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LF Edge Fledge Encourages OT Innovators to Fly Toward the Edge

By Arti Loftus
August 10, 2020

The relentless determination of the Linux Foundation to expand the very definition of edge computing and connected systems has driven the organization to another milestone – this time in the emerging area of Industrial Operational Technology – another “IOT” that resides within the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

“Fledge” is an open-source framework used to implement predictive maintenance, situational awareness, safety, and other critical operations. Deployed in industrial use cases since early 2018, Fledge integrates IIoT, sensors, machines, ML/AI tools-processes-workloads, and cloud with the current industrial production systems and levels (ISA-95).

Fledge came under the wing of LF Edge, an umbrella organization within the Linux Foundation that aims to establish an open, interoperable framework for edge computing independent of hardware, silicon, cloud, or operating system, and late last month issued it’s 1.8 release and moved to the “Growth Stage” within the LF Edge umbrella.

Fledge v1.8 is the first release since moving to the Linux Foundation but is the ninth release of the project code that has over 60,000 commits, averaging 8,500 commits/month.

Concurrently, Fledge matured into a Stage 2 or “Growth Stage” project within LF Edge and became eligible to receive mentorship from the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC). As such, the Fledge project is expected to actively develop their community of contributors, governance, project documentation, and other variables identified in the growth plan that factor into broad success and adoption and are doing so actively.

The expanded community includes integrations and contributions from Google, Nokia, Flir, OSIsoft, Nexcom, RoviSys, Advantech, Wago, Zededa, and Dianomic.

“Fledge, initially seeded by OSISoft and Dianomic and now a diverse project within LF Edge is a great example of open source integration. By working closely with Google and other ecosystem partners on new and emerging use cases, we are bringing the power of LF Edge to a broader market,” said Arpit Joshipura, general manager, Networking, Edge, and IoT, the Linux Foundation. “We look forward to building an open community of industrial users, suppliers, and integrators.”

Utilizing Fledge to gather and analyze machine, process, environment, and operator data in context, improved efficiency, quality, and safety is achieved.  Gradient Racing used Fledge, Google Cloud, and Motorsports.AI to build IIoT based digital twins of each track, a machine simulator, and an operator simulator to optimize car configurations and driving strategy before each race.  Using Fledge, TensorFlow, and Kubernetes, two all-time track records were broken in the GT3 2019 season.

“Google Cloud helps customers deliver artificial intelligence to applications from the edge to the cloud,” said Craig Wiley, director of Product Management for Google Cloud AI.  “Fledge’s ability to collect, process, transform and send machine data as well as run TensorFlow Lite on the edge makes it an excellent complement to Google’s AI platform. As an active member of the Linux Foundation, Google is proud to support this open-source community through contributions to the Fledge project, empowering next-generation industrial processes and machines.”

Fledge has rapidly become one of the most active open source IIoT projects. LF Edge shared a list of accomplishments, including:

  • Google’s contribution of its IoT Core North Plugin enables the secure, reliable transfer of data to Google cloud services like machine learning.
  • OSIsoft’s contribution of the Web API North Plugin enables Fledge secure, reliable transfer of telemetry and metadata to existing ISA95 systems like PI, OCS, and EDS.
  • Nexcom’s contribution of CAN bus 2.0, J1708 and J1939 south plugins provide real-time monitoring for fleet management of cars and heavy-duty trucks.
  • Dianomic’s contribution of new core services, alert services, and orchestration services enable advanced vibration-based applications, more security, and scalable management.
  • Nokia integrated Fledge with the Nokia Digital Automation Cloud (NDAC), Nokia’s industrial-grade private wireless network.
  • Google and Nexcom completed the integration of Fledge within Google’s Coral line of ML processors and Nexcom’s industrial gateways.
  • Flir and Dianomic completed a south plugin integration with Flir’s line of industrial infrared cameras.

Industrial Operational Technology (OT) markets are new to the Linux Foundation, and open source projects are new to OT use cases. Like the LAMP stack enabled web application development, the Fledge project’s mission is to enable IIoT application development. 

To learn more about Fledge, register for this LF Edge webinar with speakers from Google, OSIsoft, and Dianomic on August 13 at 9 am PDT. Click here for more details.

“Together, we can solve the diversity and complexity issues when collecting and processing data beyond current control networks and eliminate silos of data by integrating with mission-critical ISA95 systems, ML systems, and the cloud,” a statement from the Foundation said.

Fledge and other LF Edge projects at the Open Networking & Edge Summit (ONES), a virtual experience happening September 28-30. Learn more:

Arti Loftus is an experienced Information Technology specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the research, writing, and editing industry with many published articles under her belt.

Edited by Ken Briodagh

Special Correspondent

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