At Crosser we believe that data and event driven analytics, automation and integration in real time opens up amazing opportunities for any asset rich organization. The use case possibilities are endless and you’ll find some inspiration and examples here.
The Crosser Platform is born in the cross-road between OT and IT, between machine data, enterprise data and cloud data and during 2020 we added a long list of features, modules and functionality aimed to reduce the complexity during every step of the project lifecycle.
Self-Service simplicity to empower faster innovation by non-developers
We believe in empowering existing OT and IT teams to innovate without the need for software developers. The fundamentals to achieve this is the combination of pre-built modules and the low-code Flow Studio where the data pipelines are built using drag-and-drop.
Some of the 2020 improvements aimed to simplify the design phase include:
- FlowApps, the ability to pre-package flows as applications, helps you get started faster and it allows you to package your use cases for wider roll-out over many sites.
- Flow Favorites improves the user experience as your most relevant flows are clearly highlighted.
- A Central Library of Credentials to systems and cloud or SaaS services removes tedious and time-consuming work of entering credentials every time a flow is created.
New modules and support for more use cases
The module library has expanded significantly during the year with a specific focus on simplifying customers to address key use cases like:
- The ability to calculate OEE and Operational KPI’s. New counter modules for messages and time and math expression modules to apply calculations on the data without scripts. Read more here.
- How to transform raw data and attach meaning to it. New and updated modules to empower you to rename, restructure, remove, reformat, filter and aggregate data. Add new meaning to your data by attaching asset name, asset type, process name, location or any other data. Learn more here.
- How to build your own Modern Historian with Crosser, InfluxDB and Grafana. A historian doesn´t have to be very expensive and complicated. It could be very easy, but still advanced, with the combination of Crosser together with InfluxDB and Grafana. Read more here.
New ways to access more data sources using Crosser Connect Tools
As much as we obsess about Simplicity we are also committed to be open and flexible. We want to give you tools that help you connect to any data source even if a custom module might be missing. News during 2020 includes;
- The introduction of The Universal Connector that lets you access most REST-API using a five-step wizard in Crosser Cloud. Integrate to thousands of services and systems in a few steps.
- Improvements in the SDK that lets you build your own data collector module. Is there a custom application you need to connect to or is there a module missing in the Crosser Library? Use the SDK to build your own module to integrate with any data source.
- Other Crosser Connect Tools includes new or updated modules for using standard technologies (HTTP, Modbus, OPC, MQTT, file watcher etc) to collect/receive data from message brokers, file servers, ERP systems and more.
New deployment options
Not all customers are the same. The Crosser Node is typically deployed in a Docker Container in the edge or on-premise. During 2020 the deployment options have now been extended to include:
- The ability to deploy the Crosser Node as a Windows Service. This new option works on Windows Server 2012+ and Windows 7+ and requires no additional software to be installed. This makes it possible for you to deploy it on existing infrastructure without having to upgrade or add Docker. Simplifying the deployment on existing infrastructure.
- The ability to deploy the Crosser Node to run in your Azure environment, in the cloud, directly from Azure Marketplace. For central processing of data in your cloud. All the power of Crosser - now on Azure. Read more here.
Enterprise Grade Scalability, Flexibility and Simplicity
It’s easy to think that simplicity is only about design and usability in the user interface. But we define simplicity much broader. For us it’s also about:
- Removing the need for doing repetitive tasks
- Protecting the customers from making costly end-user mistakes
- Securing the platform access
- Hiding complexity from the users
But it also includes something that, at first, can seem contradicting: Helping the users to do more complex things. We actually want our platform to be loved by both “clickers and coders”. For the developers and data scientists we work hard to build modules and functionality that makes it possible for them to focus their efforts and time on addressing the business challenges. As one developer put it: “Crosser take care of removing the boring and time consuming tasks”.
During 2020 we release several enhancements aimed to simplify Enterprise IT and software life cycle tasks
- Mass deployment of flows to unlimited numbers of nodes has been around longer but sometimes there are different local circumstances like an IP address, where identical flows will not work. To come around this and truly stand by the claim that you can mass deploy flows to different Crosser nodes we released Flow Parameters. This allows you to specify local differences for each node and save them once. The Edge Director will then dynamically adopt the configuration of each flow based on the specific local parameters and distribute it to each Crosser node. All in one operation and “behind the scenes”, hidden from the end user.
- The Crosser platform is designed to be a collaboration tool where users from different teams can collaborate. OT teams often build the first step of a flow, collecting the data from machines, subject matter experts or data scientists configure the logic and the analytics and IT teams set up integrations to Enterprise systems and Cloud Providers. IT teams also tend to take responsibility for the deployment and updates of software. In Enterprises there are often different team members for different sites. To simplify the separation of duties and responsibilities we introduced very fine granular Access Right functionality.
- Enterprises tend to have a single-sign-on architecture based on Active Directory or another directory solution using OpenID Connect. Support for OpenID Connect was released in the beginning of 2020.
All in all 2020 was a great year packed with product news but the quest for increased Simplicity never ends and we have a pipeline full with exciting new innovations and improvements we are working on.
Stay tuned for more to come during 2021!
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