As previously published in IoT Evolution
As more industrial organizations take their first cautious steps toward Internet of Things (IoT) implementations, they quickly learn the need for a new class of system: the IoT gateway. As with any new technology introduced into industrial environments, one question arises: Will there be new risks?
An IoT gateway sits between systems at the edge and central control and management systems, often linked via the cloud. The gateway aggregates data from hundreds or thousands of sensors and other edge systems, performing translations of protocols and device management models. IoT gateways are progressing from simply providing this translational function into “intelligent” systems that offer higher-level control functions at the edge, and ultimately easing the burden on central management systems.
System vendors have seized upon the growing demand for IoT gateways by offering pre-packaged solutions combining software and hardware. Indeed, you’ll find a host of IoT gateway solutions offered by some of the biggest names in computing hardware. These systems have some attractive features. They are often ruggedized, built specifically for deployment on the production floor. And they are generally inexpensive. What’s not to like?
Unfortunately, these systems also have some limitations. They generally don’t have a lot of power; they cannot replace the edge servers you are currently running. They aren’t virtualized – or if they are, they can be just as expensive as a more full-featured system. And because they’re based on inexpensive, commodity off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware, the expected lifecycle is limited—as are the expectations for robust support from the vendor.
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