The sensor and automation specialist ifm and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) expert CloudRail have formed a strategic partnership. The companies will pool their skills to improve their positions on the strongly growing market for professional IIoT and cloud solutions.
"The IIoT has long ago ceased to be an exclusive topic of operation technology (OT)," said Felix Kollmar, CEO of CloudRail GmbH. For some time now, classic players from IT have positioned themselves in this market. Examples include cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure, but also big consulting firms and IT system integrators. "The challenges of digitisation are simply too big for individual companies. They require close cooperation between OT and IT," Mr Kollmar explained.
The partnership between ifm and CloudRail is a good example of this. While ifm can look back at more than 50 years of experience in industrial automation/OT, CloudRail's specialty is bridging the gap toward the IT world and thoroughly understanding the corresponding target group. ifm already has several cloud solutions in its portfolio, however, these have primarily been developed for the OT target group. With its CloudRail.Box and the corresponding Device Management Cloud, CloudRail on the other hand has a product bridging the gap between OT and IT.
Just like ifm products, the CloudRail.Box combines professional industrial sensors and communication technology, but it also manages to transfer data very quickly and easily to classic IT platforms such as AWS, Microsoft Azure or Alibaba. This provides IT specialists such as data scientists, software developers and IT consultants with valuable data from the shop floor. The CloudRail solution makes it possible to implement simple IIoT installations within a few hours – without special OT knowledge. Thanks to the plug & play functionality, set-up could not be easier: Simply connect the sensor, select the required cloud and the data will be processed and transferred to the cloud.
Despite its simplicity, the CloudRail.Box features important functions which make it possible to remotely monitor and configure devices and supply them with important updates. Moreover, the CloudRail.Box supports several edge computing versions as well as OPC UA. Its good manageability, comprehensive safety concept and scalability also makes it the perfect choice for big installations or OEMs.
"With their innovative product and strong partner network, CloudRail offer us market access to big digitisation projects. Until now, our salesforce has been explaining the advantages of clouds to automation specialists, now we cooperate with leading cloud providers and worldwide acting consulting companies in interdisciplinary projects and contribute our sensor expertise. This is a new and very promising access into the IIoT market and a perfect supplement to our existing portfolio," said Michael Strauss, head of product management industrial communication at ifm. "CloudRail is one of few companies worldwide with extensive expertise both in IT and OT. This partnership, combined with ifm's know-how and reach, sends a strong signal to the market and makes us a market leader in IIoT as well.”