Nina Tucker with Twin Oaks Computing

Industrial Talk is onsite at IoT Solutions World Congress and talking to Nina Tucker, Vice President at Twin Oaks Computing about “Middleware and the importance to your digital transformation journey”.  Learn about Middleware along with Nina's unique insight into the Middleware technology on this Industrial Talk interview!

Finally, get your exclusive free access to the Industrial Academy and a series on “Why You Need To Podcast” for Greater Success in 2023. All links designed for keeping you current in this rapidly changing Industrial Market. Learn! Grow! Enjoy!


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Welcome to the Industrial Talk Podcast with Scott MacKenzie. Scott is a passionate industry professional dedicated to transferring cutting edge industry focused innovations and trends while highlighting the men and women who keep the world moving. So put on your hard hat, grab your work boots and let's


go all right once again thank you very much for joining industrial talk we are broadcasting on site IoT solutions World Congress it is a great event because on your calendar, it is a must attend event. If you are just even considering getting into the digital transformation game. You need to connect with industry professionals, people that know how to navigate these waters. This is a great event definitely for you and you know this platform is dedicated to all industrial professionals around the world because you are bold, Rabia dare greatly. You are changing lives and you are changing the world. Why not celebrate what you are doing? Alright, in the hot seat. Her name is Nina. Nina Tucker. Twin Oaks computing is the company and oh yeah, we're gonna be chirping a lot of things. So this is a must listen to conversation.


Egg. Hi.


Yeah. Hey, how are you doing? You having a good conference?


I am doing great. And I'm having a great conference. I'm I'm kind of glad it doesn't go beyond this day because I'm exhausted. But it has been great.


I thought it was the only one that was just dragging in.


I can't even count the number of miles I put on I didn't realize quite


how I got my little Fitbit step thing and check it out until Gosh, I'm obliterating my standards. It it. It's not a it's not a slam. Love Spain, Love Barcelona, Love the people. I just can't eat that late. I'm rolling in last night. I'm having dinner at 11, 11 Yes. And I I couldn't eat my arm off.


Okay, I've learned to store snacks, steal them where I can and store the snacks because I tell you this conference gets out at six. I go to the hotel and I eat. And then several hours later we're finding dinner. It takes us a while to get lost on the subways. But you know, we've we end up someplace cool


journey you soldier on? It's exactly right. i My sister fortunately, is traveling with us. And I said here's the deal. When we go to these clubs, you know, the Delta club, right? I said, you grab all the snacks you can you hoard. You hoard the doggone stuff, you stick it in your bag, because you just don't know when you're going to eat.


I mean, I feel like that's generally shows in general, if you're busy if you got meetings lunch, you know, usually gets missed. But


yeah. And it is what, Pat, it's it's 1218 I haven't eaten. I haven't had lunch yet. Yeah, there it is. real life. Real life struggle right here right now. Food. All right. Give us a little background on where you are.


Yeah, absolutely. So I am the heart and soul of this Twin Oaks computing. I co founded it back in 2005. And I'm trying to do math. I think that's 17 going on 18 years ago. Now.


I'm not going to check it out. I'll just say yes, go.


So for the last 17 or 18 years, I have been working in software in particularly what's called Communication middleware. Unless you're also in software, you know, what does that mean? Yeah, we do. We do connect connected infrastructures, which is a really tough thing I feel like to understand, right? I mean, we all know that these IoT sort of devices, they have network connections between them, we know kind of in our house, we know that our stove is connected to the microwave, because the time sinks up. And we know that our TV connects to the internet in order to download the streams. But what does it really mean? Because there's all of these layers to that connection, you need the physical connection, you need some sort of protocol on top of that you need the actual data that goes back and forth. Well, we're part of that whole infrastructure world. And what we try and do is make it easier for the folks that are developing these devices. And these content, make it easier for them to find the different places data needs to go and get the data there with the appropriate kind of quality of service kind of reliability or timing. You don't want your streaming data to like freeze and pause right you've got all these kinds of delivery requirements of the data and we just tried to make that easier.


It sounds custom is your standardization that happened who had so I let's let's I'll put on Scott manufacturing hat on and I and I'm surfing the World Wide Web and I find that I need to do some digital stuff. I need to digitally transform my business now. I need one find people that I trust but to I don't even know where to start. And then three, it just, it can be overwhelming. And I know, they say I have to do it. The Internet does. And so is there some sort of, you know, common plugin? What is that even possible?


It is possible. And if we, well, I, I'm a big fan of standards, these standards are are just, I mean, they're, they're important, but they're fundamental. And if we, if we go way back before the internet, when when folks in their in their colleges, you know, or in their basements were just trying to flame each other or find a way to send a little message back and forth, right, when things were just getting started. There weren't, there weren't really many concepts of standards. But we got there, right? We got their way back when we came up with this IP standard. And then we came up with you might recognize this HTTP. That's the standard, right? Yeah, that didn't exist, we were kind of building these as we want to do more things. With connectivity with the internet, we need to come up with standards to enable that it starts kind of fragmented, all of the big players kind of come up with their own way they think it should be done. And then eventually, something just takes over industry, inertia goes, users come up, and we end up with one standard. I could take a non software example of this. I mean, do you remember back when we had eight tracks, we had cassette tapes, and we had CDs? Do you remember back when you had to decide if you were going to get a Blu ray? Or if you were going to get some other? Right? Do you remember this?


I'll even I'll even go back in the Time Machine even further. Betamax versus VHS. My parents bought a Betamax. And I remember as a kid going, and that decision how, why what? What their standards are


going on standards. But eventually, it gets standardized. And then we get innovative because we had a standard to build on we can do more do better.


Yeah, but it is and and because it from a from a you know, by standard here, when we start talking about all the I mean, it's it's a great event out here. And there's a lot of solutions and a lot of passion out here. But sometimes it feels like the Wild West. Like, really you can do that. How does it differ from this? And why is What problems are we so what what is it? I'm not trying to minimize? I think there's a there's but it does feel like that. And I just I want standards. So


absolutely, yeah. And another another question is I have an XYZ. Does your thing work with my XYZ? Do they connect? Yeah, it's standards standards, kind of, they kind of drag a little bit behind the innovation, but you need those standards in order to have something to stand on to innovate to. And then once you get all these innovations, they will eventually they will eventually figure each other out. Right? The charger is on our phone. It's another thing where you know everyone unless it eventually gets there.


Unless you're an iPhone, and you have a computer and they change the charger every dog gone release the charger.


We're not perfect yet.


Do I have to fire not? Are you? Yes. But anyway, that's that's a whole nother story apple. Anyway,


so it is it is challenging. When we


start talking about what you do, what your organization what your company does. So you lean heavily on standards to ensure that that whatever is developed, whatever that middleware is developed, it has that ability to be well. I can't say agnostic, but at least has some standard approach to it. So it's like Yeah, yeah, see, it's standard. It's not, it's not a custom one off.


Absolutely, yeah. And you have to keep in mind kind of where on the stack we are. But when we get to the stack that that I'm interested in my company is interested in this communication, middleware sort of layer. Standards are important. I have a small company and my business develops the software and who is going to trust that this thing is going to work for them or we're going to be viable long term or any of that. Yes, the fact that we implement a standard allows us to play in these huge playing fields with the Lockheed Martin's with the GTs and the Rolls Royce. These huge companies Siemens, we're allowed to play in these spaces because these companies can look at us and go we are we are investing Have a technology. And at this point today, we think Twin Oaks, your solution to this technology is perfect for us because it is very small footprint is very high performance or whatever it is that they're looking for. But they can trust, even though we're a small business, they can trust it because the technology is going to live. We're not the only producers of it. Maybe the best to fit their needs right now. But we're not the only producers. It's the standard that they're investing in.


Okay, take the listener through what, what is what is middleware? What, What problems are we addressing, I understand the necessity to be able to put a device out there on that asset, and then begin pulling data off that asset. And I need to get that data into a location for analyze. And then of course, we've got to have a dashboard. So I'm going to have to have that thing displayed on a dashboard. So red is bad. Green is good. Got all of that. Tell us about middleware?


Absolutely. Okay. So no matter what industry you're in, if you're doing anything technological, you're going to have different components of your system that are connected together. If it's a car, you've got all of the ECUs, or all the controllers that not only do your windows, but do your anti lock brakes, or, or check the tire pressures and display that there's all these little computers in your car. And they're all connected on the network in there. And they're all exchanging data. And that happens everywhere multiplied out, you've got industrial tractors in a field, the tractors now are smart, the tractors talk to each other and schedule where they're going to be on a field.


That's, that's cool stuff, you know, that I, the technology being applied to the ag business, it's like, yeah, that's cool. Yeah, there's real benefit. Go ahead.


It happens everywhere. Of course, the military in the DOD, us connected technology. We've got aircraft engines and the test beds for those engines, where they've got hundreds of sensors, and they're testing the vibration, and the, the temperature as the engine runs. All of these different industries, they've got their version of I've got all these different computers, they might be little sensors, but they're little compute components. And they're connected together. And they have to exchange data. And some of that data is going to be periodic, it's going to be streaming because it's like a sensor, and it produces data 10 times a second, or 100 times a second, it's periodic data. And some of that data is going to be like commands. And some of that data is going to be alerts. So you've got these different kinds of data. So that's a challenge, you've got the challenge of, well, maybe right now I've got 10 components that communicate, but I'm looking to the future. And I want to expand this. So I might have 100, or I might have 1000, things that need to connect up. And maybe I'm deploying into scenarios where I don't have very reliable, like, underlying connectivity, maybe my Wi Fi keeps going out. So that's, that's pretty


common here at a conference where the Wi Fi is sketchy at best. Listen up conference people.


So if you're, if you're producing a system, whether it's for these new tractors or whether it's an or it's in a car, these are the challenges that you're looking at, you're looking at scalability challenges are looking at maybe secure challenges, all of a sudden, now my tractors are connected, they were never connected before, I didn't have to worry about somebody hacking a tractor and taking it off the field. But now all of a sudden, they're all on the internet. Now, I got to worry about these things.


And, and it's important because the benefits of connecting the tractor is, is greater efficiency, possibly greater yield, there's, there's some real


real ordinance when


absolutely when to, you know, hold on engine or whatever the whatever it might be from the data perspective. So when when you approach a company, and and I'm just gonna bring it down to that level, when you approach a company, and they're saying, hey, yeah, we want to go down this and we need to, we need to have some consistent, middle, whatever. How do you how do you take us through that? What, I don't even know I have to have this conversation, honestly, just a company. I just want to put that device out there. And then, and I know it happens, I've had I've heard people know, I'm not a part of the conversation because I run away like I'm on fire. But when somebody says I'm having a hard time communicate, I'm having a hard time communicating with that device. Yeah, I'll pull the jettison ripcord, and I'm out of there.


But it's not easy if you're if you're the engineer or the team of engineers who's responsible for this, what we call distributed computing. I'm not just building I'm not just running something on this one computer, but this one computer does a part and this one computer over here does another part and both of those have to do kind of control or communicate or aggregate their data, it's it's not easy there. It's just not easy to do. So that's why they come for a communication middleware. Because we make it easy. We make it as easy as I need to send some temperature data. And I need to send an ad, it's gonna be a refresh rate of 100 times a second, right? So our software means all they have to do is go temperature. Right? Right, right. I don't have to worry about where to address it. I don't have to worry about if the network goes down and then comes back up. I don't care. All I do is I go, right, right, right. And our underlying middleware, monitors everything figures out who wants temperature data, gets these rights to the right place. If the network goes down, we kind of pause if it comes back up, we take all the data and send it over again. So the system developers, because maybe they're experts in the OCR, and they know exactly how to develop the surgery tools. But do you think they're experts on how to reliably get data from this one to this one? Or how to make it secure? It's hard,


I don't want to see how the sausage is made. I just want to get the results and, and have that displayed in a way that I make better decisions. Let's, let's just lay it out there. Yes. So sometimes, now with that middleware with that approach with your company, is there you know, let's say I'm Acme, and then this is another company that's beta and, and we're of manufacturing, you could sort of use the similar product, like, like, Yeah, I did over here. This is this. And again, I can deploy it over here. You see, I'm pointed, we had success over there, check it out. So that's what it is. And it made it easy.


Yeah, absolutely. And that's one of the real selling points of middleware is it's not custom. From, from my perspective as a middleware, right? All I know is that there's these various streams of data. And there's these various connection points, maybe, maybe this is the only point producing the data, and there's only one port point receiving it, or maybe there's 10 points receiving it. But that's the level I look at, I don't care what kind of data it is, I don't care, you know, what your industry or your business is, I just boil it down to, you've got these different streams of data, and they're going different places. And I can deal with that I can make sure that they get there and you just tell me the stream of data, you don't have to tell me that it's temperature data, you just tell me? Is it reliable? Does every every update need to get where it's going? Or is it 100 times a second? So you know, if you lose a piece or two in there, no worries, you tell me if it needs to be encrypted. This is temperature sensitive or not. I don't know that it's temperature data. I just know this is a stream of data. It doesn't all need to get there. And it does need to be encrypted or not. And I do the right things underneath


one last question. Do you do take that data that middleware? Are you able to create the the logic or the code or whatever that says, this is the data? And this is what we need? We don't need this because there's this tsunami of data that can be pulled off of any asset. And not everything is like, That's gold? That's gold? That's gold? That's not every piece of data is gold. Some are more important than Kenya? Is it just like, can you sort of filter out the stuff I don't want?


That's the terminology doTERRA. At our level, we do some of that we actually call it filtering. Yeah, we do some of it at that level. But if you keep in mind that we don't really know what kind of data it is, we're not too smart on that kind of filtering, we depend on someone else that has context that knows what the data is to be able to do that sort of analytics. We focus it and again, the reason we can be agnostic is because we focus simply on getting the data from one point to the other. Yes.


You're awesome. You know, more than I do. Only about middleware. I was gonna say, well, that's a low bar bar right there. I'm just telling you right now. Okay. somebody's listening to this podcast. And they said, Hey, Scott, I want to get a hold of Nina. How do they get a hold of you?


High tech company is called Twin Oaks computing. You can go to Twin Oaks If you happen to be in lovely Barcelona today, we have a stand in me, I see slash Digital 10.


Check him out again. I was I was thinking when we were having this conversation. I said, How can we get over there and then see some more tech. Okay. Number one, I was listening to every word you were saying. I didn't mean to offend you. Just Just go some places in my mind sometimes. So good. Well, that's absolutely wonderful. Thank you very much for being on the podcast.


Thank you, Scott. So it was a pleasure. Yes, it was.


We're gonna have all the contact information for Nina out on industrial So if you're not, you will be able to get a hold of her because she knows what she's talking about. Definitely. All right. Once again, we're broadcasting from IoT Solutions World Congress 2023, put this on your calendar for next year if you're not deer have missed out, because next year is going to be bigger, better, stronger, faster, like Steve Oska. So make sure that you are here. All right, we're gonna wrap it up on the other side. Stay tuned, we will be right back.


You're listening to the industrial talk Podcast Network.


All right, once again, thank you very much for joining industrial talk and your continued support Nina, Taka is her name. The company has Twin Oaks computing. And yeah, we were talking middleware. And yeah, that is one of those unsung computer components that that you need to take notice up. So you got to reach out with Nina talk a little about middleware seeing how that team Twin Oaks can help you achieve what you need to achieve. Because it's, it's it's a data collection game, it's how do you control it? How do you read insights into that data from your operations, we want you to succeed. We want you to be around for a long time create that business that is resilient. And you need to reach out and connect with Nina and team Twin Oaks. Absolutely. All right. That was IoT Solutions World Congress, as you can imagine, you need to put that in on your calendar for 2024. Yes, it's next year. Yes, it's maybe way off. But you know, you need to be able to plan for that. It is a great event. It has great people like like pina and others. As you've been, if you've been following the podcast, you'll know that, wow. There's some amazing professionals out there in the world of industry in the world of digital transformation. So IoT solutions World Congress, also, we are creating this platform, this platform is an ecosystem that is all dedicated to you, to your business, to collaborate, to educate, and of course, to find out the latest in the world of innovation and how that can impact your business in a positive way. So I highly recommend that all of the individuals that you hear on this podcast, reach out to them because they do want to have a conversation with you and and if you have a desire to be on the podcast, go to industrial Say, Hey, Scott, I would like to connect with you. Boom, make it happen. All right, be bold, be brave, dare greatly. I say it all the time. Hang out with Nina and you're gonna change the world. Thank you for joining

Industrial Talk is onsite at IoT Solutions World Congress and talking to Nina Tucker, Vice President at Twin Oaks Computing about "Middleware and the importance to your digital transformation journey".  Learn about Middleware along with Nina's unique insight into the Middleware technology on this Industrial Talk interview!
Scott MacKenzie

About the author, Scott

I am Scott MacKenzie, husband, father, and passionate industry educator. From humble beginnings as a lathing contractor and certified journeyman/lineman to an Undergraduate and Master’s Degree in Business Administration, I have applied every aspect of my education and training to lead and influence. I believe in serving and adding value wherever I am called.

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