HPE Solidifies New Direction With As-a-Service and Software Direction

Antonio Neri, a scant two years into the position of President and CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), laid out a vision and roadmap last year to make the company “the global edge-to-cloud platform as-a-service company” which develops and delivers “enterprise technology solutions and services that help organizations accelerate outcomes by unlocking value from all of their data, everywhere.”

This year he unveiled new executive leadership–one heading GreenLake, the as-a-Service portion of the vision, and the other heading Ezmeral, the newly defined software portfolio and direction–and showed how far the vision has come in a year.

I am impressed with the speed and consistency of this pivot.

HPE Discover, the annual conference usually held in Las Vegas, went totally online this year. This was my sixth or seventh of these within four weeks, and by far the best. Kudos to the communications team for pulling this all together. I attended as an Influencer, and the global leader assembled an outstanding group (except for me) and a good program for us to meet as much of the leadership as possible.

I will write indepth specifically about GreenLake and Ezmeral and sustainability and helping restart work following COVID-19–and perhaps most important for you, my industrial audience–Aruba Edge Orchestrator.

Why do I take all the time and effort to attend these enterprise and IT events?

Let me share one example. I sat in two sessions specifically talking industrial applications.

In the first, an engineering leader from Stanley Black & Decker spoke of his IoT project using HPE’s Edgeline compute platform at almost every level of the manufacturing stack. Edgeline is an industrialized version of HPE’s high performance compute platform. I have seen examples in previous Discover events from off-shore oil platforms and a refinery in Texas. This is one of the points where the reality of “IT/OT Convergence” hits home.

The other session featured HPE Fellow and VP of HPE Labs Dr. Tom Bradicich detailing the vision of data–from analog data (which he has been discussing with me since his days at NI several years ago) to the edge to the cloud.

You can visit HPE.com and register for the event for a while, yet. Click sessions and search for keywords such as IoT, edge, and so forth to watch the on-demand videos. Yet another benefit of the “virtual experience.”

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Integrated Service Delivery Model Assess, Manage and Optimize Automation Assets

Continuing coverage of this week’s Honeywell Process Virtual Technical Experience.

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Continuing the theme of “remote” and also support and services, Honeywell Process Solutions announced this week Enabled Services program powered by Honeywell Forge. This automation lifecycle services offering focuses on ensuring Industrial Control System (ICS) health, reliability and compliance.

In brief:

  • End-to-end solution enables remote preventive maintenance and support
  • Plant operators can reduce number of incidents per year by 40% and improve total cost of ownership

“Honeywell developed the Enabled Services program as a subscription-based service for ICS users dealing with increasing system complexity, an aging industrial workforce and the constraints imposed on plant operations by global health concerns,” said Mark Dean, director of offering management, Honeywell Process Solutions. “Through this Enabled Services offering, Honeywell’s experts can conduct rapid analysis and make fast recommendations to solve the issues and be onsite only when necessary. Honeywell has created a powerful tool for customers to significantly improve maintenance efficiency and redirect expensive resources to high priority corrective maintenance.”

Honeywell estimates it’s Enabled Services solution can deliver increased value by reducing the number of incidents per year by 40%, with a net decrease in total cost of ownership of 15%. These capabilities not only help improve system health, performance and compliance, but also allow customers to redirect existing high skill resources to use more time to work on systems improvements and to focus on their core business.

Based on Honeywell’s step-change Lifecycle Solutions & Services delivery model, which responds to customer-driven feedback from around the world, the Enabled Services solution is designed around three key pillars:

  • System health and performance – in other words, what is going wrong in the plant
  • System compliance — why it is going wrong
  • Prescriptive maintenance and remediation – how the issues can be resolved.

Honeywell’s program uses intuitive and consistent dashboards powered by Honeywell Forge technology, which provides users with real-time intelligence to enable peak performance. It also employs remote connection and/or local data collection, predictive and diagnostic tools, and global resource centers – all to support improved operational and business performance.

Enabled Services remote support capabilities were specifically developed with security in mind. The services employ protected network connections built on industry recognized standards, such as IEC 62443, to transfer data from the customer’s site to Honeywell’s global resource centers.

Through its proactive approach, Enabled Services offer improved efficiencies compared with ad hoc maintenance regimens, homegrown solutions that compromise migration readiness, and/or delaying service and repairs until assets fail. This comprehensive solution can help company executives, plant managers and control engineers to:

  • Understand and improve operational effectiveness and risk profiles
  • Leverage operational benefits from systems, applications and people
  • Focus efforts on core competencies by deploying suitably skilled resources
  • Improve the health, security and stability of control assets

Honeywell’s Enabled Services offering includes two levels of support to meet diverse customer requirements. Enabled Services Enhanced employs fully connected systems and offers continuous insights on system health, performance and compliance with actionable recommendations. Enabled Services Essential is intended for a non-connected system and offers less frequent updates.

Inductive Automation Releases Ignition Maker Edition

Companies once upon a time gave me copies of their software to play with and try. Software has become so large and complex over the past 20 years, that I haven’t been able to play with software for a long time.

Enter an interesting idea. Imagine a version of a powerful SCADA, HMI, IoT software that you, yes you, can try out at home. Build a home automation system. Do a bill-pay routine. Let your imagination take you places.

For, yesterday, Inductive Automation announced the release of Ignition Maker Edition. This new software platform gives people free, personal access to the industrial-grade Ignition by Inductive Automation. Ignition is an industrial application platform with tools for building solutions in human-machine interface (HMI), supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA), and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Ignition is used in virtually every industry, in more than 100 countries.

Ignition Maker Edition is free for non-commercial users and takes just three minutes to install. It enables people to bring innovation home, allowing them to easily create their own “control rooms” for personal use. “I use Ignition for my home automation system and to manage my bills,” said Travis Cox, co-director of sales engineering at Inductive Automation. “Ignition is an ideal tool because it connects to anything and gives me the flexibility to customize the solution the way I want it. And I can access it anywhere.”

Ignition Maker Edition is not intended for industrial, professional, or commercial use. It was designed as a free tool for hobbyists, students, and individuals wanting to familiarize themselves with the Ignition platform. It is cross-platform, and uses trusted technologies like SQL, Python, OPC UA, and MQTT — allowing users to connect to just about any kind of database, PLC, and device.

People can use it to automate the lights in their home, manage a personal weather station, or to build projects for other personal activities. The software is so flexible, it can be used to turn all kinds of ideas into reality. Users can add charts, tables, voice notifications, sophisticated logic systems, and more. Ignition Maker Edition gives users the power to create customized dashboards. Users can collect data, get real-time analytics, and manage multiple devices.

Ignition Maker Edition is nearly identical to Ignition and includes many of the same core modules that make Ignition so popular with industrial users. It includes the Ignition Perspective Module, which brings powerful new capabilities to phones and tablets. Other modules, also included, enable database connections, alarm notifications, OPC UA functionality, tag historian, reporting, and more. The software also supports MQTT modules from Cirrus Link Solutions.

Ignition Maker Edition is the perfect personal tool for those who use Ignition at work. “The same individuals who are using Ignition every day to optimize production lines, track energy usage, and monitor operating conditions can now apply all that knowledge to their personal projects,” said Colby Clegg, vice president of technology for Inductive Automation.

The release was announced today on Ignition Community Live, a weekly series of webcasts featuring Inductive Automation experts and special guests. A recording of the presentation about Ignition Maker Edition will be available soon at Inductive Automation’s Videos page and YouTube channel.

Keyword For Honeywell Virtual Technology Experience Is Remote

One conference I’m attending from the comfort of my office this week is Honeywell Virtual Technology Experience. Thanks to the pandemic, no Honeywell User Group (HUG) this year.

This remote conference technology constantly improves. This is my fourth of the season. Technical glitches have been rare. Speakers overall have ranged from good to outstanding. Jason Urso, Honeywell Process Solutions Chief Technology Officer gave his usual great technology roundup even dialing in demos from Australia.

Interesting that I used the word remote, because that is the word of the year. Any of us who can work from home are. That includes process control where many engineers can work from home and avoid getting sick.

Urso pointed to disruptions in the economy including disturbances to supply chains, postponed maintenance checks, and restricted travel combining to increase operational risks for critical manufacturers. Simultaneously, demand for key products like toilet paper for hygiene, filter paper for purification products, and packaging materials for shipping is peaking, making reliable, high-quality production even more important.

“Living in this new reality, manufacturers are faced with having to find new ways of operating, balancing the need to keep critical processes and plants running while ensuring the safety of their employees,” noted Urso. ”Here are three critical steps manufacturers can take to navigate this unprecedented situation:

  • Focus on essential work onsite to minimize the potential exposure of workers
  • Adopt proven and secure remote solutions for operations
  • Receive aid remotely through collaboration with on-call experts”

The bulk of the keynote reviewed three remote solutions Honeywell Process has developed for situations just like this.

Remote Project Engineering

Honeywell is continuing project operations by using software and digital twin technology. Project engineers from around the world continue working on Honeywell projects from home or in locations where offices are still operating with social distancing.

“We do so by utilizing digital twin technology that makes a digital replica of the customer’s equipment and processes which allows our project engineers to work on the ‘digital copy’ of the project versus on the actual equipment itself,” says Urso. “Critical infrastructure projects in oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, and power can proceed without interruption.”

Remote Operations

Customers increasingly have fewer individuals working onsite to follow stay-at-home orders. In some cases, quarantines of key individuals are also affecting the availability of skilled resources at the site. In response, Honeywell has issued new software that enables process operations to be monitored or even executed from remote locations outside of the facility. Remote support staff in other facilities or at home can be utilized as if they are working directly at the process location.

Case study

We recently deployed remote operations solutions to one of our own specialty additives plants in Orange, Texas, that produces polyethylenes, allowing us to operate and ensure business continuity even with reduced onsite staffing. A virtual remote-control workstation duplicates the operator’s distributed control system stations in the main control room and can fully take over in case of further restrictions or illness. Our engineers can now support operations and execute essential tasks from remote locations, maintaining social distancing while keeping the same number of eyes on the plant.

According to Urso, “software was up and running in less than two hours and is protected by the highest levels of cybersecurity protocols and best practices.”

Remote Services and Support

Our customers are also looking for Honeywell to provide remote support in light of restrictions on personnel traveling and entering a site. Honeywell has deployed multiple remote service options to continue providing expert support via remote connectivity to our equipment. These remote options also use the power of Honeywell Forge offerings to proactively detect issues and bring them to the attention of both the customer and Honeywell experts.

Because our remote offerings help our customers in essential industries maintain critical activities in a safe manner during this crisis, Honeywell Process Solutions has trained all service technicians to build awareness of this capability and collaborate with our customers through this challenging time.

Emerson Integrates Augmented Reality into Plantweb Optics

Emerson marketing called us together for a virtual press conference and demonstration of its take on Augmented Reality (AR) integrated with it Plantweb Optics asset performance platform. I’ve seen many demos of AR over the past many years. The technology inspires imaginative thinking, but somehow companies have just not managed to make it ready for prime time.

Emerson’s evidently is. Not only could they show a demo, it is due to be released later this summer with the next release of Plantweb Optics software. Better yet, it does not require glasses or other peripheral equipment other than the smart phone or device people are already using.

The tag line from Emerson: Analytics and live remote assistance improve productivity and safety.

What does it do, really? Well, it delivers enhanced access to real-time diagnostics and analytics, as well as live remote assistance, to industrial plant workers responsible for maintaining and optimizing plant equipment. With AR technology integrated into Plantweb Optics, companies can improve productivity, collaboration and operational performance, without being limited by shortages of skilled workers or travel restrictions.

“Successful digital transformation programs that lead to Top Quartile performance have people and work practices as a key focus. Adopting innovative technology like augmented reality and institutionalizing best practices enable workers to add more value than ever to operational and business performance,” said Stuart Harris, group president for Emerson’s digital transformation business. “With these new Plantweb Optics technologies, customers can experience significant improvements in equipment reliability and the safety of their facilities.”

Plantweb Optics leverages artificial intelligence, machine learning analytics, and data contextualization to provide real-time visibility into plant reliability and operational performance. Unlike standalone AR solutions that require custom engineering, AR is integrated into Plantweb Optics, providing immediate access to a wealth of data and translating into easier, less costly implementation and a faster return on investment. For use by manufacturers in the life sciences, food and beverage, chemical, metals and mining, power and water, pulp and paper and energy industries, Plantweb Optics is part of Emerson’s award-winning Plantweb digital ecosystem of technologies, software and services.

Augmented reality for Plantweb Optics transforms the way field technicians accomplish complex tasks through enhanced situational awareness, live remote assistance and analytics delivered in context of the plant. As a field technician walks an industrial plant with a mobile device, Plantweb Optics uses spatial computing technology to map assets and provide technicians with critical maintenance information relevant to their location. Plantweb Optics overlays real-time analytics, equipment health status and technical support documentation on their field of view, so technicians can safely resolve issues sooner.

The augmented and virtual reality market is projected to grow annually at 40% from 2017 through 2025, according to multiple research reports. Much of this spending will come from manufacturers around the globe using AR technology to help upskill their workforce for digitalized operations.

With live remote assistance, field technicians can be virtually shadowed by experts, either on-site or off-site, from Emerson, their own company or another service provider. Experts can talk, type or augment the technician’s mobile display with graphics to guide the next action. Live remote assistance enables technicians and experts to collaborate for safe troubleshooting and repairs, regardless of location and without travel costs. Live remote assistance sessions, best practices and notes from experienced engineers and step-by-step troubleshooting procedures can be logged into a knowledge library for use by all engineers at a site. The knowledge library is a resource for companies to standardize procedures and ensure engineers of all experience levels understand an asset’s history and are using best practices for safe, efficient operations.

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