Responsible Computing Aligns with UN Sustainable Development Goals

The big internal debate at OpenAI last week that spilled into the general news domain highlights the struggle over developing technology as quickly as possible (usually to be the first with a hugely profitable product) against those who seek some responsibility among the developers. These latter would be trying to avoid the social discord and personal angst caused by Facebook/Instagram/TikTok algorithmic feeds.

The Responsible Computing Consortium attempts to step into the general computing void.

Responsible Computing (RC), a consortium comprised of technology innovators working together to address sustainable development goals, published a new whitepaper: Aligning Responsible Computing Domains with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

“Responsible Computing must align with an existing, globally adopted framework such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to ensure our work is credible and reliable,” said Page Motes, Strategic Advisor.  “Leveraging the SDG helps ensure that each Responsible Computing domain is rooted in legitimate and practical concepts to implement and drive beneficial progress.”

The RC framework focuses on six domains of responsible computing, including data centers, infrastructure, code, data usage, systems, and impact. RC’s Self-Assessment survey helps organizations evaluate their sustainability practices for information and communications technologies (ICT) and other business areas.

The UN initially established SDGs to guide nation-states; however, thousands of public and private organizations across the globe have decided to align broad programs, as well as discreet projects/initiatives, to specific SDGs.

“Organizations need a way to measure their progress in meeting SDGs against a baseline as they implement new strategies and as domains evolve and mature,” said Oriette Nayel, Co-Chair for Data Usage, Responsible Computing Consortium. “The Responsible Computing Self-Assessment provides a clear opportunity for organizations to cross-reference the various sub-elements addressed per RC domain with the SDGs.”

Responsible Computing domain alignment to SDGs falls into three different categories:

  • Foundational SDGs ensure domains are structurally sound and rooted in the law or essential standards.
  • SDGs that benefit by proper scoping, planning, or execution of the elements of a domain.
  • SDGs that reap the positive impact of a purposeful, responsible computing use case based on its intended output/outcome.

Organizations can drive meaningful and lasting change by:

  • Adopting the RC model
  • Understanding the potential impacts (positive and negative) related to each RC domain
  • Identifying and progressing against a small number of UN SDGs
  • Providing transparent reporting of outcomes

“IBM continues to be proud of our leadership position related to responsible computing,” said Guncha Malik, Executive Architect, IBM Cloud CISO. “In alignment with our ESG framework of Environmental, Equitable and Ethical Impact, IBM co-founded the Responsible Computing Consortium to further highlight the importance across industry to act as good corporate citizens and address key areas of synergy in alignment with widely accepted frameworks such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.”

“Whichever SDGs your organization chooses to advance, root your work in measurement and transparency, and be cautious with the use of the terms green, sustainable, or similar language that could lead to accusations of greenwashing and reputational damage,” said Bill Hoffman, Chairman & CEO, Object Management Group.

More About The Edge—This Time From Siemens

The list of trade fairs that I’m missing grows. I did not go to Nuremberg this year for the SPS show. There were many product announcements. These three are from Siemens concerning its Industrial Edge. It is all happening at the Edge.

  • New hardware and software available for Siemens’ Industrial Edge ecosystem
  • Industrial Edge Management System now cloud-based As-a-Service
  • Low code for Industrial Edge: Simplifying edge app programming with Mendix on Edge

Edge Computing allows manufacturers to capture and process data where it’s generated: at the field level in the plant. At this year’s SPS trade show in Nuremberg, the technology company Siemens is expanding its range of products and services for Industrial Edge at all levels. This will allow users to connect their information technology (IT) even better with the operational level (OT). Industrial Edge is also part of the portfolio of the Siemens Xcelerator open and flexible business platform.

Industrial Edge Management (IEM) is a software portal for managing IoT solutions consisting of hardware and software in the factory. It allows all devices, applications, and users integrated into Siemens Industrial Edge to be centrally managed. Siemens now also offers this system as a cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS): IEM Cloud is available as a fully managed service and includes both the infrastructure and the set-up of the system. The operational system requirements and configuration costs for users are kept to a minimum. Industrial Edge devices can be integrated directly in the management system. IEM Cloud can be used to manage automation software as well as hardware from Siemens and third-party providers. 

Siemens is also expanding its Industrial Edge ecosystem with more hardware: more Simatic industrial PCs (x86 processor-based) and Industrial Edge devices from the Scalance and Simatic IoT device family based on ARM processors are now available. Weidmüller is also the first third-party manufacturer in the Siemens ecosystem to offer the u-control M4000, an edge device based on this processor architecture. The ARM processor-based devices are primarily designed for less data-intensive use cases: for example, remote access and connectivity solutions like gateways. And users can now use Siemens’ new Industrial Edge Own Device software to convert their existing third-party x86 processor-based IPCs into fully functional Industrial Edge devices, centrally manage them, and thereby integrate existing hardware into their IoT environment.

Mendix’s low-code development environment allows users to develop field-level apps in production with no coding knowledge. Automation engineers can use the new Industrial Edge plugin to develop industry-specific apps in their Mendix Studio Pro development environment and seamlessly install them on appropriate devices at the field level. 

Rockwell Automation Releases New HMI Portfolio

Rockwell Automation has announced a new HMI portfolio. Following the acquisition of Plex in order to build expertise in the cloud, this new line is cloud-enabled. They are also using a word unfamiliar within the Rockwell ecosystem—open. The new HMI can now connect to a variety of third-party controllers. Finally, the portfolio features some new pricing ideas. Perhaps Rockwell is entering a new world.

Rockwell Automation announced the launch of the FactoryTalk Optix portfolio to enable industrial organizations to build versatile human machine interface (HMI) solutions that meet diverse customer requirements and adapt to evolving needs and technologies.

The FactoryTalk Optix portfolio provides an open architecture along with options for design, deployment, connectivity and extensibility that empower users to create innovative applications.

The FactoryTalk Optix portfolio allows users to choose their own technology mix. For the first time, Rockwell Automation customers can use visualization software to design HMI applications that can natively work with both Rockwell Automation and third-party controllers and run it on their choice of hardware. Users can connect to a variety of third-party software, devices or systems using software designed for interoperability and full OPC UA support. Users also only pay for the features they need, reducing unnecessary spend on unused features.

The FactoryTalk Optix portfolio includes five core solutions:

  • FactoryTalk Optix software is an HMI visualization platform that users can access from their browser or download to their computer. This new platform includes features such as multi-user collaboration, web-based design and test and integrated version control.
  • OptixPanel graphic terminals are sealed HMI appliances that come pre-loaded with FactoryTalk Optix and FactoryTalk Remote Access software licenses. This means that the device is an all-in-one solution that’s ready to run at first power-up. 
  • FactoryTalk Remote Access provides secure remote connectivity, so users can view, assist, manage and troubleshoot from anywhere in the world.
  • ASEM 6300 Industrial PCs are available in box and panel form and allow for greater customization. 
  • The Embedded Edge Compute Module provides a packaged solution for users to process visual data locally and remotely while maintaining the capability to grow and scale your system as their needs change.

Arduino Joins the AWS Partner Network 

Are you using an Arduino anywhere? I keep it on my to do list that never gets done. I’ve had all these Halloween ideas that atrophy in my mind. I’ve believed for a long time that there must be many industrial uses for a good edge compute platform at low cost.

Here is news about Arduino joining the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Partner Network as an Independent Software Vendor (ISV) to further democratize embedded hardware for OEMs and Industrial Automation industries.

Arduino Cloud — built on AWS — hit a new milestone of 4 billion data messages per month and is mentioned in Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Infrastructure Platforms.

It has joined the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Partner Network (APN) to deliver enterprise-grade Arduino PRO products that work with AWS for customers in commercial and industrial sectors. The APN is a global community of AWS Partners that leverage programs, expertise and resources to build, market and sell customer offerings.

In addition, the company’s device and data management service, Arduino Cloud, announced that it now processes 4 billion device messages every month from both individuals and businesses. This is a significant milestone from the 3-year-old service built on AWS.

Although companies recognize the immense potential of digital transformation at the edge, many feel the goal is beyond their reach because of a lack of solutions. Arduino Cloud offers both businesses and individuals an easy path to collect data, control the edge and gain insights from connected products without the need to build, deploy and maintain a custom IoT platform.

“Choosing Arduino Cloud for our business application slashed product development time by six months and saved us over $250,000 in engineering services,” said Adam Bishop, co-founder of ABM Vapor Monitoring. “Arduino PRO provides us with an end-to-end commercial platform. Using the Arduino Opta PLC connected to Arduino Cloud, we monitor commercial buildings across America to ensure regulated air quality standards are met. Arduino Cloud has been an instrumental partner in our journey to introduce new products to the market.”

Arduino joins a global network of over 100,000 AWS Partners from more than 150 countries, working with AWS to provide innovative solutions, solve technical challenges, win deals and deliver value to mutual customers. Customers will also experience streamlined support architecting edge-to-cloud integrated solutions, whether choosing Arduino Cloud, AWS cloud services or hybrid architectures.

“Today, industrial hardware and advanced cloud services exist in independent worlds with significant complexity,” said Guneet Bedi, Arduino’s SVP and GM. “By offering integration with the flexibility and scalability of AWS and pay-as-you-go pricing, businesses will be able to greatly reduce complexity and significantly accelerate their go-to-market with the scale of Arduino PRO.”

The open architecture at the core of every Arduino product provides a new preferred path to AWS for all microchips supported by Arduino. In addition, existing Arduino Cloud business customers now have an integration track for scaling to self-managed solutions on AWS, while existing AWS customers now have reference architectures to integrate Arduino products.

Arduino’s Investment to Enable Industrial Innovation

The Arduino PRO product line, introduced in 2020, meets the request from OEMs and industry integrators for a hardware ecosystem that lowers the barrier to entry and accelerates time to market. The Arduino PRO portfolio features 24 industrial-grade products, including the Portenta X8 Linux SOM and UL-certified Opta PLC. Currently, Arduino PRO technology is deployed by more than 2,000 businesses worldwide.

This announcement reinforces the commitment Arduino shared when announcing its Series B funding to chart a new strategic course that emphasized the expansion of its enterprise-scale offerings. More recently, the company named Bedi to head its U.S. operations, with two new offices focused on accelerating its B2B growth.

Responsible Computing Inaugural Meeting Defines Working Groups

The announcement of a new program of the Object Management Group  called Responsible Computing was reported here last May. This news fleshes out the skeleton of the announcement through work of the inaugural meeting on June 29, 2022 that established six working groups defining their focus. Responsible Computing is a new consortium comprising technology innovators working together to address sustainable development goals.

Stephen Mellor, Executive Vice-President of OMG and CTO of Responsible Computing, said, “We have all heard about sustainability, but how often have you seen a request for proposal that set energy usage requirements or placed limits on ‘dark data? Responsible Computing will address these issues and more. The inaugural meeting set the stage for sustained work in multiple areas.”

Details of Six Working Groups

Data Center Working Group concentrates first on the building to reduce environmental impact with more efficient strategy and design, migrate to renewable energy sources, monitor consumption, and carbon footprint and optimize the reuse of waste from cooling and production. This working group will produce webinars, white papers, and best practice papers to help the IT community be net-zero by 2030 in compliance with UN SDGs.

Infrastructure Working Group realizes greater efficiencies with infrastructure (computers, networks, data centers) designed to deliver high-performing sustainable operations, consolidate workloads that peak at different times to increase efficient use of resources, and obtain high utilization levels. This working group will produce webinars, success stories, and best practice papers to reuse technology, reduce electronic waste, and create a circular economy.

Code Working Group is to align teams on software architecture, technology, programming language, and platform with anticipating and monitoring the total costs of running, supporting, and maintaining applications. It will produce white papers to help developers balance the trade-offs between accuracy, speed, and expense, including energy consumption, addressing the hidden energy impact of code, reducing data duplication, and improving cybersecurity. The group will also implement sustainability maturity assessment tools and KPIs to accelerate decision-making and pinpoint areas requiring more scrutiny during software development. There will also be ongoing training and workshops to reinforce shared sustainability goals to heighten team awareness of these issues.

Data Usage Working Group certifies that data is high quality. The group also works to ensure that organizations can trust processes and people, thereby reducing errors and misinterpretation of data by advocating intelligent workflows that leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning. The group will develop robust policies, guidelines, and practices for data governance (e.g., maintaining lineage and explainability), ongoing data usage risk assessment and risk mitigation, incident response, and data-breach remediation. It will also show organizations how to manage data lifecycle with accountable data-retention and destruction practices.

Systems Working Group will ensure that systems employ an integrated set of technologies to serve people by building ethical, privacy-preserving, secure, and resilient systems. Organizations must design systems with the environment, individuals, society, and future. Responsible systems are designed with a three-layered approach to include a cultural ethos across the entire supporting organization, forensic technology that can monitor and detect issues to enable trust, and governance requirements to which the entire organization adheres. This working group will help organizations maintain the integrity of internal systems, achieve compliance with internal and external standards, ongoing monitoring to ensure companies develop and use responsible systems and reinforce corporate social responsibility to close the digital divide.

Impact Working Group will work to offset the impact on the planet in the categories of ESG and level the playing field through sustainability, circularity, diversity, inclusion, climate, openness, and ethics. Six prime and measurable maturity characteristics represent the ability to achieve responsible impact: goal setting, scalability, replicability, socially responsible business model and strategy, and quantifiable and traceable to a UN SDG (United Nations Sustainability Development Goal).

Responsible Computing is a systemic approach aimed at addressing current and future challenges in computing, including sustainability, ethics, and professionalism, stemming from the belief that we need to start thinking about technology in terms of its impact on people and the planet.

New Emerson Compact Controllers

Emerson’s acquisitions have moved it more firmly into discrete manufacturing operations. This news of a new programmable automation controller family of products manages to combine benefits of control, automation, industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), analytics while “minimizing the need for specialized software engineering talent.” Automation suppliers have been on a fervent journey toward providing products that are easier to use for talent-strapped customers. It also brings in current requirements for security and open protocols.

Emerson, a global software, technology and engineering leader, announced the release of its PACSystems RSTi-EP CPE 200 programmable automation controllers (PAC). CPE 200 controllers will deliver large programmable logic controller (PLC) capability in a small, cost-effective, IIoT-ready form factor so machine manufacturers do not need to sacrifice performance for price.

Providing features that help speed time to use, the CPE 200 series offers security-by-design, open programming, and open communications built in to simplify connectivity to external analytics software platforms while reducing cost and complexity for OEMs and end users.

“Gaining competitive edge in today’s marketplace means having the flexibility to connect to the wide array of equipment end users employ as part of their proprietary processes, and supporting secure, open connectivity to allow easy access to on-premises and cloud-hosted analytics platforms,” said Jeff Householder, president of Emerson’s machine automation solutions business. “The CPE 200 series controllers take advantage of Emerson’s cybersecure-by-design architecture, common programming capabilities, and IIoT readiness to provide options currently missing in legacy compact PLCs.”

The controllers offer open communications through native, pre-licensed support for OPC UA Secure and other common industrial protocols for flexible connectivity over high-speed Gigabit Ethernet. IEC 61131 programming languages and C, the world’s most popular and easiest-to-use programming language, help engineers write and run the high-performance algorithms that enable proprietary production strategies and advanced automation technologies.

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