The Qt Company simplifies cloud connectivity for industrial automation with Microsoft Azure

The Qt Company has announced that it has integrated its Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) application framework with Microsoft Azure for the industrial automation market. By integrating Qt’s cross-platform framework, user interface (UI) development tools and machine-to-machine communication libraries with Azure, Qt will provide HW and OS independent access between the cloud and edge devices in manufacturing, retail, transport, logistics, smart cities and more.

Earlier this year, Gartner, Inc. predicted the worldwide public cloud services market will grow 18 per cent in 2017 to $246.8 billion, up from $209.2 billion in 2016. Furthermore, McKinsey & Company found that the potential value that could be unlocked with IoT applications in factory settings – which represent a significant portion of the IIoT – could be as much as $3.7 trillion in 2025, which is approximately one-third of all potential economic value of the IoT estimated by McKinsey.

Along with the rapid growth of cloud computing, organisations in the industrial automation sector are starting to realise the importance of edge computing, which enables users to gather analytics and data from edge devices. Based on the new Qt integration with Azure IoT Hub, an industrial automation device running on Windows 10 IoT Core or Linux can now feature applications designed by the Qt framework and can connect directly to Azure, providing real-time data for future analysis.

Qt for Automation offers modular, scalable and secure libraries and interoperability capabilities to enhance the development and performance of software deployed on IIoT edge devices. Meanwhile, Azure provides a comprehensive set of services for computing, analytics, storage and networking. Users can pick and choose from Azure services to develop and scale new applications and/or run existing applications in the public cloud. Utilising both technologies, developers can easily design, build and deploy software with integrated cloud connectivity for industrial automation devices running on Windows, Linux or Android.

“IoT devices such as wearables are disrupting every industry, but those devices are of little use to industrial organizations if they have complicated UIs and can’t connect to the cloud in real-time,” said Lars Knoll, CTO, The Qt Company. “With our Microsoft Azure integration, we’re making the development of those devices’ UIs dramatically quicker and easier – and on the platform of the developer’s choice. As a result, manufacturing organisations are able to unlock the business value of the IIoT and cloud connectivity so they can truly embrace automation to gain a competitive advantage. We look forward to future collaboration with Microsoft to continue making application development and cloud integration as easy as possible on any hardware and any operating system.”

The primary features delivered by this collaboration include:

  • Streamlined Development: Qt’s development framework allows for quick and easy software development and deployment on edge devices with direct access to Microsoft Azure, which helps users make informed decisions, optimise operations, reduce costs and create new revenue streams.
  • KPI Visualisation: Devices collect factory and assembly line performance data from cloud servers and display KPIs in an easy-to-understand user interface with real-time notifications.

“The Industrial Internet of Things continues to drive increased connectivity in the manufacturing sector, but many organisations haven’t had the necessary tools available to integrate IIoT devices into their business processes,” said Jerry Lee, director, Microsoft Azure IoT at Microsoft Corp. “Building the Qt framework on top of Microsoft Azure IoT enables organisations to quickly and easily build and deploy those devices – and leverage Microsoft Azure IoT to turn the resulting data into actionable insights. With those insights, manufacturing organisations are able to both drive digital transformation and quickly address their customers’ needs.”

The Qt Company will showcase a B2B wearable device running on Windows 10 IoT Core platform with a Qt user interface and connected to Microsoft Azure at the SPS IPC Drives event in Nuremberg, Germany, from November 28-30, 2017.

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