Schneider Electric Appoints Antonio Di Vaira as Senior Vice President of Power Products & Systems, North America

1. Antonio Di Vaira joins Schneider Electric to lead the company’s Power Products & Systems, North American Hub

2. In his new role, Antonio will accelerate the evolution of the New Energy Landscape and drive market growth

I seldom do new jobs, but he will be a leader in the electric power market. The press release only said he has more than 20 years experience and is passionate about sustainable product development. And, his job is to accelerate growth.

Technology Market Cycles

My career spans three technology/market cycles. I’ve seen the excitement of new companies, new technology adaptations, new markets three times. All as user and marketing/sales and writer/influencer. 

I got involved thanks to a boss with the IT world in the late 70s. At the same time I started playing around with PCs—a Timex Sinclair that I wrote games and education aids for my wife’s 3rd grade class and a Radio Shack TRS-80 that I began setting my dad’s accounting business on. This was before 1980. The deep dive into automation for machinery came in the mid-80s. I’ve followed these passions ever since.

There were large and stimulating media around all three markets. Remember all the products in PC Magazine and its siblings in the 80s and 90s? When I switched to media in 1998 at Control Engineering, it also was packed with new products as many new companies sprang up with a new take on control platforms or software.

Then I experienced the consolidation and maturity of all three markets. IT magazines…gone. PC magazines…gone (maybe a couple on the web). Automation and control magazines are half the size of 15 years ago…and maybe even less. I saw it coming in 2013 when I left Automation World and struck out as an independent writer in the space. 

The MacBook Air M2 I’m writing this on is faster and has more memory than the MacBook Air I had a decade ago. But really, it’s still the MacBook Air. Excitement in the PC industry has not been PCs but mobile phones that are really computing devices. There exist a few thriving companies in the industrial market right now—mostly software companies.

There is still innovation in each of the spaces. Certainly all the excitement of playing around with the tech is gone.

What is the next big question for each of these technology markets? Or, what big question will generate an entirely new technology market? Remember, the real reason humanity has developed new technology has been to solve a problem to help humanity (well, aside from gaining an advantage in war).

One interesting thing remains—sustainability. We made so many products enabling production and manufacturing that fouled the soil and atmosphere. Now engineers are taking the technology and using it to clean up the mess. I’ve had interesting conversations with Honeywell and Rockwell Automation and ABB. And even Siemens on the topic. As we forge into a world looking for cleaner energy than fossil fuels, theses companies will supply the technology to help entrepreneurs develop and market solutions.

On that subject, check out this podcast from HPE’s Michael Bird on new energy sources. Perhaps here is a place to apply all that creativity.

Inductive Automation Launches Alliance Partner Program

The Ignition Ecosystem Expands with the Addition of the New Alliance Partner Program

Partner programs if well run where everyone sees a win are a great growth tool for the platform company as well as providing convenience for customers. I’ve seen successes over the years. I’ve also seen companies who couldn’t maintain consistency with the program or who eventually wanted to take too many things in house. I’ve watched Inductive Automation for 20 years and had many conversations with executives and customers. They are truly community focused. I expect this to also be successful.

Inductive Automation has announced the launch of its Alliance Partner Program, a new opportunity for companies to showcase and co-market services and solution offerings that pair well with the Ignition industrial application platform. As part of the launch, Inductive Automation (IA) has released the names of the program’s first partner companies:

  • Amazon Web Services (AWS): AWS enables manufacturers to optimize production, develop smart products, and improve operational efficiency with advanced cloud solutions like machine learning, IoT, robotics, and analytics.
  • Belden: Belden has a large portfolio of networking, security, and connectivity technologies and products, specializing in I/O and edge device offerings that help organizations create efficient automation workflows.
  • Plantformance: Plantformance offers a subscription-based automation supervision platform that protects an organization’s information while improving its operational efficiency.
  • Stratus: Stratus delivers simple, protected, autonomous edge computing platforms for OT and IT teams to run mission-critical applications without downtime or data loss, and turn edge data into actionable insight.

“This is a great opportunity to highlight the ecosystem that has organically developed around Ignition. The Alliance Partner Program’s goal is to broaden awareness of both the partner and Inductive Automation through co-marketing activities, showing how our joint solution provides a better together story for our collective customers,” says David Grussenmeyer, Industry and Education Engagement Manager at Inductive Automation.

The Alliance Partner Program is Inductive Automation’s latest partner program. Each IA partner program has a unique focus. In the Strategic Partner Program, which currently includes Cirrus Link Solutions, strategically aligned third-party software providers create modules in their area of expertise and sell them directly through IA. In the Solution Partner Program, IA highlights hardware, software, and service providers who offer solutions and technologies that are powered by Ignition. The new Alliance Partner Program is focused on showcasing a select group of technology companies providing valuable products and services that complement Ignition.

Partners involved with the Alliance Partner Program will work closely with Inductive Automation’s Industry & Education Engagement team to specifically discuss co-marketing opportunities. Alliance Partners will be listed on Inductive Automation’s designated webpage, and will be required to list Inductive Automation, its logo and website link on the Alliance Partner’s website appropriately and in accordance with specific brand usage guidelines.

PTC Announces CEO Succession

Here is a bit of news in our rapidly maturing market. I don’t know that it necessarily means anything and I don’t know any of the people, but I do find it interesting that no long term PTC executives were promoted. That job goes to the CEO of a recently acquired company.  I guess we can try to read the tea leaves about what that means for the future direction of the company—and what’s important. In a maturing market, the new CEO has a background in finance and most recently running the service operations.

PTC today announced that Neil Barua, President of PTC’s Service Lifecycle Management business, will succeed James Heppelmann as Chief Executive Officer of PTC at the time of the Company’s annual shareholder meeting in February 2024. At that time, Mr. Heppelmann will step down as CEO and retire, concluding a distinguished 26 years of service at the Company, including 13 years as CEO. Effective immediately, Mr. Heppelmann is appointed Chairman of the Board, and Mr. Barua is appointed CEO-elect and to PTC’s Board of Directors.

The CEO transition is the culmination of the Board’s comprehensive succession planning process to ensure leadership continuity and to position PTC for continued growth. Mr. Heppelmann and Mr. Barua will work closely together through February 2024 to ensure an orderly transition of responsibilities.

Here are the obligatory statements from the major players.

Bob Schechter, who has served as Chairman of PTC’s Board of Directors for the last eight years, said, “Neil is the ideal person to lead PTC in its next chapter. He’s a seasoned technology executive with a proven track record of growing software businesses and supporting industrial companies with their digital transformation journeys. He combines this with a strong financial acumen, a customer-first mindset, and a leadership style that empowers employees. The Board and I have great confidence that PTC has a bright future ahead with Neil serving as CEO alongside the rest of the Company’s experienced leadership team.”

Mr. Schechter continued, “Throughout his tenure as CEO, Jim has demonstrated unwavering commitment to PTC, and his positive impact on the Company cannot be overstated. His visionary leadership has helped transform PTC into the category leader in the product lifecycle management market and has driven record financial performance for shareholders. The Board sincerely thanks Jim for all his contributions to date, and we look forward to our continued work together.”

Mr. Heppelmann said, “I’m immensely proud of all that PTC has accomplished during my 26 years with the Company, including these last 13 as CEO. PTC has become a premier digital transformation partner to our customers, with the most differentiated software portfolio in our industry. I’m confident that PTC has never been in a better position to deliver value to our customers and our shareholders as we begin this next chapter. Having worked closely with Neil since the ServiceMax acquisition, I can attest first-hand to his focus on our customers’ and employees’ success, his understanding of PTC’s market opportunities for the entire software portfolio, and his principles of financial and operational discipline. I’m confident that Neil, along with our proven executive leadership team, will keep PTC on a path of sustained growth and success.”

Mr. Barua said, “It’s an honor to be named the next CEO of PTC, and I greatly appreciate the confidence the Board has placed in me. PTC is a terrific company with great customers, talented employees, and the strongest product portfolio in our industry. The Company has been performing exceptionally well, and we’ll build on this success as we enter our next chapter. I look forward to working with Jim and our executive team during this transition and deepening my relationships with our customers, employees, partners, and shareholders.”

Barua’s Experience

Mr. Barua has an extensive background in the technology industry and a proven track record of growing businesses. Mr. Barua is the former Chief Executive Officer of ServiceMax, a recognized leader in cloud-native, product-centric field service management software, which PTC acquired in January 2023. Following the acquisition, Mr. Barua led PTC’s Service Lifecycle Management business until his appointment as CEO-elect. Previously, Mr. Barua served as an operating partner at Silver Lake, a global leader in technology investing. Earlier in his career, Mr. Barua was CEO of IPC Systems, a global provider of specialized technology solutions for the financial services community. Mr. Barua holds a B.S. in Finance & Economics from the NYU Stern School of Business.

Board Changes

In connection with the announced leadership changes, Janice Chaffin, Chair of the Corporate Governance Committee of the Board, will serve as Lead Independent Director. Bob Schechter, previously Chairman of the Board, remains on the Board as an Independent Director.

Digital Twin Consortium Publishes Platform Stack Architectural Framework

Are you interested in building digital twins? Here is a potential source for ideas. Also, it can be a place to contribute to the growth of the technology.

The Digital Twin Consortium (DTC) announced the Platform Stack Architectural Framework: An Introductory Guide. The guide, designed for C-Suite and business leaders, provides foundational building blocks and central concepts of a digital twin system.  System architects can use it to enable technology selection through development.

“Digital twins and enabling technologies are revolutionizing how we approach even the simplest of tasks, from managing the flow of stock in a warehouse to designing, deploying and maintaining a fleet of aircraft,” said Dan Isaacs, GM & CTO, DTC. “Digital twin systems accelerate digitization as they provide organizations the means to operate more efficiently, effectively and adhere to best practices and guidelines.”

The guide discusses the IT/OT infrastructure, virtual representation, service interfaces, applications, and mechanisms for synchronizing real-world data. The guide reviews commonly adopted technological approaches and standards and emphasizes the importance of security, trustworthiness, and governance.

“The Platform Stack Architectural Framework: An Introductory Guide answers fundamental questions such as “What are the critical constituent parts of a digital twin system?” and “What elements take a solution from being a great model or simulation to qualifying as a digital twin?” said Dr. David McKee, Entrepreneur and Portfolio CTO at Counterpoint Technologies, and Co-Chair of the Capabilities and Technology Working Group, DTC. “The guide also helps business leaders and developers understand how to design and architect digital twin systems with best practices for scalability, interoperability, and composability to realize their transformative value.”

The guide discusses five use cases of varying maturity levels with examples of how designers can use the architecture in practice. The use cases include buildings as batteries, emergency communication services, manufacturing quality control via remote operator, scope 3 carbon reporting emissions, and infectious disease management. Technology Readiness Levels (outlined in the guide) help designers understand the technical maturity of a system as it moves through the following stages:

  • Technical modeling and simulation, starting with theoretical models and improving to being based on real-world data
  • Digital twins as individual components based on actual data and validated in the real world through synchronization.
  • Digital twin systems in production and operational environments, with system integration and clearly defined synchronization at a specified frequency

The guide is the first in a series of digital twin publications OMG consortia will publish in the coming months. For more information, please download the Platform Stack Architectural Framework: An Introductory Guide from the DTC website.

About Digital Twin Consortium

Digital Twin Consortium is The Authority of Digital Twin. It coalesces industry, government, and academia to drive consistency in vocabulary, architecture, security, and interoperability of digital twin technology. It advances digital twin technology in many industries, from Aerospace to natural resources. Digital Twin Consortium is a program of Object Management Group. 

Parsec Receives Strategic Investment from BVP Forge

Parsec Automation Corp. has announced a recapitalization led by BVP Forge. I suppose we all know where this is leading when a founder-led company with a long-time track record takes on a major amount of VC money. I wish them well. Here is the gist of the press release with all the usual marketing terms thrown in.

UPDATED Release 7/19/23

Today, Parsec Automation Corp, a trailblazer in Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) software, announced a major recapitalization led by BVP Forge, designed to fuel future growth.

Parsec forms dynamic partnerships with manufacturing entities worldwide, sparking pivotal transformations to boost efficiency and drive their ongoing enhancement goals. Its TrakSYS software platform demystifies manufacturing operations, providing users with heightened visibility, profound insights, and superior control—indispensable factors for success in their rapidly-evolving industrial landscape.

TrakSYS enjoys a trusted position in thousands of facilities in more than 100 countries. It serves a variety of sectors, from automotive and chemical to food & beverage, life sciences, and packaged goods. Among Parsec’s globally-esteemed customers are industry heavyweights such as AB InBev, Akzo Nobel, AstraZeneca, Beiersdorf, DuPont, Johnson & Johnson, and Eli Lilly. Parsec doesn’t just help businesses reach their goals; it helps them redefine what’s possible, carving out a path to a more efficient, productive, and sustainable future.

In the recently published Gartner 2023 Critical Capabilities for Manufacturing Execution Systems, Parsec Automation ranked the highest amongst all included MES vendors in 3 of 4 Gartner Use Cases—Continuous Process Manufacturing, Batch/Repetitive Flow Manufacturing, and Highly Regulated Industries.

Eddy Azad, founder & CEO of Parsec, shared, “TrakSYS’s unparalleled functionality and user experience have allowed us to disrupt legacy market products. As an innovation-focused and profitable company, we realized the vast potential of an alliance with BVP Forge to expedite our vision and enhance customer impact. The synergy of Parsec’s deep-rooted manufacturing operations management expertise with BVP Forge’s considerable resources ignites great excitement for our future.”

BVP Forge will bring its business building program, ForgeEdge, to help Parsec scale its platform, accelerate growth, and maximize customer impact. BVP Forge will also provide Parsec access to the renowned growth IP, talent network, and roadmap insights of Bessemer Venture Partners, which has decades of experience scaling enterprise companies into market leaders.

“We are very impressed with Parsec’s unique technology, customer impact, and track-record of profitable growth” said Brian Cramer, BVP Forge Operating Partner. “We see a clear and compelling opportunity to help accelerate the company’s success and build on its vision.”

“Manufacturers are increasingly embracing digitalization, which relies on high-quality data produced and synthesized on a plant floor,” said Rob Arditi, BVP Forge Partner. “Parsec’s mission criticality and core value proposition are evidenced by the company’s high customer satisfaction, strong retention, and superior product platform. We are thrilled to partner with the Parsec team and help the company reach its vision.”

Gartner, Critical Capabilities for Manufacturing Execution Systems, By Rick Franzosa, Christian Hestermann, Published 10 July 2023

GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

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