WEGnology Edge Compute is a suite of functionality within the WEGnology platform that allows for deploying workflows to your connected devices and executing those workflows on the device itself. This is in contrast to application workflows, which execute in WEGnology’s platform.
Fully utilizing WEGnology Edge Compute brings a number of benefits to your application.
The ability to make decisions on the device – and not in the cloud, which depends on an internet connection (much less a fast one) – can be critical to an IoT application. For example, if you have a vibration sensor attached to a machine, and that machine should shut down if vibration levels spike (a clear indication of a fault), even a one-second difference can mean the difference between a simple repair and a new piece of equipment.
This difference is achieved by acting on the value of that sensor and making the “shut-down” decision locally on the device via an edge workflow. The alternative is sending the sensor readings through the internet up to the cloud, where the evaluation of the data takes place in an application workflow. Then, a command to shut the machine down must be sent back through the internet down to the connected device.
If your devices are deployed in environments where internet service is intermittent, you can use WEGnology Edge Compute to accumulate state reports on the device. Then, the next time the device connects, those reports can be sent up to the cloud platform.
Your devices and sensors can potentially generate hundreds of data points per second, and it’s likely you only care about long-term averages and/or anomalies in these data points. By filtering the sensor values at the local level, you can dramatically reduce data noise within your application, cut the number of payloads generated and save battery life by reducing bandwidth.
Much like with the Workflow Engine itself, Edge Compute allows less-technical end users to make behavior changes within their connected devices without having to work in a coding environment. Then, updating, versioning and deploying the changes is all done through WEGnology’s web interface, and since all changes require creating a version, any mistakes can quickly be rolled back by deploying an older, stable version.
WEGnology Edge Compute functionality is exposed through two different options, and the one you choose depends mostly on the processing power of the hardware on which you’d like to run workflows.
WEGnology’s Gateway Edge Agent is recommended in use cases where:
- More compute power is available (the agent runs in a Docker container in hardware that supports an operating system).
- Peripherals must be read/written to through a variety of industrial and networking protocols.
- Additional functionality, such as a local web server, MQTT broker, or local data visualization is necessary.
As a general rule, if your hardware is capable of running the Gateway Edge Agent, we recommend this option.
By contrast, WEGnology’s Embedded Edge Agent is better suited to cases where:
- Very little compute power is available, such as in embedded hardware.
- Frequency / vibration analysis is key to the IoT solution.
- Updates to the local logic is especially cumbersome, in respect to the physical access to the hardware and/or the software development resources required to make updates.
Initial setup requires an experienced developer, but after that, exposing new functionality within your embedded hardware is significantly easier with the Embedded Edge Agent in place.
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