A group of technology suppliers have been working on efficient means for machines to communicate with each other automatically in a market segment called machine-to-machine or M2M. Some of these solutions have included network protocol converters from serial to Ethernet to enable older devices to be found on newer manufacturing networks. According to Irvine, Calif., network component supplier Lantronix Inc., customers’ push to find competitive advantage by reducing the complexity of obtaining information from their assets prodded Lantronix into developing a device server to fill the need.
The IntelliBox-I/O 2100 fully programmable external device server automates the task of managing remote equipment and associated reporting. This device enables customers to connect equipment to Internet Protocol (IP) networks to automatically monitor and respond to events in real-time with no human intervention.
Triggered by an event, the IntelliBox automatically responds with pre-determined, user-defined sets of responses. These responses can include rebooting, reconfiguring attached equipment, turning a machine switch on or off, triggering a relay or alarm, and/or providing automated reports, among others.. The device server can send an email notification of the situation and corrective actions taken along with the logged details.
Raising the bar
“Fully automated remote device management and control has always been the ultimate goal of M2M,” said Glen Allmendinger, president of Harbor Research, a San Francisco analyst firm specializing in the space. “With the advent of the IntelliBox, Lantronix is first to deliver on this promise and is poised to seize a whole new segment of compelling application opportunities. Their latest innovation marks the next generation of device networking solutions and truly raises the competitive bar by which all others will be judged.”
Because the incoming data can be sent via email or RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed, hundreds of devices can be simultaneously monitored from one single RSS-enabled Web page or from a user’s e-mail client. With Lantronix EventTrak’s device monitoring, response and control functionality, incoming data can be scanned for specific information. The IntelliBox can automatically recognize the type of event and apply the appropriate response, such as flagging an alerting e-mail as “important” and/or directly interacting with the attached machine or other applications. Users no longer must sift through hundreds of e-mails and/or manually interact with the attached device.
If this, then that
Customers have complete control in defining what is considered an event on the attached device. In some cases, a customer may require multiple events to be detected before an action is taken. They may also require that multiple actions are triggered in response to an event or a series of events.
The IntelliBox includes an embedded rules/policy engine that allows customers to easily identify a specific chain of events and corresponding actions to be taken by defining a “Chain Definition." These Chain Definitions require no complex user scripting and are defined by a set of user input fields and pull-down menus. Chain Definitions can be saved, stored and/or transferred from one IntelliBox to another, streamlining the deployment of large installations.