The real power of ThingWorx comes from its ability to pull data from disparate sources into a single application to gain new insights and drive new actions. Plan how you will integrate with the systems and connect to the machines necessary to achieve your use case.
Before you begin, complete these steps:
The first step: collect a list of requirements. These items are the must-haves in your integration and connectivity strategy and should be specific to helping you support your identified Industrial IoT use case. Having an initial wireframe design of your application will help you understand and identify the information you’ll need to access.
Your requirements should include:
ThingWorx customers commonly connect to a variety of tools, including:
Now that you have a clear picture of what data you’ll need to access for your application, you need to determine how to create the connections to that data. ThingWorx collects data in two ways:
When it comes to integration, ThingWorx has a number of integration connectors built in and ready to use. But depending on what kind of integrations are required, some custom-built options might be needed as well.
To decide on the best approach for your organization and selected use case, we recommend having a detailed conversation with your solution architect (with strong ThingWorx knowledge), controls engineer, IT and OT experts, and any others who have the deep understanding of the specific data and systems to which you’re trying to connect.
Your use case may require you to connect to machines or physical assets. In the IoT industry, the devices and things that connect to the cloud are often called the edge: The things connect from outside the ThingWorx platform and send data into the platform. There are a variety of edge devices, like programmable logic controllers (PLCs), Raspberry Pis, routers, and more.
If you must connect to edge devices, determine your requirements. The data requirements you established are a great place to start. In addition, your edge device requirements should address:
How to communicate with the device:
How to retrieve the data:
Depending on the device, there are numerous ways to connect. For manufacturing use cases, we recommend you use Kepware to communicate with edge devices. Choose the technology that will meet your requirements.
A systems integrator will help answer these questions. If possible, determine who programmed the device you’re connecting to. It may be a control engineer or programmer within your organization, a third-party vendor, or machine builder. This person can provide invaluable expertise as you connect to edge devices.
The power of ThingWorx comes from its ability to aggregate disparate data into a single place. You must structure that data in a way that your ThingWorx applications can use it. Your data model architecture will be a digital representation of everything that provides data in ThingWorx and the relationships between those things.
Your ThingWorx data model is comprised of these entities:
While ThingWorx allows your data model to evolve over time, it’s important to spend time determining how to structure your data early in the project. The best place to start: compile a list of Things required for your use case. From there, start to understand the relationships between those Things.
This is just a brief introduction to the ThingWorx Data Model. Use the recommended resources below to learn more and prepare to design your data model. We recommend working with a system integrator, programmer, or developer with object-oriented programming experience to design your data model.
Now that you know which data sources you need to connect to and how you plan to connect to them, it’s important to compile this information in a documented integration and connectivity strategy. This document will help inform other decisions that need to be made, including any changes to your infrastructure and detailing a timeline for your ThingWorx project.
Your documented integration strategy should include:
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In addition to the recommended resources named above, PTC offers Success Services that fit seamlessly into your Success Path, making it even easier to reach your desired business outcome.Success Service
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