Connectivity Methods

In the world of IoT application development, connectivity refers to the infrastructure and protocols used to connect devices to the cloud or network. Edge devices handle the interface between the physical world and the cloud. ThingWorx provides you with several connectivity tools and techniques. Your preferred method will depend on your individual use case.

There are many factors that will influence your decision about the ideal mechanism to connect to ThingWorx. On this page we compare and contrast different methods and give examples for where each one is a natural fit.

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Protocol Adapters

Small devices that are not able to run the ThingWorx EMS or one of the ThingWorx edge SDKs can still connect to a ThingWorx platform by using an application developed using either the ThingWorx Protocol Adapter Toolkit or ThingWorx Extension SDK.

  • Typical Use Case: Existing protocol in device that cannot be changed
  • Pros: Connect any existing protocol
  • Cons: All functionality must be developed in Java
  • Skills required: Java development of networking application
  • Connection Type: Request/Response
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Using the ThingWorx REST API is an easy way for low-capability devices to connect with a ThingWorx platform.

  • Typical Use Case: Push data from small devices to ThingWorx
  • Pros: Web developer can easily create integration
  • Cons: ThingWorx can not trigger action on the edge Reality
  • Skills required: REST API development
  • Connection Type: Request/Response
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Device Cloud Connectors

Device cloud connectors establish a network connection between ThingWorx and an IoT device cloud, translates the message, and forwards information to both systems.

  • Typical Use Case: Add ThingWorx to a previously-integrated device cloud
  • Pros: Easily connect devices that use public machine clouds
  • Cons: Adds dependency and cost to application
  • Skills required: AWS or Azure edge development
  • Connection Type: AlwaysOn™
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Edge SDKs

SDKs are available for Java, C, .net, Android, and iOS.  All SDKs use the ThingWorx AlwaysOn binary protocol together with the HTTP WebSocket protocol for transport.

  • Typical Use Case: Full customization or tight integration required
  • Pros: Fully integrates device or remote system with ThingWorx and offers most developer flexibility
  • Cons: All functionality must be developed by programmer
  • Skills required: Application development in Java, C, or .Net
  • Connection Type: AlwaysOn™
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Kepware Server

The interface provides real-time, bi-directional industrial controls data to the ThingWorx IoT Platform via the ThingWorx AlwaysOn protocol.

  • Typical Use Case: Adding ThingWorx to an industrial setting
  • Pros: Easily connect to hundreds of different types of industrial equipment
  • Cons: Requires computer running Windows physically connected to device
  • Skills required: Configure settings
  • Connection Type: AlwaysOn™
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Edge MicroServer

The ThingWorx Edge MicroServer is a binary executable available for Windows and Linux running on either ARM or x86 processors. The EMS establishes an AlwaysOn, bi-directional connection to a destination ThingWorx platform when it is started.

  • Typical Use Case: Connecting gateway router to ThingWorx
  • Pros: Easily connect with simple scripting
  • Cons: Requires a device running Windows or Linux. Customization us required using Lua scripting
  • Skills required: Configure settings
  • Connection Type: AlwaysOn™
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Everything you need to create your proof of concept app

Let us help you hit the ground running! Sign up on the Developer Portal to get full access to all the resources you’ll need to develop your own proof of concept application —from the basic connectivity, to proof of concept, and beyond:

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