A long-time friend from the manufacturing software market asked what I had seen at ARC Industry Forum. Advances in HMI SCADA manufacturing software, I told her. Oh, I figured that was such a mature category that there couldn’t be anything new, she replied.

Inductive Automation used its very visible presence at a press conference and breakfast to promote the changes hinted at during the Ignition Community Conference last September. Principally it announced the Public Beta of Ignition 8.

Ignition was built from the ground up as database-centric and IT-friendly. It now is used by more than 1,900 integrators. Chief Strategy Officer Don Pearson told us that it is found in 48% of the Fortune 100 companies in one way or another.

The three major upgrade areas in Ignition 8 focus on Expanded architectures (for enterprise), Security, and Mobility.

Key information points include:

  • Easier for large groups to work together
  • Added inheritance—flexibility and dynamic
  • Re-engineered tag system—customers have not been limited in number of tags they use so they use so many it is slowing the system, the revised system has made things much faster
  • Security—always a focus, but time to evolve, compatible with federated identity structure, 2FA, single sign on, and the like.
  • Mobile—developed Ignition Perspective, a tool for building mobile HMI, built in security, flexibility, functionality, based on HTML 5 and CSS 3.
  • Source control—compatible with Git and GitHub for development and deployment

In other news, Inductive Automation and FreeWave Technologies, a leader in long-range wireless radios and edge computing platforms, are providing increased data visibility and a more reliable data network for industrial IoT customers with remote assets.

Ignition Edge MQTT, an edge-of-network software solution from Inductive Automation and Cirrus Link Solutions, can run on FreeWave’s hardened, C1D2 ZumIQ Edge Computer and the ZumLink IQ Intelligent Edge Radio to flawlessly perform edge-based data collection using various industrial protocols and data publishing using MQTT.

This publish/subscribe, or pub/sub, architecture provides granular data to anyone on the network and the proven ruggedness of the Zum platform provides a reliable home for applications that place analytics and intelligence alongside remote assets. As a result, the ZumLink IQ is an all-in-one solution that provides both secure data transmission over long distances and application deployment.

“This collaboration with FreeWave will provide real benefits to users,” said Don Pearson, chief strategy officer for Inductive Automation. “Today’s industrial users are certainly on a quest for more data, and edge computing is a big part of satisfying that demand.”

“The ZumLink hardware platform is a perfect example of why we developed the Ignition Edge MQTT product,” said Arlen Nipper, CTO and president of Cirrus Link Solutions, a leading innovator of pervasive computing technologies, and co-inventor of the MQTT messaging transport. “Having a modular platform with tools that are already SCADA/OT-aware is extremely important in any digital transformation journey. Having a mature set of tools on the Ignition platform that can run on ZumLink solves numerous migration strategy issues.”

“In the simplest analogy, we are the ‘I’ in ‘IoT,’ and Inductive Automation’s holistic approach to delivering automation solutions is not like any other software provider in the marketplace today,” said Kirk Byles, CEO, Freewave Technologies. “Our joint focus on enabling industrial customers with data platforms that can transform their operations while improving productivity and reducing operating costs is of paramount importance to both our companies’ missions. It’s a unique hand-in-glove type of relationship and it has many automation integrators excited about the endless opportunities that can be created from our partnership.”

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