Rockwell Automation produced a couple of press releases at the ARC Industry Forum last week in Orlando managing to work both phrases into its news. During my one-on-one interview during the week, the conversation focused on what I discovered was a product—FactoryTalk Innovation Suite, powered by PTC. (That’s a mouthful.) Merging PTC’s (ThingWorx) connectivity to factory devices with Rockwell Automation’s Factory Talk analytics technology, customers can reap benefits of the Industrial Internet of Things.

The actual show announcement reported that in the last three months a dozen manufacturers across a variety of countries and industries have selected the FactoryTalk InnovationSuite, powered by PTC, solution as part of their digital transformation initiatives. The release pointed out the benefits to PTC of expanding its reach into manufacturing resulting from the new partnership initiated by Rockwell’s $1B investment along with a seat on the board for CEO Blake Moret.

An integral part of current IIoT architectural thinking involves edge compute devices. Rockwell Automation didn’t exactly describe its new control product this way, but the way I see it, the Allen-Bradley CompactLogix 5480 controller combines control and edge computing. The controller marries a Logix control engine and the Microsoft Windows 10 operating system in a single platform.

The controller incorporates multiple security functions, including user authentication and authorization, role-based access and digitally signed encryption. “And because the Windows operating system runs independently from the control engine, any disruptions to the operating system will not affect machine or line control.”

This is the second of several planned individual reports from the 2019 ARC Industry Forum. I’m working on a summary document.

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