Hi! As you probably know, our mission has always been to provide the frameworks and tools to help developers focus on what really matters: creating great applications.
Today, Industry 4.0 and the IoT have introduced a whole new set of challenges: There will be more connected devices, which will generate more data, that in turn will lead to even more complex software applications.
This means that the playing field will change at an exponentially accelerating pace, including the state of device infrastructure, application complexity and, last but not least, development. This results in a multi-dimensional challenge in terms of interoperability and scalability. We want to help you turn this challenge into an opportunity with our new Qt for Automation offering.
What “Automation” Means to Us
For us, Automation relates to all connected (edge) devices (clients, gateways and headless devices) and their supporting desktop applications in complex automation environments. Think everything between “smart factories”, “connected service touch points” to “building automation”. We believe that all these segments face similar challenges from both a technical, as well as a service and business standpoint.
Why “Qt for Automation”?
Qt for Automation not only hands you additional libraries and tools but also includes domain-specific services to overcome industry-specific problems.
This first release of Qt for Automation is just the beginning. We will keep adding improvements and enhancements, which will be included in regular updates throughout the year.
Let’s have a look at the first release.
The Foundation: All the Benefits of Qt 5.9 LTS and More
With Qt for Automation you can get everything you love about Qt 5.9.x LTS, such as the Visual Keyboard, QtSerialbus, VNC, the Qt Lite Configuration Tool, WebGL Streaming (coming with Qt 5.10) and even Boot2Qt (learn more).
The Qt Lite Configuration Tool lets you cherry-pick the features for your application as opposed to having everything included in a monolithic approach. This allows you to optimize its size, performance and start-up time on any smart device.
New: MQTT - a Future Brick for Connected Devices
Publisher-subscriber protocols have become more and more attractive to automation infrastructures. Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT) is one of the most prominent candidates for a lot of reasons. By design, it is very lightweight, fulfills high security standards, and guarantees state awareness to all infrastructure members. All those characteristics are very important, as they simplify development and make the solutions built on the protocol both safe and reliable. It has been used in sensors communicating to a broker via satellite link and in a range of home automation and small device scenarios. It is also ideal for IoT applications because of its small size, low power usage, minimized data packets, and efficient distribution of information to one or many receivers.
Our newly-developed MQTT library focuses on the client side only (not the broker) and is fully specification-compliant to protocol level 3.1 and 3.1.1 (prominently known/referred to as 4).
Our MQTT library is part of the Qt for Automation offering but is also available to the public under GPL 3 license conditions.
If you want to learn more about QtMqtt, please have a look at our blog post.
New: KNX - a Worldwide Leader in Building Automation
The KNX foundation with its KNX standard has been a long-time pioneer in standardization and operability between different vendors. It is a worldwide leader in home and building automation, with the most existing deployments . As described by KNX themselves, it is the worldwide standard for applications in home and building control, ranging from lighting and shutter control to various security systems, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, monitoring, alarming, water control, energy management, smart metering as well as household appliances, audio/video and lots more. KNX aims for the most ambitious setups and their standard is ubiquitous and widely supported by manufacturers. However, KNX’s long-standing challenge has been that it is relatively difficult to develop and deploy client applications.
With our new KNX library, we close this gap and make it easier for you to create tailor-made UIs for your smart building and integrate different functionalities (e.g. speech recognition) and technologies (e.g. BLE) in the future. We are bringing the beauty of Qt to KNX so you can switch on a light with just a few lines of code.
The KNX library is part of Qt for Automation offering but is also available to the public under GPL v3 licensing conditions.
If you want to learn more about QtKnx, please have a look at our blog post.
Create Devices, Mobile Apps and Desktop Applications on any Platform
Right from the start, we wanted to offer you something more than just the additional components we ship with Qt for Automation. We know that automation can be handled quite differently depending on the platform used, the individual solutions, the number of shipments, the development pressure and needs to solve development problems.
To address this, we decided to add more value for automation customers:
Capability to develop on any platform. We know our customers build devices but we know they also need to develop desktop applications and even mobile apps.
Automation consultancy services. We know developers regularly face pressure, but reaching out and finding help takes time. Therefore, we included industry-specific consultancy services to our offering. Just book it, you get it.
More to Come
As already stated, Qt for Automation is just the first release and there are more to come. Over time, we’ll add even more value by extending the existing libraries or tools. We have already identified topics like OPC/UA and AMQP we want to tackle next. To facilitate this development, The Qt Company and its partners have set up a dedicated and growing team :).
Join the Automation Track at QtWS 2017 in Berlin!
We are happy to announce that we’ll feature an Automation track during the QtWS 2017. Join our talks about KNX and MQTT and many more topics presented by us and our partners (e.g. CoAP).