Coalition for Open Process Automation Launches COPA QuickStart

The Open Process Automation Forum has made progress over the past few years. You can see a chain of reports and thoughts I’ve written over that time. These ideas remind me of a phrase we had amongst the graduate assistants when I was in grad school (we were all political philosophy majors), “Operationalize your eschaton!” In other words of Wendy’s restaurants, “Where’s the beef?” Is anything practical going to evolve from all this standards work?

Then an organization called “Coalition for Open Process Automation” contacted me with information about its formation, members, and, best of all, certified products. This is a giant step forward. Check out the press release and website.

The Coalition for Open Process Automation (COPA) is pleased to announce the launch of COPA QuickStart to accelerate the adoption of Industrial Control Systems (ICS). This is aligned with The Open Group O-PAS Standard, a “standards of standards” for industrial process automation developed by the Open Process Automation Forum (OPAF).

COPA is a diverse group of leading IT and OT technology companies, led by innovative newcomers Collaborative Systems Integration of Austin, Texas and CPLANE.ai of Silicon Valley, California. Its partners include veteran industry leaders such as Phoenix Contact, R. Stahl, Supermicro, Nova SMAR, and CODESYS. With the release of COPA QuickStart, the Coalition is applying years of research, collaboration, and investment by members of OPAF to bring ICS systems to market that are built on industry standards for open, secure, and interoperable architectures.

Securing ICS’s from ransomware attacks and state-sponsored hacking is now one of the top priorities of governments and corporations. These cybersecurity issues along with outdated and crumbling infrastructure adds to the imperative to increase value generation and reduce total cost of ownership through digital transformation. The first step in digital transformation for industrial manufactures is Open Process Automation.

The COPA partner companies have engineered COPA QuickStart to incorporate components and technologies from multiple vendors into a single, advanced, and cohesive ICS. The COPA QuickStart system is the catalyst for industrial manufacturers to accelerate their adoption of state-of-the-art ICS systems that greatly improve security, flexibility, and profitability of their operations.

Industrial manufacturers can no longer take a “wait and see” approach to adopting modern and open control systems into their manufacturing operations. Until now, there have been no open control system products available for companies to buy. The COPA QuickStart system provides the critical first step in helping industrial manufacturers to start learning, proving, and adopting open architecture ICS solutions into their operations.

Don Bartusiak, who is known widely as the “Father of Open Process Automation,” previously served as ExxonMobil’s Chief Engineer for Process Control. He said, “industrial manufacturers have repeatedly told me that if O-PAS Standard aligned systems were available, they would buy them. The COPA QuickStart system is our answer to that challenge.” Dr. Bartusiak’s company, Collaborative Systems Integration (CSI) is the systems integrator for the COPA QuickStart offering.

The COPA QuickStart system is designed to accelerate the innovation efforts of leading industrial manufacturers, allowing them to realize the benefits of open systems sooner. The system includes:

A pre-packaged industrial control system, aligned with the O-PAS Standard and carefully engineered with best-of-breed components from Phoenix Contact, R. Stahl, Nova SMAR, Supermicro, CPLANE.ai, CSI, and CODESYS.

CPLANE.ai’s Fusion management software for seamless automation and orchestration across the entire life-cycle of an industrial control system from startup to operate to evolve. CPLANE.ai Fusion leverages capabilities engineered by Intel and is powered by Intel Edge Controls for Industrial.

The Advanced Computing Platform, built by Supermicro and powered by Intel Xeon D processors installed in a versatile short-depth 1U chassis.

Advanced digital technologies demonstrating the value of new capabilities such as fast-cycle Model Predictive Control, Reinforcement Learning Control, AI, and advanced cybersecurity.

Hands-on training modules allowing engineers and executives to rapidly gain a deeper understanding of the next-generation control systems and the value they can deliver.

“Powered by Intel Atom x6000E series and Intel Pentium and Celeron N and J series processors with the Intel Edge Controls for Industrial software, the COPA QuickStart will help accelerate the adoption of OPAF-based control systems,“ said Richard Kerslake, General Manager of Industrial Controls and Robotics at Intel.

Steve Nunn, CEO and President, The Open Group said: “Through defining and promoting Open Process Automation™, OPAF and COPA are united by a common goal of helping industrial manufacturers accelerate their digital transformation initiatives. The launch of COPA QuickStart coupled with new developments to the O-PAS Standard represents a key milestone in the creation of open, secure, and interoperable architectures, which are critical to the future of industrial process automation systems. We are looking forward to continue working with COPA to address industry challenges and drive progress in process automation.”

“COPA QuickStart is the fruit of many years of collaboration by OPAF and COPA members. It is exciting to see the first, standards based open system become commercially available. Open Process Automation is the future, and we are excited to be a catalyst to accelerate that transformation,” shared Bob Hagenau, CEO, CPLANE.ai

First availability of COPA QuickStart system will be in Q3 of 2021. More information is available at www.copacontrol.org or by contacting CPLANE.ai.

About CPLANE.ai

CPLANE.ai automates the orchestration of distributed edge computing across a diverse landscape of hardware and software components. CPLANE.ai removes the complexity of provisioning, managing, securing, and evolving distributed systems. CPLANE.ai’s intelligent software platform automates the coordination and configuration of policies and procedures across multiple layers of distributed cloud infrastructure.

Manufacturing Reshoring Sets New Record in 2020

As companies grow, they must seek new markets. Necessity pushes these companies to expand internationally. I was a manager in two companies that were not even large but still needed overseas markets in an attempt to survive.

On the other hand, companies begin in one home country that provides access to many things that helped them start and grow. That country has certain vested interests, too.

One of the issues Trump pressed was the feeling that companies had grown too large and too much was taken overseas. He reflected the feeling of many that the US was weakened by these companies‘ growth and subsequent expansion of manufacturing jobs overseas.

Meanwhile Harry Moser and the Reshoring Initiative has been vocal about some companies’ shortsighted financial calculations moving factories from the US to international locations.

That is some background for this press release. I sympathize with both points of view, and I’m sure the pendulum will swing and things will balance. Unless we witness another huge world war again.

Reshoring has been hot in June. The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Investment Advisory Council (IAC) reported on June 9 its recommendations, including reshoring of semiconductors and pharmaceuticals. The Reshoring Initiative’s Harry Moser teamed up with TEVA’s Terry Creighton, the driving force on the pharma recommendation, and played a leading role in expanding the focus of IAC to include reshoring in addition to foreign direct investment (FDI). At the meeting, Harry advocated for an even greater focus on reshoring and followed up with Under Secretary Farrell, offering the Reshoring Initiative’s help.

On June 8, 2021, the Biden Administration announced its immediate actions based on Executive Order 14017 “America’s Supply Chains.” The actions include major improvements in self-sufficiency in semiconductor chips, pharmaceuticals, rare earth minerals and electric vehicle (EV) batteries. These emergency actions are needed because we have allowed so many supply chain gaps to develop. The Reshoring Initiative recommends also attacking the root cause: U.S. lack of price competitiveness. 

Despite the economic slowdown caused by COVID, reshoring numbers were up in 2020. Reshoring and foreign direct investment (FDI) job announcements for 2020 were 160,649, bringing the total jobs announced since 2010 tover 1 million (1,057,054). Additionally, the number of companies reporting new reshoring and FDI set a new record: 1,484 companies. All jobs added are good news, but at this rate, it will take 30 years to reach President Biden’s goal of five million jobs. Actions needed to accelerate the trend are presented in the Report.

Top Takeaways from the 2020 Report

  • President Biden is prioritizing reshoring. The gaps in Biden’s plans need to be addressed in order to achieve his goal of returning 5 million more jobs. Details of needed actions are also in our Competitiveness Toolkit
  •  In 2020, U.S. reshoring set a record of 109,000 jobs and outpaced FDI for the first time since 2013. COVID/supply chain uncertainty has resulted in companies emphasizing operations in their home countries.
  • Recent national initiatives to shorten and close supply chain gaps for essential products aim to make the U.S. less vulnerable. The following industries are most likely to benefit: personal protective equipment (PPE), medical, semiconductor chips and defense. Medical equipment and PPE are the first responders of new reshoring and FDI, with 2020 cases up nearly 2,000% and jobs up 400% from 2019.
  • There is continued growth in efforts by Manufacturing Extension Partnerships (MEPs), economic development organizations (EDOs) and states to enable reshoring. The Reshoring Initiative is deeply involved in these efforts with its Import Substitution Program (ISP). As a measure of corporate interest, the demand for this service is more than ten times the rate of 2019. 
  • We anticipate 2021 reshoring and FDI job announcements to be near 200,000, up by at least 25% from 2020.

See the full report: Reshoring Initiative® 2020 Data Report: COVID Drives Cumulative Jobs Announced Past 1 Million

Artificial Intelligence Strategy Board to Lead AI Initiatives for the Association for Advancing Automation

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Artificial Intelligence, which is neither artificial or intelligence, has been around for many years. We knew AI by machine learning (ML) or neural networks. I can remember some classes on those in the early-mid 90s. But AI has become a giant marketing buzz word in the industrial tech market.

I’m not downplaying AI as either the technology or the application. It’s just that so many marketers think of AI as a new and giant advancement instead of a maturing technology that has been, and will continue to have, useful to our applications.

Momentum has grown so much about the use of AI—as in no longer hidden under the covers but right out here in the open—that the A3 association has established a strategy board to guide its efforts in the area. Interesting…

The Association for Advancing Automation (A3) has created a new Artificial Intelligence (AI) Technology Strategy Board of leading AI experts, part of a major initiative to promote education and adoption of the applications of artificial intelligence in automation industries.

This new board places AI leadership at the same level as A3’s existing technology groups: robotics, vision & imaging, and motion control & motors. The AI Technology Strategy Board will be comprised of senior executives from leading AI and technology companies. This is the first time the global trade association has added a technology group to its leadership since adding motion control in 2006. A3 represents 1,100 companies from across the automation industry. 

Artificial intelligence is layering atop robotics, vision, motion control, and other automation technologies to create new solutions, great flexibility, and expanding opportunities. Big tech companies—once focused more on phones than factory floors—now view manufacturing, robotics, and industrial automation as key segments of their business.

“Artificial intelligence—in many shapes and forms—will be the stitching that weaves together a new age of industry,” said Jeff Burnstein, president of A3. “As the global trade group of the automation industry, we need to help prepare our members to seize this potential.”

The creation of the technology strategy board is the culmination of a three-year effort to educate and inform automation leaders about the growing importance of artificial intelligence. The board’s chairman is John Lizzi, Executive Leader-Robotics at GE Research, who has chaired and played a leading role in the A3’s AI efforts to date. Companies such as Amazon, GE, Google, Intel, Microsoft, NVIDIA, Siemens and others have helped guide A3’s initiatives. Robert Huschka, A3’s vice president of education strategies, will serve as the association’s liaison to the new board.

Last fall, A3 hosted its first virtual AI conference, the AI & Smart Automation Conference, with more than 1,600 virtual registrants. Last year, A3 released the whitepaper, “Intelligent Automation: 6 AI Applications That Are Changing Industry.” Focused on real-world use cases for AI, the 20-page paper has become the most-read whitepaper in the history of the association. The association’s new website, AUTOMATE.ORG, has devoted an entire section to artificial intelligence. A3 is also set to begin work on new industry-recognized certification programs on AI and autonomous systems.

AI technologies will play a central role at A3’s two major trade shows in 2022, The Automate Show & Conference, June 6-9, in Detroit, Michigan, and The Vision Show, October 11-13, in Boston, Massachusetts.

Claroty Secures $140 Million Financial Round

Today must be cybersecurity day. I just wrote about open-source Software Bills of Materials, and now comes a venture funding announcement. Several years ago, a number of new cybersecurity companies sprang up. Most had some sort of tie to former Israeli army security professionals. At any rate, today’s news comes from Claroty which has landed $140 million in its Series D round. As you can tell from the release, the company is overjoyed with the cash infusion. From my perspective given that this market sector is already consolidating, I’d expect an acquisition in another year or so. (Not necessarily a bad thing. Founders are always looking toward an exit these days.)

Series D financial round, co-led by Bessemer Venture Partners and Standard Industries’ investment platform 40 North, breaks record for largest investment in industrial cybersecurity to date.

Claroty, the industrial cybersecurity company, today announced it has secured $140 million in a Series D financial round. The round marks the largest investment ever made within the industrial cybersecurity sector, establishing Claroty’s market leadership as the world grapples with an uptick in cyber attacks on critical infrastructure in recent months. The new funding will be used to accelerate the company’s expansion into new verticals and regions, as well as to further enhance its best-in-class product portfolio.

The round is co-led by Bessemer Venture Partners’ Century II fund, which is specifically designed for growth-stage market leading companies that will define the next century, and 40 North, the related investment arm of privately held global industrial company Standard Industries. Additional strategic investors include LG, the global innovator in technology and manufacturing, and I Squared Capital’s ISQ Global InfraTech Fund. All previous investors, including Team8 and long-time customers and partners Rockwell Automation, Siemens, and Schneider Electric, have also participated. The round brings the company’s total funding to $235 million.

“Our mission is to drive visibility, continuity, and resiliency in the industrial economy by delivering the most comprehensive solutions that secure all connected devices within the four walls of an industrial site, including all operational technology (OT), Internet of Things (IoT), and industrial IoT (IIoT) assets,” said Yaniv Vardi, CEO of Claroty. “With this new investment from the most prestigious firms in the world, we have the financial runway to execute on our proven product strategy in a hyper-growth market, with a world-class leadership team and a strong ecosystem of partners to take us there.”

There has been a clear and distinct shift since 2020 in the frequency and impact of cyber attacks against organizations that underpin the world’s critical infrastructure and supply chains. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, global ransomware damage costs are predicted to exceed $265 billion by 2031, up from $20 billion in 2021. As these incidents show no signs of slowing, Claroty’s new investment has firmly positioned the company at the forefront of the market with the resources, experience, and capabilities needed to shore up industrial cyber defenses for the future.

Claroty is trusted by the world’s leading organizations to protect their industrial assets, connections, and processes, with deployments in thousands of locations and facilities across all seven continents. For example, the company has worked closely with Pfizer to secure its COVID-19 vaccine supply chain in its race to meet unprecedented global demand. 

The round is the latest in a series of milestones for the company, including: 

  • 133% expected year-over-year (YoY) growth in new annual recurring revenue from 1H 2020 to 1H 2021
  • 110% YoY net new logo growth and 100% customer retention, including Coca-Cola EuroPacific Partners (Australia, Pacific, Indonesia) and IRPC Public Company Limited
  • 80 new employees hired in the Americas, EMEA, and APAC in 2021; on track to grow headcount by nearly 50% by end of year
  • Expanded partner coverage by 50% in 2020 with the addition of Deloitte, KPMG, PwC, CrowdStrike, Atos, Yokogawa, and others to its new FOCUS Partner Program
  • Released Claroty Edge, a new, patent-pending addition to The Claroty Platform and the industry’s first zero-infrastructure industrial cybersecurity solution
  • Named winner of ‘Best IOT/IIOT Security Solution’ in SC Awards Europe 2021
  • With over 120 ICS vulnerability disclosures to date, the Claroty Research Team leads the ICS threat research industry by far, helping Claroty’s strategic partners to deliver more secure products

Claroty will use the funds to meet rapidly accelerating global demand for The Claroty Platform’s visibility, threat detection, risk and vulnerability management, and secure remote access capabilities by expanding into new verticals and regions, growing global headcount, bolstering its commitment to securing IoT devices, and further empowering customers’ journey to the cloud.

“We launched Bessemer’s growth fund to invest specifically in clear market leaders,” said David Cowan, partner at Bessemer Venture Partners. “We are focused on helping the next generation of category-defining companies that have standout product-market fit, scalability, and a strong executive team. Since our first investment in Claroty in 2016, the company has continued to demonstrate that it has the best vision, team, and technology to address the unique challenges in the critical infrastructure security sector.”

“David Winter and I are passionate about investing in high-potential companies, especially those focused on building the industrial future,” said David Millstone, co-CEO of Standard Industries and co-CIO of 40 North. “Cybersecurity is a crucial component of that effort, and Claroty has proven itself as the most experienced, innovative, and visionary company in this industry. We look forward to working with its top-notch team to secure the new industrial revolution.”

About Claroty

Claroty is the industrial cybersecurity company. Trusted by the world’s largest enterprises, Claroty helps customers reveal, protect, and manage their OT, IoT, and IIoT assets. The company’s comprehensive platform connects seamlessly with customers’ existing infrastructure and programs while providing a full range of industrial cybersecurity controls for visibility, threat detection, risk and vulnerability management, and secure remote access—all with a significantly reduced total cost of ownership. Claroty is backed and adopted by leading industrial automation vendors, with an expansive partner ecosystem and award-winning research team. The company is headquartered in New York City and has a presence in Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America, and deployments on all seven continents. 

Digital Twin Consortium Partners with LF Edge on Digital Twin/Edge Platform Interoperability

Work targeted to fleshing out the Edge continues. This news from LF Edge and the Digital Twin Consortium hits one of my keywords—interoperability. Industry does progress.

The Digital Twin Consortium, which coalesces industry, government, and academia to advance digital twin technology, announced a partnership with LF Edge, an umbrella organization within the Linux Foundation, that aims to establish an open, interoperable framework for edge computing independent of hardware, silicon, cloud, or operating system. Through the liaison, Digital Twin Consortium will work closely with LF Edge’s EdgeX Foundry, an open source, loosely coupled microservices framework. The two organizations will identify and solve common problems in the establishment, management, and operation of digital twins through edge computing platforms. 

The liaison has been established to:

  • Showcase how a common approach to digital twin technology can allow edge platforms connected to real-world entities to interoperate with virtual representations easily and flexibly.
  • Accelerate EdgeX Foundry’s adoption of digital-twin-enabling technology and techniques. Specifically, explore EdgeX’s adoption of the Digital Twin Consortium digital twin reference architecture patterns to demonstrate interoperability.
  • Collaborate on open-source projects to facilitate the implementation and consumption of Digital Twin Consortium platform stack reference architecture, guidelines, and related deliverables. Collaborate with LF Edge on the language, definitions, and taxonomy used to discuss digital twin technology. 

“To advance edge computing, we need a global ecosystem that supports interoperability,” said Arpit Joshipura, general manager, Networking, Automation, Edge and IoT, the Linux Foundation. “With this collaboration, EdgeX Foundry aims to adopt and showcase the Digital Twin Consortium reference architecture and make it easier for developers to connect any digital twin to physical devices/sensors via EdgeX Foundry in their edge solutions.”

“Edge computing enables a new wave of applications and capabilities in many industries, especially when joined with other technologies, such as 5G, IoT, and digital twin,” said Dr. Said Tabet, Chief Architect, Office of the CTO, Dell Technologies, and Digital Twin Consortium Steering Committee member. “The agreement between LF Edge and Digital Twin Consortium sets the stage for a collaboration that will facilitate the integration of edge platforms and digital twin technologies.”

“We are excited about our collaboration with LF Edge’s EdgeX Foundry,” said Dan Isaacs, Chief Technical Officer, Digital Twin Consortium. “Their knowledge and experience in the integration of edge platforms within organizations will be invaluable as our organizations collaborate to advance the use of digital twin technology.”

CESMII The Smart Manufacturing Institute In The News

CESMII—The Smart Manufacturing Institute had a couple of news releases around Hannover Messe. In one, it announced a cooperation agreement with the German Plattform Industrie 4.0. The second announcement concerned Microsoft joining. CESMII CEO John Dyck has been busily building out the team, building partnerships, and establishing centers of excellence. I expect substantial progress from this US Dept. of Energy initiative.

The German Plattform Industrie 4.0 and the US Institute CESMII cooperate to shape the Future of Manufacturing.

Germany and the United States are among the top five manufacturing countries in the world. The two countries’ manufacturers share an interconnected network of facilities and suppliers, including many small and medium-sized enterprises. 

Plattform Industrie 4.0 (Germany) and CESMII (US) are announcing their partnership to address similar challenges and needs related to Industrie 4.0 / Smart Manufacturing. For both manufacturing economies to compete, they need international collaboration to achieve major tasks like semantic interoperability, create data sharing platforms, develop workforce skills, and foster sustainable production. 

Platform Industrie 4.0 promotes the development of Industrie 4.0 in Germany by developing precompetitive concepts, recommendations and use cases for practical application. CESMII promotes Smart Manufacturing in the US by supporting precompetitive research and development, providing tools and test bed for new technology as public-private partnerships, and creating content for educating a next generation of smart manufacturers.

“Production is globally connected, and manufacturers are in digital transformation worldwide. Whereas digitalization provides great potentials like higher resilience, flexibility, and efficiency, we need to shape digital ecosystems globally and learn together to unfold these potentials. We highly appreciate the ongoing working relationship with CESMII and are happy to have CESMII on stage of the Hannover Messe to jointly discuss the digitalization of industry”, says Thomas Hahn, member of the Steering Committee of Plattform Industrie 4.0. 

As part of the cooperation, CESMII appeared on a Plattform Industrie 4.0 panel, “Shaping digital ecosystems globally,” at the Hannover Messe.

Technology standardization is critical to ensure that pre-competitive technology in smart manufacturing is interoperable across different IT/OT systems. Developing workforce competencies and skills is essential to continue the path of innovation and to drive adoption. These are highly complementary efforts that will help the US and Germany to ensure these systems work well based on common standards that are mutually beneficial. 

CESMII – The Smart Manufacturing Institute, Adds Microsoft as Member 

CESMII – The Smart Manufacturing Institute has added Microsoft as a member. From the press release, “Interoperability and innovation that can scale are essential for a more competitive and resilient manufacturing environment, and it’s a pleasure to welcome market leaders that embody these values to our Smart Manufacturing (SM) ecosystem. A relentless focus on these values is essential to achieving CESMII’s vision to accelerate the democratization of Smart Manufacturing.”

Microsoft brings their thought leadership, standards advocacy and enabling technologies to our members and our SM Innovation Centers and will engage with other industry leaders to participate in our Standing Committees, adding their insights to our Technology, Business Practices, and Education and Workforce Development efforts as we drive this ecosystem forward.

“This is a pivotal time for CESMII,” states John Dyck, CEO of CESMII. “We are making great progress on many fronts, addressing the real challenges preventing manufacturers from accelerating their Smart Manufacturing and digital transformation initiatives. Our focus on enabling manufacturing system interoperability will have a dramatic impact on our energy productivity, sustainability, and competitiveness as a nation. A big part of that is defining and enabling the adoption of industry standards that will significantly reduce the cost and complexity of deploying Smart Manufacturing solutions. We’re pleased to see Microsoft take this step with us, advocating for standards, for interoperability, and creating a community of thought leaders that can truly transform this industry.” 

“We strongly believe in standards, as exhibited by our work with CESMII on key OPC Foundation initiatives, and we appreciate that CESMII is addressing some of the great challenges preventing the adoption of digital transformation at scale,” says Sam George, corporate vice president of Azure IoT at Microsoft. “The focus on interoperability, openness, and the crowd-sourcing of information models for manufacturing assets is an essential accelerator for our mutual vision to accelerate the democratization of Smart Manufacturing,” continues George. “We’re pleased to engage with CESMII and their ecosystem as an enabling force in this industry, working broadly to bring real transformation to this industry.”