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By | November 19, 2020

LF Edge Member Spotlight: OSIsoft

The LF Edge community is comprised of a diverse set of member companies and people that represent the IoT, Enterprise, Cloud and Telco Edge. The Member Spotlight blog series highlights these members and how they are contributing to and leveraging open source edge solutions. Today, we sit down with Daniel Lazaro, Senior Technical Program Manager at OSIsoft, to discuss the importance of open source, collaborating with industry leaders in edge computing, their contributions to Fledge and the impact of being a part of the LF Edge ecosystem.

Can you tell us a little about your organization?

Since 1980, OSIsoft has focused on a single goal: getting operations data into the hands of industrial professionals so that they have the information they need to reduce costs, increase productivity and transform business. Decades ago, before the modern internet, big data, or AI arrived on the scene, the company’s flagship PI System software became known for breaking ground as a historian: a database used by engineers in an operational environment that captures streaming, time-series data that reflects the state of the physical equipment (assets).

Over time, the PI System has expanded to meet modern industrial needs, allowing not only operations staff but also executives, software developers, data scientists and others to understand, share, and make decisions based on highly curated operations data. With its addition of edge and cloud-based capabilities, the PI System now makes this essential data accessible, usable and valuable to people, systems and communities of customers, suppliers and partners across and beyond the enterprise.

Why is your organization adopting an open source approach?

Open source enables collaboration and integration of heterogeneous technologies across organizational boundaries. Moreover, it provides a platform for innovation to create solutions designed to address technical and business challenges such as those at the edge. Our CEO and founder Pat Kennedy saw the opportunity for an open source approach to address such challenges at the edge and started Dianomic. We believe that open source is the fast track to innovation. Industrial systems are unique in the number of protocols, data mappings and overall diversity. Open source can uniquely address these edge computing challenges by collaborating on code that all participants can access, modify and expand upon.

Why did you join LF Edge and what sort of impact do you think LF Edge has on the edge, networking, and IoT industries?

Zededa introduced Dianomic to LF Edge before its inception. As a result, Dianomic and OSIsoft joined as founding members. The original idea was and remains to build a thriving open source industrial community. This is a challenge to the Linux Foundation in that industrial companies have not been traditional open source users. The operations (OT) side of the Industrial market tends not to be software/compute experts, they are machine, manufacturing and process experts.

LF Edge curates several open source projects and a community around them that addresses the challenges of edge computing in a wide range of vertical markets at the edge of the network. This framework provides a collaboration platform for organizations to build non-differentiating infrastructure for solutions at the edge driven by inherent tradeoffs between the benefits of centralization and decentralization.

LF Edge plays a critical role helping accelerate deployments of Industrial IoT enabling and expanding visibility of previously untapped aspects of operations.

What do you see as the top benefits of being part of the LF Edge community?

In the LF Edge community, we see a group of like-minded organizations willing to work together. By collaborating through open source, we join forces to build the framework and ecosystem for the future of edge computing. Each project targets different pieces of the puzzle or building blocks to assemble in order to address the complexities encountered at the edge. Divide and conquer, focus, specialize and thrive. The community ecosystem provides learning and growing opportunities and a better together experience. At the same time, it enables exciting new revenue opportunities for new types of services and customers.

What sort of contributions has your team made to the community, ecosystem through LF Edge participation?

As a Premier member of LF Edge, OSIsoft actively influences the strategic and technical direction of LF Edge as voting members of the Governing Board and technical advisory council. OSIsoft brings its industrial perspective and expertise to LF Edge and contributes its vision working with different committees and through public speaking at various LF Edge related events. Our contributions play an important role in nurturing and growing a community of end users across various industry verticals within LF Edge. The end user vertical solution group kicked off October, 2020 with presentations by industrial companies showcasing valuable use cases implementing solutions using LF Edge projects.

We believe that the industrial edge has a different set of requirements that are better addressed with a specialized approach tailored to its specific needs, namely Fledge. The thriving and growing Fledge community of industrials has contributed back code to the project already deployed in production environments today. This adds to the previous contributions by service providers, system integrators, OEMs such as Dianomic, OSIsoft and Google to name a few. Fledge started when Dianomic contributed the entire FogLAMP stack in winter of 2019. At that time, the code was in its 8th release and had been commercially deployed in energy, manufacturing and mining operations.

Fledge works closely with other LF Edge projects such as EVE and Akraino. EVE provides system and orchestration services and a container runtime for Fledge applications and services. Together industrial operators can build, manage, secure and support both Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) and non-SCADA connected machines, IIoT and sensors as they scale. Fledge is also integrated with Akraino, as both projects support the roll out 5G and private LTE networks.

What do you think sets LF Edge apart from other industry alliances?

Traditionally, alliances have focused on delivering recommendations, guidelines or standards Instead, LF Edge focuses on delivering reference implementations in the form of quality open source software ready for adopters to integrate in their solutions. The strong communities of end users and developers around the software that customize, integrate, implement and contribute back to the projects sets LF Edge apart.

How will LF Edge help your business?

The LF Edge framework lowers the barrier to adoption of edge computing solutions translating in increased industrial implementations that enable new use cases that were not technically possible or cost effective before. This allows OSIsoft customers to rapidly expand their real-time data infrastructure to new systems and devices in industry and operations for greater visibility into operations and business, faster decisions and higher value.

Moreover,  LF Edge enables the expansion to new market opportunities through technical solutions as well as its communities of end users and vertical solutions. LF Edge governance provides customers with confidence that the projects within the framework are developed with broad industry support and openness without vendor lock-in.

Finally, access to a large developer community and marketing efforts are opportunities to share resources and drive down costs.

What advice would you give to someone considering joining LF Edge?

Get familiar with the framework and ecosystem of projects. You can start by checking the website and read the various resources available, white papers and documentation provided by the community. Identify the projects, groups and communities that align with your organization’s goals. Join the relevant groups and communities, mailing lists and calls, listen in and learn and when you are ready participate and contribute. If you identify gaps or have solutions that can enrich the current ecosystem, bring them on. Contributions come in many shapes, not just code, and they are the means to drive direction and influence within LF Edge.

To find out more about LF Edge members or how to join, click here. To learn more about Fledge, click here. To see use cases for Fledge, check out these videos. Additionally, if you have questions or comments, visit the LF Edge Slack Channel and share your thoughts in the #fledge, #fledge-help or #fledge-tsc channels.