I joined the Linux Foundation's LF Edge project called Fledge in 2021 as a voting member of the Technical Steering Committee. Last month, I became a co-chair of this committee. While the Linux Foundation, Open Source, and Industrial IoT are new to me, I bring my 25+ years of experience with IT/OT integration to the table.
Wintel platforms dominate the computer systems in industrial environments. Linux is prominent in many embedded devices but has made much less progress in the higher-level systems. Over the years, I have implemented hundreds of interfaces to industrial control systems to pipe the data out of the protected OT network to outside IT systems to allow corporate access to the data where it could be processed into visualizations, alerts, and reports. These simple data pipes produced immense value to the companies I have served.
Today these simple data pipes are not enough. Newer Edge computing platforms enable intelligent data pipes. We add the capability to filter, process, and augment the data streams as they go through the pipe. Machine learning models and AI deployed to the edge enable advanced capabilities. These edge nodes also help collect data from sources such as cameras to train the AI models. Our new pipelines are also capable of delivering data to multiple sources.
While there are hundreds of proprietary offerings from the traditional OT vendors, I believe that it is vital that there be an open source offering. We in the OT world have lived for too long in the balkanized land of proprietary standards and closed source. The IT world exploded with innovation in the nineties as open source entered the stage. The LAMP stack was probably the first example of open source overtaking proprietary systems. Development and innovation exploded as websites built on the stack became common. Think of Fledge as the LAMP stack for Edge Computing.
I'll share my experiences as I work on the project and try to help build a community of support for the Linux Foundation's effort to drive innovation in the IIoT world. As I share information, I hope you will follow me on LinkedIn and Twitter so that you can offer feedback and add your experiences to mine. Together we can help to influence the community and change our industry.