Bracketology 4.0 – Powered by the Unified Namespace Architecture

The Unified Namespace architecture has gained significant traction over the last several years. Despite its growing popularity, tangible real-world examples remain scarce. The goal of the Bracketology 4.0 project is to not only showcase the benefits of a unified namespace architecture but also to have fun in the process.

Men’s College Basketball Bracketology

Most of us in the States are familiar with the men’s college basketball tournament, which occurs every March and involves 64 teams (now expanded to 68 teams) in a single-elimination format. Each round eliminates half of the field, culminating in six rounds to crown the champion. Over the past 30 years, a tradition has emerged where enthusiasts fill out brackets, attempting to predict the winners of each game and ultimately the champion. The internet has facilitated this tradition by providing a platform for fans to easily create and share brackets with one another. Bracket challenges have skyrocketed in popularity, with the winner typically earning some form of prize or boasting rights. Fun fact: No one has ever successfully completed a perfect bracket – the odds stand at 1 in 147.6 billion due to the vast number of permutations.

Bracketology 4.0

NeoMatrix came up with the idea of organizing a contest using the same off-the-shelf tools we utilize daily to help industrial companies tackle challenges. Setting up a bracket challenge involves several components:

  • A real-time source for scores from each game.
  • A secure user interface for participants to fill out their brackets and view real-time contest results.
  • An analytics engine to compute scores and forecast future outcomes.

Ideally, each of these tasks would be handled by different software platforms, but we required a unified source of truth for the data. This is where the unified namespace and unified analytics framework architectures come into play.

Unified Namespace Architecture

The Unified Namespace is a scalable architecture that connects all individuals, assets, and business systems within an organization to a single real-time source of truth. It is technology-driven rather than solution-based, focusing on four key technical requirements: open architecture, report by exception, edge-driven, and lightweight.

Unified Analytics Framework Architecture

Given the real-time nature of a unified namespace, people often wonder how historical data can be incorporated. The Unified Analytics Framework is designed to leverage your Unified Namespace (UNS) by expanding the collection and sharing of real-time data to encompass calculated KPIs and access to historical databases.

Partners & Platforms

We’ve secured buy-in from three partners to collaborate on building the contest together. This project allows us to showcase the benefits of each platform while demonstrating their seamless integration with a unified namespace architecture.

HighByte Intelligence Hub – Providing Real-time Scores to the UNS

HighByte Intelligence Hub is an Industrial DataOps platform that enables you to connect, condition, transform, model, and transfer data to and from virtually any industrial data source. For this project, we’re utilizing a standard REST API service that offers real-time sports scores. The Intelligence Hub employs a low-code methodology to:

  1. Ingest data from non-standard industrial protocols, such as a REST API, providing real-time sports scoring and team information.
  2. Normalize the data into a format easily understood by consumers.
  3. Transfer that data to a standard industrial protocol, such as MQTT.
  4. Provide an MQTT broker for the unified namespace.

Ignition by Inductive Automation – Secure User Interface for Bracket Creation & Data Visualization

Ignition is an industrial application platform for SCADA, Digital Transformation, and more, which empowers developers to utilize modern web technologies with a focus on industrial data. With native responsive UI design, security, and integration with SQL and MQTT, we’ve chosen this platform as the frontend for Bracketology 4.0, enabling us to:

  1. Manage site users securely.
  2. Offer a modern web-based user interface for creating and visualizing brackets, including:
    1. Ingesting team data from the MQTT broker, such as logos and real-time scoring.
    2. Storing user brackets in SQL.
  3. Ingest and visualize leaderboard data.

Flow Software – Unified Analytics Platform

Flow Software is an analytics platform purpose-built for manufacturing and industry. Its ability to connect, collect, transform, and bridge data from all standard industrial sources makes it the backbone of this project by:

  1. Natively connecting to MQTT and SQL data sources.
  2. Templatizing analytics and data cleansing rules without requiring code to allow for scalability.
  3. Using Flow’s calculation engine to compute real-time user scores, potential future scores, and project the contest winner.
  4. Publishing all insights back to the unified namespace.