At the edge of industry: Litmus and IIoT

Jonathan Kaplan, DIGITIMES Asia, Taipei 0

Credit: Litmus

Digitalization and industrial IoT are revolutionizing industries across the globe. Industrial IoT enables the seamless integration of physical machinery, devices, and sensors with digital systems, allowing real-time data collection, analysis, and automation. This convergence of physical and digital data integration has opened up new possibilities for predictive maintenance, optimized operations, remote monitoring, and enhanced decision-making. With the rapid advancement of digital technologies and the widespread adoption of IoT, industries are experiencing a paradigm shift that holds immense potential for innovation and competitive advantages.

Litmus is an industrial IoT software company blazing a trail for businesses moving into Industry 4.0 or smart manufacturing. With offices in Toronto, Canada, Tokyo, Japan, and headquarters in Santa Clara, California, Litmus aims to bring its edge data platform, Litmus Edge, to production sites around the world, optimizing manufacturing operations based on collection, processing, and analysis of real-time production data.

Litmus Edge works by collecting data from a vast range of industrial devices, including visual data from image sensors, into a single platform for users to immediately access and act upon. It connects to nearly any machine or industrial system, from CNC and PLC to SCADA and MES and more, through a vast array of protocol drivers. Litmus Edge then creates immediate data visualizations and analytics for all manufacturing processes, allowing for industrial organizations to run applications and deploy intelligence at the edge. Speaking with DIGITIMES, Litmus co-founder and COO John Younes explained that Litmus Edge "is built for enabling customers to scale their digital transformation initiatives for manufacturing."

The advantages of "Industry 4.0" for manufacturers and other industrial enterprises are many, "but in the end," Mr. Younes continued, what Litmus Edge users "are really trying to drive is more uptime and less downtime of equipment, resulting in better operation efficiencies. There's also quality-based use cases, where our customers are removing long-held processes like manual inspection or manual intervention, and leveraging data to improve quality inspection and scrap reduction."

Litmus Edge has seen significant adoption in the automotive and food and beverage industries, as well as increasing penetration into heavy machinery, chemical, pharmaceuticals, and energy industries. Because of the extremely heterogenous array of machinery employed in manufacturing, even within one industry or even within a single factory, it was necessary to build Litmus Edge with the ability to access data from nearly every machine used in manufacturing processes. The evident flexibility and reach of the edge computing platform allow Litmus Edge's users to build their own use cases for their specific industrial processes.

So far, most of Litmus' customers have been in North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific, but they're steadily growing into other markets. A recent US$30 million funding round is helping Litmus rapidly expand its operations across the globe, and continuously build up and grow its product line. "Litmus Edge is our core product and platform, so we're constantly adding new features to make it the most robust platform," said Mr. Younes. "We have a secondary product, Litmus Edge Manager, which is a management layer for Litmus Edge, so that companies can manage all their Edge deployments and be able to scale those across all of their factories."

The Taiwan market presents a prime opportunity. Taiwan "obviously has a strong manufacturing footprint, especially within the semiconductor industry. We are seeing innovative use cases where customers are being more forward-thinking to improve operations and fuel growth," Mr. Younes observed.

Venu Sathiraju, Litmus vice president for Japan and Asia Pacific, sees additional opportunities in Taiwan's chemicals and synthetic materials companies. "We'd like to start positioning our platform with some of those major customers in Taiwan. And there's a wide range of small and medium companies." Litmus has already established a foothold in the Taiwan market through a distribution agreement with WPI Group, the region's largest distributor of Intel products. According to Mr. Sathiraju, Litmus is "working with WPI on how to create a good bundle of both hardware and software that would be well-received by the mid-sized manufacturing companies in Taiwan."

Litmus is continuously adding to its product features to give customers the edge required for growth. As product offerings continue to grow and be adopted by industrial organizations around the world, it is increasingly apparent that the shift to Industry 4.0 is well underway. The industrial transformation brought about by IoT and edge computing is helping organizations around the world innovate production and achieve efficiencies not yet witnessed but only fathomed. As with nature, adaptation is critical to companies' survival in the capitalist mode of production. Litmus seeks to give its customers the edge they need.