Middleby Powerhouse Dynamics company launched ConnectWare, claimed to be a universal solution for connecting kitchen equipment.
ConnectWare is a field installable communication module that allows kitchen equipment to connect to the cloud without the need to install radio units in the equipment itself.
For manufacturers, this is designed to simplify the challenge of connecting equipment, which should translate into faster deployment of connected equipment.
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So far, each original equipment manufacturer (OEM) has developed their own approach to connectivity – which typically involved the selection and integration of a wireless radio module or the provision of wired Ethernet connectivity over all units whether or not customers choose to use these technologies.
Powerhouse Dynamics already provides Open Kitchen, an IoT-based platform for foodservice and retail operators.
Company President Martin Flusberg said, “With ConnectWare, OEMs get a cohesive, streamlined approach to connectivity that allows them to take on development and support and move it to ours.
“Operators wishing to connect ConnectWare compatible equipment can now purchase ConnectWare modules and simply plug them directly into the equipment at their site. This equipment can then automatically connect to the Open Kitchen platform, providing a complete solution for the customer, or be redirected to another cloud destination if desired. “
ConnectWare is a plug-and-play solution designed to support multiple communication protocols. This should allow customers to swap out newer ConnectWare modules as new technologies or security requirements are introduced.
The software initially supports two protocols: Wi-Fi and 802.15.4 (the Zigbee protocol uses a MiWi radio from Microchip Technology), with more options in the pipeline including Ethernet.
The system’s Wi-Fi module was developed by Powerhouse Dynamics in collaboration with Avnet and Microsoft using the Microsoft Azure Sphere chipset.
Flusberg added, “We are very happy to be working with Microsoft on ConnectWare. Microsoft Azure Sphere provides an extremely secure connectivity path that will enable our customers to achieve widespread adoption of IoT. “
Dr Galen Hunt, MD of Microsoft Azure Sphere, added: “It has been helpful to partner with Middleby, a leading kitchen equipment manufacturer, who understands the benefits of securely connecting equipment to the cloud at the using Microsoft technology. ”
Equipment connecting to Open Kitchen has the option of being part of a PCI Level 1 certified platform. Powerhouse Dynamics also offers a network device, the Secure Access Point (SAP), which can connect equipment without each piece of equipment needs to connect directly to the local network. SAP manages all customer security certificates and automates the provisioning process, saving time and effort.