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Serbian Grant Winner Mainflux Tackles the Toughest Industrial IoT Conditions

By Cynthia S. Artin
August 01, 2018

Earlier this year, IoT technology company Mainflux won a Serbian Innovation Fund grant funding the development of a new IoT gateway, powered by the EdgeX Foundry platform.

Called the MFX-1, the gateway is being developed from the ground up as an open source IoT solution capable of both server-side and edge computing.

One of 24 out of 137 projects to be given grants, Mainflux’s gateway concept competed with technology across software and application development, information-communication technologies, mechanics and mechanical engineering, new materials, and nanotechnology.

Operational since 2011, the Innovation Fund has been a pioneering effort to operationalize and institutionalize Serbian Government “Innovation Imperative Strategy imperative”, first by increasing the capacity of startups and resources available for their growth.

The combination of Mainflux’s IoT platform and its IoT Gateway based on EdgeX will provide a Mainflux IIoT System, leading open source full-featured system for IoT solutions development. EdgeX Foundry is a vendor neutral open source project building a common interoperability framework to facilitate an ecosystem for Internet of Things (IoT) edge computing. At the heart of the project is an interoperability framework hosted within a full hardware- and OS-agnostic reference software platform to enable an ecosystem of plug-and-play components that unifies the marketplace and accelerates the deployment of IoT solutions.

“It is important to emphasize that MFX-1 IoT Edge Gateway will be powered by The Linux Foundation’s EdgeX Foundry framework”, said Drasko Draskovic, Founder of Mainflux and the chief architect of the Mainflux IoT Platform and MFX-1 gateway. “Although these gateways can be deployed to run on a standard hardware, Mainflux is developing an optimized hardware platform to create an overall low-cost industrial IoT gateway solution” Draskovic added.

Mainflux is highly secure, scalable, open-source IoT platform written in Go and deployed in Docker. It serves as software infrastructure and set of microservices for development of the Internet of Things Solutions and deployment of Intelligent products.

Since obtaining the grant in the beginning of the year, Mainflux has been working on several fields in parallel, integrating them together, partnering with Solid Run and working together on the hardware solution with Quad 1GHz NXP i.MX6 ARM A9 with 2GB RAM and 8GB eMMC.

Industrical IoT use cases are targeted, including indoor and outdoor installations in the most challenge conditions – on oil rigs, or in agricultural fields, or in remote areas of the energy grid.  rough condition -

The gateway will support various types of wired and wireless connectivity radio modules and protocols  including WiFi, BLE, 3G/4G, CAT-M, NB-IoT and LoRa.

“With HW ready and functional, and enabled with U-Boot and Linux support via Yocto-crafted lean custom distribution, we were capable to run on the Go version of EdgeX tagged to an official California release,” Drasko Draskovic, Founder of Mainflux “We also developed MQTT connectors for EdgeX and connected the gateways with Mainflux IoT platform instances running in the cloud. From there we have continued work on System Management Service and we are working closely with EdgeX community in defining the APIs and specifications needed for implementation of this service.”

In parallel the company and EdgeX team are working on the implementation of a cloud application, a specific vertical solution for fleet management of EdgeX gateways. The backend includes a set of Dockerized microservices written in Go and with domain-driven architecture implemented via go-kit with the frontend and application-specific UI written in Angular.

“The whole solution will be offered as a Software-as-a-Service, running in the cloud and enabling management of thousands remotely dispersed EdgeX gateways and sensors and actuators connected to them,” Draskovic continued. “Together with the MFX-100 hardware and open-source Mainflux IoT platform we’ll offer a turnkey solution for industrial IoT set up - from the edge to the cloud.”

The company expects the MFX-100 solution to be commercially available in Q1 2019.

The EU’s support for the Innovation Fund has been instrumental in advancing Serbia’s innovation financing and promoting better integration between the research and private sectors. The Fund is thus an important step towards closer links between Serbia’s and EU’s research communities and innovation ecosystems.

The Mainflux project has been financed by the Innovation Fund from the budget of the Republic of Serbia from the division of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development, through the Serbia Competitiveness and Jobs Project (loan agreement with the World Bank).

Edited by Ken Briodagh

Contributing Writer

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