Test Systems and The Edge

Posted by Steve Beyer on Aug 9, 2017 4:18:27 PM

medical pills industry  factory and production indoor-1.jpegToday’s technologies demand more of everything—more data, computing power, test cycles, security, reliability, everything.

Optimation’s expertise and experience in developing test systems for our clients has seen us push these technologies to “The Edge.” Literally. In case you aren’t familiar with it, The Edge is the boundary between the physical and the virtual worlds of operational reality and the IT domain. The Edge is that space where previously cables and then wireless interfaces connected devices such as sensors and actuators to computers and the Cloud. Queries, status, data, and commands flowed back-and-forth between these network elements. But that takes time and the distance can introduce communication risks, data loss, and test complications.

For clients of ours that rely on Optimation to deliver state-of-the-art test system technology, we in turn rely on Edge nodes to straddle the chasm between the physical devices (instruments, sensors, etc.) that are integral to the processes of the Unit Under Test (UUT) and the centralized computing and storage power where corporate resources and other IT tools reside. These Edge nodes are often embedded into real-time controllers and similar data acquisition and control modules that we employ in our various test platforms. 
National Instruments’ cRIO and cDAQ systems for instance, enable ultra-high frequency data capture and manipulation with the immediacy of being on the physical side of The Edge. That is, they often essentially coexist at the UUT as opposed to remotely monitoring and collecting data from a distant control room or data center.

IDC predicts BY 2019 at least 40 PERCENT of IoT-created data will be stored, processed, analyzed, and acted upon at The Edge.

For Optimation’s test systems clients, this means dramatically faster response and decision-making times; when pressure spikes spell danger, or when increased scanning rates equal greater data analysis capabilities and understanding, then these are hyper-valuable. Furthermore, the growing community of application writers and device manufacturers developing to this space mean an explosive growth of options and suites of tools for us and our clients to choose from for the better debugging and prove-out of products and more powerful and capable test systems.

Beyond 2019, we expect the following major advances in Edge node technology, which will deliver a wide variety of benefits to test technologies in particular:

  • “Edge-ready” hardware, hardened,custom-designed devicesthat will combine the ruggedness and certifiable field-readiness of real-world conditions with horsepower and precision of next-generation DAQ and I/O technology;
  • Dramatically increased linking of test assets, both in-process test information as well as cooperation and collaboration across various test systems, for greater flexibility in testing regimens.  This will also enable improved financial results for users who can optimize their use of physical assets through better Edge node test system design and utilization.
  • Faster sampling rates and synchronization among these devices enabling greater computation, programmable decision-making, and lightning-quick global linking to facilitate speedier testing and enhanced sharing across platforms, and across the planet.

For companies that require nanosecond DAQ capabilities, that are pushing their own envelopes of quality and reliability, and for clients that seek the insights that come from enriched data analysis that can come for the vast quantities from beyond even what we can generate and effectively dissect today, these Edge capabilities promise tremendous potential in the hands of experts who know how to use them. Whether we apply these to test systems for medical devices, oil & gas tools, manufacturing assembly, food/beverage safety and quality, or any other process to certify, validate, or otherwise assess something’s integrity then we will know we are using the fastest, brightest, and most leading edge technologies available to deliver the kinds of insights and reliable components and architectures that our clients can rely on.

 (source: How Is IoT Data Used and Organized at the Edge? May 2017 IDC Research) http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=US42581117)

Topics: Trends, Skid Systems, Internet of Things, Test Systems

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