Cloud Platform for Smart Applications of the Internet of People and Things
Purpose and Application
Our Cloud Platform™ is a set of proven off-the-shelf components and tools for developing smart real-time resource management systems.
The systems we create can be viewed as evolution of automated systems of the APS (Advanced Planning & Scheduling) class and MES (Manufacturing Execution System) class. They also often have to contain accounting components of traditional ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems — in essence, offering Smart ERP systems of a new generation.
However, in contrast to the classical planning systems, in which orders and resources are considered predetermined, the main part (core engine) of any of our smart systems is the adaptive resource planning module of an enterprise unit (hereinafter — the “Scheduler”), which implements the entire response cycle to events, as well as distribution, planning, optimization, forecasting, coordination, monitoring and control of plans. It also performs re-planning in case of a growing discrepancy between the plan and the fact and, in the future, learning from experience (for example, it is not wise to assign a micron operation to a worker who has already foozled five times in a row in similar operations).
Our models, methods and algorithms for building the discussed systems are based on multi-agent technology that allows each user and physical entity to get their software agent acting on behalf of and in the interests of their owner (orders and tasks, engineers, processes, machines and workers, trucks and drivers, materials, etc.).
That is why we develop our Cloud Platform as one of the first Russian platforms for building smart systems of the INDUSTRY 5.0 class, proposing Smart Internet of People and Things based on agents and ontologies.
Our systems, developed on the basis of this platform, can be supplied as ready-made solutions for installation on the customer’s server, or as cloud applications offered as SaaS (Software as a Service) on our own server or on an external Host server for reliable 24/7 operation that does not require significant investments from the customer.
Figure 1. The main features of the SaaS version
In this regard, our systems support Web and Desktop user interfaces and can work on tablets and mobile phones, taking into account individual requirements of customers.
Thus, we are trying to make our systems affordable for both large companies and medium-sized or small businesses that do not always have the opportunity to invest in innovations.
Advantages of the Platform
Our platform supports application development in two most common environments: J2EE and .Net, as well as in C ++.
The platform is designed to support our own Smart Technology™ for solving complex problems and developing smart resource management systems, ensuring high operational efficiency and flexibility of building plans and adaptively changing them depending on events in real time.
In addition, the platform integrates the best applied developments of various products and provides the opportunity to improve the quality of our systems and reduce complexity of their development and maintenance, speeding up these processes and reducing their cost.
In the near future, we are planning to make our platform available for a wide range of developers.
General Architecture and Integration of Our Systems
The general architecture of our systems is shown in Fig. 1 in a simplified form. It highlights user workplaces and accounting systems located at the customer.
For user convenience, the main part of any system developed by us, including the database and the scheduling engine (in the minimal version), is deployed on our server (highlighted in red), and the customer gets access via a web browser.
Figure 2. Simplified system architecture and its integration
At the same time, the system also integrates with the existing accounting systems of the customer.
In some applications, our management (planning) system, on the contrary, can get called by the general system of the customer as a “black box”.
In any case, there are many options for integrating our systems with customer systems.
Composition of the Main Modules of the Platform
The platform has a modular, service-oriented architecture.
Each module of the Platform can be allocated as a separate independent service providing services to other modules or consumers.
Due to this, it is possible to develop heterogeneous systems based on the Platform, i.e. such separate modules that are implemented on the basis of different technological stacks (for example, J2EE, .Net and others).
Multi-agent development environment for base modules
- Agent runtime module;
- Module for setting satisfaction functions;
- Module for setting bonuses and penalties;
- Base agent classes and negotiation protocols;
- Virtual market support module;
- Modules of agent microeconomics.
Basic Management Modules (Scheduling Engine Collection)
- Module of static resource adaptive planning;
- Module of dynamic resource adaptive planning;
- Specialized modules of resource planning;
- Input event management module;
- Output event management module;
Ontology-based knowledge management
- Enterprise knowledge base (based on ontology);
- Editor of domain ontologies;
- Editor of ontological models of enterprises;
- Editor of ontological models of situations (scenes).
Network-centric architecture support («systems of systems»)
- Enterprise common bus module for data transfer and decision coordination;
- Support for horizontal interactions;
- Support for vertical interactions;
- Session management module;
- Negotiation visualization module.
- User interaction modules;
- Basic automated workstations (manager, worker, driver, etc.);
- Process visualization modules;
- Results visualization modules.
Integration with other systems
- Event integration module (triggers, file sharing, etc.);
- Data transfer module (XML, objects, etc.).
Platform Advantages for Developers
- reduction of development time;
- improving the product quality;
- reduction of development costs;
- increasing the percentage of source code reuse;
- reduction of requirements to qualifications of developers;
- decrease in labor input;
- improving the development efficiency;
- simplified testing and accelerated deployment and implementation of systems;
- simplified system support work (standard configurations, etc.).
Platform Advantages for Enterprises
- The system web interface does not depend on the language, location, and access time;
- Works for any devices compatible with the main browsers;
- Reducing costs for developing and implementing smart resource management systems;
- Ability to work on the SaaS model;
- No costs required to maintain the 24/7 performance of expensive server equipment of enterprise data center;
- Reducing time for system implementation;
- Information security in accordance with the current regulations.
For enterprises that require an increased and very high level of security, it is proposed to use the protected industrial Internet offered by our partners, for example, Rostelecom.