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.”

[You can get these posts delivered to you via email by clicking the appropriate link and leaving your address. I prefer information pushed to me either by email or RSS feed, and I know many who do. I don’t sell or use your address. They remain buried somewhere in my WordPress CMS.]

Integrated Service Delivery Model Assess, Manage and Optimize Automation Assets

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

[Note: You can have these posts sent to you via email simply by signing up at the appropriate link. There is normally one post per day, however covering two conferences and a couple of press conferences this week necessitates a little extra coverage.]

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.

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.

People and Data—the Most Important Assets

This week I attended the AVEVA World customer conference sitting on my patio with a bank of computers on the table. It’s always nice to catch up with the latest from technology suppliers, even if we couldn’t meet in person and have all those informative hallway conversations.

Next week I’ll be attending three conferences, something that would have been a physical impossibility only a few months ago. Looks like all of my anticipated conference trips have been cancelled until November.

I must begin with a note regarding the AVEVA/Schneider Electric relationship. If you go back a few years, Schneider Electric made a rather large and significant acquisition. It kept the Foxboro and Triconex (and a few other) brands and used the software parts—Wonderware and Avantis and some others—as an investment into an engineering software company called AVEVA. As a result, Schneider Electric owns just over a majority of the shares in the publicly traded software company. And, therefore, Schneider Electric played a significant minor role in this conference.

Schneider’s chairman and CEO, Jean-Pascal Tricoire, said, “AVEVA should be agnostic. Our customers don’t have just one system but have the problem of integrating the complexity of having more than one system. AVEVA is completely open. We are independent companies working closely with each other.”

Craig Hayman, CEO of AVEVA, noted during his keynote address, “We’ve pivoted to emphasize digital. We recognize that people and data are the two most important assets. We do this technology in order to make people successful. Businesses have the great responsibility to protect employees and customers. We’re seeing the power of data and analytics helping companies respond to incidents as they occur and operate assets as efficiently as possible.” Indeed, digital, data, and people were the keywords of the event.

In further remarks, Tricoire emphasized “Digital Trust and Sustainability”. He shared how COVID-19 has accelerated existing digital trends, encouraging more efficiency, “remote everything,” greater resilience, and for sustainability to mitigate and adapt to primary threats of both the pandemic and climate change. He said, “Faced with a very volatile environment, companies need superior agility, and increased efficiency. This means they need increased capacity on one side, resiliency on the other side. The overall winner is digitalization. And the need for digitalization has been further reinforced by companies new need to operate remotely, for higher efficiency, and ultimately, for much better sustainability.”

Guest customer keynoter, Saad Bashir, CTO of the City of Seattle, speaking on “Digital Agility in the Age of COVID-19” shared his thoughts on what happened in Seattle when the pandemic hit. “Although we had planned for digital resiliency for some time, we didn’t really know how it would go until one morning all 30,000 people in our team decided to stay home and log on.” Although the team’s resiliency plans have held up well, Saad adds, “We’ve already seen opportunities from the lessons learned and one that’s worth highlighting is digital resiliency…with a unified view of our infrastructure with systems that are seamlessly connected so that they can inform decisions.”

Much discussion involved both Cloud and Edge—you must develop both, can’t have one without the other.

Ravi Gopinath, AVEVA Chief Cloud Officer and COO discussed cloud and AI. He noted four areas of investment—new way of engineering; new way of visualization; reliability and safe operations; drive agility. Develop cloud on one side and AI on the other. The cloud strengths—deploy applications easily, low TCO, enable flexible consumption, and enhance collaboration. AI provides—analysis, prediction, guidance, learning. Leading to Digital Twin, Big Data, and Industrial IoT and Edge.

The press release coming from the event focused on Schneider Electric, who announced expanded partnerships with AVEVA, Lenovo and Stratus to address the convergence of IT and OT. This partnership is bringing together system integrators with IT solution providers to build integrated industrial edge computing solutions resulting in the immediate release of three programs to empower system integrators to expand their value to end users, enabling their customers’ industrial digital transformations.

These programs include:

      Industrial edge reference designs: Co-developed with AVEVA, including solutions from Lenovo and Stratus, these reference designs reduce risk and time to market with fully customizable, pre-integrated EcoStruxure Micro Data Center solutions for any edge environment. With secure solutions designed to meet IT standards, system integrators can free up time from the IT architecture to focus on the software and solutions. These reference designs are available in Schneider Electric’s Local Edge Configurator and can be customized to specifications.
      A digital training program for system integrators: Edge computing continues to prove itself as a space for opportunity for system integrators to extend business models and establish their roles as consultants. This learning program includes a comprehensive digital training series for system integrators on Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure Micro Data Center and EcoStruxure IT solutions to help address common challenges at the edge.
      The Industrial Edge Exchange Community: Built within Schneider Electric Exchange, the Industrial Edge Community allows system integrators to easily identify and engage with edge-certified IT solution providers. It is designed to facilitate new business and address IT/OT projects, and features a tool that pairs Alliance System Integrators with Schneider Electric’s Edge-certified IT Channel Partners.

    “The smart factory is becoming smarter. Our expanded partnerships and new industrial edge programs empower system integrators to leverage their domain expertise and become IT/OT convergence specialists and meet these needs for their customers,” said Philippe Rambach, Senior Vice President, Industrial Automation, Schneider Electric. “We know that smart manufacturing is driving an unprecedented wave of IT technologies into industrial spaces. As companies leverage AI, robotic processing automation, and more, they will require edge computing solutions to reduce latency and enable resiliency, while ensuring privacy and security, and addressing important data and bandwidth requirements.”

    What is the Industrial Edge?

    For industrial operators to capture the benefits of increased automation, they cannot rely on cloud-technology alone to bring the resiliency and speed demanded by AI, HD cameras, and other Industry 4.0 technologies. Local edge data centers are IT infrastructure enclosures/spaces/facilities distributed geographically to enable endpoints on the network. When in industrial environments such as a manufacturing plant or distribution center, this application is referred to as “industrial edge.”

    Digital Transformation Strategies

    I finally got some time to collect my thoughts about Wednesday’s virtual conference. There was a bit of Rockwell Automation at the PTC LiveWorx. Wednesday was Rockwell’s turn with ROKLive–the latest, and virtual, iteration of its distributor education series RSTechED and RATechED.

    At times over the years, journalists, editors, and writers were not invited to TechEDs. Then they invited us and we sat in sessions. They’ve tried a few executive education days during these events–usually June and usually alternating between Orlando and San Diego. This year was to have been co-located with new partner PTC’s event–until Covid-19 and quarantine.

    I received an invitation and link to check out the Digital Transformation track. (Although a refresher on programming PLCs, networking, and drives would have been OK, too.)

    This was pretty high level with former P&G vp and consultant Tony Saldanha, Microsoft’s Caglayan Arkan, Gartner’s, Ivar Berntz, LNS’s Matt Littlefield, Cisco’s Paul Didier, and at the end of the day two presenters from Rockwell, Mick Mancuso and Jeff Botsch. There were many more. Some time slots had two speakers and some had three.

    A few speakers got pretty high-leveled, but many practical tips came out.

    On the one hand, OEE came out a few times. I’m not a fan–mostly because of data collection methodology. You cannot use OEE as a comparison because within the formula are many definitions and common definitions plant-to-plant seldom exist. In fact, one Rockwell presenter acknowledged as much.

    While Saldanha was speaking, he mentioned that MRP II (or its ideas) was still in widespread use. That is disheartening. I learned and implemented that way back in the late 70s. I’d hope that everyone had moved way past that by now.

    Tips I gleaned from the talks

    • Be data driven
    • We’re benchmarking the wrong companies, you’re competitors are likely to be startups
    • When looking for digital transformation projects, look for the 10x opportunities
    • Focus on solving problems, not just applying technology
    • Consider business objectives first
    • People are key, and be aware of workforce issues such as turnover, retirements, training (and I should add diversity)
    • Key is to develop agile plants and agile supply chains
    • Develop healthy change management processes
    • Pay attention to governance issues

    I have several more virtual conferences this week. I miss meeting the people, but these have not been as painful as I feared.

    OTOH Don’t Get Ready to Travel Too Soon

    Yesterday’s notice was from an IoT event in Barcelona in October. Maybe the situation in Spain will be better by then. On the other hand, a message just came in from the Deutsche Messe people announcing that Hannover Messe will not be held in 2020. The city of Hannover has ruled that the city will not be ready for the trade show until its next regularly scheduled event in April 2021.

    From the press release:

    HANNOVER MESSE cannot take place this year due to the increasingly critical situation surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic. The Hannover region has issued a decree that prohibits the staging of the world’s leading tradeshow for industrial technology. From now until the next HANNOVER MESSE in April 2021, a digital information and networking offer will provide exhibitors and visitors with the opportunity for economic policy orientation and technological exchange.

    The world of industry will not be able to meet in Hannover this year. Comprehensive travel restrictions, bans on group gatherings and a prohibition decree in the Hannover region make it impossible to stage HANNOVER MESSE. At the same time, the corona crisis is affecting the economy, and the manufacturing industry – HANNOVER MESSE’s core clientele – is already struggling with serious consequences of the pandemic. Demand and sales in German industry are declining, resulting in supply bottlenecks, production stops and reduced working hours for employees.

    “Given the dynamic development around Covid-19 and the extensive restrictions on public and economic life, HANNOVER MESSE cannot take place this year,” says Dr. Jochen Köckler, Chairman of the Board of Management, Deutsche Messe AG. “Our exhibitors, partners and our entire team did everything they could to make it happen, but today we have to accept that in 2020 it will not be possible to host the world’s most important industrial event.”

    It is the first time in HANNOVER MESSE’s 73-year history that the event will not take place. However, the organizers will not let the show completely vanish. “The need for orientation and exchange is particularly important in times of crisis,” says Köckler. “That is why we are currently working intensely on a digital information and networking plattform for HANNOVER MESSE that we will open to our customers shortly.”

    Various web-based formats will enable HANNOVER MESSE exhibitors and visitors to exchange information about upcoming economic policy challenges and technological solutions. Live streams will transport interactive expert interviews, panel discussions and best-case presentations all over the world. The online exhibitor and product search is also being enhanced, for example with a function that enables visitors and exhibitors to contact each other directly.

    “We firmly believe that nothing can replace direct, person-to-person contact and we are already looking forward to the time after Corona,” says Köckler. “But especially in times of crisis, we must be flexible and act pragmatically. As organizers of the world’s most important industrial trade fair, we want to offer orientation and sustain economic life during the crisis. We are doing that with our new digital offering.”

    Thilo Brodtmann, executive director of Germany’s Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA), said, “The cancellation of HANNOVER MESSE 2020 is an unfortunate decision, but it is the only correct one. The mechanical engineering industry must now concentrate on minimizing the consequences of the pandemic in its own operations so that it can start up again. In April 2021, the engineers will be back in Hannover in full force.”

    Wolfgang Weber, Chairman of the ZVEI Management Board: “The fact that Hannover Messe 2020 cannot be hosted is a bitter loss, but it is the right decision. For the electrical industry, the fair is the showcase to the world, which unfortunately remains closed this year. So our companies will use the time until 2021 to manage the considerable consequences of Corona. Next year, they will then present themselves with the latest products and solutions for Industry 4.0 and the energy system of the future.”

    HANNOVER MESSE 2021 will be held from 12 to 16 April 2021.