Forgoing a couple of vacation days, I headed out to Folsom (Sacramento), California this week to attend the gathering of SCADA geeks known as the Inductive Automation Ignition Community Conference.

This was the fifth conference for the company and my third. This is the second straight sell out. The venue was packed, energy level high, networking intense.

I remember meeting Founder/Owner/CEO Steve Hechtman about 14 years ago at a trade show. He explained a new way to build SCADA and a new business model that would upset the current dominant competitors. He emphasized building from the ground up with IT friendly technology.

He did it. From a small building in Sacramento to 22,000 square feet of rented office space (where they positioned people near aisles to make the space look more packed only five years ago) to a building down the street that they’ve gutted and rebuilt to give their 56,000 square feet. Looks like they’re doing well.

Emphasis of all the keynote speakers was on Ignition (Inductive Automation’s product) as a platform.

Don Pearson, chief strategy officer, talked digital disruption. He cited a survey that reported 84% of business leaders expect disruption, yet only 7% have a strategy, “sitting on the fence is not an option.”

Inductive is a proponent of Open Process Automation Forum making this the second straight conference I’ve attended with OPAF as a sub theme.

  • Pearson cited these Success factors for the company:
  • Decouple devices from applications—use a publish/subscribe approach
  • Superior OT solution, meet operations requirements first
  • Single source of truth—make devices the source of tags
  • Plug and Play functionality
  • Eliminate cutovers (taking software down and booting up new and hoping)
  • Scale with unlimited licensing

Ignition is “perfectly poised for IIoT.”

Two questions I had:

It’s still just SCADA, but what is it really these days. What is it that makes it still exciting. After talking with many people, I figured out these things:

  • Extend to enterprise
  • Exponentially larger
  • Mobile
  • Visualization smoothly from device to device

Hearing once again about OPAF, I wondered:
Will it just be another OMAC?
On the other hand, some innovative small companies are moving in who just might change the direction of industry.

Big push on community. Don, “The community is our North Star.”

This is the only company in this technology area currently exhibiting growth, enthusiasm, and new technologies. Do competitors write off SCADA as an old market? Well, in this era of the Internet of Things, that will be a mistake–much to the benefit of Inductive Automation.

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