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12,000 sensors on existing machines can connect to the cloud

26 August, 2021

Microsoft has teamed up with a German start-up, CloudRail, to integrate almost any sensor on existing or new machines with its IoT Plug & Play services such as IoT Central. CloudRail estimates that there are about 12,000 industrial sensors from suppliers such as ifm, Sick and Pepperl+Fuchs that could be connected in this way.

While IIoT (the Industrial Internet of Things) is recognised as a best practice, many companies are struggling to implement it. The process of connecting industrial assets physically to the cloud in IIoT projects is complex, and can take weeks or months.

With CloudRail’s OT-to-cloud technology, industrial sensors mounted on machines can be connected to Microsoft’s Azure IoT cloud or to business applications with a few clicks of a mouse. CloudRail says the development will lower the entry barriers to IIoT applications.

“Collecting data from machines which are sometimes 30 to 40 years old was always a challenge,” explains CloudRail CEO, Felix Kollmar. “With CloudRail and Microsoft IoT Plug & Play, it becomes simple. We were able to reduce the time to connect a machine to Microsoft Azure IoT to just a few hours.”

The technology is “agnostic” of both the machine or equipment vendor, as well as the IIoT application. Besides offering IoT Plug & Play support for industrial sensors, it also supports industry standards such as OPC-UA, allowing it to connect modern equipment.

CloudRail’s technology allows sensors on new and existing machines to connect to Microsoft Azure and other cloud services

CloudRail says the technology will allow users to standardise their IIoT architecture from the outset. They can achieve any kind of IIoT application on a scalable and secure platform. By combining Azure and CloudRail, users will be able run and manage a single connected machine – or millions of machines.

In addition, software vendors and SIs (systems integrators) will be able to build applications on top of Microsoft Azure, that take advantage of the wide sensor support.

“CloudRail changes the way IIoT projects are realised,” says Tony Shakib, general manager of Microsoft Azure IoT. “Companies can start small, prove value fast and quickly scale based on their learnings. Businesses around the world will benefit from faster results and lower device onboarding and management costs.”

CloudRail was founded in 2018 to bridge the gap between the factory and the cloud. SIs use its products to transform factories using the Industrial IoT.

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Microsoft AzureTwitter  LinkedIn

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