Don’t Be Replaced By AI

Don’t Be Replaced By AI

There are linchpins; and there are cogs.

I’m not talking mechanics. It’s about people.

Some people fit in. They find their place in an organization or team. They do the quiet, repetitious work. Work that can eventually be replaced by artificial intelligence (AI). Or by robots.

Humans have a brain. Organizations, teams, companies need people who use their brains. They become vital to the cause. They are linchpins.

I’ve had very few mentors in the flesh. But I’ve had many mentors through the books they wrote. Seth Godin has become one of my mentors. He wrote the book on Linchpins.

Go find a way to make yourself valuable. Make a difference wherever you are. Don’t be replaced by AI.

If you keep butting against walls where you are, leave. Find a place where you can make a difference.

Another of Seth’s phrases applies–Go raise a ruckus!

I bring this up by way of introducing a way that many of you can raise a ruckus and raise your value. It’s called contributing to open source projects. These project contribute greatly to the advancement of the state of the art in many areas. The poster child, of course, is Linux. But there are many more.

Last week I wrote about an open source project that was the subject of a press release from one of the contributing companies concerning OPC UA over TSN. From the news release, it sounded promising. I went to the Web sites of the company–a software firm in India–and also the sponsoring organization–Open Source Automation Development Lab.

It all looked interesting, even though I had not heard of either one before.

A twitter conversation ensued with a reader who really dives into these projects. Turns out to be not so hot. The OSADL does not use GitHub–today’s standard repository for open source development. It has a few projects, some of which have not been updated since 2008. Nothing appears usable at this point.

I reviewed the companies involved in this project and in the OSADL generally. None seem to be taking a deep dive.

I know that the OPC Foundation has a new working group for Field Device communication of OPC UA over TSN. It has just organized as of a few months ago. I’m waiting for response from the working group leader for an update.

I’m also on a Facebook group concerning open source OPC UA. It has occasional conversations.

Maybe someone can raise a ruckus by prodding this German group OSADL to move to GitHub and grow. OPC Foundation is OK, but groups like that take a long time for specifications given the jockeying of various member companies to assure that each does not lose any competitive advantage when the standard if finalized. (Sorry, I had personal experience on these things, including having been chair of one once.)

And, I apologize for taking the shortcut with the press release on OSADL rather than exploring a little more deeply. Thanks to my reader who did.

Let me know if you see anything on the horizon.

Don’t Be Replaced By AI

Alliances Forming To Drive Open Manufacturing

Companies and organizations band together to develop open platforms to drive manufacturing technology use cases forward. I’ve received notice of two more announcements from Hannover. The problem as I see it lies in the proliferation of these alliances.

Everyone says they want to be open and attract everyone. However, someone is always driving these organizations. Evidently competitors don’t want to sign in with each other. So, they go off and start another one. With any luck, each platform will construct open connectors such that the broader industry will be served.

Note to my American readers—there is a decidedly European flavor to these announcements. Many American companies seem to have a “go it alone” mentality shunning collaboration and open standards. It will take pressure from their customers to get them to open up to the new world.

In this post, I’ll take a quick look at the Open Manufacturing Platform and the Open Industry 4.0 Alliance.

Microsoft and the BMW Group launched the Open Manufacturing Platform, an initiative to drive open industrial IoT development, help grow a community to build future solutions and enable faster, more cost-effective innovation in the manufacturing industry. The OMP is the latest step in Microsoft’s commitment to the advancement of innovation in the manufacturing space by enabling open platforms. The new community is being formed now and will support the development of smart factory solutions shared by OMP members and partners. The Advisory Board is expected to be set up with four to six partners by the end of 2019.

Built on the Microsoft Azure Industrial IoT Cloud platform, the OMP is designed to:
· Provide community members with a reference architecture with open source components based on open industrial standards and an open data model.
· Foster collaboration with community members and partners who will have the capability to develop their own solutions and services while maintaining control of their data.
· Address common industrial challenges such as machine connectivity and on-premises systems integration.

Microsoft will also continue its longstanding work with SAP and other partners in the Open Industry 4.0 Alliance, also announced today, further supporting industry collaboration now and into the future.

The Open Manufacturing Platform is an open industrial IoT platform to accelerate production and logistics optimization efforts.

  • Data standardization across data producers for faster insights correlation
  • Central auditability and dashboards
  • Data monetization opportunities through controlled sharing and ownership
  • Open source for OMP components
  • Community approach ensures requirement prioritization. All partners contribute and can shape the future of the platform, focusing on common industrial use cases and challenges.

An alliance for the IIoT

At the Hannover Messe 2019 trade fair, seven leading suppliers from mechanical engineering, industrial automation and software announced the foundation of the Open Industry 4.0 Alliance. With this cooperation, the companies want to overcome proprietary solutions and give a decisive boost to the digital transformation of the European industry.

Founding members of the alliance are Beckhoff, Endress+Hauser, Hilscher, ifm, KUKA, Multivac and SAP. In principle, the alliance is open to all companies. Balluff, Gebhardt, Pepperl+Fuchs, Schmidtsche Schack, Samson and WIKA have already joined the alliance as members. All companies are mutually committed to the creation of a standardized and open ecosystem for the operation of highly automated factories and process plants with the integration of logistics and services.

“The open architecture of the Open Industry 4.0 Alliance meets all the requirements of the process industry,” emphasized Matthias Altendorf, CEO of the Endress+Hauser Group. “It is based on standards, ensures transparency across all business processes and guarantees the integrity of the systems. This enables process plant operators to leverage the potential of digitalization.”

The alliance members are planning to realize a so-called Open Industry 4.0 Framework based on existing standards such as I/O Link, OPC UA and RAMI for the entire route from objects in the workshop to services. Customers can choose from a modular system of compatible and scalable solution and service components, such as digital services from Endress+Hauser’s Netilion IIoT ecosystem.

The connection to the SAP software portfolio ensures the integration of a company’s business processes as well as collaboration with partners across company boundaries. The open architecture allows the simple connection of further system landscapes.

ABB’s CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer Steps Down

ABB’s CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer Steps Down

In a bit of a surprise to us outsiders, the Board of Directors of ABB and its CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer (55) have mutually agreed for him to step down from his role, which he has held since 2013. The Chairman of the Board, Peter Voser (61), will become interim CEO in addition to his current role, with immediate effect. An official search to find a new CEO has been initiated.

Spiesshofer accomplished much in his tenure. He slimmed the company emphasizing the most profitable divisions. He assembled a good team with great focus. However, as I was contemplating only last week, the stock price has languished for years despite the work. I guess even in Europe the price of stock matters most.

Peter Voser: “On behalf of the Board and the employees of ABB, I would like to personally thank Ulrich for his dedication and commitment to ABB’s customers and employees not only as CEO but also in other executive roles at ABB since 2005. Under his leadership, ABB has been transformed into a global technology leader focused in digital industries. He strategically repositioned the company and built up growth momentum across all businesses. We wish him all the best for his future endeavors.”

Voser added: “We will continue to focus on implementing ABB’s strategy and delivering value to all our stakeholders. To achieve our key financial targets, we will proceed with the divestment of ABB’s Power Grids business as planned, simplify the organizational structure of the group and deliver cost savings. Finally, our four new leading businesses will be fully dedicated to meet our customer needs for digitalization, electrification, automation and robotics.”

Ulrich Spiesshofer: “After 14 years of “all in” dedication and commitment to all our employees and customers, I hand over to Peter a trimmed ABB ship that is on a clear course and gaining speed. I would like to warmly thank our colleagues around the world, customers and partners as well as the Board of Directors for the opportunity to serve this fine company for nearly one and a half decades in different roles in the Executive Committee and as CEO. I will now take some time out before deciding on the next chapter of my professional life. From the bottom of my heart, I wish ABB’s global team all the very best for its future.”

Peter Voser, a Swiss citizen, has been Chairman of ABB since April 2015. Prior to this, he was CEO of Royal Dutch Shell from 2009-2013, and CFO between 2004-2009. Between 2002 and October 2004, he was CFO of ABB and a key leader behind the successful turnaround of the company. Voser also brings a wealth of experience in board positions in leading companies such as a Roche, IBM, Catalyst, Temasek Holdings and PSA International in Singapore.

ABB will hold its Annual General Meeting on May 2, 2019, in Zurich, as planned.

Don’t Be Replaced By AI

Emerson Adds PLCs Expanding Control Capability

Emerson didn’t let Rockwell Automation’s spurning of its acquisition offer stop it from joining a select few of its peers in expanding its comprehensive control offerings. It went shopping again and found a bargain from the GE garage sale acquiring GE Intelligent Platforms. Now we are seeing the fruits of the combination.

With the addition of the new PLCs, part of Emerson’s acquisition of General Electric Co.’s Intelligent Platforms group, Emerson is bringing more end-to-end automation solutions to its existing process control market. The addition also expands its production optimization and control capabilities in the rapidly growing hybrid and discrete markets, and in industries where PLCs are sometimes preferred or required for faster response and machine control.

The new portfolio of cloud-connected controllers, industrial PCs, and devices for smart plants complements Emerson’s Plantweb digital ecosystem, adding another layer to Emerson’s focus on helping customers leverage automation technologies to pursue digital transformation. The automation and control portfolio will enable more operational performance and efficiency for customers in life sciences, metals and mining, power and water, food and beverage, and packaging, which often blend process and discrete machine control to manufacture and deliver finished products.

“We’ve re-invested heavily in the ability of our control systems to bring new capabilities to help organizations optimize their capital project and operations performance,” said Jim Nyquist, group president of Emerson’s Systems and Solutions business. “With this new portfolio, we’re expanding our automation expertise and bringing new digital solutions to market that will integrate plants seamlessly and accelerate improvements in operational performance, safety and reliability.”

Future interfacing with Emerson’s DeltaV and Ovation process control systems is also planned to help process industries eliminate many of the islands of automation within plants that create data silos in organizations and limit their ability to cost-effectively execute digital transformation initiatives and IIoT-driven capital improvements.

The new portfolio includes a comprehensive offering for machine control and discrete applications with products such as PACSystems, PACMotion, VersaMax IO, and QuickPanel+, which will remain powerful standalone technologies for original equipment manufacturer (OEM) machinery and edge applications.

Don’t Be Replaced By AI

Eclipse in Open Source IoT Leadership

The greater IT community makes abundant use of open source projects. These projects have proven great worth in operating systems, networking, and applications. The OT community, well, not so much. Maybe some. Microsoft and Dell Technologies, among many others, have donated millions of lines of code to open source projects.

However, the Internet of Things has proven to be one of the places where IT and OT can come together.

Meanwhile, The Eclipse Foundation has been a favorite of mine for probably 20 years. I remember downloading and playing with the Eclipse IDE for Java a long time ago. The foundation makes the news again this year announcing open source advancements in IoT.

It announced major milestones that make Eclipse IoT a leading collaboration of vendors working together to define an open, modular architecture to accelerate commercial IoT adoption. Similar to the early days of the Internet–where open source and vendor collaboration on standard building blocks brought the web to ubiquity–industry leaders including Bosch, Red Hat, Cloudera, and Eurotech are collaborating to standardize open source, modular IoT architecture components within the Eclipse IoT Working Group.

In 2011, the Eclipse IoT Working Group was launched with three projects aimed at reducing the complexity of developing Machine-to-Machine IoT solutions. Eclipse IoT quickly evolved as vendors signed up to collaborate on IoT’s end-to-end interoperability and performance challenges across key areas like constrained devices, device gateways, and scalable cloud platforms. Today the Eclipse IoT community has grown to 37 projects, 41 member companies, and 350 contributors who are building IoT solutions based on Eclipse IoT code.

In a recent case study, Bosch Software Innovations detailed the reasons why it decided in 2015 to participate in Eclipse IoT and the major advantages that open source community involvement has brought to its cloud-based IoT platform, the Bosch IoT Suite. Bosch today has more than 60 developers working on Eclipse IoT projects and has contributed around 1.5 million lines of code. The Bosch IoT Suite is based on the Eclipse Ditto, Eclipse hawkBit, Eclipse Hono, and Eclipse Vorto open source projects.

“We have accomplished so much since we began our open source strategy at Bosch,” added Caroline Buck, Product Owner, Bosch IoT Suite. “Open source development has enabled us to transform how we build software internally and it is making our organization a better product company. Any company that is serious about IoT should consider an ‘open source first’ strategy. If you are planning to do open source IoT, then Eclipse IoT is THE community we recommend.”

In a recent report–Eclipse Foundation’s Open Source IoT Activity Reaches Critical Mass–industry analyst firm 451 Research concluded: “It is time to take a look at what Eclipse IoT has to offer as organizations that choose vendor-specific (proprietary) alternatives to get started begin to run into challenges regarding scale, complexity or cost that has them interested in open source alternatives. While it is not necessarily easier to get an IoT project up and running using open source software, the long-term advantages once an IoT system reaches critical scale are clear–more predictable costs and avoidance of vendor lock-in–and they are driving enterprises to investigate open source options.”

“We are proud that Eclipse IoT is the open source community of choice for commercial-grade IoT innovation,” said Mike Milinkovich, Executive Director of the Eclipse Foundation. “Eclipse IoT projects are where industry leaders collaborate on developing the production-ready, interoperable, and flexible open source building blocks needed for the market adoption IoT. Our members are at the forefront of accelerating IoT innovation with the quality and sustainability that the Eclipse Foundation is known for.”

On Eclipse Foundation’s blog, Milinkovich described how–similar to the early trajectory of the commercial Internet, and the importance of the LAMP stack in particular–industrial IoT’s progress is being catalyzed by open source standards and interoperability that allow vendors to drive solutions forward while competing above the common infrastructure level. Eclipse IoT represents the largest open source community that’s driving these open, interoperable, and flexible components.

Eclipse IoT projects are broadly grouped under three categories of innovation critical for building an end-to-end IoT architecture:

  • Constrained Devices — the set of libraries that can be deployed on a constrained embedded device to provide a complete IoT development stack.
  • Edge Device Gateways — projects that provide capabilities to coordinate the connectivity of a group of sensors and actuators to each other and to external networks.
  • IoT Cloud Platform — projects that deliver the highly scalable, multi-cloud software infrastructure and services required to manage and integrate devices and their data. These technologies support deployment flexibility for running IoT workloads at the edge, on any of the leading cloud platforms (e.g. Amazon Web services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud), or in enterprise data centers. These projects also facilitate the interoperability of Eclipse IoT-based solutions with existing enterprise applications and other IoT solutions.

In addition to the Bosch IoT Suite, Eclipse IoT technologies are powering production-ready, commercial IoT offerings from other leading vendors. Eurotech’s award-winning Everyware IoT integrated IoT portfolio is based on Eclipse IoT projects. Everyware Software Framework is an enterprise-ready IoT edge framework based on Eclipse Kura, a Java/OSGi middleware for IoT gateways. Everyware Cloud, an enterprise-ready edition of Eclipse Kapua, offers an open, modular, and microservices-based IoT cloud platform.

“The market adoption of new business models is driving the demand for more agile, secure, and flexible solutions based on open standards and open source technologies. This trend contributed to Eurotech’s decision, in 2012, to become a founding member of the Eclipse IoT Working Group hosted by the Eclipse Foundation”, said Giuseppe Surace, Chief Product and Marketing Officer at Eurotech. “The Eclipse Foundation is the place where industry leaders collaborate to deliver innovative and extensible tools, frameworks, and runtime components for an open development environment. Within Eclipse IoT, Eurotech is working with Cloudera, Red Hat, and others to develop key IoT runtimes and other enabling technologies that will deliver an integrated, end-to-end open IoT architecture. Eurotech was the original contributor to the Eclipse Kura and Eclipse Kapua projects within the IoT Working Group. Our core objective is to ensure that when customers are ready to deploy IoT, the solutions will be there.”

IoT ecosystem leaders join Eclipse IoT to take advantage of the following opportunities:

  • Participate in industry collaborations to develop common open IoT platforms for Industrial IoT, Industry 4.0, Smart Home, Edge Computing, and more.
  • Ensure the quality and sustainability of an end-to-end enterprise IoT architecture fully based on open source and open standards
  • Play a role in defining Eclipse IoT strategic priorities
  • Gain insights into the Eclipse IoT technology roadmap and direction
  • Benchmark and learn best practices from peers for leveraging open IoT technologies to accelerate product development and improve time-to-revenue

Learn more about joining the Eclipse IoT or participating in any of its projects.

Don’t Be Replaced By AI

Practitioner’s Guide for Assessing the Maturity of IoT System Security

I just had an opportunity to talk Industrial cybersecurity with two leaders of The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) (now incorporating OpenFog) who gave an overview of the new Security Maturity Model (SMM) Practitioner’s Guide. This document provides detailed actionable guidance enabling IoT stakeholders to assess and manage the security maturity of IoT systems.

Along with the publication of the SMM Practitioner’s Guide is an update to the IoT SMM: Description and Intended Use White Paper, which provides an introduction to the concepts and approach of the SMM. This white paper has been updated for consistency with the SMM Practitioner’s Guide, including revised diagrams and updated terminology.

As organizations connect their systems to the internet, they become vulnerable to new threats, and they are rightly concerned with security. Addressing these concerns requires investment, but determining investment focus and amount is a difficult business decision. The SMM helps by enabling a structured top-down approach toward setting goals as well as a means toward assessing the current security state, taking into account various specific practices. The SMM allows an organization to trade off investment against risk in a sensible manner.

Building on concepts identified in the groundbreaking IIC Industrial Internet Security Framework published in 2016, the SMM defines levels of security maturity for a company to achieve based on its security goals and objectives as well as its appetite for risk. Organizations may improve their security state by making continued security assessments and improvements over time, up to their required level.

“This is the first model of its kind to assess the maturity of organizations’ IoT systems in a way that includes governance, technology and system management,” said Stephen Mellor, CTO, IIC. “Other models address part of what is addressed by the SMM: they may address a particular industry, IoT but not security, or security but not IoT. The SMM covers all these aspects and points to parts of existing models, where appropriate, to recognize existing work and avoid duplication.”

The practitioner’s guide includes tables describing what must be done to reach a given security comprehensiveness for each security domain, subdomain and practice and can be extended to address specific industry or system scope needs. Following each table is an example using various industry use cases to demonstrate how an organization might use the table to pick a target state or to evaluate a current state.

One example is that of an automotive manufacturer considering the possible threats interfering with the operations of a vehicle key fob. The manufacturer sets its target maturity comprehensiveness level to “1” as it considers some IT threats, such as a Denial of Service attack that may prevent a driver from opening the car door using the key fob. Over time, as new threats emerge, the manufacturer realizes it needs additional threat modeling and enhanced practices so raises its target maturity comprehensiveness level to a higher level “2.”

The practitioner’s guide contains three case studies that show IoT stakeholders how to apply the process based on realistic assessments, showing how the SMM can be applied in practice. The case studies include a smarter data-driven bottling line, an automotive gateway supporting OTA updates and security cameras used in residential settings.

The IIC designed the Security Maturity Model to be extended for industry and system specific requirements. The IIC is collaborating with various industry groups to develop industry profiles that extend the model. Industry associations interested in developing profiles are encouraged to contact the IIC. Please send an email to [email protected]

For more information about the IIC SMM Practitioner’s Guide, IIC members have prepared a webinar “Get a True Sense of Security Maturity,” which will air on March 18th at 12:00 pm for 60 minutes. Use this PIN: 12374028

The full IIC Security Maturity Model Practitioner’s Guide and a list of IIC members who contributed can be found on the IIC website.