TEMECULA, Calif. —Industrial automation manufacturer and Internet of Things platform developer Opto 22, a company bridging the gap between information technology and operations technology, has created a new software designed to reduce Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)  application development time and complexity. Opto 22 reports that its Node-RED nodes for industrial programmable automation controllers (PACs) make it easier to prototype and develop applications for connecting physical assets to cloud applications.

Linking technology assets and services together to build IIoT applications often requires layers of complex software development and long development cycles that quickly erode IIoT application return on investment (ROI). Opto 22’s Node-RED nodes for SNAP PAC programmable automation controllers are reported to enable nearly anyone to rapidly prototype and develop IIoT applications with Node-RED, opening a path to quickly connect legacy physical assets to the digital world of cloud services.

Node-RED is described as an innovative visual wiring tool to connect edge computing systems, such as industrial automation controllers, to cloud services, such as Amazon Web Services™ (AWS) IoT, IBM® Watson IoT, and Microsoft® Azure® in new and interesting ways. Created by Nick O’Leary (@knolleary) and Dave Conway-Jones (@ceejay) of IBM Emerging Technologies, Node-RED is an open-source, cross-platform technology available on GitHub.com and npmjs.org, and is currently available for a variety of platforms, including OS X®, Microsoft Windows®, Linux®, and Raspberry Pi™, and cloud offerings, like IBM Bluemix® and AT&T® Flow.

Built on the popular Node.js JavaScript runtime, Node-RED benefits from a large Node-RED library containing over 500 pre-built and ready-to-deploy nodes, allowing IIoT application developers to lever existing software code and deploy it directly into their applications.

“I’ve been very impressed with the whole Node-RED project,” said Jim Turner, senior software developer at Opto 22. “It’s well run, polished, and of high quality, but still very practical and useful. It’s been a pleasure to develop for their platform.” As of August 11, Node-RED had reportedly been downloaded from npmjs.org over 25,000 times in the last month.

The Node-RED development environment is said to offer a gradual and easily approachable learning curve for users of all levels, and requires few to no programming skills. Instead, Node-RED takes advantage of preprogrammed, reusable code blocks called nodes. These nodes are said to make IIoT application development simpler, easier to repeat, and faster to scale.  Through a visual browser-based, drag-and-drop interface, Node-RED allows IIoT application developers to focus on identifying an opportunity and developing a solution, rather than building the components of an application from scratch.

Advanced JavaScript functions can also be created within the editor using a Function node. A built-in library lets developers save useful functions, templates, or node flows for re-use. The flows created in Node-RED are stored using the widely known JSON format, which can be easily imported and exported for sharing with other developers and applications, promoting the idea of social application development.

The Node-RED nodes are available free for download at http://developer.opto22.com.

They can also be downloaded directly at http://flows.nodered.org/node/node-red-contrib-pac.

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