New year’s opening: Interview with Xu Jiehong, general manager of Advantech embedded
Absrtact: as the basis of the Internet of things, the Internet of things (IOT) has set off wave after wave of technological innovation since it was mentioned for more than ten years. Five years ago, this disruptive concept flourished everywhere in the industrial field. For a time, the industrial Internet of things (iiot) has become a hot air. In the past two years, with the rapid development of artificial intelligence (AI), vision, imaging and other technologies, people’s voice for intelligent applications is growing, and intelligent networking (aiot) has gradually become a new direction of development. So, in the new future that aiot takes over, how can emerging technologies enable the industry? What are the development trends of equipment and edge end? How can the Internet of things upgrade to the Internet of intelligence really realize the value of connectivity?
Exclusive interview: Xu Jiehong, general manager of Yanhua embedded Internet of things platform business group
(Xu Jiehong, general manager of Yanhua embedded Internet of things platform business group)
As the name suggests, the essence of aiot is the integration of AI technology and IOT technology. New technologies can often push the industrial development to a new height. In the future, in addition to technological innovation, people will also face core problems such as the landing and application of new technologies. With the addition of higher-level AI technology, the realization of “intelligent connection of all things” has been added to the wish list of enterprises. As a global Internet of things integration solution provider, Advantech takes root in various fields with its outstanding products and services. In order to meet the future development trend and challenges of aiot, what technological innovations and strategic adjustments has Advantech made? With these problems in mind, the author has an exclusive interview with Xu Jiehong, general manager of Embedded Internet of things business group of Yanhua (China).
Aiot: opportunities and challenges
What does the budding of new trends mean? In the past, many devices used plug-in type. In the long iterative process, just like the rise of EtherCAT bus replaced PCI, network type gradually replaced the plug-in type. In the past, limited by limited experience and knowledge, suppliers could not well meet the needs of customer product integration. With the advent of aiot era, it is bound to strengthen the existing network architecture, and machines no longer need to be attached with miscellaneous function cards. Suppliers only need to provide customers with machines with corresponding interfaces, which provides a greater space for embedded applications. Obviously, in the face of the opportunity of aiot, it is very important to expand its own advantages. Different from the past, Xu Jiehong said: “what customers need now is no longer just a PAAS platform, but the overall service that you can collect the underlying data from the edge end and then upload it to the cloud.” It can be seen that the new technology demand extended by aiot has a great impact on the product line of manufacturers, and the rigid demand for innovation and transformation is also placed in front of enterprises.
For a long time, Advantech, as the head manufacturer of embedded motherboard, attaches importance to the design and production capacity, as well as the industry experience and service response speed. But at present, in addition to mass production of boards and cards, it is the general trend for manufacturers to understand customer needs and provide customized services. In this regard, Xu Jiehong also added that, for example, in the face of Telecom manufacturers, it is very difficult for suppliers to develop a product that fully meets the demand, and the best way at this time is customer customization. Customization allocates the best parts of the products, while Advantech can provide experimental and simulation services before hardware design, and assist customers to adjust the motherboard well, smoothly.
Software plus hardware, Advantech ushers in innovative development
For professional hardware manufacturers, it’s not difficult for them to quickly launch their products and mass produce them. Most of the early industrial computer manufacturers only need to follow the chip manufacturers’ new products and strive for synchronous launch, so that they can get a share in the market. But if you want to go deep into the field of Internet of things, it is not enough to just follow the rules and pace of others. With the rise of AI technology and the need of the development of aiot, manufacturers are forced to carry out all-round innovative research and development of hardware and software, and explore more functional integration ideas. For example, in the past, Advantech was only responsible for hardware design and customer circuit diagram inspection. Now, in addition to hardware, Advantech can also provide support in firmware and underlying software drivers, which is the biggest difference between Advantech and its competitors.
At the same time, in order to help enterprises accelerate the creation of aiot innovative applications, Advantech has been innovating the application and architecture functions of wise PAAS industrial Internet of things cloud platform in recent years. In 2020, in order to build “integrable” industrial app, Advantech launched the trade platform of industrial Internet of things solution, wise marketplace industrial app cloud market, of which 80% belong to the industry general standardized industrial app and 20% belong to the customized industry specific app. At the same time, wise PAAS has been upgraded to version 4.0 with the blessing of the new infrastructure kubernetes, which can not only provide more diversified application services, but also better accelerate the development and operation of industrial app. According to the existing IT infrastructure and implementation objectives of the factory field, the system integrator can flexibly select the industry-specific products needed. It is expected that in the future, through this cloud market, users can not only easily obtain the apps needed by their industry, but also minimize the basic workload through Devops and other related functions.
Innovative practice of edge end software
In the strategy of using software to add value to hardware, wise deviceon, an innovative edge software, is the most important strategic transformation product of Advantech’s Embedded Internet of things platform business group, said Xu Jiehong. Wise deviceon can not only help enterprises complete the steps of data cloud, but also obtain parameters such as fan speed, system temperature and CPU temperature through equipment networking and asset management, and carry out predictive maintenance on the equipment by monitoring the collected data. In the technology integration of AI and IOT, Advantech improves business value by extracting big data, and carries out equipment risk management and daily operation more intelligently. Meanwhile, wise deviceon is compatible with all Advantech hardware systems and can work on mainstream platforms such as wise PAAS public / private cloud, Microsoft azure, vmonpremise and kubernetes. Through function integration, Advantech integrates the product functions of hardware and intermediate software, which can not only help customers achieve rapid development and product launch, but also improve the invisible value of its own enterprises, so as to embrace the “second spring” under the new opportunities.
At present, Advantech’s deviceon / via has many successful applications. For example, a customer wants to do some new mechanical development through face recognition, but when the software and hardware are integrated, it is found that there are still many problems in the connection process of data upload in the original software, which leads to the delay of product launch. With the participation of the Advantech team, it took only two weeks to solve the problem by using the gateway integrated with image functions. The reason is that Advantech has finished the data acquisition and other work in advance. Customers only need to connect the underlying interface to run their software directly.
In addition, Advantech is also committed to edge innovation, and has developed various edge gateways for customers to choose from for different industrial applications. When customers use it, they only need to combine the needs of their own industry, and after completing their own development and connection, they can quickly realize data cloud. The gateway products delivered by Advantech in recent years effectively integrate hardware and intermediate software. This innovative idea also makes it more suitable for the needs of the aiot era. At the same time, Advantech also assists customers in development planning through professional consulting services. This business philosophy of software plus hardware makes Advantech stand out among many hardware manufacturers.
Stand up for opportunities and lead the new future of aiot
Making people think less and life more convenient is the constant rule of modern technology evolution. Every manufacturer is thinking about how to “spoil everyone”. The rise of aiot “trend” highlights people’s growing expectations for intelligent applications. Looking forward to the future, in the trend of intelligence, more and more things will be endowed with intelligence, and the development and changes of edge end and cloud end are full of unknown. Xu Jiehong believes that the edge end can only provide data call function. In the future, a lot of modeling training data will be huge, and it still needs to be carried out in the cloud. Manufacturers should identify the opportunities and actively carry out innovative business.
In terms of embedded development of Advantech, Xu Jiehong added that the edge end often needs products with low power consumption and moderate cost, and users sometimes do not need the complicated function implementation of x86 architecture. As the representative of RISC, arm architecture will be a new growth point in the future. At the same time, Advantech also began to cooperate with domestic chip manufacturers such as Ruixin micro and megachip to design and develop domestic chip products to meet the development needs of localization. As for the new infrastructure which is developing rapidly in China, Advantech has already seen the opportunities. In the fields of 5g base station construction, industrial Internet, UHV, intercity high-speed railway and rail transit, artificial intelligence, new energy charging pile and so on, Advantech’s embedded products have made corresponding product layout and gained many business opportunities.
In the future, Advantech will still have strong development in product innovation and industrial landing, such as embedded platform and modular computer. At the same time, in the face of technological innovation and market challenges in the aiot era, using software to add value to hardware is not only an expansion of its own product line, but also an eruption of Advantech’s solid industry experience. Now Advantech is leading the bright future of aiot and is ready for all opportunities and challenges.