EdgeX Foundry project aims to standardize IoT at the network edge

It’s no secret that security concerns are holding back the Internet of Things, and much of the blame can be placed on a lack of common IoT development standards.

To address this, the Linux Foundation has just announced a new project that aims to create a common, open framework for IoT edge computing. The initiative also seeks to create an ecosystem of interoperable components for use in the IoT.

The new initiative is called the EdgeX Foundry, and one of its main backers is Dell Technologies Inc., which is contributing its Fuse IoT code base to provide a framework for IoT interoperability.

Dell is just one of more than 50 companies that have thrown their weight behind the project in total, with other notable names including Advanced Micro Devices Inc., Canonical Ltd. and VMware Inc.

The main goal of the EdgeX Foundry is to help companies avoid the heavy investment that’s currently needed to set up an edge computing solution for the IoT, said Philip DesAutels, PhD Senior Director of IoT at The Linux Foundation. “EdgeX will foster an ecosystem of interoperable components from a variety of vendors, so that resources can be spent on driving business value instead of combining and integrating IoT components,” he added.

Right now, although IoT is growing, problems including widespread fragmentation and the lack of a common solution framework are holding back broader adoption. The Linux Foundation says this complexity has created paralysis, and EdgeX is an attempt to solve this by making it easier for developers to create flexible IoT edge solutions that can adapt to businesses’ changing needs. EdgeX can therefore be thought of as a kind of plug-and-play infrastructure for IoT network edge solutions, designed to run on any hardware or operating system and with any combination of application environments.

This flexibility will also help EdgeX to enable interoperability between IoT devices, applications and services for a wide range of use cases. The project will also create a certification program to ensure this interoperability.

EdgeX is no small undertaking, but with Dell committing its Fuse code to the effort, the groundwork is already in place. Dell is open-sourcing Fuse’s code base under an Apache 2.0 license, and with EdgeX it will form a layer that sits between the different messaging protocols used by IoT sensors, clouds and servers to facilitate interoperability. It will also provide greater value as it will enable edge analytics, security and system management, and other services.

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EdgeX is not to be confused with the AllJoyn open source software framework, which is a protocol for device-to-device communications. EdgeX differs as it’s a framework for building IoT edge software that connects devices to the Internet via the cloud. It’s an extremely welcome development too, because the current mishmash of incompatible technologies that make up much of the existing IoT is a recipe for headaches and insecurity. If EdgeX leads to the creation of an interoperable IoT we can expect to see rapid advances leading to huge benefits for companies and consumers alike.

The initial public release of EdgeX code will arrive in May, while the full EdgeX 1.0 community release is scheduled for Oct. 1.

Image: geralt/pixabay

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