More Technical Information
A Deeper Dive Into Tipify Technology
This section looks at the underlying structure and features of Tipify to understand how it provides such a high performance, scalable, secure and manageable
Folio the highly efficient and fast Database used in Tipify.
Arcbeam the communication between Tipify nodes that utilizes Web Sockets, Secure Public/Private Key Authentication and SCRAM and PBKDF2 Hash for security of user names and passwords.
Haystack Data Model and Tagging that normalizes the Semantic description of data from diverse systems so that functions of Analytics, Control and Visualization can be used and reused across different equipment, systems and projects.
Data Quality including automatic detection of missing or suspect data and the NA data type.
Fully Web Based so all visualizations by the system will render in Browsers natively without additional code or plug ins.
Provisioning and FOTA maintaining the Tipify Software and Solutions through upgrades and patches to add and enhance features, fix bugs and deploy security updates using the Server Provisioning Service and the FOTA
- Firmware over the Air - capability of Tipify and the T-Stars.
Licensing Model is simplified to use points only and T-Star points are licensed ‘system wide’ so can be archived and used at Tipify Servers without consuming further license points.
Developer Access at multiple levels:
- Axon to write custom rules and functions
- Fantom Programming to produce new Applications
- Connector Framework for further protocol development
- REST API’s for connection to external packages
Folio Data Base
Folio Data Base technology was developed specifically for the unique needs of IoT providing a high performance Data Base ideal for performing Analytics and Data transforms on diverse sensor and equipment data.
Folio is efficient – it stores a time stamped history value in typically 12 bits - Conventional Data Base Technology including Big Data solutions take 30 to 100 bytes to store the same data, so Folio is very efficient in the size and hence cost of the Storage required.
Folio is also fast – the speed of data processing comes from edge computing and ‘in memory’ computation where the function is run inside the database rather than transporting the data to the application. this results in much faster Data Processing.
By performing high frequency analytics at the edge in the T-Star’s, rather than transporting all the data to a cloud server through a simple gateway device, network latency and data processing times can be much reduced.
Arcbeam is the peer to peer protocol used for communication between Tipify nodes and underpins the Distributed Architecture of the system. It works in tandem with existing security best practices including Firewalls, VPN’s and TLS encryption.
Arcbeam is layered above Websockets to establish a peer to peer communications link. Websockets is a standardized method providing full duplex communication over a single TCP connection.
Once the communications link is established the connection is fully peer to peer which means either end point can initiate the connection.
This makes it straight forward to establish a distributed architecture where T-Stars are safely hidden behind firewalls. It eliminates the complexity of traditional IoT architecture and decisions over push vs pull communication and can address concerns over requests for data coming from outside the network.
Arcbeam sits on top of established IP infrastructure of TCP, HTTP and Websockets so it works cleanly with standard security technologies including the APN’s and VPN’s deployed with Intellastar Connect.
Tipify uses Asymetric Cryptographic Keys; RSA 2048 bit Private/Public key pairs to authenticate each Arcbeam connection between nodes. In order for 2 Tipify nodes to establish an Arcbeam communication link, each node must be securely configured with the remote node’s Public Key. This ensures a secure network connection is made only once each node verifies trust in the other end point.
Security is further enhanced by the Trusted Platform Module TPM chip in every T-Star.
Protection of Passwords
User Authentication requires traditional user name password functions. Tipify utilizes a set of industry leading security technologies to manage and authenticate users and passwords.
Passwords are stored using ‘PBKDF2 Hashing’ which requires significant CPU cycles to compute a hash of a password, raising the difficulty of detecting the original password considerably.
Authentication of user names and passwords uses the SCRAM standard – Salted Challenge Response Authentication Mechanism – which works with PBDKF2 Hash so that neither the original password, not the PBDKF2 Hash are sent openly over the network.
Arcbeam Brio Compression
Arcbeam messages are compressed using Brio. This is the same compression technology that enables a time stamped value to be stored using 12 bits in the Folio Data Base.
In Arcbeam, Brio compresses the entire message payload resulting in less volume of data being transmitted with lower latency, both of which are particularly important over cellular connections where bandwidth is limited and costs are based on volume of data sent.
Data Quality is a vital part of successfully delivering value from data through analytics and optimization.
Tipify can use rules to look for missing and poor data. It can help fix bad data through interpolation and other mechanisms and keep records of any changes made to the raw data for audit and traceability.
The NA data type has been added to V3 Tipify to identify and visualize poor and missing data, and the rules that process the data to respond so that their results and conclusions remain valid.
Provisioning & FOTA
Tipify Servers can provision the software in T-Stars using FOTA - Firmware over the Air - techniques to maintain and update the installed firmware in the T-Stars.
This feature updates T-Star software with new versions and patches of Tipify, the Operating System, and Solutions for enhanced features, bug fixes, security and other patches, and any changes to the Solutions implemented in the units.
This mechanism allows T-Stars to be kept up to date with latest features and security mechanisms.
These updates and changes can be orchestrated across a group of T-Stars so that many units can be updated automatically from a single command action, allowing Provisioning to be effectively and efficiently managed over large scale projects.
Tipify takes advantage of the Distributed Architecture and Secured Connections between nodes to provide a much simplified Licensing Model that’s easier to understand and apply.
In each node the only license variable is the number of data points that are recorded in the nodes data base.
Each variable can have a time stamp value reading and can be recorded as frequently and for as long as the user determines, while only consuming one license point.
Points that are licensed in T-Stars can then be archived to a Server and used in further processing without consuming a second license point in the Server. This effectively means that variables that are licensed in T-Stars have a ‘system wide’ license.
Tipify software should be updated regularly not just to get new features and for patches that fix bugs, but to also update the software including the Linux Operating System OS and the Java JRE with the latest versions and Security Features to keep the system up to date with all Security Patches available.
Upgrades of the Tipify Software Stack are free of charge for all T-Stars for the lifetime of the product, provided that the users Tipify Server Software has a current Software Maintenance Contract. Server Software Maintenance costs 18% of the original Software cost annually and is payable after the first year of use.
Of course data imported from other third party sources into the Server will consume license points in the server as
will further virtual points created from rules etc if they are stored in the Server Data Base.
License points are provided in packs and users can add any number of packs to a T-Star or Server to provide the points capacity that matches their applications, and these can be readily expanded by adding further points packs as required.
T-stars have 10, 100, and 1,000 point packs availible.
Server Licenses are 1,000, 10,000 and 50,000 points.
Server Licenses differ from the T-Star licenses only in that the Server includes the Provisioning Service and the ability to Cluster Servers together to seamlessly provide scaling.
Developers can create new features and functions in Tipify using a number of comprehensive, well documented methods depending on the type of development required.
Axon Scripting Language is used to create rules and functions within Tipify Analytics, Data Manipulation and Data Quality processes. There is library of 500+ functions available to users but most also use Axon to create their own or modify what’s provided in the library.
Tipify is provided with Applications that cover Analytics, Control, Visualization, Reporting, and developers can create their own Applications as PODs using Fantom language and the published API’s.
Stack Hub provided a mechanism for the distribution of Applications including their Licensing and users may find third party applications available there.
REST API’s define how data is transferred to Third Party Applications that are external to the Tipify platform.
Connector Framework enables developers to create their own IP connectors
to handle diverse devices and their proprietary communication protocols.