Connhex is the first industrial IoT suite engineered from the ground up for connected device manufacturers.
To clarify what we mean by suite, let's start by defining what Connhex is not. Connhex isn't yet another IoT platform. Countless of those already exist, and they do their job quite well: if all you need is storing data, visualizing charts and a sprinkle of customization, look no further than those. Many of them are also available as white-label products, so you can add your own logo too.
You can think of Connhex as something that includes an IIoT platform, alongside many other features. And is entirely focused on connected devices manufactures, as this docs will (hopefully!) make apparent. Of course, you can use Connhex for other purposes, but it's not the main use case: you would be losing out on many of its advantages.
You can split Connhex in three main building blocks:
- Connhex Edge
- Connhex Cloud
- Connhex AI
They work best when combined, but they can also be used separately.
As the diagram above shows, two parts of the system run on the edge, while the remaining two run in the cloud. Yes, 2+2=3: that's because Connhex AI is composed of two parts.
As the name suggests, Connhex Edge is the part of the system that runs on the edge. It's a lightweight, performant and secure pool of services that can be installed on any Linux-based device. Yes, it can be used to collect data from sensors and send it to the cloud, or to control actuators and other devices: but that's what every other IoT on-device-agent does too. Connhex Edge is much more than that. It includes features that are essential in any production-grade IoT system, such as:
- it integrates with Connhex Cloud from the device production and testing phase
- it manages remote initialization and configuration of devices. It includes support for mutual TLS authentication (mTLS) with per-device X.509 certificates too: if you've ever had to deal with it, you know how painful this can be.
- it handles intermittent connectivity, so you can be sure that your devices will keep working even if they lose connection for a while. And power loss too.
- it includes tools to handle the transition period between your existing MQTT broker and your new infrastructure
- it integrates with Connhex Cloud for automated diagnostics and remote troubleshooting of devices in the field: this includes OTA updates too.
To find out more, check out the Connhex Edge section.
Connhex Cloud is the central point of the system, where all the data is processed and stored. This includes an IIoT data collection platform, so data can be exchanged with devices using MQTT, HTTP, CoAP and WebSockets. It is easily expandable to support any other protocol you can think of. It also includes user-defined alarms, notifications, users management and cloud-to-cloud APIs.
But, once again, Connhex Cloud is dedicated to device manufacturers. That's why it includes many other features that are essential for them, like:
- it includes Connhex Control, a complete back-office system, that allows you to manage your devices and users. Think of it like the internal tool you would have to spend months developing, and never show to your customers.
- it includes a factory service that can be used to provision devices exclusively from the production line. This includes a separate security layer and a dedicated API. It also includes a remote initialization service, so that you can decouple the device production from the cloud infrastructure lifecycle.
- it includes a device diagnostics system that allows you to monitor devices and connect to them remotely, even if your firmware application is not running due to a crash or a bug.
- it features particular optimizations for large payloads (typical of legacy gateways, that periodically take a snapshot of every device connected to them even if data hasn't changed) and low running costs.
- Connhex Resources allows you to manage device registries. It can be used to create and manage device types, device models and product variations over time.
For further information, check out the Connhex Cloud section.
Connhex AI is a modular machine learning system that can be used to process data from Connhex Cloud. By now, you should be getting the theme:
- it is specialized in processing data from connected devices (timeseries, events, etc.)
- it is focused on anomaly detection and forecasting. It doesn't make any assumptions on your data, so it can be used out of the box
- it is integrated with Connhex Cloud to generate actions from predictions and anomalies (notifications, alarms, etc.)
- its models automatically improve over time thanks to the feedback loop with Connhex Cloud: when enough data is available, the model is automatically retrained and updated if the performance is better than the previous one
- it is integrated with Connhex Edge to analyze data directly on device and automatically update models on the edge
For further information, check out the Connhex AI section.
Up until now, we have described Connhex as a set of services. You may be wondering how the final users can interact with them. The answer is: through a set of custom user interfaces.
Yes, custom. Keep in mind who Connhex is dedicated to: device manufacturers. The web, mobile and desktop apps the final users will be using represent the manufacturer's brand. They are the face of the company, the user experience the company wants to provide. They should feel seamless and natural, and they should be consistent with the rest of the company's offering.
Connhex doesn't provide any final user interface. Its highest level interface consists of a set of APIs, and that's it. This is a conscious decision: we believe that the final user interface should be tailored. Connhex fades into the background, and the manufacturer's brand is the one that shines.
We have developed our templates and use them alongside Connhex to create complete IoT applications, but there are no constraints. They can be used to speed up development and reduce costs, but they are not mandatory in any way. We can help you create your own, either through our engineering services or through our network of software houses that use Connhex for the heavy lifting. Otherwise, you can develop user interfaces in-house or turn to any other contractor.
That being said, does it mean the only way to interact with Connhex is through APIs? No, it doesn't. Connhex is equipped with two powerful user interfaces: Connhex Control and Grafana.
We strongly believe your frontend budget should be spent on things your users see and interact with. Internal tools should be:
- powerful: they should integrate with your existing systems and allow complete control over the entire device lifecycle, from production to field support.
- standard: they should be economical to maintain over time, and they should be easy to use.
That's why Connhex includes Connhex Control, a powerful back-office system that allows you to manage your devices and users. It comes in handy for:
- customer support
- device registries
Grafana is a powerful open-source tool for data visualization. It is used by many companies to create dashboards and monitor their systems. It offers the flexibility to create custom dashboards, and it is easy to use: that's why we believe it to be a perfect choice to create internal tools.
If you're just happy with simple visualizations, you can also use it to create dashboards for your final users: we don't recommend it, but it's possible. In this case, though, you should probably consider using a simpler off-the-shelf IoT platform.
Who is behind Connhex?
Compiuta is the company behind Connhex. We provide complete solutions for IoT applications: being the first users of Connhex, we have all the interest in making it the best possible product.
If you're looking for a tailored solution, email us : we'll be happy to hear from you.