Conversations At Conferences

I don’t travel like I used to. There is no pressure from sales to see and be seen in the faint hope of selling advertising.

However, I will be at Siemens Realize in Las Vegas June 12-15 and Honeywell User Group in Orlando June 19-21. I am curious to find out how people are using all of this technology, what they see with future applications, and perspectives on future job roles and functions.

You can schedule a time by pinging me at [email protected] or just stop me if you see me around. The pictures on the website are a bit dated, but I still pretty much look like them.

Survey Of Digital Investment Intentions

I doesn’t seem like the season. Many companies have completed research projects lately in a number of areas from market size to cyber threats. Once the domain of analyst firms (where I’d pick up some custom research work), now companies are either doing their own or partnering for this research.

This research by Valtech and Copperberg finds current market conditions are shifting manufacturers’ focus toward early value creation for digital investments.

Global business transformation agency Valtech, in collaboration with Copperberg, has released its second annual global research report titled the Voice of Digital Leaders in Manufacturing 2023, which surveyed global B2B digital leaders and decision makers from large industrial manufacturers.

Compared to the results from last year’s report, this year’s findings indicate a shift in manufacturers’ priorities towards digital investment against a backdrop of business disruptions, organizational change challenges, and customer demand for digital transactions. As a result of business strategies evolving, digital maturity and ambition levels have been impacted.

Interestingly, most metrics declined from the year before.

Almost half of the respondents (47%) said they will increase their digital investment budgets by up to 20% in 2023 – a decrease from last year’s 63%.

The number of respondents who increased their digital investment budgets by more than 20% in 2022 has dropped from 20% to 3% in 2023.

When asked about their organization’s digital maturity in building resiliency and improving foundational services, 63% of manufacturers state their digital maturity is on par with their competitors.

While the majority of respondents (59%) described themselves as ambitious regarding digital, just 3% would call themselves a market leader – a significant decline from last year’s 24%.

I find this one not surprising.

Almost a third (31%) of respondents said cultural transformation is the biggest hurdle when it comes to implementing digital strategies.

To download a complimentary copy of the report, please visit here.

My Presentation on Innovations in Manufacturing

A company constructed a website that aggregates content from other companies’ websites asked me to teach at a webinar last week. They told me that my site provided more traffic than others to their site (hmmm, do I smell sales pitch there?). 

Anyway, the webinar broadcast April 5. It did generate several very good questions. Some of the feedback was actually complimentary.

I discuss some examples of how your company’s business can be disrupted. Innovation discussion drew from the beginnings of the industrial revolution. I also discuss the role of people. 

Speaking of people, I tried to provide some sense of urgency to each individual who can make great contributions.

Anyway, the talk is now on-demand at this website. You can listen and send questions to [email protected]. I will answer.

Rockwell Invests in Ready Robotics

Rockwell Automation invests strategically in a number of ways. It made an investment in PTC mostly to have access to ThingWorx and input into other technologies. It also acquired outright Plex and FiiX that gave it inhouse cloud capabilities. This investment is in READY Robotics in order to better integrate the various control technologies—something ongoing for many years that still requires development.

This investment and technology development should help machine builders and users if all that integration lives up to the promise (as a former machine builder and user, I can’t help the mild skepticism, we always hoped it would work).

Rockwell Automation Announces Strategic Investment in READY Robotics and Collaboration to Streamline Robot Implementation

Rockwell Automation announced March 2, 2023 a strategic investment in READY Robotics, a pioneering company in software-defined automation and a Rockwell Technology Partner.

READY Robotics’ ForgeOS platform enables operators to control and program the most popular brands of robots from a single user-friendly interface with minimal training. Using Task Canvas, one of many useful ForgeOS Productivity Apps included with the platform, operators can quickly create new automation tasks with a powerful, no-code, flowchart-based interface.

Rockwell and READY Robotics have collaborated to integrate ForgeOS with Rockwell’s line of Logix controllers and design and simulation software. The combination will simplify robot integration and accelerate time-to-market of industrial automation deployments. Rockwell’s investment will foster continued development of the ForgeOS platform, support its integration with Logix, and accelerate adoption across the Rockwell ecosystem of system integrators and technology and channel partners.

“We are excited to work with READY Robotics to help further simplify the use of diverse robotic systems in automation solutions for our customers. Linking the intuitive ForgeOS software suite with Logix control, design, and emulation capabilities allows a broader range of businesses to implement these powerful tools and spend less time getting their systems up and running,” said Matheus Bulho, vice president and general manager, Production Automation at Rockwell.

“Historically, automation has been hampered by software silos between robot vendors,” said Ben Gibbs, CEO and co-founder of READY Robotics. “READY’s interface alleviates this issue, eases deployment, and enables automation where it might have been prohibitive before, especially in high-mix operations. Our platform enables programming and control of over 3 million compatible robots deployed today.”

From the Ridiculous to the More Ridiculous

So, the court system is now tied up by a law suit about what a chicken wing is. [Disclaimer: I have not eaten poultry since I was about five. I have no personal experience.] It seems a guy visited Buffalo Wild Wings. He ordered their “boneless chicken wings.” They were not wings, he exclaimed, they are nothing but chicken nuggets.

So, he sued.

Silicon Valley is filled with ultra-wealthy “libertarian tech bros.” They don’t need government. Just leave us alone with our money. One of these is Jason Calacanis. I used to listen to his podcasts years ago, but I grew tired. By the way, this same Jason is one of his friend Elon Musk’s advisors on how to fire most of the people at Twitter.

But then a big “oops” in Silicon Valley. The favored bank of these investors got itself into trouble and looked to be tanking. I read a post from that same Calacanis—the government must step in and save our bank.

So all the kids who were duped into over-priced university “educations” should pay back their debts to the very last dime. But we billionaires should be bailed out by the government.

Take your pick on your politics. I don’t care. Only that you don’t just knee-jerk someone else’s opinion. But, when things turn around to bite you in the butt, remember this old folk wisdom:

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

Advances Carbon Emission Reduction Efforts with Comprehensive Decision Support Capability

Leaving politics behind (oh, how I wish we could!), carbon reduction is simply good business, good engineering, good for us all. And many leading industrial technology companies are working on solutions. This announcement on March 7, 2023 is from Aspen Technology (aka AspenTech).

Aspen Technology Inc. announced a new emissions management solution that gives asset-intensive organizations the ability to pinpoint and act on key operational areas with the biggest impact on their emissions reduction efforts. The new solution features AspenTech Operational Insights, a proven decision support capability that unites, correlates, analyzes and visualizes data from across an organization for fast, confident decision-making on those critical areas affecting emissions.

AspenTech’s new emissions management solution consolidates customer data and leverages operational technology (OT) applications in the plant, the enterprise and the entire value chain into a single, dynamic visual interface. As a result, customers can make decisions with the benefit of a “single pane of glass” view for carbon emissions, margin and abatement. In addition, the real-time nature of the solution eliminates the wait to review time-sensitive data.

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