FogHorn Systems, a US company specialising in edge computing for industrial IoT, has raised $US30 million in a second round of venture funding.

The announcement came as edge (also known as ‘fog’) computing made it into Gartner’s Top Ten Strategic Technology Trends for 2018.

The funding takes FogHorn’s total capital raising to $US47.5 million. The company says the money will be used to expand its engineering resources and global go-to-market presence.

FogHorn said Intel Capital and Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures led the round, in which new investor Honeywell Ventures and all previous investors participated.

The company claims to be a leader in the rapidly emerging domain of ‘edge intelligence’.  It says that by hosting high performance processing, analytics and heterogeneous applications closer to control systems and physical sensors, its technology enables edge intelligence for closed loop device optimisation.

“This brings big data and real-time processing onsite for industrial customers in manufacturing, oil and gas, power and water, transportation, mining, renewable energy, smart city, and more,” FogHorn said in a statement.

Its latest offering is Lightening ML, described as “the world's first edge machine learning solution,” that “gives industrial customers the ability to train and execute machine learning algorithms and other advanced data science models on streaming sensor data right at the source of the data facilitating the creation and iterative enhancement of ‘digital twins’ and other sophisticated machine learning and AI models without the need to send all the sensor data to a cloud or data centre for processing.”

The challenges of industrial IoT

The vice president and general manager of Intel's IoT Group, Jonathan Ballon, said the promise and challenge of IIoT lay in the ability to convert sensor data to actionable insights that could improve customers' operating efficiency and generate new sources of business value.

“As we've watched FogHorn's progress with both leading IIoT solutions providers and major industrial end customers, we believe their edge analytics and machine learning technology will be a critical factor in enabling those operating efficiencies and delivering that business value,” he said.

The managing director North America of Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures, Cory Steffek, said harnessing IIoT insights would produce significant operating savings and spur major process improvements in the oil and gas industry.

“We believe innovators like FogHorn will lead the way in redefining IIoT edge computing to deliver real-time analytics and machine learning value across our entire business -- upstream, midstream and downstream.”

A Gartner cool vendor at the edge

FogHorn made it into Gartner’s Cool Vendors in IoT Edge Computing 2017, published in April. “FogHorn Systems is cool because of its extremely low overhead in embedding real-time analytics and machine-learning capabilities in edge devices as part of edge computing,” Gartner said.

Both edge computing and digital twins were recently identified by Gartner in its Top Ten Strategic Technology Trends for 2018.

Edge computing “describes a computing topology in which information processing, and content collection and delivery, are placed closer to the sources of this information. Connectivity and latency challenges, bandwidth constraints and greater functionality embedded at the edge favours distributed models,” Gartner said.

Digital twins are particularly promising in the context of IoT over the next three to five years, according to the research firm. “Well-designed digital twins of assets have the potential to significantly improve enterprise decision making,” Gartner said.

“These digital twins are linked to their real-world counterparts and are used to understand the state of the thing or system, respond to changes, improve operations and add value.”