenges for enterprises. Companies that start preparing now will hold the advantage.

The current 4G networks currently deliver around 4-12 megabits per second (Mbps) of bandwidth, with peak download speeds reaching up to 50 Mbps, on spectrum from 600 Mhz to about 5Ghz. That’s about the same speed that a typical cable or DSL Internet customer can expect at home.

The new 5G specifications that are under consideration offer significantly higher data speeds. For example, the ITU IMT-2020 specification calls for speeds up to 20 Gbps, which is more than 2,000 times faster than current 4G specs. However, the data rates that users are expected to experience will be much lower – in the 1 Gbps range, which is “only” about 100x faster than the typical bandwidth found with 4G handsets.

Because signals drop off with higher frequencies, many MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) antennas will need to be deployed to support 5G

Latency – or the time it takes for a packet to be sent – is also expected to improve dramatically with 5G, which are slated to occupy wireless frequencies up 24 Ghz (lower frequency 5G signals will offer about the same bandwidth as 4G). The IMT-2020 spec calls for latencies in 5G networks to be as low as 1 millisecond, although 5 milliseconds is probably a better real-world guess. Still, that’s about 25 times better than the current 125 millisecond latency that’s common for 4G networks.

Consumers will be the big winners of these fast new data highways, at least initially. A full-length movie shot in high-definition, which has a file size of around 1.25 GB, could be downloaded in one second on a 20 Gbps network. Even if the 5G network is 20 times slower, waiting 20 seconds to get your copy “Father of the Year” on your phablet is nothing to sneeze at (unless you’re allergic to bad movies, of course).

A 5G network will also be required equipment for next-generation entertainment options, particularly the virtual reality and augmented reality setups that we’ve been promised. With a big enough data pipe, we’ll be able to immerse ourselves in alternate digital realities and games, and interact with other people in new ways.

Having so many bits flying through the air will likely require your telecommunications provider to make some hefty investments in new network and storage gear. We’ve already seen how Netflix, whose content occupies 15% of the Internet’s bandwidth at any given time, has made massive investments in its content delivery network (CDN). Without a big boost in the capacity of the Internet itself, a super-fast 5G network delivering the “last mile” of connectivity has the potential to create a digital traffic jam.

Assuming Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile can handle that data crush, the benefits of 5G for other business can be great. Any companies that are collecting and analyzing consumer data today should be able to gather even more highly detailed data with a 5G network, assuming no additional data regulations, like Europe’s GDPR, get in the way.

5G will accelerate the adoption of augmented reality (TierneyMJ/Shutterstock)

The big players are already moving to prepare for the coming data tsunami that 5G networks will unleash. Samsung Electronics, for example, has committed to investing $22 billion into 5G and AI initiative.

5G is “oxygen” for AI, Youngky Kim, the president and head of Samsung’s network business, said today at a Wall Street Journal event in California. “AI needs a lot of data to respond to you,” Kim said, according to a story on ZDNet. “This amount of data can be provided by 5G, not 4G.”

Some 5G networks are being rolled out already, including one set up for the Winter Olympic Games held earlier this year in Pyeonchang, South Korea. Samsung, which surpassed Intel to become the world’s largest chipmaker last year, is also one of the world’s major providers of network gear, and expects its 5G equipment to account for 20% of sales by 2020. It’s already selling 5G network gear for enterprises, ahead of the consumer rollout that’s expected to start in 2019.

Intel is ramping up its 5G products too. Last week the company announced that the launch of consumer 5G modem that supports 6Gbps speeds has been moved up six months, and will become available in the second half of 2019. Verizon, which is already selling its “First on 5G” home network plan, has also been testing its 28 Ghz 5G network in Rhode Island with a Samsung handset equipped with a 5G modem from Qualcomm. It’s expected to start selling 5G-upgradable phones in 2019.

Self-driving cars could benefit from 5G — and it could even enable remote-controlled cars

The availability of a super-fast network will make all sorts of new applications possible. A 5G network of connected automobiles has the potential to share much more fine-grained details about road conditions, not to mention in-car entertainment options or even remote controlled cars. In the wider IoT world, bigger pipes will expand what’s possible with drones, robots, and other edge devices. Some have even theorized that the greater resolution enabled by 5G networks could hasten the arrival of remote surgery centers, where doctors operate on patients remotely using haptic feedback.

“The coming 5G wave offers companies across all industries the opportunity to seize the power of data for universal business impact,” says David Flower, CEO of VoltDB, a NewSQL database provider. “5G will fundamentally change how we build applications, making DevOps and agility a requirement in today’s enterprise, as organizations strive to more rapidly spin up resources and build applications to cost-effectively meet evolving customer and market demands. With this immense increase in throughput and data volume, scalability has become a priority.”

It will be interesting to see how 5G impacts computer architectures going forward. On the one hand, it could be seen boosting centralized processing of data. If the penalty of moving many gigabytes or terabytes to the cloud is small, then 5G could actually put a damper on edge computing.

On the other hand, if 5G evolves into a underlying communication fabric that links data centers with edge devices, then it could end up boosting edge computing. In this scenario, which was put forward by the folks at Tractica, the storage and processing required for AI and other workloads is shared across the fabric, enabling developers to take better advantage of available resources.

There’s no telling exactly how things will shake out with 5G. But some things are certain: The data is about to get bigger and it’s going to get faster. There’s no doubt about that.

Related Items:

Samsung Buys Network Analytics Startup

Sparse Fourier Transform Gives Stream Processing a Lifeline from the Coming Data Deluge

AI Now Infused In Network and Wi-Fi Management

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Developers use 5G to power innovation in robotics

By Anasia D’mello

Leveraging the unique speed, bandwidth and latency benefits of 5G technology, participants of the Verizon 5G Robotics Challenge will create insights, develop new use cases, and conceive innovative products that will advance the robotics industry. The teams will create solutions in three key areas: industrial automation, collaborative robotics (cobots), and warehouse automation.

In addition to receiving grants of up to USD 30,000 each, the winning teams will also have access to dedicated 5G networks at Verizon’s 5G Cambridge Lab and 5G Waltham Lab (near Boston, Massachusetts), 5G training and mentorship from Verizon and Ericsson, and access to support teams within the local robotics community to bring their concepts to life.

Yossi Cohen, head of Customer Unit Verizon, Ericsson North America, says: “The new capabilities being introduced with 5G have the power to transform the industry. Ericsson is pioneering the application of 5G to industrial automation and robotics, and we are proud to be partnering with Verizon and MassTLC to help advance the technology.”

Ericsson has a history of supporting innovation in robotics. In the Tuscany region of Italy, Ericsson’s collaborates with Zucchetti Centro Sistemi and The BioRobotics Institute to gain an in-depth understanding of robotic systems.

As part of this, developers have created an innovative system architecture that moves robotic intelligence to the cloud in order to utilise its massive computing power. 5G is central to the project that allows robots to ‘talk’ to the cloud via Ericsson’s network infrastructure.

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