# What is Neuron?
Neuron is an modern industrial IoT connectivity server running on all kinds of limited resource IoT edge hardware. It aims to solve the problem of difficult unified access to device data, and boost up the interoperability between devices and Industrial IoT platforms and the scalability of Industrial IoT infrastructure, in the context of Industry 4.0.
Neuron realize the interconnection between Industrial IoT platforms and various devices by converting a wide variety of industrial protocols into a standard unified IoT MQTT messages. These common data sources can be widely used for data centric automation and AI/ML analytic, ultimately providing foundational support for the intelligent manufacturing.
# Neuron product features
Neuron is designed based on asynchourous real-time processing to take full advantage of the low-latency network approach to realize 100 millisecond or lower response time. It has very low memory footprints, less than 10M, suitable for running on low-profile edge gateway near machines.
Neuron design framework is based on decoupled modular plugin architecture which allows more extension services by hot-plugging modules. Each pluggable module has its own specific capability of service and would work independently without interfering with each other.
Neuron offers diverse southbound pluggable communication modules including 30+ kinds of industrial protocols such as Modbus, OPCUA, Ethernet/IP, IEC104, BACnet, Siemens, Mitsubishi and more. Northbound pluggable modules include MQTT and Websocket for cloud and on-premise industrial IoT platform connection. These modules are widely used in building automation, CNC machines, Robotics, Electricity, and various PLCs communication.
Neuron can simultaneously make a 1000 or above connections to various industrial devices. All source data from these connections would be collected concurrently and forwarded to a designated MQTT message broker based on user-specified configuration. That is a single point of access of all information like what unified namespace architecture provides for data consumers, thus streamlining the data acquisition of industrial IoT platform and industrial applications.
Streaming Process Engine
Neuron has integrated with eKuiper (opens new window) rule-based processing engine to implement edge side AI/ML analytics and device control logic for those collected industrial data by executing the streaming SQL statements. The filtered industrial data from AI/ML analytics would be stored in local time-series database and the control command would be delivered to the device.
With ultra-low resource consumption, Neuron executables can be deployed natively in various edge devices like X86, ARM, RISC-V and other limited resource hardware architectures. It also supports containerized deployment, running with other co-located application containers in K8s and KubeEdge environment.
API and MQTT Services
Neuron offers cloud industrial IoT platform or on-premise industrial applications various HTTP-API and MQTT-API services which includes sending the control command to connected machines or devices, modifying device parameters based on big data and AI/ML analysis results, and changing configuration to accommodate more data tags and device connections without onsite operation.
Neuron has better integration with industrial IoT platform, big data, and AI/ML analytic software into private cloud, EMQX Cloud, AWS, Google Cloud, Azure, or on-premise server via dedicated northbound MQTT modules.
Neuron supports Sparkplug B communication and thus assists the "data polling" devices to be smarter to report Sparkplug B format data message in asynchronous way, eliminating the complexity of ERP, MES, SCADA and historian to access the device data by using an open, unified, interoperable standard for industrial data exchange.
Data Tags Optimization
Duplicate or consecutive data tags would be merged into a single read/write command to increase the efficiency of data transmission. Such a data tag conditioning mechanism can reduces network and device workload.
Neuron provides Excel sheet import and export capability to accelerate the setup of data tags. Users can use the most favorite editor Excel to prepare those data tags details at once according to the format as mentioned and then import the Excel sheet to Neuron. Excel sheets also help to keep these data tags information in outside storage for backup.
Authentication and Security
Neuron supports TLS and HTTPS encryption to ensure the data security in transmission and employ JWT auth mechanism to verify the data owner.
Neuron provides Web-based management dashboard for users to monitor data and device status, to manange online connection configuration setup and to send control command to a specific device. All these operations can be handled in an one-stop browser interface.