NextGen Cyber Talent Announces First Pilot Cohort and Governing Board

Training people with skills necessary for the success of our industry and especially introducing young people to the types of high tech work available is key to our survival as an industry. I just learned about this new non-profit educator who launched operations seeking to close the cyber talent and diversity gap by training traditionally underprivileged and underserved segments.

NextGen Cyber Talent Inc. (“NextGen”), a nonprofit organization training the next generation of cybersecurity professionals, announces its pilot cohort and its first Governing Board. NextGen seeks to provide an avenue into cybersecurity careers for women, minorities and other underprivileged segments through education and mentoring, while simultaneously attacking the skills shortage and lack of diversity in the cybersecurity industry today. The organization partnered with Bay Area community colleges to select its initial pilot cohort and selected a diverse group of 20 students that will begin its online curriculum starting January 19th.

The Herjavec Group estimates that the number of unfilled cybersecurity jobs is expected to grow by 350%, from one million positions in 2013 to 3.5 million in 2021. In addition, (ISC)2 estimates that women account for less than a quarter of the overall cybersecurity workforce.

NextGen has been working with veteran executives and industry leaders to attack these deficiencies via Chapter and Strategic Advisory Boards and has finalized members for its initial Governing Board.

“We are excited to introduce our board of distinguished executives who will bring diverse expertise and insight in support of our mission,” said Founder & Co-Chair Krishnan Chellakarai. “Our work will address the lack of awareness of cybersecurity in younger generations and encourage them to consider building a career in this highly fulfilling field. The organization benefits from its deep network to ensure that NextGen’s board and leadership represents a variety of experts from technology, banking, health care, life sciences, and nonprofit backgrounds.”

“I am thrilled to have Tony Blevins and Phil Cox join Krishnan and myself on the Board to help make the NextGen vision a reality. The program is seeded by the principle of connecting successful leaders from industry with tomorrow’s up and coming talent”, said Co-Chair and Board Member Gary Gauba. “We look forward to building a thriving network of alumni over the coming decade with the active participation and support of industry luminaries like Tony, Phil and our Chapter Board members.”

NextGen’s Governing Board members are:

● Krishnan Chellakarai , Chief Information Security Officer, Gilead Sciences

● Gary Gauba, Managing Director & Founder of The CXO Fund

● Tony Blevins, Vice President of Procurement, Apple

● Phil Cox, Chief Operating Officer, Silicon Valley Bank

About NextGen Cyber Talent

NextGen Cyber Talent Inc. is a non-profit providing a platform to increase diversity and inclusion in the cybersecurity industry. It brings together cybersecurity experts, solution providers and enterprises to make a difference in this community and address a mounting cyber skills shortage and talent gap. Our overall approach will focus on successfully attracting under-represented students and educating them in cybersecurity, privacy and compliance technology, as well as providing them mentorship and opportunities to jump start their careers in the industry. NextGen was founded by Krishnan Chellakarai (CISO, Gilead Sciences) and Gary Gauba (Founder & MD, The CXO Fund).

After-Sales Remote Service Platform With Multi-camera Fieldstreaming Video Support Of All Camera Types

Technologies that enable remote service and support were already a trend before the travel restrictions of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic hit. These have improved exponentially since the first demo I experienced in 2000. I was recently introduced to ADTANCE, German company in that space, which I guess is their English translation of German into “fieldstreaming”. Anyway, without being able to test it or play with it, this new solution looks powerful.

ADTANCE, an international After-Sales Service technology platform provider for manufacturers, industrial companies, and mechanical engineering organizations, announced a new Support Module and Fieldstreaming solution that is fully integrated into the ADTANCE Smart Services Platform 4.0. The Fieldstreaming solution is the first live remote support software capable of connecting every type of camera to the system, including cameras within smartphones, tablets, computers, security cameras, drones and underwater Remote Operated Vehicles (ROVs). Users can live stream views of machines from various angles simultaneously– significantly improving live support, remote training and long-distance collaboration in the field. 

“We’ve seen customer demand for live remote support, training and collaboration skyrocket – in part because of the current COVID-19 challenges, but also due to increasingly complex machines and a shortage of highly skilled technicians,” said Nils Arnold, Co-founder and CEO of ADTANCE. “Our new ADTANCE Support and Fieldstreaming solution is uniquely suited to address the growing set of remote service use cases. Companies want service technicians to be able to view machines from a variety of angles in real-time, conduct live remote user training from multiple perspectives, and collaborate remotely using multiple cameras. Our new Support Module and Fieldstreaming Solution makes all these use cases possible and simple.”

“ADTANCE’s Fieldstreaming Solution is a game-changer for us,” said Michael Ntagas, Director of After Sales Service at Reifenhäuser Group. “Now we are able to build an entire machine – sixteen meters high – and get the technical assistance we need 100% remotely. After the machine is built, we can remotely educate and train machine operators; effectively collaborate long distance with our customers to test new mixtures of raw materials running in the machine; and upgrade machines without traveling to the customer site. ADTANCE Support and Fieldstreaming Solution reduces the significant costs and current risks of traveling to customer sites, while increasing the number of customers our highly technical experts can service.”

The ADTANCE Support Module also includes the following new capabilities that improve communication and collaboration between service technicians and customers.

Users can now start an ADTANCE Support session by sending a message, document, or video recording in addition to initiating a session through a video call. Users do not need to download an app, as ADTANCE Support now runs on all browsers and mobile devices. Invitations to sessions can be shared by simply sending a link without the need to set up a user account. At any time during a session, users can send messages, documents, recordings, open a live video chat or collaborate using a digital whiteboard.

Snapshots can be taken at any time during the ADTANCE Support live video stream and users can mark up the video with circles, arrows or pertinent notes. Several people can work on a snapshot within the support session at the same time. A service technician simply sends a request to the field worker and once it is accepted, the system automatically executes a snapshot. Alternatively, users have the option to immediately accept all snapshots for a session prior to starting the video call. This allows the service expert to take snapshots at any time during the live video stream. 

ADTANCE Support now allows closed sessions to be reactivated and viewed again at any time. The documentation remains in place and participants can be invited back into the session. This saves time and significantly improves customer service, especially when there is a complex or recurring problem with the same customer.

“The new capabilities in ADTANCE Support are very impressive,” said Stephan Czwick, Product Manager at Schuler Group. “The ability to rejoin closed sessions is particularly valuable. A technician can view or restart a session days later and still have all the important information of the case intact, which allows the service expert to immediately pick up where they left off with the customer. This can save our technicians a tremendous amount of time and improve customer satisfaction.”

ADTANCE Support now includes translation for 147 different languages. Users simply select a language, speak, then click a button and the system translates their speech into the selected language. This unparalleled language support enables companies to leverage their highly technical experts on a global basis. 

ADTANCE Smart Service Platform 4.0

The ADTANCE Smart Service Platform 4.0 is the only centralized platform for digitizing the entire After-Sales Service lifecycle and encompasses the following modules:

·        ADTANCE Support – Enables live remote support, inspection and maintenance for customers, utilizing devices such as smart glasses and multi-camera fieldstreaming.

·        ADTANCE Workflow – Digitizes, analyzes and optimizes all workflows, including everyday processes, such as maintenance instructions.  

·        ADTANCE Process Visualization and Monitoring (PVM) – Monitors the performance of individual machines as well as entire industrial plants.

·        ADTANCE Predictive Maintenance (PM) – Analyzes and evaluates operational data in real time through the continuous monitoring of machines or the entire production plant using built-in sensors. Machine learning-based analysis offer predictions about potential downtime as well as warnings if a piece of equipment will require maintenance.  

·        ADTANCE Ticketing – Standardizes entire customer service channels by bundling different channels into one system, including e-mail, telephone, SMS and social media. Creates order and clarity by providing different escalation levels with the respective reaction and resolution times.

·        ADTANCE Document Management (DM) – Stores all customer service documents centrally, as well as control the access rights for security and privacy purposes. 

·        ADTANCE Parts – A central catalogue system to ensure that all spare part information remains centrally located and easily discoverable. 

For First Time Yearly Non-Automotive Robotic Orders Higher Than Automotive Orders

I have noticed over the past several years that the share of sales of automation vendors from the automotive sector has been declining. If nothing else points to that trend, it would be sales of that automotive technology mainstay—robots. Welding robots populating automotive assembly lines were synonyms for automation. If you looked at sales by industry and application, those have led the list for a long time.

Things have changed. For the first time, yearly orders of robots from non-automotive sectors surpassed automotive robot orders, as sales of robotic units in North America increased 3.5% in 2020 from 2019. This growth was driven by a strong Q4 that was the second-best quarter ever for North American robotic sales with a 63.6% increase over Q4 2019.

So say Industry statistics – released recently by the Robotic Industries Association (RIA), part of the Association for Advancing Automation (A3) – show that North American companies ordered 31,044 robotic units, valued at $1.572 billion in 2020. In Q4, companies ordered 9,972 units valued at $479 million. 

“The surge in robot orders that we’re seeing, despite the pandemic, demonstrates the growing interest in robotic and automation solutions,” said Jeff Burnstein, A3 President. “It’s promising to see the growth of robotics in new applications and reaching a wider group of users than ever before.”

Year-over-year orders in life sciences increased by 69%, food and consumer goods grew by 56%, and plastics and rubber saw a 51% increase. Automotive orders increased 39% in 2020.

“In 2020, we saw two trends in particular that propelled growth in non-automotive orders for robotics technology,” said John Bubnikovich, Chief Regional Officer – North America, KUKA Robotics. “First, the automation competence level in general industry has grown, and that matured into greater demand for the technology. Second, consumer behavior shifted significantly and the expectations created by this shift were tough to satisfy without automation.”

At the same time, Bubnikovich said, supply chain disruptions and instability in the workforce made industries accelerate automation strategies.

The same trends are being noticed by other major robot manufacturers.

“With the changes in people’s personal buying behavior caused by COVID, robots have been utilized in record numbers to allow for the fulfillment of orders in the e-commerce space while allowing for correct social distancing practices,” said Dean Elkins, Segment Leader – Handling, Yaskawa Motoman. “In addition, robots largely aided in the production of personal protection and testing equipment and the medical devices needed to keep our society healthy and safe.”

“We have seen a substantial increase in activity in non-automotive sectors, as customers focus on making their production lines more flexible and better able to efficiently achieve high mix, lower volume production in response to constantly evolving customer demands,” says Mark Joppru, Vice President – Consumer Segment & Service Robotics, US ABB Robotics and Machine Automation.  “In food applications, for example, where robots were traditionally used to automate simpler processes like case loading, they are increasingly being commissioned for higher value processes, like directly preparing food, resulting in improvements to food safety and hygiene.  While these trends have existed for several years, COVID has changed perceptions and priorities for customers, accelerating the adoption of robotic automation.”

In August of 2020, A3 reported on the strain to supply chains and economic uncertainty due to COVID-19. Alex Shikany, A3 Vice President, Membership & Business Intelligence, noted that despite a drop in orders, industry leaders showed optimism about the remainder of 2020, and accurately predicted the strong finish to 2020.

“The pandemic has created a sense of urgency for manufacturing companies to invest in automation like never before,” said Mike Cicco, President and CEO of FANUC America. “Traditionally, companies have implemented automation to reduce cost, increase output, and improve quality.  However, the pandemic has added an additional factor that is driving manufacturers to re-examine their supply chain to increase flexibility, minimize disruptions, and move it closer to their customers. With this mindset, there are more opportunities for scaling robotic applications across multiple facilities, especially for larger companies. The untapped potential for automation is a promising sign for our industry; the opportunities for automation today are truly limitless.”

To help educate users and potential users about how to successfully apply robotics and automation, A3 will hold Automate Forward, the premier virtual automation trade show and conference. Register free and join industry peers March 22-26 to hear from more than 80 speakers and see the latest technologies from more than 160 leading automation suppliers.

About Association for Advancing Automation (A3)

In the spring of 2021, the Robotic Industries Association (RIA) will become the Association for Advancing Automation (A3), the global advocate for the benefits of automating. A3 promotes automation technologies and ideas that transform the way business is done. RIA is one of four allied associations, including AIA – Advancing Vision + Imaging, Motion Control & Motor Association (MCMA), and A3 Mexico, that will transform into A3. Combined, these associations represent over 1,100 automation manufacturers, component suppliers, system integrators, end users, research groups and consulting firms from throughout the world that drive automation forward.

Update from OMAC—Organization for Machine Automation and Control

OMAC, now dubbed Organization for Machine Automation and Control and a part of PMMI, first zapped to my attention at the 1998 ARC Forum. I’ve followed it for the ensuing 23 years through some ups and downs. It never successfully came up with a PLC built entirely from standards to put pressure on the major companies to bring prices down. On the other hand, a lot of the standardization discussions led activists in a variety of beneficial directions. Plus, a group of packaging end users and suppliers devised PackML and other standards that brought organization to control logic and HMI for packaging machines.

This is ARC Forum week, but none of us made the trip to Orlando this year. I had not heard from the organization for some time, so I reached out to Bryan Griffen, who is now Director of Industry Services for PMMI (Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute) and leader of OMAC, for an update. Griffen was previously director of engineering for an end user and implementer of the standard.

OMAC is still going strong. 2020 was a bit of a down year in terms of visibility since there were no events in which we could participate to get some exposure. However, we got a lot of things accomplished last year that are being rolled out now. Here are a few of the highlights:

• We completed an update of the ISA-TR88.00.02 (PackML). We slightly updated the state model, added several new PackTags, and improved the overall document content. The update is currently being reviewed by ISA for official publication. We hope to have it out in next couple of months. Yaskawa led this activity.

• We developed a new HMI and stacklight guideline for use with PackML implementations. It provides a common look and feel to operator interfaces in order to facilitate training, operations and maintenance activities. Mettler Toledo led this activity.

• We developed an new OEE guideline and new PackTags for implementing automatic OEE calculations on a PackML enabled line. ProMach led this activity.

• We just completed a new white paper on best practices for remote access to enable data collection, troubleshooting, upgrades and other remote activities. This effort was led by ei3.

• We are just now finishing up the design and migration to a new web platform. The new website will go live on March 1 and will include pages for all of the items above.

We are also just starting the election process for three open seats on the Board of Directors. This process will continue through March. We are planning a virtual General Session meeting in early April to announce the new board members, highlights from 2020, officially unveil the new website and so forth. The date for the General Session will be posted on the website as soon as we have nailed it down. The meeting is open to anyone, not just OMAC members.

Universal Robots’ Safety Expert Recognized in 20 Exceptional Women in Robotics and Automation List

Just received news about someone I know who has been recognized for her achievements in robot safety. The international group of remarkable women on SME’s list published today represent a comprehensive cross section of technologies in robotics and automation. The list was developed by U.S.-based Smart Manufacturing magazine published by SME in consultation with several leaders across the robotics and automation industries.


The list highlights the work of Roberta Nelson Shea, who joined Universal Robots (UR) as the company’s Global Technical Compliance Officer (GTCO) in 2016. She has long blazed the trail for women in a traditionally male-dominated industry; Nelson Shea was the first woman to serve on the Board of Directors of Robotic Industries Association (RIA) where she also participates in mentoring diversity efforts to get women more involved and recognized.

“From an engineering and management standpoint, women were and continue to be in the minority in the robotics industry. Fortunately, we are starting to see this slowly changing,” she says. “Since joining UR, I see more female engineers in software development, coding and user interface than I saw before.” 

According to Robert Willig, executive director and CEO of SME, the industry still has miles to go in balancing diversity in manufacturing. “Those with the knowledge, creativity and drive to raise the level of technology and innovation can achieve success,” he says. “This group of women has not only the vision to create new products – and in some cases even new product categories – they also have the technological background and the business acumen to bring them to market and a willingness to teach others the processes necessary to make the next generations successful in our industry.”


Nelson Shea chaired the U.S. National Robot Safety Committee for 23 years, spent 40+ years within manufacturing automation, and is recognized as a global authority on robotic safety standards – most recently as Convenor of the ISO working group for industrial robotic safety (ISO/TC 299 WG3).

Collaborative robots – or cobots – remain the fastest growing segment of industrial automation, projected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 30.37% during 2020–2025. UR leads the cobot market, having recently celebrated the sale of its 50,000th cobot. The emergence of robots that work alongside human workers and their importance in advanced manufacturing has brought robotics safety into the spotlight, says Nelson Shea:

“I’m deeply honored to receive this recognition from SME. Robotics safety might be regarded as sort of the ugly stepchild in the industrial automation industry. It was not as sexy or jazzy as artificial intelligence, neural networks and other developing technologies within robotics,” she says. “UR changed this. When you have humans and robots working within the same space instead of separated– as was the case with traditional industrial robot applications – safety becomes much more complex and the nuances are very different. Safety now might mean that the robot slows or changes position compared to simply stopping.  My overall mission is to demystify robotic safety and make sure the deployment barriers are broken down. I am an advocate of global harmonization of safety requirements to reduce costs of designs, manufacturing, and compliance.”

At UR, Nelson Shea works closely with R&D colleagues in the safety aspects of new UR products and use scenarios. She also fields questions from customers wondering if UR cobots can be used in specific applications in accordance with the robotics safety standards. “I really enjoy working at UR, the caliber of their engineers is superlative. It’s a very innovative environment where we’re constantly pushing the envelope to provide a better and easier-to-use robot.”

Nelson Shea was previously honored by the American Society of Safety Professionals as being one of the top 100 Women in Safety over the past 100 years. “I deeply believe that automation can be done in a safe way that works well for the people interfacing with the equipment while having high productivity,” she says. “Having a strong robot safety standard has contributed to the success of the industrial robotics market,” she concludes citing a favorite quote from John Lizzi, executive director of robotics at GE Global Research. “We see robots, and specifically industrial robotics, as moving through three phases: robots as tools to robots as partners and, ultimately, to robots that sustain the things we care about.”

AVEVA Joins United Nations Global Compact Network

AVEVA Underscores Commitment to Build a Sustainable Future as a Member of the UN Global Compact Network 

AVEVA held a virtual conference last week with one early morning devoted to a media/press/analyst roundtable discussion primarily around sustainability. Schneider Electric has been an outspoken sustainability advocate for quite some time. It, of course, is the majority shareholder in AVEVA. The two companies often work hand-in-glove. 

In this case, AVEVA has joined the United Nations Global Compact and the UN Global Compact Network UK,  a voluntary leadership platform for the development, implementation, and disclosure of responsible business practices. AVEVA joins thousands of other companies around the globe committed to taking responsible business action to create a more sustainable world.

Launched in 2000, the UN Global Compact is the largest corporate sustainability initiative in the world, with more than 12,000 companies and 3,500 non-business signatories based in over 160 countries, and 69 local networks. Its aim is to mobilize a global movement of sustainable companies and stakeholders to create the world that conducts business responsibly by aligning its strategies and operations with Ten Principles on human rights, labor, environment and anti-corruption; and takes strategic actions to advance broader societal goals, such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals, with an emphasis on collaboration and innovation.

AVEVA is already making strides towards a sustainable future, and today’s announcement marks another step in this journey. Alongside embedding changes across its own functions, AVEVA is enabling its customers to advance their own sustainability efforts with software solutions that can be applied across more than nine industry verticals to address challenges such as providing real-time energy data and supporting improved operational efficiency to help customers cut their energy consumption and emissions.

Craig Hayman, CEO of AVEVA, commented, “Joining the UN Global Compact cements our existing commitment to align our business with the Ten Principles, and provides an exciting platform for learning and collaboration with other members. AVEVA’s key focus will initially be on areas where our social and environmental contribution can be greatest, including addressing the climate crisis and expediting the transition to a more circular global economy. We will accelerate this journey by delivering products and solutions which will drive more sustainable outcomes for our customers while also providing additional benefits for our employee and partner ecosystem focused on ultimately creating a better environment for all.”

Steve Kenzie, Executive Director, UN Global Compact Network UK, added, “The core of the United Nations Global Compact’s mission is to support companies doing business responsibly by aligning their strategies and operations with ten universal principles on human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption. We also support business taking actions to advance the Sustainable Development Goals. We are delighted and encouraged by AVEVA’s endorsement of our initiative.”