Hewlett Packard Enterprise ‘Edges’ IoT closer to mass adoption
An HPE Discover 2016 attendee using an Internet of Things thing to register for the big event. Image Source: HPE

Hewlett Packard Enterprise ‘Edges’ IoT closer to mass adoption

The convergence of people, places and things is changing the shape of the modern workplace. So much is this the case that ‘the very idea of the desk is starting to fade away’, or so they say. HPE is using a good proportion of its Discover 2016 event in London’s ExCeL to explain what is happening at the new ‘edge’ of computing.

Mobile-first networks

This idea of the desk itself fading away was tabled (pun – ouch!) by Keerti Melkote in his role as founder and CTO of Aruba, now a part of Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) — indeed, Melkote is now senior vice president and general manager, Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

We will now see the rise of mobile-first networks and a number of other trends which will have a direct impact upon the Internet of Things (IoT).

“If a consumer goes into a store to buy a phone it takes around half an hour to provision that device and set it up, if you think about how fast we need to bring IoT devices online… this time window needs to be must faster,” said Melkote.

HPE says it is now working hard to provide IoT policy enforcement to create new broader stronger levels of IT security across the IoT. Looking at the amount of data being produced by sensors in the IoT, Melkote thinks that more processing is going to be needed closer to the devices themselves i.e. a technology concept that we normally refer to as ‘edge computing’.

HPE’s product offerings in this space come under the name Intelligent IoT Edge Solution Architecture.

The company is providing technology to harmonize the way devices are onboarded to the IoT and get them provisioned quickly, safely and at much lower cost than previously. This is what HPE thinks will be crucial to driving higher levels of mass adoption of the IoT. There needs to be a higher level of automation intelligence in the IoT so that the network knows if a new device has been connected to it and – crucially, the network should be able to know automatically the difference between a sensor or a thermostat of a camera and so on.

OT, as in Operational Technology

Much of this falls into a category that HPE is coining (and the rest of the industry appears to also use), which is OT standing for Operational Technology.

When these OT devices start to connect to the network, the core admin teams want to ‘protect the mothership’ and don’t want to provide too much access to these often unapproved devices. HPE Aruba is working with SI (as in Systems Integration) technologies to make this process more achievable, more manageable and more controlled.

But there is an issue or challenge here. As we start to want to put OT devices in mission critical environments (like a nuclear power station for example), then we arguably face something of a challenge in terms of maintenance and upgrades. These are very tightly controlled environments and IT will not have the same kind of regular access to the main equipment base as it might have in other commercial industrial environments. The way around this difficulty, one could argue, is to make sure that we use cloud-based software-defined IT so that we can perform upgrades more accurately.

Common data model

HPE also advises that standardizing data into one common model across the breadth of the IoT will be a crucial element in working with the new connected device landscape effectively.

“Cost-prohibitive economics and the lack of a holistic solution are key barriers for mass adoption of IoT,” said Melkote. “By approaching IoT with innovations to expand our comprehensive framework built on edge infrastructure solutions, software platforms and technology ecosystem partners, HPE is addressing the cost, complexity and security concerns of organizations looking to enable a new class of services that will transform workplace and operational experiences.”

As organizations integrate IoT into mainstream operations, the onboarding and management of IoT devices remains costly and inefficient particularly at large scale. Concurrently, the diverse variations of IoT connectivity, protocols and security, prevent organizations from easily aggregating data across a heterogeneous fabric of connected things.

To deliver on IoT’s promise of deriving valuable insights from billions of connected things, HPE insists that it is helping organizations optimize the lifecycle of IoT devices. By reducing IoT connectivity costs and translating device communications to a common language, HPE claims it is arming organizations with tools to change the economics and viability of large scale IoT deployments.

New & updates HPE IoT solutions

These solutions include:

  • HPE Mobile Virtual Network Enabler
  • HPE Universal IoT Platform
  • Aruba ClearPass Universal Profiler
  • Aruba 2540 Series Switches
  • Edgeline Systems expand partnerships in edge computing and integrated control

To improve the economies of scale for massive IoT deployments over wide area networks, HPE is announcing the new HPE Mobile Virtual Network Enabler (MVNE) and enhancements to the HPE Universal IoT (UIoT) Platform. The new HPE Mobile Virtual Network Enabler gives customers greater control over IoT devices that need cellular connectivity and services.

Designed for massive scale, multi-vendor and multi-network support using the oneM2M interoperability standard, the HPE Universal IoT Platform manages the HPE MVNE devices and provides multivendor IoT monitoring, reporting, and analytics services with carrier-grade reliability and scale.

“For the full benefit of IoT to be realized by commercial interests and consumers alike, IoT sensor networks need to be deployable anywhere, reaching the most remote places on Earth,” said Paul Gudonis, President of Inmarsat’s Enterprise business. “The combination of Inmarsat’s industry-leading, global satellite network and HPE’s cloud-based Universal IoT Platform, allows enterprises to do exactly that. Our first project together in Precision Farming promises not only to create a new model for best practices in agriculture but is also an ideal go-to-market model of what our companies will be able to do across many other industries. We are extremely excited about this prospect.”

How far can the IoT go?

Let’s wrap up this report by looking at how far the IoT can impact across all vertical industries… could a bread and cake baker start to digitize with our contemporary levels of IoT penetration? Of course it can. Speaking to Internet of Business at HPE Discover 2016, EMEA IoT fellow Colin I’Anson depicted a scenario where a bakery could be become a digitally transformed business with full IoT-enrichment.

“The digitally transformed bakery of tomorrow [well, today really] could be operating with sensors on its ovens to ensure optimal performance. Digital analytics helping to deduce exactly how much of each type of product to bake on each day depending on cyclical trends and other factors that may be influenced by social streams and trends… and then the whole supply chain at the back end should be digital (with its own range of IoT intelligence) to create a new connected business operation,” said I’Anson.

HPE’s purchase of Aruba appears to be even more good sense now than it did at the time of its occurrence. The firm has been quite open about the fact that the software element of the business is even more important than the hardware side.

HPE the IoT company? Yes, it is now.