Crosser: The Glue for Enterprise Integration

Crosser: The Glue for Enterprise Integration

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Martin Thunman, Co-founder & CEO , CrosserMartin Thunman, Co-founder & CEO
Crosser designs and develops real-time software solutions for Edge Computing and next-generation real-time Enterprise Integration. The Crosser Edge Computing solution offloads Cloud services, provides real-time data processing and decision-making capabilities close to IoT sensors and IoT devices.

Years ago, when Uffe Bjorklund, a pioneer in smart factory solutions, started a hobby project to build solutions for real-time data communications, little did he know that the future had bigger things in store. A few years down the line when Bjorklund met Martin Thunman and Johan Jonzon, they realized that, amidst the rising trend of edge computing and hybrid architecture, the combination of edge, on-premise, and cloud processing of data is the future of smart factory solutions. They understood that they needed to process data where it makes sense due to the use case-specific requirements such as time, security, processing capabilities, and costs. Together at Crosser, they set out to build a solution that is the most user-friendly smart edge analytics and integration solution in the industry. While doing so, they learned that although there are huge benefits of processing close to the data source, it was not without significant challenges. The challenges were specifically around management over the lifecycle of deployments when having multiple software installations in the field.

The three great minds at Crosser set their sights on developing a high-performing and smart real-time engine that leverages the benefits of modern web technologies, cloud computing, and local data processing. The company name was inspired by their vision of moving intelligent real-time data processing to the ‘cross-road’ between OT and IT, between machine data, enterprise data, cloud providers, and SaaS applications. Crosser is perfectly suited to be the glue between the new and the old technologies in smart factory solutions as a new technology stack emerges with Industry 4.0.

Within the Industry 4.0 megatrend, there are three sub-trends growing rapidly for which Crosser offers a fantastic fit and provides great value to its customers. The software can run on the edge, on-premise, or in the cloud, and answer to all the needs of the edge computing and hybrid architecture trend. Secondly, in line with the emergence of low code platforms and citizen innovation, Crosser makes it easier to innovate by enhancing the low code concept with pre-built code modules, drag and drop functionality and configuration instead of programming. “Not only have we empowered a much larger audience but our customers can innovate faster and at a lower cost than ever before,” says Martin Thunman, CEO and Co-Founder of Crosser.

Finally, in the area of applied machine learning, Crosser enables customers to deploy and maintain custom machine learning algorithms at the edge.

Not only have we empowered a much larger audience but our customers can innovate faster and at a lower cost than ever before

The solution is built in two parts with a real-time engine, the Crosser Node, installed locally on the shop floor or in the field, connecting to all the machine data and processing that data. The other part is a centralized control and management system called the Crosser Cloud, where users log in and use it.

In a time of great technological advances, the Crosser team believes that agility, flexibility, and ease-of-use are key concepts for succeeding in rolling out new use cases at a fast pace. The stellar technology platform’s pre-built modules connect to and transform the data, apply intelligent analytics and logic, create workflows and automations and modules to connect back to the machines, enterprise systems or cloud applications. Then Crosser’s drag-and-drop interface allows customers to build data flows. As all of this is managed centrally, it is a one-click operation to deploy or update across multiple locations, allowing customers to cut down on manual costs over the lifecycle of project deployments.

Additionally, the company has recently launched FlowApps, a smart way to save specific use cases as predefined applications, making it easier for customers to roll-out use cases over multiple sites and make minor adjustments if needed. The Crosser platform is also an ideal solution for calculating operational KPIs and feeding that back to storage and BI dashboards. Moreover, the company’s “Bring Your Own AI” concept enables customers to easily combine pre-built modules and deploy their own code and algorithms in distributed environments.

Crosser’s unique combination of simplicity, flexibility, and enterprise scalability has played a major role in the digital transformation of customers in numerous instances, with a noteworthy one being GEBHARDT Fördertechnik, a mechanical engineering company. GEBHARDT’S architecture is based on the idea of processing data directly at the edge, transferring only relevant data to the back-office system or the respective cloud solution. It was important for GEBHARDT to use standard components, which can be configured easily. With Crosser’s innovative solution, GEBHARDT’s leading logistics automation was able to process data at the edge, which helped them address concerns about data security. Furthermore, pre-processing the data minimized the interface and storage costs of GEBHARDT’s cloud and back-office systems.

Even in these demanding times of the covid-19 pandemic, Crosser’s self-service software allows customers to implement and use it themselves without the need to travel, attend endless onsite meetings and personal interactions with implementation consultants. Customers have been able to use Crosser to address a variety of use cases, such as in condition monitoring of machines and assets where both connectivity to legacy systems and data transformation of raw data to structured information are part of the requirements. “With the incredibly flexible Crosser platform, it is very much up to the customers to innovate based on their unique environments,” concludes Thunman.

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Top 10 Smart Factory Solution Companies in Europe - 2020


Stockholm, Sweden

Martin Thunman, Co-founder & CEO and Ulf Bjorklund, Co-founder & Head of R&D and Johan Jonzon, Co-founder & CMO and Goran Appelquist, CTO

Crosser designs and develops real-time software solutions for edge computing and next-generation real-time enterprise integration. Crosser is perfectly suited to be the glue between the new and the old technologies in smart factory solutions as a new technology stack emerges with Industry 4.0. Crosser’s solution is built in two parts with a real-time engine, the Crosser Node, installed locally on the shop floor or in the field, connecting to all the machine data and processing that data. The other part is a centralized control and management system called the Crosser Cloud, where users log in and use it

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Why simplicity beats jargon every time

How IoT buzzwords are hampering technology’s potential

In the words of American author and motivational speaker, Tony Robbins, “complexity is the enemy of execution”. Translating even the most complicated of topics into clear, understandable language is vital to getting things done. Leading low-code platform for streaming analytics, automation and integration for the industrial IoT, Crosser, is designed with this philosophy in mind. Here, Crosser’s CMO and co-founder Johan Jonzon, explains why the company battles against IoT buzzwords.

Industrial IoT projects are complex engagements. OT (Operational Technologies), IT and Data Science businesses are working together on the same projects, adding buzzwords, abbreviations and technical terminology to the jargon. All, of course, with the same goal — but different angles, meanings and preunderstandings.

Academic research around the use of science and technology jargon indicates that it impairs a person’s ability to process scientific information, which can result in a greater resistance to persuasion, and an increased perception of risk. If people don’t understand a new technology, they are less likely to adopt it, even if it could be beneficial to business.

A cloud of confusion

The world of industrial IoT is riddled with buzzwords and acronyms that can leave non-experts in a cloud of confusion. Exacerbating the situation further, the same words are used to refer to different concepts.

Take the phrase edge computing, for example. The concept of edge computing is the same across all sectors — to bring the processing closer to the devices that generate the data — but its physical positioning and applications vary.

For example, within telecommunications, the edge is described as the last physical point of connection in cellular networks. In IT, the edge is somewhere between the data source and the cloud, depending on the use case. And within the OT sector, edge is often the first processing point after the machine.

On the application side, the edge is used as the processing point for analytics, actions and sending notifications but also for integrations and as an abstraction layer for the machine data. The edge can also be a very good position for your advanced machine learning algorithms. One easily understands that here is a risk of misunderstanding.

The confusion is confirmed in the data. A 2021 McKinsey survey of industrial company executives concluded that, despite two thirds of respondents using some form of cloud technology in their operations, around 50 per cent found its implementation more complex than initially expected.

This buzzword confusion also adds complexity to the customer’s buying experience. Every vendor can claim edge abilities on a generic level, because there are so many solutions that fit into the concept. So how do you decide which vendor is right for a designated project?

The use of jargon is just a barrier to communication, preventing the technology from reaching businesses it could benefit.

Making the complex simple

Avoiding jargon in the world of edge computing and streaming analytics is a valuable tool for enabling non-experts to understand the technology, but it only solves half the problem. Simplicity must be carried through to the platforms themselves, to allow users to operate the systems without extensive background knowledge and training.

Handling huge amounts of data in real time can be challenging under even the most favorable of circumstances. However, the situation is made worse by the global IT skills shortage. According to data collated by IT training company Global Knowledge, in 2020, 78 per cent of managers reported an IT skills gap within their business.

There is simply not enough talent to fill global IT vacancies, which is preventing businesses from benefiting from technological advancements. What’s more, technology is developing at a rate faster than the end user’s ability to learn how to use it. So, even businesses with software developers in house will struggle to keep up.

In response to this, Crosser’s Flow Studio is a low-code solution, turning existing OT and IT personnel without programming skills into citizen developers — developers without formal training or coding knowledge - enhancing the users operational and functional knowledge instead. The modular system uses a drag-and-drop methodology to allow employees to easily construct data flows with ease, from an ever-growing library of pre-built modules.

The design of the Flow Studio is intuitive and simple, enabling collaboration between several business divisions, including IT professionals, data scientists, product specialists and maintenance staff. By removing unnecessary complexity, the Flow Studio gives non-developers the ability to innovate without long or specialized training.

Edge computing technology is technical, but it doesn’t have to be complex. As an industry, we need to demystify our technology and its applications by eliminating overuse of jargon and keeping things simple. By adopting simplicity, Crosser’s products and services empower businesses that can truly benefit from them across industry and beyond.