HPE to acquire Juniper Networks to accelerate AI-driven innovation

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) influencer group first contacted me in the mid-2010s through the Aruba networking group. I was the independent industrial IoT writer at the time. The scope broadened for a time, then they closed the influencer group a couple of years ago. But I’ve maintained a bit of a connection to HPE networking, as well as its software and high-end hardware groups.

I’m not an analyst of this part of the market, but I’d have to say this is not a surprising acquisition. HPE has been pretty aggressive under CEO Antonio Neri. They usually do pretty well at integrating acquisitions. This acquisition of Juniper Networks should be a boost.

From the news release in brief:

  • Highly complementary combination enhances secure, unified, cloud and AI-native networking to drive innovation from edge to cloud to exascale
  • Accelerates long-term revenue growth and expands gross and operating margin; Expected to be accretive to non-GAAP EPS and free cash flow in year 1, post close
  • Advances HPE’s portfolio mix shift toward higher-growth solutions and strengthens high-margin networking business 

Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Juniper Networks, a leader in AI-native networks, announced January 9 that the companies have entered a definitive agreement under which HPE will acquire Juniper in an all-cash transaction for $40.00 per share, representing an equity value of approximately $14 billion.

The combination of HPE and Juniper advances HPE’s portfolio mix shift toward higher-growth solutions and strengthens its high-margin networking business, accelerating HPE’s sustainable profitable growth strategy. The transaction is expected to be accretive to non-GAAP EPS and free cash flow in the first year post close.

The acquisition is expected to double HPE’s networking business, creating a new networking leader with a comprehensive portfolio that presents customers and partners with a compelling new choice to drive business value.

Combining HPE and Juniper’s complementary portfolios supercharges HPE’s edge-to-cloud strategy with an ability to lead in an AI-native environment based on a foundational cloud-native architecture. 

Upon completion of the transaction, Juniper CEO Rami Rahim will lead the combined HPE networking business, reporting to HPE President and CEO Antonio Neri.

Telit Cinterion and Alif Semiconductor Unveil the Vision AppKit: A Postage Stamp-Sized, Intelligent Connected Camera Platform

I began working with vision applications in the 1980s and sold and installed a few in the 1990s before the technology went bananas and prices dropped precipitously. Companies have begun investing in vision systems again with new technologies now available. This new app kit from Telit Cinterion is interesting.

  • Vision AppKit utilizes the Alif Semiconductor Ensemble® MCU family of industry-leading Edge ML MCUs and Telit Cinterion’s power-efficient LTE-M and low-power Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless technology modules
  • Ultra-compact camera design can perform on-device AI use cases like face and object detection, image classification, and more at a significantly lower power consumption than previously possible for these use cases

Telit Cinterion, an end-to-end IoT solutions enabler, and Alif Semiconductor, a supplier of the most secure, power-efficient Edge AI-enabled MCUs and fusion processors in the market, have announced the Vision AppKit — the world’s smartest and most efficient connected camera reference design. The Vision AppKit combines Telit Cinterion’s Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless technology or LTE-M communication modules in an ultra-compact camera design together with Alif Semiconductor’s Ensemble E3 series MCU, capable of performing on-device AI use-cases like face and object detection, image classification, and more at significantly lower power consumption than previously possible.

The Vision AppKit is a reference design for ultra-low power, small form factor AI-enabled camera that can capture images and/or video, perform AI-based processing in real-time on captured data, and deliver the results wirelessly to a display or other external system. Alif’s E3 Series MCU — known for its EdgeAI capabilities in battery-operated IoT devices — powers this groundbreaking design. Telit Cinterion supports communication in the Vision AppKit with the ME310 LTE Cat-M and WE310 Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Low Energy 5.0 modules.

Xaba Closes $2 Million Seed Extension for Self-programming Robotic Systems

Robotic systems provide as much news as AI and cybersecurity over the past year. This news regards funding. I don’t follow the whole VC arena closely, but having been in entrepreneurial start-up mode a few times in my life, I know well the value of the life blood of money.

Naturally, this news combines AI and robotic software solutions. Might as well hit two trends at once. Xaba, a Toronto based developer of AI-powered cognitive software to automate programming and deployment of robotics and CNC machines, has announced it has raised US$2 million in a seed extension round of funding to bring to market AI-driven fabrication processes and intelligent autonomous machines. 

It says the funding will enable it to democratize robotic automation and drive sustainable manufacturing.

The funding round was led by BDC Capital’s Deep Tech Venture Fund with participation from Hitachi Ventures and existing investor Hazelview Ventures. The investment will be used to establish and staff a new robotics lab and accelerate the delivery of two Xaba manufacturing platforms.

Xaba is augmenting industrial robots and cobots with xCognition, an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered software solution. xCognition leverages innovative proprietary machine learning algorithms to model the elasto-mechanical-dynamic behavior of industrial robotics and cobots, as well as workpiece variances. This includes variances in location and shape, using proprietary rule-based language models to eliminate coding of robotics programs. xCognition solves the challenges of deploying industrial robots by completely automating how they are programmed and adopted. This solution not only increases accuracy, consistency, and throughput, but also significantly reduces the time and costs of robotics deployments.

Xaba has two manufacturing platforms – xCognition and xTrude – which use proprietary, state-of-the-art industrial artificial intelligence (AI) to provide AI-powered cognitive industrial automation, consistency, robustness and high execution quality. Its platforms eliminate the need for constant human supervision, reprogramming, and waste – factors that significantly impact the return on investment of any major manufacturing or construction process.

xCognition is Xaba’s AI-powered software solution. This industrial robotics digital twin captures and models the true physics of any industrial robotics system (elastic, dynamic, mechanical, tooling). This includes workpiece variances both in location and shape, leveraging rules-based language models and multi-modal datasets that capture legacy data and best practices to enable any robotics system to execute tasks such as drilling, welding (MIG, TIG & Laser), assembling, riveting, laser, data acquisition, and more with maximum accuracy, repeatability, and minimum human supervision.

Open Technologies Part Two from ARC Forum with Schneider Electric

I am not attending the annual ARC Forum this year due to some travel conflicts. News does travel, though.

The first Forum I attended way back in 1998 contained a strong presence of open automation from a group called OMAC (Open Modular Architecture Controller). This movement achieved a standardized HMI, especially for packaging machines and now resides within PMMI.

For the past several years the open initiative has been led by a forum within The Open Group called the Open Process Automation Forum (OPAF). Schneider Electric has held a strong presence there along with ABB and Yokogawa. It has really been an industry-led initiative begun by leaders from ExxonMobil. Here is the open technology news from Schneider Electric this year.

In brief:

  • Schneider Electric delivers next-generation, open automation infrastructure in collaboration with Intel and Red Hat 
  • New Distributed Control Node (DCN) software framework to help drive open automation 
  • Solution helps replace vendor-specific hardware with plug-and-produce offer 
  • Interoperability and portability support industrial innovation, reduce obsolescence 

An extension of Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure Automation Expert, this new framework enables industrial companies to move to a software-defined, plug-and-produce solution, allowing them to enhance their operations, ensure quality, reduce complexity, and optimize costs. 

“This project is the culmination of two years of co-innovation to create efficient, future-proof distributed control systems,” said Nathalie Marcotte, Senior Vice President of Process Automation at Schneider Electric. “The DCN framework is key to fostering an open automation approach, enabling industrial businesses to grow and innovate for the future. Its interoperability and portability help our customers enjoy the freedom of shaping technology around their business needs – and not the other way around.” 

Red Hat, in collaboration with Intel, recently announced the creation of a new industrial edge platform that helps provide a modern approach to building and operating industrial controls. Since implementing this platform, Schneider Electric has now deployed Red Hat Device Edge in the new DCN software, in addition to Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform and Red Hat OpenShift at the compute layer for DCN deployments, combined with a control infrastructure from Schneider Electric and reference architecture from Intel. 

The framework consists of two main components: an advanced computer platform (ACP), which supervises the control workload by providing the content control and automation capabilities needed to deploy workloads securely and programmatically, along with virtualization and monitoring functionalities; and the DCN, which are low-power, industrial systems using Intel Atom x6400E series processors, dedicated to running controls and designed for workloads f mixed-criticality.

Rockwell Automation Touts Open Technologies at ARC Forum

I am not attending the annual ARC Forum this year due to some travel conflicts. News does travel, though.

The first Forum I attended way back in 1998 contained a strong presence of open automation from a group called OMAC (Open Modular Architecture Controller). This movement achieved a standardized HMI, especially for packaging machines and now resides within PMMI.

For the past several years the open initiative has been led by a forum within The Open Group called the Open Process Automation Forum (OPAF). Schneider Electric has held a strong presence there along with ABB and Yokogawa. It has really been an industry-led initiative begun by leaders from ExxonMobil. More on Schneider Electric in my next post. One of two ‘Open’ press releases from this year’s Forum.

This news is from Rockwell Automation. It evidently has decided to get involved with OPAF this year. You may wonder why. This statement from SVP software and control Brian Shepherd provides a clue. “We appreciate and understand our users need for products and systems that integrate well together and allow for collaboration of edge and cloud data sources. Through working with organizations like OPAF and OPC, we will continue to invest in our systems, products and services for market-leading interoperability, longevity and performance.” 

I imagine at some point we may see an open edge device or even controller from Rockwell Automation. For now, the company touts OPC-UA integration into some products along with supporting MQTT and REST. This is a good start.

Here are four examples Rockwell provided of its new emphasis on openness:

  • PlantPAx’s control platform, based on the company’s Logix Controllers, now natively supports OPC-UA, facilitating direct data sharing with edge and cloud applications. Additional connectivity options are available with MQTT and REST.
  • Embedded Edge Compute Module, which provides a compute surface within the Logix environment, enhances plant-wide connectivity through OPC-UA, MQTT, and REST API communication.
  • FactoryTalk Optix, a scalable platform that can be used in PlantPAx to provide native support for OPC-UA to allow operations, maintenance, and plant personnel to visualize various information originating across the enterprise.
  • The combination of PlantPAx and FactoryTalk DataMosaix provides a leading industrial Data Ops platform that supports OPC-UA, provides contextualization of data from multiple sources. The data models can be used to support pre-built Energy, Batch and Asset optimization solutions from Rockwell Automation or to accelerate development of custom solutions.

Follow this blog

Get a weekly email of all new posts.