Digital Transformation and Internet of Things were prominent at this week’s user conference. I could be in San Francisco at the OSIsoft user conference. But, no, I’m in Detroit at a different one. However, we have two news items from the conference.

The first one is Marketplace, an online collection of software and hardware solutions for accelerating digital transformation for the industrial world. It links utilities, energy companies, manufacturers, food and beverage producers, and other industrial customers with the 300+ hardware, software, and integration partners in the OSIsoft Partner EcoSphere as well as the 2600 third-party developers in the PI Developers Club.

On Marketplace, customers can discover and compare leading solutions for the Internet of Things, predictive analytics and machine learning, reducing asset downtime, data visualization and cloud-based analytics. Customers can also engage specialists for remote asset and process monitoring, condition-based maintenance, and performance benchmarking.

“Industrial transformation is one of the largest, and most challenging, economic opportunities of our time. Marketplace will help our customers extend the value of their existing investments while laying the groundwork for new digital services,” said Martin Otterson, Senior Vice President of Customer Success at OSIsoft. “With Marketplace, customers will be able to connect with companies and service providers with deep experience in their fields and accelerate their journey for digital transformation.”

OSIsoft Marketplace participants and solutions include:

  • National Instruments (NI) provides LabVIEW system design software and NI InsightCM Enterprise software for condition monitoring, which can bidirectionally communicate with the PI System
  • Rockwell Automation, which integrates the PI System into its FactoryTalk platform, making it easy to aggregate plant automation data across the enterprise for real-time insights
  • Power Factors, providing high-quality, independent performance data for renewable energy, which allows owners and operators to standardize across their diverse portfolios and drive improvements in the physical and financial performance of their assets.
  • Element Analytics, an advanced industrial analytics software company that rapidly builds Asset Frameworks through software and empowers organizations to achieve new levels of operational performance, by rapidly turning data into actionable reliability, productivity, and sustainability insights.
  • eVision Industry Software creates best-in-class Control of Work software. Innovative solutions that improve the way oil, gas, chemical and other hazardous industries operate on a global and local scale. eVision’s integration with the PI System provides users with real-time situational awareness, from permit draft to control room.

The OSIsoft partner EcoSphere helps customers maximize the value of their PI System infrastructure. Over 300 companies are official members of the OSIsoft Partner Ecosphere. In addition to the Marketplace, the Partner EcoSphere provides accreditation and specialization programs to recognize individuals from partner companies who have completed comprehensive technical training requirements. Globally, 250 people from more than 40 partner companies are accredited PI System specialists.

Industrial Internet of Things

The second announcement concerns collaboration with partners such as Advantech/B+B SmartWorx, ADLink, Arrow and RtTech to encourage the development of new products and offerings that will deploy PI-based gateways, for example, to link facilities data to production data or enable pipeline companies to harvest data in remote locations.

“Our customers face a digital dilemma. They want to invest in new IIoT technology and begin to capture and analyze new sources of data. At the same time, they worry about incompatibilities or integration challenges that can outweigh the benefits,” said Otterson. “Through these partnerships we can eliminate these problems by ensuring that these new sources of data can be added to existing data infrastructures easily. Ultimately we want to make it easier for any authorized person to get insight into any device or process at any time.”

OSIsoft has prepared a software portfolio for edge gateway hardware providers and others that contain the necessary PI System technology to accelerate connectivity with remote and mobile assets, IIoT sensors and the PI System. With this combination of OSIsoft software and partner hardware technology, OSIsoft enables a host of partners including equipment suppliers, application providers and system integrators to quickly and easily create solutions at the edge.  This will allow customers to run the PI System closer to remote assets – transformers, gas compressor stations, distributed gas, electric and water meters, industrial vehicles, wind turbines – where the data can be stored, viewed, and analyzed, enabling robust data collection, faster decision making, and optimized network bandwidth utilization.

IIoT in Action

In addition, where existing control and monitoring systems cannot accommodate new sensors, or are too costly to upgrade, new streams of IIoT sensor-based data can be added in parallel to existing process data and viewed in a common interface.

As an early advocate of using the PI System for IIoT, RtTech is blazing the trail on what’s possible when combining these technologies. RtTech, for instance, is working with tissue manufacturers to instrument and monitor remote ‘log saws’ that cut lengthy tubes of paper into rolls of toilet paper or other consumables. Because of their isolation and age, the only option for monitoring their health was to rely on manual inspections with pencils and clipboards, or complex retrofits that are often cost prohibitive.

Using new edge gateway technology with integrated PI system technology, RtTech’s energy and reliability apps can now help with efficiency and energy savings on remote equipment.  As a result, customers now have operational insight into isolated equipment and can take corrective actions in real time.

“We’ve seen manufacturers reduce power consumption by 7%, increase asset availability by as much as 10% and improve event capture rates to 99% accuracy,” said Keith Flynn, President of RtTech. “By working with OSIsoft and using IIoT technology, we are pushing these same outcomes to remote operations and assets regardless of their location.  We want our customers to have the same insight and intelligence on all their equipment, local or remote.”

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