Intelligent manufacturing transformation can bring great changes, such as connecting the sales organization with field services. Moving to the cloud also provides benefits such as an intelligent supply chain and innovations enabled by connected products. As such, digital transformation is the goal of many, as it can mean finding a competitive advantage.
The Azure platform offers a wealth of services for partners to enhance, extend, and build industry solutions. Here we describe how one Microsoft partner uses Azure to solve a unique problem.
Leverage through Azure services
One company, PTC, is well-known for ThingWorx, a market-leading, end-to-end Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) solution platform, built for industrial environments. PTC has moved its platform to Azure, and in doing so, leverages the resources and technical advantages of Microsoft. Together, the two create a synergy that can help any manufacturer make a successful move to the digital world.
Why things matter
The ThingWorx by PTC platform includes a number of components that can kickstart any effort to digitally transform a manufacturing floor. The platform consists of two notable components:
- ThingWorx analytics
- ThingWorx industrial connectivity
By implementing the platform, developers can create comprehensive, feature-rich IoT solutions and deliver faster time-to-insights, critical to the success of industrial implementations. Because the platform is customized for industrial environments and all aspects of manufacturing, as outlined below, it streamlines the digital transformation with capabilities unique to manufacturing. Add to that, PTC’s partnership with Microsoft and you get capabilities such as integrating HoloLens devices into mixed reality experiences.
Azure IoT Hub integration
Azure IoT Hub has a central role on the platform. The service is accessed through the ThingWorx Azure IoT Connector. Features include:
- Ingress processing: Devices that are running Azure IoT Hub SDK applications send messages to the Azure IoT Hub. These messages arrive through an Azure Event Hub endpoint that is provided by the IoT Hub. Communication with the ThingWorx platform is asynchronous to allow for optimal message throughput.
- Egress processing: Egress messages arrive from the ThingWorx platform and are pushed to the Azure IoT Hub through its service client.
- Device methods as remote services: The Azure IoT Hub enables you to invoke device (direct) methods on edge devices from the cloud.
- Azure IoT Blob Storage: allows integration with Azure Blob Storage accounts.
- File transfers: The Azure IoT Hub Connector supports transferring files between edge devices and an Azure Storage container.