HighByte, an industrial software company, announced that HighByte Intelligence Hub Version 1.0 is now available. HighByte Intelligence Hub is the first DataOps solution purpose-built for industrial environments. DataOps is a new approach to data integration and security that aims to improve data quality, reduce time spent preparing data for analysis, and encourage cross-functional collaboration within data-driven organizations.
When HighByte emerged from stealth mode last September, I wrote about it here.
I am partial toward these startups that are not trying to boil the ocean but are instead focused on solving a problem. Take, for example, ThingWorx which enhanced PTC’s business through acquisition and then in turn impacted Rockwell Automation’s business through adoption of ThingWorx technology rather than trying to re-invent it internally.
Or Hitachi Vantara, which is an integration of several smaller companies and which has a thriving DataOps group I wrote more about during my visit to its conference.
HighByte Intelligence Hub enables Operations to securely connect, model, and flow valuable industrial data to the users and systems that require this valuable information throughout the extended enterprise. The platform-agnostic software solution runs on-premises at the Edge, securely connects devices and applications via OPC UA and MQTT, is built for scale, and offers a codeless user interface. HighByte has positioned the software solution as the missing data infrastructure link to achieving the vision of Smart Manufacturing and Industry 4.0.
“As the number of applications that need to turn raw data into usable information increases, the customer is faced with having to recreate models in every application or develop their own solutions that integrate with the various APIs. Either choice slows down the initial deployment of Industrial 4.0 initiatives, inhibits the ability to scale, and places a huge maintainability problem on the customer,” said HighByte CEO Tony Paine. “With HighByte Intelligence Hub, customers can standardize and maintain their data models in a single location, securely streamline information flows, and accelerate time to value for their Industry 4.0 investments.”
Many analysts write as if data in manufacturing is a new thing. That is not true. What is new are tools to obtain better data and transmit it faster to ever more robust databases. We’re sort of doing the same thing that I was trying to do in 1978, only better, faster, cheaper. DataOps is acknowledged as part of the IT technology stack. HighByte is filling a gap in the OT stack.
This will result in such benefits as predicting machine failure and therefore improving uptime, improving product quality, providing better service to customers, strengthening the supply chain, all of which makes customers happier leading to a more robust and profitable company. Of course, this presumes that management figures out how to implement all this.
General availability of HighByte Intelligence Hub was preceded by a global beta program that launched in September 2019. HighByte leveraged the program to collect technical and business feedback from nearly forty (40) manufacturers, distributors, and system integrators representing fifteen (15) countries in preparation for the company’s first commercial launch.
HighByte Intelligence Hub is available as a site license with an annual subscription.
I met John Dyck, an old friend from a couple of manufacturing software suppliers and former chair of MESA International, for lunch before Christmas to catch up on what’s happening at his latest gig—CEO of CESMII-The Smart Manufacturing Institute.
The leadership of the organization includes a few people I knew when I was following the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition several years ago. Primarily Jim Davis of UCLA who remains a leader and driving force for smart manufacturing in the US. (See this post, for example.)
Germany may have kicked off government-sponsored research for advanced manufacturing with Industrie 4.0, with China following, and then many others. CESMII along with several sister institutes embodies the US effort to promote smart manufacturing here.
I was aware of the formation of this and other institutes. In the ensuing couple of years, much has happened. John caught me up on progress, and I think you’ll see several progress updates here during 2020.
Following is some background and recent news from the Institute. It labels itself a Network of Networks. “CESMII is about transformation, made possible by collaboration. At our very essence is bringing together individuals, organizations and technologies to create one greater good.”
The term Smart Manufacturing (SM) seems to have caught on in the US as a label for the technologies and strategies involving the digital transformation. Some organizations such as MESA International and SME have embraced it, for example. According to CESMII, “Smart Manufacturing enables all information about the manufacturing process to be available when it is needed, where it is needed, and in the form it is needed across the entire manufacturing value-chain to power smart decisions. Islands of efficiency become interoperable, networked, and resilient solutions to drive transformational manufacturing enterprise performance for any size, level of technical sophistication, or resource availability at lower cost.”
Further, “Smart Manufacturing unlocks real-time data currently inaccessible or unused through new technology tools that realize benefits faster across the manufacturing enterprise.”
In recent news, CESMII announced plans to formally launch an Affinity Group focused on the needs of small-to-medium sized manufacturing enterprises (SMEs). This announcement is a continuation of the institute’s efforts to engage and empower smaller manufacturers, further demonstrated by CESMII’s previous commitment to make institute-directed project funds available in 2020 to small-to-medium enterprises, as appropriate.
CESMII CEO, John Dyck, said of the announcement, “CESMII’s first order of business is to democratize Smart Manufacturing, making it available to companies of all sizes. Small-to-medium manufacturers represent the overwhelming majority of manufacturing companies in the U.S., and it’s critically important we hear their voice and rise to their challenges. The new SME Affinity Group we’re launching and the potential funding we’re willing to allocate show how important we believe smaller manufacturers are to the revitalization of U.S. manufacturing and the strength of our nation.”
A CESMII Affinity Group is a group of members from the CESMII membership base that has an interest in a particular manufacturing sector or problem and works collaboratively to share experiences, perspectives and best practices. Affinity Groups are charged with examining a manufacturing sector or problem strategically, and its members bring their unique abilities, capabilities, and interests to engage the CESMII ecosystem, as needed or desired. Further, Affinity Groups formulate the proper approach to the manufacturing sector or problem for the application of Smart Manufacturing (SM) technologies or Education & Workforce Development (EWD) deliverables. There is no guarantee of CESMII project funds being allocated to any Affinity Group, but input from these groups provides direction for the Institute’s strategies and priorities.
Mr. Dyck continued, “CESMII has the mandate and the ability to empower smaller manufacturers to compete as 21st-century leaders. We are willing to launch a focused Affinity Group for small-to-medium manufacturers to show that we’re here for these companies and believe in them. We’re even willing to apportion a percentage of our project funding to support their needs. But, we need them to engage and lend their voice to shape our plans. We won’t release funds without well thought-out plans we expect will deliver value. We encourage all small-to-medium size manufacturers to come and be a part of our Smart Manufacturing ecosystem.”
CESMII is the United States’ national institute on Smart Manufacturing, driving cultural and technological transformation and secure industrial solutions as national imperatives. By enabling frictionless movement of information – raw and contextualized data – between real-time Operations and the people and systems that create value in and across Manufacturing organizations, CESMII is ensuring the power of information and innovation is at the fingertips of everyone who touches manufacturing.
The Institute is accelerating Smart Manufacturing (SM) adoption through the integration of advanced sensors, data (ingestion – contextualization – modeling – analytics), platforms and controls to radically impact manufacturing performance, through measurable improvements in areas such as: Quality, throughput, costs/profitability, safety, asset reliability and energy productivity. CESMII’s program and administrative home is with the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office.
Suppliers of manufacturing software, some from surprising places, are putting sizable investments into products that will help customers reap the rewards of digitalization. Today, I’m looking at both ABB and Emerson Automation Solutions. Previously I checked out GE Digital and Rockwell Automation. Each has taken a slightly different course toward the goal, but notice the common thread of enhancing software products to help customers prosper.
ABB enhances manufacturing management technology
The new version of ABB Ability Manufacturing Operations Management will offer new features including:
- Enhanced user experience based on new HTML 5 web client;
- A new smart interactive dashboard application that provides greater visibility and collaboration;
- A new statistical process control (SPC) application, to determine if each process is in a state of control;
- A new Batch Compare application – for advanced batch analysis.
“ABB Ability Manufacturing Operations Management is a comprehensive, scalable and modular software suite that optimizes visibility, knowledge and control throughout the operations domain,” said Narasimham Parimi, Head of Digital Products – Product Management, Process Control Platform. “This release provides a range of rich new functionality and a new enhanced user experience that enables operations to become more productive and responsive.”
ABB Ability Manufacturing Operations Management is designed to simplify production management by enabling performance monitoring, downtime management, and maintenance support, as well as providing statistical production analysis tools. It provides solutions and tools to facilitate the collection, consolidation and distribution of production, quality and energy information via the plant’s web-based reports, trends, and graphs.
A new, self-service dashboard application promotes increased collaboration, providing visibility from shop floor to top floor and spanning IT and OT environments. It increases data connectivity to all apps and modules within the MOM suite, combining historic and manufacturing data and providing the user with improved customization capabilities. Dashboards can be shared amongst users, further promoting collaboration between teams. Trends and events are displayed together, which enables customers to identify issues and opportunities enabling informed and timely decisions.
The new common services platform features an HTML 5 web platform that runs across all suites ensuring customers have a seamless user experience, so that applications can be viewed on different devices right down to a 10-inch tablet.
Statistical data process control (SPC) is used in manufacturing to determine if each process is in a state of control. The new SPC application works across all the different apps and modules and helps the user to improve quality and production related performance.
In addition to the existing Batch View and Batch Investigate features, a comparison option has been added to the platform’s batch analysis applications, allowing different types of comparison.
Cyber security remains one of the key issues in the advancement of Industry 4.0, and the new features in MOM include enhanced security.
Emerson Expands Analytics Platform
Plantweb Insight platform adds two new Pervasive Sensing applications that manage wireless networks more efficiently with a singular interface to the enterprise.
Emerson has added two new IIoT solutions to its Plantweb Insight data analytics platform that will enable industrial facilities to transform the way they manage their enterprise-level wireless network infrastructure.
As digitalization and wireless technology adoption continue to rapidly expand in industrial facilities throughout the world, the need for greater visibility of network infrastructure performance is key. These new Plantweb Insight applications provide a quick-to-implement, scalable IIoT solution that helps customers advance their digital transformation strategies and achieve greater operational efficiencies.
The new Plantweb Insight Network Management application provides continuous, centralized monitoring of WirelessHART networks. This first-of-its-kind application provides a singular, consolidated view of the status of all wireless networks in a facility, with embedded expertise and guidance for advanced network management.
A key feature of the Plantweb Insight Network Management application is a configurable mesh network diagram, providing visualization of network design and connections along with device-specific information. It also provides an exportable record of syslog alerts, network details outlining conformance to network best practices and more.
While the new network management application provides a holistic look at wireless networks, the Plantweb Insight Power Module Management application drills down to the device level, allowing facilities to keep their wireless devices appropriately powered so they can continuously transmit key monitoring data. By aggregating power module statuses, users can evolve traditional maintenance planning and implement more efficient and cost-effective practices.
“We were able to infuse a decade of experience with wireless technology into these new offerings,” said Brian Joe, wireless product manager with Emerson’s Automation Solutions business. “Our customers will now be able to manage and improve hundreds of networks through a singular interface, realizing significant efficiencies in individual network and wireless device management and maintenance.”
These new applications further enhance the Plantweb Insight platform, a set of pre-built analytics primarily focusing on monitoring key asset health. Other applications in the platform include pressure relief valve monitoring, heat exchanger monitoring and steam trap monitoring.
Proficy Historian 8.0, that GE Digital recently launched. It is aimed at addressing steadily increasing industrial data as the number of industrial edge devices and sensors increases. New significant enhancements to our industry-leading Historian software are aimed specifically at collecting and aggregating industrial data and extending data migration from edge to cloud. Key benefits include:
- Putting industrial data to work: this scalable solution comes with advanced trend analysis and modeling to help users put data in context with business needs
- Extending asset lifecycle: optimized data aggregation helps operators see around corners by monitoring asset performance, diagnosing asset issues and increasing efficiency
- Total integration: Proficy Historian is tightly integrated with other GE Digital applications, enabling operators to seamlessly manage processes and allowing systems to work together intuitively
I connected with Dan Lohmeyer, GE Digital SVP, Product Management, this week to get some insight into the new Historian along with all the other software in the portfolio. He referred often to the “New” GE Digital. It was reformed following a significant reorganization of GE corporate. The GE Digital CEO has referred publicly to the company as a $1.2 B software company.
With GE bringing in a new CEO from Danaher, and he brought in other Danaher and industrial executives, the company is growing from a Silicon Valley software company to an industrial software company. I think we are all going to have to step back and reevaluate the company and its offerings to see how it manages the changes and perhaps brings improved industrial solutions to market.
It could be good since we all need a new blend of IT and operations technology in order to serve production and the enterprise better.
This release provides customers with a scalable solution for data collection and aggregation across deployments of any size and extending data migration from edge to cloud. The powerful updates include tag mapping, advanced trend analysis with annotations, and the ability to define an asset model, allowing users to put data in context with business needs. As industrial software becomes increasingly vital to production and operations, GE Digital’s Proficy Historian 8.0 is a fundamental building block for industrial companies seeking to improve operational performance, increase efficiency and reduce downtime.
“GE aims to leapfrog market leaders as part of its overall hybrid cloud/premise data architecture initiative. If you haven’t settled on a historian or want to unify multiple historians in a cloud database ready for advanced analytics and enterprise performance management, take a look at Proficy Historian.” says Joe Perino, Analyst at LNS Research.
Today, industrial companies amass millions of data points that require analysis and interpretation throughout various aspects of the production and supply chain as they adopt more and more edge-to-cloud enabled systems across their operations. Proficy Historian collects and distributes data that improves asset lifecycle and performance, allowing customers like automotive leader Subaru, consumer packaged goods companies Toray Plastics and Cascade Tissue Group and water utilities such as the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati to derive greater business value and increase efficiency. It is also the ideal data collector for its cloud and on-premise based Asset Performance Management and Grid Optimization solutions in the power generation, transmission and oil & gas sectors.
“Our customers are demanding more from their data and their equipment, and often there is a disconnect with how one works with the other,” says Lohmeyer. “With GE Digital’s Proficy Historian, customers are able to collect data from any edge device to analyze and apply insights throughout their plant operations, while also easily migrating data across plants in large-scale deployments.”
The Proficy Historian software solution is tightly integrated with GE Digital’s Proficy HMI/SCADA applications, including CIMPLICITY and iFIX, and Proficy Manufacturing Execution Systems. This integration enables operators to seamlessly manage machinery and plant processes. GE Digital also introduced a Linux-based Proficy Historian earlier this year that creates a standard time-series product for edge analytic applications. The Linux version of Proficy Historian revolutionizes data collection by pushing machine data to the plant level instead of polling from higher level systems, providing a new, more efficient mechanism.
Proficy Historian 8.0 is now generally available and follows a number of other recent investments in product innovation and enhancements from GE Digital this year.
GE Digital is transforming how industry solves its toughest challenges. GE Digital’s mission is to bring simplicity, speed and scale to its customers’ digital transformation activities, with software that helps them to better operate, analyze and optimize their business processes. GE Digital’s product portfolio – including grid optimization and analytics, asset and operations performance management, and manufacturing operations and automation – helps industrial companies in the utility, power generation, oil & gas and manufacturing sectors put their industrial data to work.
Top Tens and Top Twenties of the past or future year have never been my favorites. However, one can perceive trends and strain out little nuggets of gold by scanning several. Especially industrial taken broadly along with Internet of Things (IoT) and other current digital trends. I just had an interesting chat with Sean Riley, Global Director of Manufacturing and Transportation for Software AG, who released his Top Ten for 2020.
Following are his ideas interspersed with a few of my comments.
Cost Management Becomes Exceptional
As uncertainty enters the global manufacturing outlook, enterprises will become myopically focused on cost reductions. This will drive organizations to find more efficient methods of providing IT support, leveraging supplier ecosystems and simplifying value chains. [GM-much of my early work was in cost management/reduction; this is a never-ending challenge in manufacturing; however, tools continue to evolve giving us more and better solutions.]
A Blurred Line Between Products & Services
Manufacturers continue their product innovation quest and more manufacturers will begin focusing on how to deliver products as a service. The Manufacturers that have already created smart products and have elevated service levels will now begin to work out the financing considerations needed to shift from a sales based to a usage based revenue model. [GM-This is a trend most likely still in its infancy, or maybe toddler-hood; we see new examples sprouting monthly.]
Moving To Redefine Cost Models To Match Future Revenue Streams
Anticipating the shift to continual revenue streams, manufacturers will seek to shift costs to be incurred in a similar manner. This will be initially seen as a continued push to subscription based IT applications. While much progress has already been made, a larger focus will occur. [GM-I like his idea here of balancing capital versus expense budgets, continually finding the best fund source for shifting costs.]
IT Focuses on Rapid Support for Growth
The lines between business and IT users become blurred as no-code applications allow for business users to create integration services. IT professionals will leverage DevOps & Agile methodologies alongside of microservices and containers to rapidly develop applications that are able to generate incremental growth as requested by business users. This will be critical to the near term success for manufacturers, especially with economic headwinds that seem to be growing stronger. [GM-I didn’t ask about DevOps, but this idea is springing into the industrial space; cloud and software-as-a-service provide scalability both up and down for IT to balance costs and services.]
Industrial Self-Service Analytics Become Mission Critical
Industrie 4.0 / Smart Manufacturing initiatives continue to receive greater amounts of investment but in the near term, manufacturers will focus on unleashing the power of the data they already have. Historians, LIMS, CMMS’ have valuable data going to and in them and enabling production engineers to leverage that data rapidly is critical. Industrial Self-Service Analytics that allow production and maintenance professionals to leverage predictive analytics without IT assistance will sought as a powerful differentiating factor. [GM-we are beginning to see some cool no-programming tools to help managers get data access more quickly.]
Industrie 4.0 / Smart Manufacturing Initiatives Continue to Draw Investment
It’s no surprise that Manufacturers will continue to invest in Industrie 4.0 as the promises are great however, the scaled returns have not been realized and won’t be realized in the near term. The difficult of implementing these initiatives has surpassed manufacturers expectations for several reasons. First, traditional OT companies were trusted to deliver exceptional, open platforms and that wasn’t delivered. Secondly, collaboration efforts between IT & OT professionals proved to be more convoluted and difficult than expected. [GM-I’m thinking these ideas became overblown and complex, and that is not a good thing; to swallow the whole enchilada causes stomach pain.]
Artificial Intelligence Enters the Mix
AI won’t allow for users to sit back and relax while AI handles all of their tasks for them but it will make an appearance in back office tasks. Freight payment auditing, invoice payment and, in some select areas, chatbots will be the initial main stream uses of AI and will be seen as not becoming an anomaly but be understood to be more mainstream this year. [GM-I think still an idea looking for a problem; however some AI ideas are finding homes a little at a time.]
3D Printing Find New Uses
While this technology has steadily crept into production lines, the push towards usage based product pricing will have the technology move into after market services. Slow moving parts will be the first target for this technology which will help to free up much needed working capital to support financial transformation. [GM-watch for better machines holding tighter tolerances making the technology more useful.]
5G & Edge Analytics Enable New Possibilities
As Industrie 4.0 is continued to be pursued, Manufacturers will implement new initiatives that could not previously be realized without the high speed data transmission promises of 5G or the ability to conduct advanced analytics at the edge where production occurs. This will also provide manufacturers with new methods to securely implement Smart Manufacturing initiatives and in new locations that were not previously feasible due to connectivity issues. [GM-5G is still pretty much a dream, but there is great potential for some day.]
Security Still Remains a Critical Focus
With the increasing rate of IoT sensors, IT-OT convergence, the usage of API’s and the interconnectivity of ecosystems ensuring data security remains a top priority for manufacturers. As more data becomes more available, the need to increase levels of security becomes ever greater. [GM-ah, yes, security–a never-ending problem.]
This announcement hits many trends and things you will eventually grow tired of hearing—partnerships, collaboration among companies, ecosystems, Kubernetes, containers, and, yes, 5G. The latter is coming. We just don’t know when and how, yet.
Wind River, a leader in delivering software for the intelligent edge, announced that it is collaborating with Dell EMC as a key hardware partner for distributed edge solutions. A combined software and hardware platform would integrate Wind River Cloud Platform, a Kubernetes-based software offering for managing edge cloud infrastructure, with Dell EMC PowerEdge server hardware. The initial target use case will be virtual RAN (vRAN) infrastructure for 5G networks.
“As telecom infrastructure continues to evolve, service providers are facing daunting challenges around deploying and managing a physically distributed, cloud native vRAN infrastructure,” said Paul Miller, vice president of Telecommunications at Wind River. “By working with Dell EMC to pre-integrate our technologies into a reference distributed cloud solution, we can cost-effectively deliver carrier grade performance, massive scalability, and rapid service instantiation to service providers as their foundation for 5G networks.”
“In a 5G world, new services and applications will not be driven by massively scaled, centralized data centers but by intelligently distributed systems built at the network edge,” said Kevin Shatzkamer, vice president of Enterprise and Service Provider Strategy and Solutions at Dell EMC. “The combination of Dell EMC and Wind River technology creates a foundation for a complete, pre-integrated distributed cloud solution that delivers unrivaled reliability and performance, massive scalability, and significant cost savings compared to conventional RAN architectures. The solution will provide CSPs with what they need to migrate to 5G vRAN and better realize a cloud computing future.”
Wind River Cloud Platform combines a fully cloud-native, Kubernetes and container-based architecture with the ability to manage a truly physically and geographically separated infrastructure for vRAN and core data center sites. Cloud Platform delivers single pane of glass, zero-touch automated management of thousands of nodes.
Dell EMC hardware delivers potent compute power, high performance and high capacity memory is well suited to low-latency applications.
A commercial implementation of the open source project StarlingX, Cloud Platform scales from a single compute node at the network edge, up to thousands of nodes in the core to meet the needs of high value applications. With deterministic low latency required by edge applications and tools that make the distributed edge manageable, Cloud Platform provides a container-based infrastructure for edge implementations in scalable solutions ready for production.