Japanese Edgecross Consortium to address “Society 5.0” and IoT

November 06, 2017 by Paul Shepard

Mitsubishi Electric Corporation reached an agreement to establish the Edgecross Consortium with five other companies including: Advantec Co., Ltd., Omron Corporation, NEC Corporation, IBM Japan, Ltd., and Oracle Corporation Japan. The Consortium will go beyond the basic framework of companies and industries aiming to create new added value based on edge computing.

In this way, it will contribute to the promotion of IoT, for which demand is increasing on a global scale, as well as Society 5.0 (Society 5.0 consists of a series of initiatives aimed at sharing and realizing a "super smart society" as a future vision where cyberspace and physical space (the real world) are merged at a high standard as indicated by the Japanese Cabinet Office in the 5th Science and Technology Basic Plan),  proposed by the Japanese government.

The Consortium will also include activities of Connected Industries (the vision that Japanese industries should aim for, as announced by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in March 2017),  which tie in to Society 5.0.

Initial activities of the Consortium will begin with the development of specifications for the Edgecross open software platform and promoting its dissemination for edge computing from Japan to harmonize with factory automation (FA) and IT.

This initial work will include providing avenues for supporting companies to cooperate and collaborate beyond the framework of companies and industries. The Consortium will aim to expand applications for various industries in addition to initiating activities in the global arena in the future.

The date of founding is scheduled for November 29, 2017, and an exhibition is planned at the System Control Fair 2017, to be held at Tokyo Big Sight Nov. 29 (Wed) - Dec. 1 (Fri).

The Consortium will focus on developing an open software platform of edge computing area from Japan built by consortium members beyond the boundaries of companies and industries to realize collaboration with FA and IT. Features are expected to include:

  • Real‐time diagnosis and feedback
    • Realizing real‐time feedback to the production site by analyzing and diagnosing the data at location close to the production sites
  • Creating models from production sites
    • Data can be easily utilized by people or by applications by layering and abstracting the Big data of the production sites
  • Utilization of various applications in the edge computing area
    • IT applications can be easily applied to FA application
    • Applications may be selected from an extensive lineup depending on the situation
    • System construction completed in the edge computing area are available
  • Collecting all types of data at the production site
    • Enable data collection from all equipment and devices regardless of vendor or network
  • Smooth coordination with IT systems
    • Realizing supply chain and engineering chain optimization by seamless data coordination with IT systems including the cloud
  • Operates on industrial PCs
    • Mountable on various manufacturer's industrial PCs (IPCs)

Comments from the underwriting companies included the following:

Yoshikazu Miyata, Managing Executive Officer and Executive Officer in Charge of FA Systems, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation: "We strongly support the purpose of the establishment of the association. We will lead this consortium by proposing the concept of the FA‐IT open platform that we announced in March 2017 as an element for developing the Edgecross software platform.

Mike Koike, Advantec Co., Ltd. president and Japan general manager: "Advantec strongly supports the purpose of the establishment of the association. Our company initiates global deployment of the Edge Intelligent Server, the heart of FA‐IT, and will offer WISE‐PaaS throughEdgecross and make strong contributions for shaping Connected Industries.

Yutaka Miyanaga, Executive Vice President, Omron Corporation, Industrial Automation Business (IAB) President: "We support the purpose of the establishment of the association. We will leverage our broad lineup of FA equipment and control technology that work with applications. We will also promote the introduction of IoT for machines, devices, and equipment at the manufacturing site, and lead Edgecross together with each of the supporting companies to contribute to the development of Japan's manufacturing industry.

Yutaka Matsushita, Executive Officer, NEC Corporation: "We support the establishment of the Edgecross Consortium to harmonize FA and IT. NEC will leverage its expertise from creating innovation for "making things" that it has continued to engage in and the technology that comprises NEC Industrial IoT and will extend efforts for the development of this consortium.

Tatsuya Matsunaga, Managing Executive Office and VP, Business Development, IBM Japan, Ltd.: "I strongly support the purpose of establishing this association to coordinate FA and IT from Japan. We will leverage the global knowledge and skills that IBM has and its various in the Watson IoT area while respecting the purpose of Edgecross and contributing to the development of this Consortium.

Shinji Taketsume, Operating Officer and Sales Senior Director, Oracle Corporation Japan: "Oracle Japan is very honored to become a founding member of this Consortium. Oracle deploys its wide range and integrated Oracle Cloud throughout the globe and has many achievements in the area of IoT as well. We will contribute in spreading Edgecross by offering Oracle Cloud.