ifm and CloudRail announce IIoT strategic partnership

Monday, 10 August, 2020

ifm and CloudRail announce IIoT strategic partnership

Sensor and automation specialist ifm and IIoT company CloudRail have announced a strategic partnership in which the companies will pool their skills to improve their positions in the strongly growing market for professional IIoT and cloud solutions.

Industry 4.0, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) or digitisation — there are many terms to describe the inexorable trend of networking machines, processes and people. What they all have in common is that they refer to interdisciplinary processes.

“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 been seen to position 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.”

The partnership between ifm and CloudRail is a good example of this, according to CloudRail. While ifm can look back at more than 50 years of experience in industrial automation, the start-up company CloudRail’s speciality is bridging the gap towards the IT world and thoroughly understanding the corresponding target group. ifm already offers several cloud solutions; however, these have primarily been developed for the OT target group. With their CloudRail.Box and the corresponding Device Management Cloud, CloudRail has a product it says bridges 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. With plug-and-play functionality, set-up is said to be easier: the user connects the sensor, selects the required cloud and the data will be processed and transferred to the cloud.

Despite its simplicity, the CloudRail.Box features functions that make it possible to remotely monitor and configure devices and supply them with important updates. The CloudRail.Box also supports several edge computing versions as well as OPC UA.

“With their innovative product and strong partner network, CloudRail offer us market access to big digitisation projects,” said Michael Strauss, Head of Product Management Industrial Communication at ifm. “Until now, our salesforce has been explaining the advantages of the cloud to automation specialists, and 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.

“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.”

The CloudRail solution is available worldwide via ifm, and the company offers several starter kits containing all components required to implement a first IIoT project.

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