Nymi Partners with ThinManager for End-User Authentication in Highly Regulated Plant Floor Environments

A few recent posts dealt with the “connected worker.” These are all workflow-oriented solutions. After talking with Chris Sullivan, CEO or Nymi, I learned about really connected workers. Previously I had seen Numi partner with Quupa for real-time location. Nymi has a raft of solutions. This partnership with Rockwell Automation through the ThinManager acquisition is a big deal for Rockwell Automation.

Nymi Inc. and ThinManager, a Rockwell Automation technology, have partnered to provide a full-feature, integrated, on-body solution that allows businesses to use ThinManager to deliver biometric-enabled touchless authentication with zero-trust security principles and access controls through the Nymi Band.

ThinManager offers numerous features that allow the modern factory to lower energy cost, implement sustainable technology, and increase operational efficiencies. They are a natural fit for Nymi and its workplace wearable wristband, designed to help businesses remain secure while improving productivity, compliance, and active worker health and safety. 

As the world’s only workplace wearable wristband that, once authenticated at login, continuously authenticates the user’s identity until it’s removed from the wrist, the Nymi Band gives ThinManager users a powerful, secure form of authentication used for specially configured access control, logins, and e-signatures with just a tap. Other Nymi Band applications include social distancing and contact tracing.

“We see our product working side by side with ThinManager to help companies be secure, safe, and efficient in their day-to-day operations,” said Andrew Foxcroft, Vice President of Nymi. “The enterprise-class, secure industrial wearable Nymi Band, combined with ThinManager’s knowledge of the modern factory, provides a solution to address pain points in Pharma and highly regulated manufacturing processes.”

“We are very excited to collaborate with Nymi to provide additional cutting-edge user authentication options for our customers,” stated Tom Jordan, Marketing Lead for ThinManager.

MESA Announces Version 7 Release of B2MML-BatchML Specifications

I was happy to see the group behind B2MML and BatchML find a home at MESA International after some abortive attempts with other organizations. Looks like the partnership has been good.  This month’s news is that MESA International announces the release of Version 7 of the B2MML and BatchML specifications. B2MML (Business to Manufacturing Markup Language) and BatchML (Batch Markup Language) are XML schema definitions that are implementations of the ISA-95 Enterprise/Control System Standard. The BatchML schemas were integrated into the B2MML namespace several versions ago, therefore the downloads and documentation of B2MML also includes BatchML files. Great leadership by Dave Emerson and Dennis Brandl and the group.

This major release supports the 2018/19 versions of the ISA-95 and IEC 62264 specifications. Version 7 adds important new elements to B2MML including spatial locations, material and other resource testing information, standardized error message handling, and work calendars. This version also includes the first B2MML-JSON schema definition, supporting transfers of JSON files in addition to XML files. 

Dennis Brandl, member of the MESA XML Committee responsible for the B2MML standard updates, states, “This version has undergone extensive testing and reviews to ensure that the ISA-95 standard is fully implemented in B2MML V7. We’re excited about the updates made to the specifications to bring them up to date with the ISA-95 standard, as well as the new features that have been added.” 

Companies interested in following ISA-95 for integration projects may use B2MML to integrate business systems such as ERP and supply chain management systems with manufacturing systems such as control systems and manufacturing execution systems. B2MML is a complete implementation of ISA-95. Any company may use B2MML royalty free provided credit is given to MESA.

Download the updated version for free by creating an account on MESA’s Online Learning & Resource Center.

Do You Need A Data Scientist or Data Engineer

You will find references to data often in this blog. Perhaps I’ve even been guilty of a phrase, “It’s all about the data.” Back in 2016, I wrote a post where the title included both “data” and “engineering.”

Marketing managers have been pinging me this year evidently after doing web searches for key words. They get a match on one of my blog posts and write trying to get a link added or an article published. They usually don’t know my focus or even what type of media this is. Many think I’m traditional traded press.

It must have been in such a manner that the marketing manager for Jelvix, which looks to be a Ukrainian software development and IT services company, wrote to me referencing this post I did in 2016. She referenced an article on the company web site by Python developer Vitaliy Naumenko regarding whether or when do you need a Data Scientist or a Data Engineer.

That is an interesting question–one which I have not run across in either my IT or my OT travels.

According to IBM’s CTO report, 87% of data science projects are never really executed. 80% of all data science projects end up failing. Mainly, this happens due to the market’s inability to distinguish data scientists and engineers. 

Even now, it’s surprisingly common to find articles online about data scientists’ responsibilities when some of them belong to the data engineer job description. A lack of understanding of what data scientists can and cannot do leads to a high failure percentage and common burn-out. 

The thing is, neither data scientists nor engineers can act on their own. Scientists hugely depend on engineers to provide infrastructure. If it’s not set up correctly, even the most skilled scientists with excellent knowledge of complex computational formulas will not execute the project properly.

The data development and management field include many specialties. Data engineers and scientists are only some of the roles necessary in the field. These positions, however, are intertwined – team members can step in and perform tasks that technically belong to another role.

Check out this image, for example. I like the addition of business as well as technology.

Check out his entire article if you are involved with doing something with all the data you are collecting. He suggests organizations for small, medium, and larger organizations. Unfortunately for me, industrial or manufacturing markets are not listed as specialties of the company. But the company has some good ideas to share.

Connected Worker Technology Arrives At Suntory Smart Factory

Describing “connected worker” has changed much over the past 5-10 years. The evolution goes through WiFi to Cellular technology enabling tablet computers and then smart phones. I’ve noticed that the term almost always refers to finding work instructions and occasionally communication on said tablet or phone. 

Marketers may wax eloquently on digital transformation, innovation, employee satisfaction, Internet of Things and other descriptions that they hope convey the latest fad, but in the end what they mean is workflow. And workflow has been around for years.

That being said (and since I have a few more of these press releases, and it relates to one I just wrote about a “Teamwork” app), these are useful tools. I remember studying this concept some 40 years ago realizing the power for effective productivity and quality. We just get faster and better. I like this news, because it describes someone actually using the technology.

Parsable has announced its software solution is being deployed by Suntory Beverage & Food Ltd. at its forthcoming Smart Factory model site. The site is the first of its kind for the multinational beverage company and serves as the prototype for the development of other Suntory Smart Factory plants in Japan.

This inaugural Suntory Smart Factory site, located in Omachi, Nagano prefecture, Japan, will produce bottled mineral water and is scheduled to begin operations in summer 2021. Additional sites will consider following the innovation of their facilities throughout Japan. 

Suntory saw Parsable and its Connected Worker Platform as a critical partner for making the successful leap to a Smart Factory manufacturing environment. 

The Parsable Connected Worker Platform will be used to augment Suntory’s frontline worker experience, providing mobile-based, digital tools. The platform will be part of a broader ecosystem of advanced technologies that integrate the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, robotic automation, data lakes, and more into daily manufacturing and supply chain operations.

“Connected worker technology is now table stakes when industrial leaders consider how to improve the safety, productivity and efficiency of their workforce through digitalization,” said Lawrence Whittle, CEO, Parsable. “Suntory’s progressive Smart Factory initiative and investment in Parsable’s Connected Worker Platform show its dedication not only to digitally transforming CPG manufacturing, but also to creating the best working environment and opportunities for its frontline employees. This agreement also broadens Parsable’s footprint in Asia, which is a key market for us.”

With the integration of Parsable into Suntory’s operations systems, Suntory management can guide frontline personnel to perform tasks safely and accurately through multimedia, collaborative standardized work procedures on Parsable’s easy-to-use mobile app, eliminating the need for inefficient paper-based work instructions. Managers can access work execution data and trends via real-time dashboards that allow safety, quality and efficiency issues to be identified for immediate resolution and optimization. 

“We are excited to leverage all that the Parsable Connected Worker Platform has to offer. As we bring to life the concept of the Smart Factory and create the blueprint for highly advanced, environmentally friendly factories in the world, we must ensure that our personnel has the tools they need to more effectively execute their work on the production floor,” said Ryo Takayama, Senior General Manager, Engineering Department, Suntory Food & Beverage Ltd. “The concept of Industry 4.0 is not just reserved for processes and equipment; it needs to empower and connect workers as well.”

MindSphere World Establishes North American Chapter To Promote IoT Platform

The Profibus International office for North America has been a strong marketing arm supporting the spread of Prifibus/Profinet technology and products in the region. I’ve been wondering about what the future would be with the maturity of these networks. I did not know about Siemens’ work establishing a similar organization for its IoT platform—MindSphere. Here is news about a new chapter.

MindSphere World is a global community of companies and research institutions to jointly shape the future of IoT. Joining forces and sharing experiences enables members to keep pace with the rapidly changing digital world. MindSphere World was founded in 2018 by Siemens along with 18 partner companies to expand the ecosystem around MindSphere, the leading industrial IoT as a service solution. It has since expanded into a broad IoT community including the development of business models, proposals on requirements as well as recommendations to create uniform rules for the use of data. The association also promotes science, research, and education around the Industrial Internet of Things. MindSphere World comprises seven regional associations in Europe, Asia-Pacific, and North America.

Following is the specific news. I wonder where this will go.

In partnership with leading manufacturers and technology firms, MindSphere World has announced the formation of its newest chapter in North America. Founding Board of Directors members for this new chapter include representatives from Deloitte, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), IBM, Siemens, and Valiant TMS. Further founding member companies BEET, Edge2Web, Pure Precision, Gleason Corp, GROB Systems, Hardinge, MAYA HTT, Patti Engineering, TÜV SÜD, the University of Georgia, the University of South Carolina, and Wunderlich Malec Engineering form a powerful initial ecosystem of North American manufacturing interests. As one of the world’s premier IoT user associations, MindSphere World has expanded its scope to include the United States, Canada, and Mexico in order to help accelerate the adoption of Industrial IoT and drive the digital transformation of manufacturing in the region. 

MindSphere World’s mission is to create an environment in which thought leaders, research institutes, and manufacturers representing all sizes and markets can come together to network, develop standards, and explore best practices. The organization aims to create a platform for all North American manufacturers to convene, learn, and grow throughout their digital transformation.

“FCA is enthusiastic about our membership in MindSphere World North America. We are known for our technological strength and know that IoT is the next frontier of productivity, quality, and innovation. We believe that MindSphere World will help us to identify and implement standards and best practices more effectively,” said Steve Burris, Powertrain Controls Center of Competency, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.   

“As we move into a more digitalized manufacturing era, manufacturers must embrace the concept of acting in ecosystems. Siemens is committed to making this the preeminent industrial IoT organization in the world, powered by the best and brightest minds from North America’s industrial companies,” said Raj Batra, President of Siemens Digital Industries U.S.

“Over the past 10 years, Deloitte has been committed to narrowing the gap of how humans and machines work together, connecting data and driving innovation across every stage of the product lifecycle,” said Adam Mussomeli, principal and Supply Chain & Network Operations lead, Deloitte Consulting LLP. “The creation of MindSphere World North America is an important next step to continue that conversation and explore the endless potential of IoT and digital threads as we look to create the next frontier of digital transformation together.” 

As localized manufacturing efforts in the United States, Canada, and Mexico continue to grow, companies are struggling with how to start their digital journey and how to leverage digital tools most effectively. Part of that struggle includes the lack of standards or networks of like-minded organizations. MindSphere World offers the manufacturing industry a mechanism within an ecosystem to determine typical IoT business models and how to leverage them, identify industry-specific use cases, share best practices, and develop and implement more efficient digital solutions.

MindSphere World North America aims to create a platform for all manufacturers to convene, learn, and grow throughout their digital transformation.

Partnerships Allow AVEVA (and others) to Scale

I wrote about the Microsoft and AVEVA announced extension to their partnership a couple of weeks ago to focus on Microsoft cloud services—especially Microsoft Azure (infrastructure, data and AI services). Key focus areas include the connected worker and building a common Asset Strategy (Asset Performance).

Mario Joao, vice president of AVEVA charged with developing these partnerships and alliances, took some time to chat about the Microsoft partnership.

“The companies have had a long history of working together,” he told me. “Partnerships and alliances are the only way forward to scale our offerings to customers. The relationship was solely based on technology. Now, it encompasses more than that by adding sales and focusing on results.”

  • Transforming Industrial Workforce–much of the work is geared toward workforce, the user experience, use of Microsoft Teams, and workforce safety,
  • Microsoft Azure Cloud AI–enhancing cognitive search, working with Asset Performance Management,
  • Further adoption of cloud with Azure–many companies have adopted an industrial cloud strategy, but many are still evaluating with many astute questions regarding security, geo-location of the servers, safety of operations data,
  • Emphasize business value–especially to both OT and to IT teams,
  • Foster sustainability,
  • Note: Microsoft is hiring people with industry expertise,
  • Microsoft provides a platform; AVEVA builds on top with applications that add value to customers.