Leveraging on open ecosystem to accelerate IoT development

In today’s technology landscape, nearly every technology solution is built on open-source technology frameworks. Long gone are the days when open-source frameworks were regarded as “immature” or “unreliable”. 

Open-source frameworks are industry standards

In today’s technology landscape, nearly every technology solution is built on open-source technology frameworks. Long gone are the days when open-source frameworks were regarded as “immature” or “unreliable”. This is 

because popular frameworks today are used by massive numbers of organizations across the globe and therefore are likely much more reliable and feature-rich than proprietary software developed by an individual party.

Open-source technology frameworks are particularly important for Internet of Things (IoT). This is because IoT has one of the most complex technology stacks the world has seen: including components from sensors to embedded systems to security to communication to cloud technology to orchestration to DevOps, etc. By adhering to standard open-source technology frameworks, customers can ensure reliability, compatibility, long-term support, and reduced lock-in.

 

Node-Red as the foundation for IoT application development

For enterprise IoT application development, a popular open-source programming software is Node-Red. It is used by thousands of integrators and engineers, and it is adopted by major corporations including IBM, Siemens, Samsung, Intel, GE, Fujitsu, Schneider, Cisco, and Hitachi. It has a strong open-source community which has contributed thousands of solutions ranging from MODBUS to machine learning. Furthermore, Node Red is built on Node.js, which is a Javascript runtime used by more than 98% of Fortune 500 companies and is one of the most powerful, reliable, and battle-tested software in existence.

Node-Red offers powerful capabilities for IoT application development:

  • It is a low-code framework, which means that it reduces coding complexity. But it is very flexible: users can choose drag-and-drop for no-code development, or they can write scripts in a sandboxed environment for low-code development, or they can implement full-code software packages in Node.js or build fully-customized dashboards in HTML/CSS. Therefore Node-Red can be used by operators or experienced developers, making it adaptable in an enterprise environment.
  • It has thousands of open-source modules and solution templates. For any solution that a user needs to build, they can likely find a solution template to get started. In addition, the Node-Red forum and the Node Red slack channel are very active answering user questions.
  • Its solution is a JSON object, not a code base. A JSON object is much more compact and simpler to share and collaborate on.
  • It is actively maintained by a dedicated group of developers at IBM, but it is under Apache license which means that it is free to use and modify for personal and commercial purposes.

Node-Red is a standalone software and it needs to be installed and maintained per each individual edge device. This means that if a customer installs Node-Red on a few dozen devices and needs to update the application on these devices, they would have to update each device individually. This is impractical and for this reason, Node-Red is typically limited to small-scale deployments.

 

Scaling Node-Red with Prescient Designer

Prescient Devices solves the Node-Red scaling problem. Its IoT design software, Prescient Designer, builds on Node-Red and provides the following additional features:

  • It is a hosted software in the cloud.
  • It enables the programming of edge device applications and cloud applications together as a complete solution. In other words, users program edge device applications in the cloud, anytime and anywhere, and Prescient Designer pushes application updates to the edge devices.
  • It adds TLS security and real-time application monitoring for enhanced security.
  • It provides enterprise device management, reporting, and auditing features.
  • It provides out-of-box support for a large number of sensors and edge devices from major manufacturers.

A strong open-source ecosystem fosters standardization and growth. For any organization that looks to adopt technology solutions including but not limited to IoT, it is advisable to stick to such an ecosystem as the foundation.

 

Learn more

To learn more about Prescient Devices and how we’ve leveraged Node-Red to build a robust IoT Design Automation platform, visit our website.