Choosing A Visual App Builder for Industrial IoT

This page provides content related to live webinars hosted by Edge2Web in November 2017, entitled Choosing A Visual App Builder for Industrial IoT. The goals of these events were to identify and discuss key requirements for emerging visual app builder solutions, and demonstrate Edge2Web’s tools accessing data from GE Digital’s Predix industrial cloud.

Webinar Video Index:

00:00 – Webinar Intro

03:40 – Industrial IoT Market Drivers

05:53 – IIoT Technology Stack

10:07 – Visual App Builder Requirements

30:27 – Demo – Edge2Web on GE Predix

43:21 – Webinar Q&A

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Webinar Questions & Answers

What is the status of the Edge2Web product?

We are currently in open Beta and are aiming to make Edge2Web Director publicly available in Q1 of 2018. Our initial release will support GE’s Predix and at least one additional industrial cloud platform.

If you would like to start working with Director today (it’s already among the best tools available for quickly standing up POCs), you can sign up for a free Edge2Web developer account. Account set-up is completely self-service, takes less than 5 minutes, and gives you immediate access to a wealth of sample apps and live sample data.

How are connections made from Edge2Web to Predix?

Edge2Web includes a Connection Editor for defining connections to industrial back-ends like Predix. Connections are typically defined by an administrator who knows the specifics of the target endpoints. For Predix, this includes the following info:

  • Host name
  • UAA Url
  • Client ID
  • Client Secret
  • Predix Zone

Once a connection has been defined, all metadata exposed via the Predix endpoints is immediately visible in Edge2Web’s design tools, and the associated data is immediately available for use in your Edge2Web applications.

Can Edge2Web flows call other flows?

Yes, calling task-specific subflows from higher-order application flows is actually an Edge2Web best practice.

Although many Edge2Web application flows will have screen steps through which you visualize data to your users (as illustrated in the demo), non-visual flows are frequently used to handle repetitive, lower-level tasks that are common across application components.

Can I embed external visualizations into Edge2Web apps?

Today you can embed external visualizations via Edge2Web’s WYSIWYG editing environment. We are also planning to deliver an iframe renderer, which will give more control and flexibility of external visuals, in the first GA release of Director.

Does Edge2Web support built-in collaboration?

We do not offer built-in collaboration. Our belief is that many industrial organizations already use best-in-class collaboration products (e.g., Slack), so our approach will be to deliver collaboration by integrating with those solutions.

Collaboration is an important capability for IIoT apps. Imagine a scenario where an out-of-range reading is reported on a critical production asset. It would be very useful to automatically post a message to one or more collaboration channels, with links to relevant dashboard pages and applications. As mentioned above, our approach will be to deliver those capabilities by integrating Edge2Web Director with leading collaboration solutions.

Does your product support other industrial back-ends besides Predix?

Today we support connectivity to industrial data and analytics via Predix and the Kepware IoT Gateway. You can also upload and use static data using Excel/CSV files. We plan to support all leading industrial data sources – both cloud-based and on-premise – and are actively building that connectivity today.

Does your product have a built-in rules engine?

It does not, for the following reasons:

  1. The vast majority of industrial apps can be implemented using visual tools and, by exception, scripting. We support standard Javascript for apps that require advanced conditional processing.
  2. For edge cases that require a formal rules engine, we recommend integrating with an off-the-shelf (commercial or open source) product. We will provide reference implementations for rules engine integration as time allows.
If I customize the HTML for my Edge2Web displays, can I still edit it using your WYSIWYG screen editor?

Yes, tweaking the screen HTML (to add special styling, branding, etc.) will not break the path to our WYSIWYG editor. To the contrary, in most cases your HTML customizations will be visible in the WYSIWYG editor, allowing you to easily share your tweaks with users who may not be capable of doing those customizations themselves.

It’s worth mentioning that all of our tools produce responsive visual components – i.e., components that render well on a wide range of display devices. Thus, any tweaks you might add are likely to benefit from this responsive behavior.

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