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Case Study: Nishihara, Japan

Nishihara developed N-Share, with products from Skkynet and partner BellChild, to improve access to process data in water purification and sewage plants.

How Much Control Goes to the Cloud?

None. That’s what any reasonable automation engineer will tell you.  Or at least, that’s what he or she would have said a few years back.  Today, with growing interest and acceptance of Industrial IoT and Industrie 4.0, the message is starting to change.  People are talking about the possibility of doing supervisory control through cloud-based systems.  For example, the cover theme of last month’s issue of Control Engineering was “Optimize controls via cloud software“, and it included articles from MESA, Honeywell, and Skkynet related to cloud-based control of manufacturing.

Our contribution was a short article titled: “Control in the cloud: How much?”  In it we point out how users and suppliers are becoming more sophisticated in their understanding, and are starting to look at edge computing as an alternative to cloud computing.  We encourage plant engineers and managers to get the best of both approaches by putting computing power where it is needed.

We identify four areas where real-time processing can take place:

Device: Adding compute power to sensors and other equipment can reduce the amount of data sent to the plant and cloud, and also simplify upstream processing.

Plant: This is where most industrial computing has taken place traditionally, and where new computing tasks can support IIoT to improve efficiency.

Gateway: Processing and filtering data at the gateway can support installed SCADA and HMI systems by serving as an intelligent interface to the cloud.

Cloud: By reducing, managing, and enhancing the quality of the data at or near the source, cloud computing resources become more effective.

As you might expect, what you gain from using cloud services for industrial control depends on how you manage the data you send to the cloud and what you need to get back in return. The article explains how choosing the right level for each computing task can reduce costs and generate a quicker round trip time for any data or analytics that come back to the plant.

Balancing the data load at each step in the process seems to be the key to a successful implementation, and adding edge computing where it is needed looks to be the thing that pulls it all together.

When Edge Computing Makes Sense

As the concept of cloud computing becomes more familiar to industrial automation engineers and system integrators, the discussion has moved from “Whether I should use it?” to “When should I use it?”  In a recent blog, “Edge or Cloud Analytics?“, Michael Guilfoyle at ARC Advisory Group looks at the business case of cloud computing for industrial applications and compares it to edge computing.  It comes as no surprise that in many instances edge computing makes more sense.

So, what exactly is edge computing?  Generally speaking, it is the processing power of the “things” in the Internet of Things (IoT).  It has become an economically attractive complement for the cloud in IoT, thanks to rapid cost decreases for small-scale processors.  And edge computing has additional benefits for Industrial IoT (IIoT) because it means that data can be processed closer to its source.

Six Factors Favoring Edge Computing

Guilfoyle lists six factors that typically favor edge computing:

  • Connectivity: Some industrial systems are located in environments that make it difficult to maintain the regular connections necessary to sustain cloud computing.
  • Immediacy: For any mission-critical system, the closer you can get to real-time decision-making, the better. Running right on the device itself, an edge-processing system can respond in a few milliseconds, compared to a cloud system which would take at least 100 milliseconds, and often longer.
  • Volume: Industrial systems churn out enormous volumes of data, very little of which is of much interest. Edge computing can monitor the data and filter out what is irrelevant. This reduces bandwidth and frees up cloud-computing resources.
  • Cost: Related to volume, feeding large quantities of raw data to the cloud for processing is not cost effective. It is more economical to at least filter the data, or better still process it locally and send the relevant results to the cloud.
  • Privacy: Company policy or government regulations may prevent connecting process data directly to the cloud.
  • Security: Gateway hardware or software at the edge can be used to help control inbound access to the plant. Skkynet’s DHTP protocol, for example, supports outbound-only connections, keeping all firewall ports closed and eliminating the need for VPNs.
Data Abstraction – A Seventh Factor

In addition to these six factors, we would add another important contribution that edge processing can make towards enhancing the value of cloud computing: data abstraction, the ability to generalize data protocols.  The DHTP protocol, in addition to supporting secure connections, also supports data abstraction.  Skkynet’s edge-processing tools, the ETK and DataHub, can convert data from multiple connected protocols into one universal format consisting of name, value, timestamp and quality.  Using DHTP, data abstracted in this form can be transported with minimal overhead across a TCP connection and converted back into its previous protocol, or other protocols, upon its arrival.

Data abstraction solves one of the problems often associated with the Industrial IoT—the wide range of incompatible protocols.  To get all the IIoT devices talking to each other, they need a common language.  Data abstraction implemented at the edge provides a way for each device to share its data with the cloud, and to receive inputs from other devices.

For all of these reasons—connectivity, immediacy, volume, cost, privacy, security, and data abstraction—edge computing makes a lot of sense for IIoT implementations, as it allows data to be processed close to where it is needed, providing the most value at the least cost.

Skkynet Technology Soon Available in iBRESS Cloud by BellChild

Japanese systems integration company, BellChild, will use Skkynet’s SkkyHub technology in its new iBRESS Cloud service, available next month.

Mississauga, Ontario, November 8, 2017 – Skkynet Cloud Systems, Inc. (“Skkynet” or “the Company”) (OTCQB: SKKY), a global leader in real-time cloud information systems, is pleased to announce that starting December 1, 2017, BellChild Ltd. of Osaka, Japan will be offering iBRESS Cloud service that will be powered by Skkynet’s SkkyHub technology. This service will provide secure, real-time, bidirectional communications for Industrie 4.0 and Industrial IoT applications without opening any firewall ports, and without using any VPN.

“The iBRESS Cloud is an ideal fit for Japan’s well-established industrial base, and for the rest of Asia,” said Paul Thomas, President of Skkynet. “BellChild has a solid reputation for providing secure data communication services, and the iBRESS Cloud technology has been designed to provide the kind of secure, high-speed service that remote connections to industrial systems demand.”

Users of iBRESS Cloud will be able to securely connect industrial plants, machines, or individual sensors and actuators to a complete Industrie 4.0 or IIoT system.  BellChild customers will thus be able to monitor and control their industrial processes in real time, from a web page or mobile phone, as well as log data directly to any database or Big Data repository.  The service requires no programming, and allows users to seamlessly integrate existing systems using standard protocols, while incrementally adding Industrie 4.0 or IIoT capability as needed.

The basis for the iBRESS and SkkyHub services is Skkynet’s patented technology for secure, outbound-only connections, making it fully compatible with corporate IT policies, and ensuring no exposed attack surface – no open firewall ports, no VPN, and no extra hardware.  It provides Industrie 4.0 and IIoT connectivity at in-plant networking speeds of microseconds over network latency, and processes up to 50,000+ data changes per second.

About BellChild

BellChild is a system integration company focusing on secure system development, robust infrastructure development, and advanced operations capabilities.  The company develops and maintains secure servers used to support high-speed financial transactions, which is also used to provide a robust and secure platform to support industrial cloud-based systems in the form of iBRESS™ Cloud service.  For more information, see http://www.bell-c.co.jp/.

About Skkynet

Skkynet Cloud Systems, Inc. (OTCQB: SKKY) is a global leader in real-time cloud information systems. The Skkynet Connected Systems platform includes the award-winning SkkyHub™ service, DataHub®, WebView™, and Embedded Toolkit (ETK) software. The platform enables real-time data connectivity for industrial, embedded, and financial systems, with no programming required. Skkynet’s platform is uniquely positioned for the “Internet of Things” and “Industry 4.0” because unlike the traditional approach for networked systems, SkkyHub is secure-by-design. For more information, see https://skkynet.com.

Safe Harbor

This news release contains “forward-looking statements” as that term is defined in the United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Statements in this press release that are not purely historical are forward-looking statements, including beliefs, plans, expectations or intentions regarding the future, and results of new business opportunities. Actual results could differ from those projected in any forward-looking statements due to numerous factors, such as the inherent uncertainties associated with new business opportunities and development stage companies. Skkynet assumes no obligation to update the forward-looking statements. Although Skkynet believes that any beliefs, plans, expectations and intentions contained in this press release are reasonable, there can be no assurance that they will prove to be accurate. Investors should refer to the risk factors disclosure outlined in Skkynet’s annual report on Form 10-K for the most recent fiscal year, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and other periodic reports filed from time-to-time with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Skkynet to Hold OPC UA Sandpit Event in Osaka

Technology providers from six countries gather in Japan to demonstrate secure Industrial IoT cloud connectivity for OPC UA products.

Mississauga, Ontario, September 12, 2017Skkynet Cloud Systems, Inc. (“Skkynet” or “the Company”) (OTCQB: SKKY), a global leader in real-time cloud information systems, is pleased to announce OSP 2017―OPC UA Sandpit―will be held in Osaka, Japan, on September 14, 2017.  This international event will showcase ten OPC UA products from leading industrial automation companies including Wago of Germany, B&R of Austria, Moxa of Taiwan, Comtrol of the USA, Cogent Real-Time Systems of Canada, and Kobata Gauge, Puerto, BellChild, Nissin, and NiC of Japan.  Representatives from these companies will test and demonstrate secure connectivity from their OPC UA enabled devices to the iBRESS Cloud service from BellChild, through closed firewalls and network proxies.

“These companies are at the leading edge of secure data communications for Industrial IoT,” said Paul Thomas, President of Skkynet.  “The OPC UA protocol is well-known for security within the industrial network, and this initiative demonstrates how an equally high level of security can be achieved seamlessly for IoT cloud connections.”

At the OPC UA Sandpit event, each participant will connect their hardware to a network on which BellChild’s iBRESS Box is running.  The iBRESS Box has Skkynet’s Cogent DataHub installed, which on the one hand provides OPC UA connectivity, and on the other can tunnel securely through network proxies and closed firewalls to the iBRESS Cloud.  Using OPC UA on the local network, each connected device will pass its data to the iBRESS Box, which will make it available on the iBRESS Cloud in real time.

“Skkynet’s DataHub is the key enabling technology for this kind of secure connectivity,” said Thomas.  “Functioning as the engine for both the iBRESS Cloud and the iBRESS Box, the DataHub’s unique secure-by-design approach to data communications makes it an ideal tool for Industrial IoT.”

About BellChild

BellChild is a system integration company focusing on secure system development, robust infrastructure development, and advanced operations capabilities. The company develops and maintains secure servers used to support high-speed financial transactions, which is also used to provide a robust and secure platform to support industrial cloud-based systems in the form of iBRESS™ Cloud service.  For more information, see https://www.bell-c.co.jp/.

About Skkynet

Skkynet Cloud Systems, Inc. (OTCQB: SKKY) is a global leader in real-time cloud information systems. The Skkynet Connected Systems platform includes the award-winning SkkyHub™ service, DataHub®, WebView™, and Embedded Toolkit (ETK) software. The platform enables real-time data connectivity for industrial, embedded, and financial systems, with no programming required. Skkynet’s platform is uniquely positioned for the “Internet of Things” and “Industry 4.0” because unlike the traditional approach for networked systems, SkkyHub is secure-by-design. For more information, see https://skkynet.com.

Safe Harbor

This news release contains “forward-looking statements” as that term is defined in the United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Statements in this press release that are not purely historical are forward-looking statements, including beliefs, plans, expectations or intentions regarding the future, and results of new business opportunities. Actual results could differ from those projected in any forward-looking statements due to numerous factors, such as the inherent uncertainties associated with new business opportunities and development stage companies. Skkynet assumes no obligation to update the forward-looking statements. Although Skkynet believes that any beliefs, plans, expectations and intentions contained in this press release are reasonable, there can be no assurance that they will prove to be accurate. Investors should refer to the risk factors disclosure outlined in Skkynet’s annual report on Form 10-K for the most recent fiscal year, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and other periodic reports filed from time-to-time with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.