Last month Opto 22 announced the release of Node-RED nodes for its SNAP PAC programmable automation controllers. Today, the company provided Automation World an advance preview announcing the release of a Node-RED development environment for its groov box industrial appliance. This appliance is used for building mobile operator interfaces to remotely monitor control devices and systems.
UPDATE: Opto 22 officially released Node-RED for groov at the Industrial Internet Consortium's IoT Solutions World Congress on Oct. 26, 2016. See video below of Opto 22's Benson Hougland explaining Node-RED for groov at the event.
Pointing to the combination of groov’s industrially rugged hardware platform, data visualization for mobile and web clients, industrial automation protocol support and advanced data flow processing with Node-RED’s ability to connect multiple data sources including devices, databases and third-party application program interfaces, Opto 22 says, “groov with Node-RED … is the ideal toolset for IIoT [Industrial Internet of Things] application developers.”
The addition of Node-RED to groov allows developers to:
- Build and modify Node-RED flows in the Node-RED Editor;
- Install additional nodes such as MySQL and weather;
- Add or update security certificates;
- Manage the Node-RED runtime;
- Monitor resource usage for both Node-RED and the groov appliance;
- View and download Node-RED logs; and
- View, backup and restore Node-RED project files.
Looking beyond the features targeted at developers, I asked Matt Newton, director of technical marketing at Opto 22, about the applicability of this new release for end users.
“The goal with the release of Node-RED on groov is to lower the technical bar for end users and developers alike,” said Newton. “Traditionally, if someone wanted to use Node-RED to build their application, they had to know how to download and install open source software and bring up the Node-RED development environment. To a degree, you had to have developer skills to do it. With Node-RED running on groov, end users can simply push the power button on their groov box, login and start wiring together their applications. They don’t need to worry about software package dependencies or adding encryption and authentication to their environment. With groov running Node-RED all of that is already done for them.”
I also questioned Newton about the general use of Node-RED with groov. Considering groov’s purpose as a mobile interface and connection creator in its own right, I wondered about the ultimate purpose of Node-RED for such a device. I asked Newton if Node-Red for groov was essentially an extension of groov’s current connection capabilities, or if it is more than that.
“With the addition of Node-RED, we’re adding edge computing and data processing capabilities to the groov box,” said Newton. “Rather than adding a scripting language to groov, we chose to leverage the open source community and add Node-RED to groov. By running Node-RED on the groov box we’ve also been able to add some unique and compelling features to Node-RED. For example we’ve added security and authentication to the Node-RED environment by incorporating groov’s built in SSL/TLS support. We’ve made it much easier to get up and running with Node-RED to a point where you can actually start building really interesting and useful applications without having to be a developer.”
Node-RED is offered by Opto 22 in the groov box at no additional charge. Existing GROOV-AR1 users need only to update their groov box with groov admin version R1.570.44 to obtain this new technology for data flows and IIoT applications. Visit http://manage.groov.com for software updates. For new groov Box appliances, pricing and availability can be found at http://groov.com/get-groov/.
Video description of Node-RED for groov