We have seen how cloud based manufacturing has taken a huge step forward and you can find insights listed in our blog post The Industrial Revolution 6.0. Cloud based manufacturing is already here and extends IoT to the production floor. You could define a connected factory as a manufacturing facility that uses digital technology to allow seamless sharing of information between people, machines, and sensors.
if you haven’t read it yet there is great article Globalisation and digitalisation converge to transform the industrial landscape.
There is still much more than factories. Looking around you will notice a lot of smart products such as smart TVs, elevators, traffic light control systems, fitness trackers, smart waste bins and electric bikes. In order to control and monitor the fleet of devices we need rock solid fleet management capabilities that we will cover in another blog post.
This movement towards digital technologies, autonomous systems and robotics will require the most advanced semiconductors to come up with even more high-performance, low power consumption, low-cost, microcontrollers in order to carry complicated actions and operations at Edge. Rise in the Internet of Things and growing demand for automation across end-user industries is fueling growth in the global microcontroller market.
As Software has eaten the world and every product is a data product there will only be SaaS Companies.
Devices at the field must be robust to connectivity issues, in some cases withdraw -30 ~ 70°C operating temperatures, build on resilience and be able to work in isolation most of the time. Data is secured on device, it stays there and only relevant information is ingested to other systems. Machine-to-machine is a crucial part of the solutions and it’s nothing new like explained in blog post M2M has been here for decades.
Microchip powered smart products
Very fine example of world class engineering is Oura Ring. On this scale it’s typical to have Dual-core arm-processor: ARM Cortex based ultra low power MCU with limited memory to store data up to 6 weeks. Even at this size it’s packed with sensors such as infrared PPG (Photoplethysmography) sensor, body temperature sensor, 3D accelerometer and gyroscope.
Smart watches are using e.g. Exynos W920, a wearable processor made with the 5nm node, will pack two Arm Cortex-A55 cores and an Arm Mali-G68 GPU. Even on this small size it includes 4G LTE modem and a GNSS L1 sensor to track speed, distance, and elevation when watch wearers are outdoors.
Taking a mobile phone from your pocket it can be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 capable of producing 1.8 – 3 GHz 8 cores with 3 MB Cortex-X1.
Another example is Tesla famous of having Self-Driving Chip for autonomous driving chip designed by Tesla the FSD Chip incorporates 3 quad-core Cortex-A72 clusters for a total of 12 CPUs operating at 2.2 GHz, a Mali G71 MP12 GPU operating 1 GHz, 2 neural processing units operating at 2 GHz, and various other hardware accelerators. infotainment systems can be built on the seriously powerful AMD Ryzen APU powered by RDNA2 graphics so you play The Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077 when waiting inside of your car.
Artificial Intelligence – where machines are smarter
Just a few years ago, to be able to execute machine learning models at Edge on a fleet of devices was a tricky job due to lack of processing power, hardware restrictions and just pure amount of software work to be done. Very often the imitation is the amount of flash and ram available to store more complex models on a particular device. Running AI algorithms locally on a hardware device using edge computing where the AI algorithms are based on the data that are created on the device without requiring any connection is a clear bonus. This allows you to process data with the device in less than a few milliseconds which gives you real-time information.
Figure 1. Illustrative comparison how many ‘cycles’ a microprocessor can do (MHz)
The pure power of computing power is always a factor of many things like the Apple M1 demonstrated how to make it much cheaper and still gain the same performance compared to other choices. So far, it’s the most powerful mobile CPU in existence so long as your software runs natively on its ARM-based architecture. Depending on the AI application and device category, there are various hardware options for performing AI edge processing like CPUs, GPUs, ASICs, FPGAs and SoC accelerators.
Price range for microcontroller board with flexible digital interfaces will start around 4$ with very limited ML cabalities . Nowadays mobile phones are actually very powerful to run heavy compute operations thanks to purpose designed super boosted microchips.
GPU-Accelerated Cloud Services
Amazon Elastic Cloud Compute (EC2) is a great example where P4d instances AWS is paving the way for another bold decade of accelerated computing powered with the latest NVIDIA A100 Tensor Core GPU. The p4d comes with dual socket Intel Cascade Lake 8275CL processors totaling 96 vCPUs at 3.0 GHz with 1.1 TB of RAM and 8 TB of NVMe local storage. P4d also comes with 8 x 40 GB NVIDIA Tesla A100 GPUs with NVSwitch and 400 Gbps Elastic Fabric Adapter (EFA) enabled networking. In practice this means you do not have to take coffee breaks so much and wait for nothing when executing Machine Learning (ML), High Performance Computing (HPC), and analytics. You can find more on P4d from AWS.
Top 3 benefits of using Edge for computing
There are clear benefits why you should be aware of Edge computing:
1. Reduced costs where costs for data communication and bandwidth costs will be reduced as fewer data will be transmitted.
2. Improved security when you are processing data locally, the problem can be avoided with streaming without uploading a lot of data to the cloud.
3. Highly responsive where devices are able to process data really fast compared to centralized IoT models.
Convergence of AI and Industrial IoT Solutions
According to a Gartner report, “By 2027, machine learning in the form of deep learning will be included in over 65 percent of edge use cases, up from less than 10 percent in 2021.” Typically these solutions have not fallen into Enterprise IT – at least not yet. It’s expected Edge Management becomes an IT focus by utilizing IT resources to optimize cost.
Take a look on Solita AI Masterclass for Executives how we can help you to bring business cases in life and you might be interested taking control of your fleet with our kickstart. Let’s stay fresh minded !