Cirrus Link’s Key Role in the Evolution of Edge Devices & MQTT
Cirrus Link at its foundation has been enabling Edge Devices for over 20 years with our direct involvement in the invention of the MQTT protocol. MQTT is the standard protocol used for IoT solutions. MQTT is a simple, lightweight, publish-and-subscribe protocol that was open-sourced by the Eclipse Foundation under the PAHU project name, and became an OASIS and IEE standard in 2014. MQTT enables the decoupling of data that was typically a one-to-one relationship between an edge device, such as a PLC, and a proprietary application where data was inaccessible. With an MQTT enabled edge device, data is decoupled and not owned by any single application and is made available to the business enterprise. The data is now available to be used in multiple solutions, not only for operations but new innovated application such as predictive maintenance and AI.
For an MQTT solution, an MQTT Server or Broker is required. Cirrus Link has developed the Chariot MQTT Server as a stand-alone, web-based OASIS MQTT 3.1.1 compliant server designed for real-time communications in the operational technology (OT) environment. The MQTT server is responsible for sending and receiving crucial operational data to the components that need it when they need it. Cirrus Link also developed, and open-sourced, the Sparkplug specification. Sparkplug was specifically designed for edge devices used in SCADA and the OT environment by putting standards in place in order to make the interoperability of data achievable. The Sparkplug specification was released to the Eclipse Foundation as an open-source specification. In addition, Cirrus Link has open-sourced reference implementations under the Eclipse Tahu project name. Sparkplug provides the blueprint for the real-time connectivity for data between data producers and data consumers within an MQTT/IoT architecture. It also transforms proprietary Edge Device data from what was cryptic legacy protocols into proper tag names and contextual information for easy consumption in IT environments.
Cirrus Link Solutions & Inductive Automation
A key enablement for MQTT Server solution and Edge Device technology took-off following the development of Cirrus Link’s strategic partnership with Inductive Automation in 2015. Inductive Automation, based in Folsom, California, is a fast-growing industrial automation software company. Its key product, Ignition by Inductive Automation® is the world’s first database-centric, web-deployed, cross-platform, industrial applications platform for HMI, SCADA, and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). MQTT modules were developed to plug-in and connect data for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to Ignition users.
The MQTT modules for Ignition go beyond traditional OT software solution and provide the decoupling of data to the business enterprise. It is not only at the platform level; it also delivers at the edge. Cirrus Link and Inductive Automation released Ignition Edge MQTT in March 2017. Ignition Edge MQTT is a software solution for Edge Device hardware like a small industrial PC, Cellular Gateway or Spread Spectrum Radio that enable OT to MQTT connectivity for IIOT solutions.
It takes leadership for IIOT and MQTT to happen effectively with open standards and tools for the industry to adopt and this is where Cirrus Link excels. Cirrus Link Solutions, based in Kansas, was founded in April 2012 by founders Arlen Nipper and Chris Houghton. Both Arlen and Chris have roots in the oil-and gas-energy of such world-renowned companies as Amoco, NovaTech, EuroTech, and Arcom. With over 70 years of combined SCADA and Telemetry experience and ingenuity, the company has been integral to the development of vital technologies like MQTT, Edge Devices, Sparkplug, Chariot software and more.
Arlen Nipper, President and Chief Technology Officer of Cirrus Link, is one of the inventors of pervasive computing, and a co-inventor of MQTT for SCADA systems. His background as a SCADA engineer with Koch Industries for the pipeline and transportation divisions evolved into an impressive career in technology with global giants such as IBM, Arcom Control Systems and Eurotech, before founding Cirrus Link Solutions.
Chris Houghton, Chief Executive Officer of Cirrus Link Solutions, began his career in the UK with BICC Transmitton, Ltd. From there he led the process control division at Arcom, which eventually led this transfer to the US as the CEO of Arcom in charge of global management. During this time, Chris and Arlen Nipper collaborated to execute new innovations in remote data and intelligent business communications technology.
For more information contact Cirrus Link Solutions today at 844-924-7787.