Simage technologies

Connectivity

Six Ways to Connect Your Device

Simage hardware and software products make it cheap and easy to network-enable your smart device and connect it to SimageM2M. There are six ways to make an existing or new device work with SimageM2M.

The first five ways below describe how to connect devices in so-called "Intelligent Mode". In this mode, SimageM2M is used to store and process data collected from the devices, and control and monitor them. SimageM2M "understands" device settings, operations and events and therefore provides comprehensive control, configuration, monitoring and management capabilities.

(1) Connecting Device Using Standard Protocol

If your device supports one of the standard communication protocols (e.g. SNMP, Modbus, BACNet, or OPC), it may be directly connected to SimageM2M since the system is bundled with many device drivers. Just set up all necessary physical connections and your device is ready to communicate with LinkServer.

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(2) Connecting An Existing Device With SimageM2M Agent

Using this method, you embed a Simage module, such as the EM1202, into your device. This module runs a BASIC application called SimageM2M Agent. You modify the source for the Agent application so that it interfaces with your device ("understands" its communication protocol). It is then used as a transparent interface between SimageM2M and your device, allowing you to access all device settings, operations and events from within SimageM2M.

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Note that if for some reason you are unable to embed a device into your existing circuit, you can always use an external BASIC-Programmable Device Server (such as the DS1202, the stand-alone version of the EM1202) running the Agent application.

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(3) Designing A New Device Based On Programmable Module

Simage module, such as the EM1000, is powerful enough to serve as the central processor for your application. You can connect it directly to the various sensors and circuits of your device, and use it as the main CPU, locally controlling your device's operation. In effect, you will be connecting the Agent as a library to your main application. You would be saving the cost of a CPU for your device, and still be able to connect to SimageM2M and enjoy all of its benefits.

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(4) Designing A New Device Using The SimageM2M Communications Protocol

SimageM2M's communication protocol is open and well-documented. For some large-volume applications, it may sometimes be economical to write a complete implementation of this protocol for the microcontroller you are already using. The microcontroller would then connect to SimageM2M just like a device running Agent does. From the system's point of view, there would be no difference, and the device would work smoothly as a part of the system.

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(5) Leaving Your Device Intact and Creating A Software Device Driver

You could also tackle the problem from a strictly software angle. A device driver is a software component allowing SimageM2M to "understand" the protocol for an existing device. By coding a driver for your device, you could then just connect it to SimageM2M without making any modifications to the device itself. Tibbo provides a driver development service for customers who do not wish to develop their own drivers in-house.

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(6) Using SimageM2M To Transfer Raw Data (Without Processing It)

You might want to use SimageM2M to just route data between your devices and/or computers running some device-specific client software. In this case, SimageM2M doesn't have to "understand" the data that being transferred, and does not store or process it. The Device Server converts data from the format supported by the device (RS232, USB etc.) to Ethernet traffic and routes it to and from the LinkServer.

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This mode doesn't use the full power of SimageM2M's data processing functions, but can be useful in several situations:

  • When devices are located in different LANs protected by firewalls and thus cannot connect to each other. In this case LinkServer acts as a middle-man and routes data between these devices.
  • When devices don't have static IP addresses. In this case they can be registered in DNS by the LinkServer and can be accessed by their host names instead of IP addresses.
  • Sometimes devices located in protected networks have embedded web-servers. These web-servers cannot be accessed directly, but LinkServer provides an HTTP proxy service that allows to establish a secure HTTP connection with the server instead of connecting to the device directly. LinkServer forwards this connection to the device.

See Device Server Management for more information.

Summary

The system shines in its ability to provide complete control over a wide range of devices in any environment. It can be quickly adapted to work with a huge range of devices, thus making them "smart".

SimageM2M directy supports many communication and control protocols. Device drivers bundled with SimageM2M LinkServer allow connecting different devices produced by thousands of manufacturers.

However, in several cases that may be necessary to connect new device that uses custom unsupported protocol. If device is network-enabled or can be connected to a PC via serial interface, and no device-side protocol conversion is necessary, it is possible to implement a new device driver for LinkServer. Otherwise, it's better to use hardware protocol converter called SimageM2M Agent.

SimageM2M Device Drivers are written in Java and thus are platform-independent. Device drivers are implemented in the form of server plugins, so installing new driver is as easy as copying a single file and restarting the server.

Simage provides a driver development service for customers who do not wish to develop their own drivers in-house. Creating a driver takes a week or two in most cases.