ABB and IBM to Bolster Cybersecurity for Industrial Operations

Another partnership in the news. I have visited IBM’s cybersecurity operations, and it has a powerful story to tell. This news should bolster ABB’s customers.

ABB process control systems can connect with IBM security platform for digital threat visibility.

ABB and IBM today announced a collaboration focused on connecting cybersecurity and operational technology (OT). As a first result of this collaboration, ABB has developed a new OT Security Event Monitoring Service that combines ABB’s process control system domain expertise with IBM’s security event monitoring portfolio to help improve security for industrial operators.

Industrial control system environments are increasingly targeted in cyber-attacks. In fact, IBM’s latest X-Force Threat Intelligence Index found that attacks on industrial and manufacturing facilities have increased by over 2,000% since 2018.

To better connect OT data with the broader IT security ecosystem, ABB has developed a new offering that allows security events from ABB to be sent to IBM’s security information and event management platform known as QRadar. 

The ABB solution was designed according to a reference architecture jointly developed by ABB and IBM. It provides the domain knowledge needed to swiftly react to security incidents related to process control and is especially suited for complex industrial processes in industries such as oil, gas, chemicals and mining. The new event collection and forwarding software which enables this integration is currently being used by early adopter customers and will be made broadly available by ABB in the coming months.

This collaboration marks the first time that OT data and process industry domain expertise is being brought directly into a Security Information and Event Monitoring (SIEM) system, allowing threats to be managed as part of an organization’s broader cybersecurity operations and strategy. 

“ABB’s collaboration with IBM makes it possible to analyze process control events in the context of security and impact to the operational environment, delivering strong improvement in our OT cyber threat visibility across the board,” said Robert Putman, Global Manager of Cyber Security Service for Industrial Automation at ABB.

Disruption of production due to a cyberattack or technical glitches can be costly in terms of lost production and damage to physical assets. Most mature operational monitoring is focused on the performance of the asset, whether it be a gas turbine for electricity, a drive system used to crush ore, or simple monitoring of pollution output from a chemical facility.

The new ABB offering allows ABB’s process control system data collection and forwarding technology to harvest event log detail from ABB process control systems, and share that information with IBM Security QRadar, which uses automation and artificial intelligence to help identify security anomalies and potential threats.

“We see the integration of these solutions as bringing market-leading capabilities together for a singular view of OT security,” said Dr. Andreas Kühmichel, CTO, Chemicals, Petroleum & Industrial Products, IBM. “With more comprehensive OT and IT security visibility, clients can help reduce the risk of production being suddenly interrupted due to a security event, resulting in costly downtime and broader risk to the company.”

The ABB and IBM technologies involved in this solution are designed on open platforms allowing them to operate on the edge and deploy easily across hybrid cloud environments spanning on-premise, private or public clouds. The joint solution is designed so that security processes operate via automation and do not disturb industrial workflows. The security analysis in QRadar operates through a use case library, which automatically flags incidents and triggers corresponding alarms.

The two companies plan continued collaboration in the realm of OT security, in order to develop new capabilities and offerings that address customer challenges in this space. 

Digital Twin Consortium Membership Approaches 150

Businesses implementing what we’re calling Digital Transformation, which is actually just a new focus on something we’ve been doing since the 70s—applying digital technologies in service of improved operations, find many tools within the toolbox. One of those basic tools is called Digital Twin. That is the ever-closer representation of the physical asset and product in digital format. This allows improved quality, closer tolerances, better processes.

Companies seem to be joining together more than ever to develop best practices and de facto standards around these digital technologies.

This release details how Autodesk, GE Digital, and Northrop Grumman join Ansys, Lendlease, and Microsoft as founding members of the Digital Twin consortium.

This from the press release

The newly formed Digital Twin Consortium announced that its membership has grown to nearly 150 in four months since its formation. The Consortium also announced that  AutodeskGE Digital, and Northrop Grumman Corporation are now founding members, joining founders Ansys, Dell Technologies, Lendlease, and Microsoft as well as Executive Director, Dr. Richard Soley and President Bill Hoffman on the Consortium’s Steering Committee. 

“Our ecosystem of experts is working feverishly to reduce the risk of implementing digital twin technology – improving interoperability, developing best practices, and influencing requirements for digital twin standards. Today’s announcement shows the importance of digital twin technology to the market; Digital Twin Consortium is the fastest-growing consortium to date,” said Bill Ruh, CEO Lendlease Digital and Chair of the Digital Twin Consortium Steering Committee.

“The value of a digital twin cannot be overstated because of its ability to connect the physical and digital worlds providing real-time operational awareness of structures, machines, or products,” said Nicolas Mangon, Autodesk Vice President for AEC Business Strategy. “As the recognized leader in advanced intelligent 3D modeling, which serves as a foundational component of a digital twin, Autodesk’s participation in the Digital Twin Consortium is motivated by our tradition of openness and working with our peers to advance the industries we serve.”

“With a footprint in 100 countries, GE Digital comprises several software businesses serving the Power Generation, Oil & Gas, Aviation, Electric & Telecommunications Utilities, and the Manufacturing sector,” said Colin Parris, Senior Vice President and Chief Technical Officer for GE Digital and a board member for the Digital Twin Consortium. “The Digital Twins market category is growing quickly. Bodies like the Digital Twin Consortium will play an important role in driving new standards and lowering barriers of entry for industrial companies to accelerate the commercial adoption of digital twins to accelerate business transformation.”

“The consortium will help to better enable cross-industry collaboration while providing a forum to respond to the challenges we all face with digital twin technologies.  Creating common standards and practices for digital twins will better enable our ability to deliver products and services more efficiently and more affordably to our customers,” said Silvia Bouchard, corporate director programs, quality, and engineering, Northrop Grumman.

Since its launch on May 18, 2020, the Digital Twin Consortium ecosystem of companies is driving the adoption of digital twins in six core working groups focused on technology and terminology and four industry sectors. Tiger teams are working to accelerate projects like taxonomy types, platform stacks, security and trustworthiness, and the development of uses cases within the key industry sectors of aerospace and defense, infrastructure, natural resources, and manufacturing. Digital Twin Consortium will help enhance the portability and interoperability of digital twins which, in turn, will advance the use of digital twin technology across industries. 

“Today, there are no standards, definitions or common language for digital twin technology and therefore it’s been very difficult for companies to integrate it across their product lifecycle and legacy systems,” said Dick Slansky, Senior Analyst, PLM & Engineering Design Tools, ARC Advisory Group. “However, the definition of digital twin is often insufficient to provide a meaningful basis for discussion – especially when comparing digital twin technologies across applications and industries. With so many companies trying to integrate different digital twin technologies, guidance from Digital Twin Consortium comes at a great time.” 

Public webinars to demonstrate the priorities for the Digital Twin Consortium began in September.

Digital Twin Consortium is open to any business, organization, or entity with an interest in digital twins. Its members are committed to using digital twins throughout their operations and supply chains and capturing best practices and standards requirements for themselves and their clients. Membership fees are based on annual revenue.

Dell Technologies Accelerates as-a-Service Strategy

A few hours rather than a few days this week brought several conferences to my attention. One was Dell Technologies World. I first was involved with Dell through the Influencer program for Internet of Things and Edge. Both of those groups are gone. The only people I remember are selling laptops now. Only a few years ago, Michael Dell spoke of the IoT group in his keynote. This year…nada.

However, there was still much of interest this year. Just as its competitors have been building out as-a-Service strategies, Dell Technologies has announced just such a strategy. Expect this trend to spread.

Highlights

Businesses can buy and deploy IT with a simple, consistent cloud experience across the industry’s broadest IT portfolio

News summary

  • Project APEX simplifies how Dell Technologies customers can consume IT as-a-Service
  • Dell Technologies Cloud Console gives customers a single self-service interface to manage every aspect of their cloud and as-a-Service journey
  • Dell Technologies Storage as-a-Service will be deployed and managed on-premises by Dell Technologies
  • Dell Technologies Cloud Platform advancements make cloud compute resources accessible with instance-based offerings, lowering the barrier of entry and extendingsubscription availability

Dell Technologies expands its as-a-Service capabilities with Project APEX to simplify how customers and partners access Dell technology on-demand—across storage, servers, networking, hyperconverged infrastructure, PCs and broader solutions.

Project APEX will unify the company’s as-a-Service and cloud strategies, technology offerings, and go-to-market efforts. Businesses will have a consistent as-a-Service experience wherever they run workloads including on-premises, edge locations and public clouds.

“Project APEX will give our customers choice, simplicity and a consistent experience across PCs and IT infrastructure from one trusted partner—unmatched in the industry,” said Jeff Clarke, chief operating officer and vice chairman, Dell Technologies.“We’re building upon our long history of offering on-demand technology with this initiative. Our goal is to give customersthe freedom to scale resources in ways that work best for them, so they can quickly respond to changes and focus less on IT and more on their business needs.”

“By the end of 2021, the agility and adaptability that comes with as-a-Service consumption will drive a 3X increase in demand for on-premises infrastructure delivered via flexible consumption/as-a-Service solutions,” Rick Villars, group vice president, Worldwide Research at IDC.

Dell Technologies as-a-Service and cloud advancements

The new Dell Technologies Cloud Console will provide the foundation for Project APEX and will deliver a single, seamless experience for customers to manage their cloud and as-a-Service journey. Businesses can browse the marketplace and order cloud services and as-a-Service solutions to quickly address their needs. With a few clicks, customers can deploy workloads, manage their multi-cloud resources, monitor their costs in real-time and add capabilities.

Available in the first half of next year, Dell Technologies Storage as-a-Service (STaaS) is an on-premises, as-a-Service portfolio of scalable and elastic storage resources that will offer block and file data services and a broad range of enterprise-class features. STaaS is designed for OPEX transactions and allows customers to easily manage their STaaS resources via the Dell Technologies Cloud Console.

Dell continues to expand its Dell Technologies Cloud and as-a-Service offerings with additional advances:

  • Dell Technologies Cloud Platform instance-based offerings— Customers can get started with hybrid cloud for as low as $47 per instance per month with subscription pricing, making it easy to buy and scale cloud resources with pre-defined configurations through the new Dell Technologies Cloud Console.
  • Geographic Expansions— Dell Technologies is extendingDell Technologies Cloud Platform subscription availability to the United Kingdom, France and Germany with further global expansion coming soon.
  • Dell Technologies Cloud PowerProtect for Multi-cloud— This fully-managed service helps customers protect their data and applications across public clouds in a single destination via a low latency connection to the major public clouds. Businesses save costs through the PowerProtect appliance’s deduplication technology and realize additional savings with zero egress fees when retrieving their data from Microsoft Azure.
  • Pre-approved Flex On Demand pricing— The pre-configured pricing makes it simpler for customers to select and deploy Dell Technologies solutions with a pay-per-use experience. Dell Technologies partners globally will receive a rebate up to 20% on Flex On Demand solutions.

Continued sustainability focus

Dell Technologies Project APEX will help companies retire infrastructure in a secure and environmentally friendly manner. Dell manages the return and refurbishing of used IT gear while also helping to support customers’ own sustainability goals. The company is making additional strides in achieving its Progress Made Real goals by:

  • Reselling 100% of the returned leased assets.
  • Refurbishing and reselling 89% of working assetsin the North America and EMEA regions.
  • Reselling 10% of non-working assetsto Environmental Disposal Partners who repair, reuse, resell and recycle each asset. Last year, Dell recycled 240,257 kilograms of metal, glass and plastics through this program.
  • Helping customers resell or recycle their excess hardware and prepare to return leased equipment in a secure and environmentally conscious manner through Dell Asset Resale & Recycling Services

Availability

  • Dell Technologies Cloud Console​ is available now as a public preview in the United States with EMEA availability planned for the first quarter of 2021.
  • Dell Technologies Storage as-a-Service will be available in the U.S. in the first half of 2021.
  • Dell Technologies Cloud Platform instance-based offerings with subscription pricing are available in the United States, France, Germany and the U.K. Dell Technologies Cloud PowerProtect for Multi-cloud is now available in the U.S., U.K. and Germany.
  • Flex On Demand is available in select countries in North America, Europe, Latin America and the Asia-Pacific region.

ABB Adaptive Execution For Capital Projects

ABB has been making some news lately. I’ve run projects and supervised project managers in my career, but never those really large capital projects in the energy industries. Maybe $10 million in 1985 dollars. But when they say a new methodology to reduce up to 40 per cent of capital expenditure and 30 per cent of delivery schedule improvements, even I notice. Reading through the release, the key element I picked out had to do with decoupling hardware and software in the automation system. This is something I’ve learned from ABB’s competitors, and something I expect to hear much more about.

  • ABB introduces new, agile method to industrial project execution to help energy customers adapt to challenging market conditions
  • Up to 40 per cent capital expenditure reduction is expected, delivery schedules are expected to be compressed by up to 30 per cent

ABB Adaptive Execution integrates expert teams, new technologies, agile processes, shared learnings, and proven methodologies into a single, streamlined project execution experience for all stakeholders involved in major capital investment projects.

In the energy sector, it is not uncommon for large capital projects to significantly exceed budget and experience extensive delays. ABB Adaptive Execution addresses major inefficiencies that result in cost and schedule overruns. It enables greater visibility across all layers of a project, unlocking significant project value improvements across the energy sector. With digitalization and collaboration at its core, Adaptive Execution is expected to reduce automation related capital expenditure by up to 40 per cent, compress delivery schedules by up to 30 per cent and start-up hours by up to 40 per cent.  

Using virtualization, Adaptive Execution removes the need for engineering on site and reduces the physical hardware required for a control and automation system. By decoupling hardware and software, Adaptive Execution lowers the time and overall setup costs, cutting the number of engineering hours spent on project installation, commissioning and testing by up to 85 per cent.

Peter Terwiesch, President of ABB Industrial Automation said: “2020 has been a year of disruptions across the global energy industry. With falling oil prices, challenges induced by the current lockdowns and the rising demand for sustainable energy investments, companies are looking for new ways to reduce cost, schedule and risk for major projects in this low capex environment. Harnessing advances in digitalization, ABB Adaptive Execution responds to this need and enables capital projects to thrive in the new normal.”

Harnessing efficient modular design, combined with standardized, repeatable processes and shared and effective deployment of infrastructure, tools, and resources, ABB Adaptive Execution centralizes collaboration across all project stakeholders — from a project’s inception through to its successful completion. 

Brandon Spencer, President of ABB Energy Industries commented: “Adaptive Execution will change the way in which customers, Engineering Procurement Construction (EPC) contractors and vendors interact. We can create better business value for our customers by creating an environment where everyone can do his or her own part with confidence, empowering delivery teams to achieve more, in less time. This is the key to overall project success.”

www.abb.com

Strategic Partnership to Deliver a Digital Reliability Platform

If I receive a press release without either “partnership” or “AI” in it, it will be the featured news for a week. Of course, I’m all about digital. Now that we’re past all the releases about what technology companies are doing to help protect workers from Covid, those are the keywords. This news highlights an interesting partnership between AVEVA and Chemical Business SCG to promote something called “digital reliability.” And reliability is a key requirement for technologies ever since the invention of the plow.

Strategic collaboration between the organizations extends the Engineering Digital Twin and harnesses AI-Infused Asset Performance Management to prevent unplanned downtime

AVEVA and  Chemicals Business, SCG, one of the largest petrochemical companies in Thailand and a key industry player in Asia, have announced their strategic partnership to develop a Digital Reliability Platform (DRP), a complete asset performance management (APM) solution to predict equipment health, monitor performance, and enable advanced maintenance across its operations to eliminate unplanned downtime. The DRP was completed through collaborative effort. This partnership matched the company’s broader digital transformation imperative to become a data-driven organization to advance its position as a leader in the petrochemical industry and to also take the DRP solutions to the market

Asset reliability is critical for asset intensive businesses such as petrochemicals. Unplanned shutdowns cause significant negative impacts on petrochemical value chains. Digital transformation initiatives enable businesses to address this risk by harnessing data to build and deploy an advanced APM solution to monitor critical assets and predict failure towards a goal of zero unplanned shutdowns. The solution integrates online and offline equipment data to visualize plant performance, enhance workforce efficiency, and apply artificial intelligence (AI) for predictive maintenance and resolution.

“This is a great achievement for Chemicals Business, SCG since reliability is a critical element to our business. With the innovative approach of the Digital Reliability Platform, we will ensure that we can eliminate the business risks posed by unplanned downtime. In our quest for a partner, AVEVA was the only company to provide an end-to-end solution spanning engineering, operations, and maintenance. With the DRP, we have successfully brought together big data, AI, machine learning, and predictive analytics into a practical solution that will empower our workers and improve our performance,” said Mr. Mongkol Hengrojanasophon, Vice President – Olefins Business and Operations, Chemicals Business, SCG.

“Moreover, this partnership will include launching the Digital Reliability Platform Solutions to the market. This would be the first complete and unique digital solutions which combine both breakthrough technology and industrial specific information,” added Mr. Mongkol.

“Our strategic partnership with Chemicals Business, SCG is a major milestone for us in leveraging the strength of our portfolio to deliver value through digital transformation. We are proud to be part of this collaboration that improves operational efficiency and reliability to achieve zero unplanned downtime by maximizing asset availability with predictive and prescriptive maintenance. The standardized systems and processes defined through this collaboration will also result in improved workforce efficiency,” said Ravi Gopinath, Chief Cloud Officer and Chief Product Officer at AVEVA

The Digital Reliability Platform will bring together digital innovations and practitioner knowledge to increase work efficiency and safety to establish a new competitive standard within the industry.