Mobile application development company Qt (pronounced ‘cute’) has refreshed its programmer toolset, designed for coders building apps in the industrial automation space.
Qt has had a colourful corporate history. At various stages in its existence, it has been independently run (at one time, under the arresting name of Trolltech), it has been owned by Nokia, and has operated in various other guises, too.
Today, the Norway-based company is best known for its essentially open source tools, which developers use to build software that powers in-vehicle systems, medical equipment and industrial automation devices. Many of these systems, the company claims, quickly become business-critical to the companies that deploy them.
Qt for Automation
With updates this month, the company has released Qt for Automation. This is a set of code libraries and development tools for creating new systems in the building, services and industrial automation sectors.
Built using Qt’s own development environment products (Qt for Device Creation and Qt for Application Development), the new product is designed to enhance the performance and capabilities of edge devices for the IoT.
It is essentially modular, scalable and secure in its library structure. Although the foundational elements of this software at the kernel level continue to be open source, the commercially licensed versions of the company’s technologies have always been delivered as ‘locked down’ products – that is, with non-dynamic code libraries and static dependencies that can be fully audited and tracked at the point of code deployment.
Qt’s technology, according to the company, is currently in use by millions of developers across the world and at eight of the top 10 Fortune 500 companies.
The architecture and extensibility of these modular tools and QtKNX libraries within Qt for Automation are designed to deliver what company executives at Qt refer to as ‘future warranties’. What they mean by this is that developed systems retain the ability to execute upon a working code base, with its toolchain dependencies and wider architectural structure, while remaining independent of any changes to the underlying hardware or operating systems.
Ulstein Power & Control, an engineering company specialising in the maritime and offshore industries, is a Qt customer. Its R&D manager Rune Volden says the company uses the company’s technology to programme control systems and graphical user interfaces (GUIs) and saves a “significant” amount of development time as a result.
“With the rise of IoT, we realized that the amount of sensors and I/O we collected in our control systems was increasing exponentially, and we needed to aggregate the data and present it in a better way to become more efficient,” he explains.
Qt developer tools
QtKNX is the smart home library that translates user requests into KNX protocol, a network communications protocol for building automation. As such, the company claims QtKNX to be the first step to bringing home automation to the fingertips of developers. Qt MQTT, meanwhile, is a client implementation that can be used for creating devices to send data, but also monitoring solutions designed to manage telemetry information.
“Qt has been focused on the automation sector since our inception two decades ago, and our presence in the industry has expanded alongside the exponential growth of the global IoT market,” said Lars Knoll, CTO, The Qt Company.
“With the new Qt for Automation offering, we are bringing our automation capabilities together in an integrated and comprehensive set of software development tools and libraries that have been designed for edge devices in industrial and home automation. This enables our automation customers to quickly and easily gain tangible business benefits, including reduced costs and improved efficiencies across their entire organization, and further extends our leadership position in the automation industry.”