I have known Eddie Habibi, founder and CEO of PAS (now PAS Global) for about 20 years. So I’ve followed the development of his company for that long. There was alarm management, and process safety, and process asset management. And the company grew at a typical pace for the market.
Then he went all-in on process control system cybersecurity. He accepted some investment money, hired some pros in the field, and combined security with what the company was already known for.
The results are in the latest press release from PAS Global LLC where it announced a 45% increase in term revenue year-over-year and increased market recognition of its solutions.
In March 2019, the company introduced an expanded Cyber Integrity offering with risk analytics for continuous operational technology (OT) endpoint security. Following this milestone, the company marked record growth in the adoption of this solution across multiple geographies and verticals including the United States, Europe, and the Middle East with leading organizations in the chemicals and oil & gas industries, in particular.
A Fortune 50 independent petroleum refiner was challenged with increasing cybersecurity risks as they deployed connected technology to achieve faster and more efficient production operations. PAS Cyber Integrity was deployed as the foundation for the refiner’s OT cybersecurity program to create an automated, comprehensive, evergreen OT asset inventory and to more quickly identify and remediate security vulnerabilities. What used to take the company months to assess “critical” or “high” ICS-CERT vulnerabilities can now be done in minutes across all refineries.
A global, integrated oil & gas company operating across five continents is pursuing digital transformation to grow its business, enter new markets, and compete more effectively. Underpinning this initiative is a cloud-based analytics platform. The team chartered with this program sought to leverage their multi-vendor industrial control system (ICS) data and ensure reliable data flows from field-level devices to their data lake. They sought a platform-independent solution that could not only deliver this data, but also provide a topological view of assets and site connections, monitor configuration baselines, and manage change. Additionally, the company’s cybersecurity team sought a solution that could provide comprehensive OT asset inventory and rapid vulnerability assessment capabilities. PAS Automation Integrity and Cyber Integrity were selected to address these needs.
A major electronic materials firm with operations in North America and Asia sought to establish an enterprise-wide cybersecurity program on an aggressive schedule to eliminate gaps in visibility and security controls. Cyber Integrity was selected to automatically build a detailed OT asset inventory for each site, identify patch levels across systems, and implement change management workflows. The company now has the inventory and configuration visibility it needs to support digitalization efforts including data lake, 5G, and artificial intelligence initiatives.
“Industrial organizations are increasing investment in cybersecurity solutions specifically built for OT not only to reduce their overall cyber risk but to ensure they can accelerate their digital transformation efforts safely,” said Eddie Habibi, Founder and CEO of PAS. “We are pleased to be working with a growing list of global companies who are leveraging PAS Cyber Integrity to give them the foundation they need for managing industrial cyber risk.”
The company also saw significant year-over-year growth in purchases of its operations management and process safety solution, PlantState Suite.
“Of equal importance is the work we do to help companies improve process safety through effective operations management,” Habibi added. “We are pleased to have been recognized once again as the market leader for both alarm management and safety lifecycle management. This is a testament to the hard work of the PAS team over many years and the confidence our customers place in our solutions.”
PAS cybersecurity and process safety management solutions are installed in more than 70 countries in over 1,450 industrial facilities for over 535 customers, including 13 of the top 15 chemical companies, 13 of the top 15 refining companies, 7 of the top 20 power generation companies, 4 of the top 5 pulp and paper companies, and 3 of the top 5 mining companies in the world.
I was working with controls, instrumentation, computers, software when I traded it in for media work first with Control Engineering and then with Automation World. Through a lot of those media years, Honeywell was one of the Big Four or Five in process control and systems. Over the past 6-10 years, those big companies have diverged into differing specialities. It’s been interesting to observe that part of the industrial market.
Honeywell began leveraging expertise of its various divisions into wireless, mobile, and wearables. Much of the emphasis has been safety with a spillover effect into productivity.
Wearables comprise a growing market category with much promise. I’ve had the opportunity to try on a number of different products. These increasingly solve real world problems with ever reducing interference in the real work of the person.
In this latest release, Honeywell announced that Braskem Idesa has adopted a hands-free, wearable connected technology solution at its plant in Veracruz, Mexico. Honeywell’s Intelligent Wearables will allow Braskem Idesa to improve productivity and compliance with process procedures, capture the expertise of experienced workers and provide critical insights and information effectively to trainees and support workers in the field.
Honeywell is delivering a complete outcome-based solution that tracks specific key performance indicators and integrates hardware, software and services, and a full Wi-Fi infrastructure to support use of the solution across the plant. The wearable technology will also accelerate training and ensure safety for field operators at the Braskem Idesa facility.
“With this solution, Braskem Idesa is embracing the digital transformation that will enable us to retain our leadership in the petrochemicals industry,” said Roberto Velasco Gutiérrez, industrial director, Braskem Idesa. “Capturing all the relevant expertise and data within the organization and getting it to workers wherever and whenever needed, will help get trainees safely into the field faster and ensure that every worker operates to Braskem Idesa’s best standards.”
A comprehensive range of applications from Honeywell will boost the speed, safety and reliability of field workers thanks to the following services:
- Expert on Call: Provides field workers with live, real-time access to experts in the central control room or elsewhere for troubleshooting, support and advice
- Video support: Enables users to view videos demonstrating key tasks
- Paperless rounds: Provides step-by-step instructions for common and complex tasks
“Braskem Idesa has not only taken an important step toward Industry 4.0 but has now also replaced paper-based and manual operations with a sophisticated solution that’s both digital and wireless,” said Vincent Higgins, director of technology and innovation, Honeywell Connected Enterprise, Industrial. “Wearable, voice-controlled computer headsets and software eliminate the need for clipboards, pens, and flashlights. Our offering will help Braskem Idesa capture expertise and document critical tasks to ensure operational compliance.”
Honeywell’s solution for field worker competency and productivity enables Braskem Idesa to tie its plant performance directly to the performance of its workers, critical to the success of any industrial enterprise. By connecting field workers with remote advice, Honeywell Intelligent Wearables also reduce the need for site visits from experts, empower workers to continue learning, become their best and effectively share their knowledge with peers.
ARC’s annual Industry Forum gathering provided an opportunity rare these days of meeting with a wide variety of people and companies. Today’s post summarizes most of the rest of information gathered not previously published.
Interestingly, IIoT was not a major theme. Perhaps it underlies the other things. Most of the time we talked security and software. This round up involves Schneider Electric, Bedrock Automation, Bentley Systems, Siemens, and ioTium.
Profitable Safety for Industry
Schneider Electric has announced EcoStruxure Process Safety Advisor, an IIoT-based digital process safety platform and service that enables customers to visualize and analyze real-time hazardous events and risks to their enterprise-wide assets, operations and business performance.
Safety Advisor is built on Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure SIF Manager application for tracking and validating safety instrumented function (SIF) performance over the life of a plant. It provides a single view into the health and status of the user’s safety instrumented functions, which helps to identify potential risks and their impact on operations performance.
It also identifies the need to take corrective action via easy-to-understand performance dashboards and leading indicators for safety health and then documents the entire process using an embedded SIF audit trail that supports safety compliance.
Safety Advisor enables customers to understand their risks within minutes, and then act decisively to drive better business results.
Albert Rooyakkers, Bedrock Automation CEO, pointed to advances with Bedrock’s offering including “Zero Cost Software”, having an OSA Proxy, using MQTT Sparkplug-B secure, Role-Based access control, and a partnership with SI firm Wood Group.
Wood’s automation and control group will deliver Bedrock Open Secure Automation (OSA) to its clients in energy and industrial markets. Wood has active membership in The Open Process Automation Forum, which is focused on the development of a standards-based, open, secure, interoperable process control architecture.
“This partnership centers on combining our diverse capabilities and innovative solutions in automation with Bedrock’s OSAtechnology to bring open and secure systems to our clients, advancing our position as a world leading automation providerand bringing greater cyber protection to our client’s projects,” said Jeff Shannon, Senior Manager of Strategy and Development in Wood’s automation and control group.
Planning and Design Assessment Solutions for Grid Modernization
Bentley Systems announced availability of OpenUtilities DER Planning & Design Assessment Solutions that provide decision support and cost-based models and simulations for Distributed Energy Resources (DER) integration.
In partnership with Siemens’ Digital Grid business unit, OpenUtilities Solutions for DER empowers electric utilities, electricity suppliers, and distribution network operators (DSO) with software applications to analyze, design, and evaluate DER interconnection requests through desktop and cloud-based services, while supporting the reliability and resilience of network operations.
The solutions generate an electrical digital twin for utilities – a GIS digital twin that enables owner/operators to more efficiently model the grid for decentralized energy without compromising safety and reliability. Digital twins can provide huge efficiencies in grid operations by streamlining DER interconnection applications with optimized workflows to better assess operational impacts, long-term strategic scenarios and investment decisions.
OpenUtilities Design Optioneering advances OpenUtilities Analysis one step further with cost-based decision support for planning and designing complex utility networks with DER. The application provides the ability to analyze both planned and existing infrastructure, optimize equipment sizing, and estimate materials and labor costs for DER projects. This helps utilities minimize design construction costs associated with DER and streamline the DER interconnection process with detailed cost estimation included with the impact analysis studies.
Finally, I talked with Ron Victor of ioTium. The product consists of a soft node on, for example, a Dell Gateway device providing baked-in security. It runs as server in cloud enabling easier deployment.
ioTium’s IoT network isolates IT and OT network and data, preventing IT traffic from touching OT traffic and thus eliminating the possibility of backdoor threats. Further, ioTium isolates data streams from different sub-systems, preventing a compromise on one sub-system from affecting any other sub-system.
ioTium’s virtualized edge platform enables deployment, update and upgrade of edge services across thousands of remote sites in one click from the cloud, making analytics, DPI, machine learning, encryption, compression and more possible closer to the data source.
Let me try to summarize a number of other news items gleaned from the ARC Forum featuring edge computing, IIoT Platforms, and technology. When ARC’s Paul Miller told me it would be the best ever, he turned out not to be exaggerating. More people, more news.
Stratus Technologies, known for years for secure servers, released an edge computing device. Interest in computing at the edge of the network has blossomed lately, with many companies releasing products. Lots of choices for users.
Integration Objects, firmly within another important trend, introduced an Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) Platform. I’m beginning to see articles about users latching on to these platforms rather than building their own ad hoc connections among IoT devices and applications.
UL discussed standards with me during the show. The company known for developing safety standards and then testing for compliance has developed also a security standard. And it tests to it for compliance.
HIMA is another company combining safety and security technologies. There is so much in common between the two–especially thought processes and planning.
Yokogawa has extended and rebranded its process automation offering, now called Synaptic Business Automation. Among other things, it has refined the dashboard into a “karaoke” style.
Bentley Systems discussed the combining of engineering design tools with digital photography and other digital technologies to better represent the engineering and design of a plant. This is the most cutting edge technology I saw during the week, but I cannot do it justice in a paragraph. I encourage a tour of the Website.
Emerson Automation’s PlantWeb architecture has grown and morphed into a full blown Industrial Internet of Things platform. The redesigned and reinvigorated integrated architecture forms the foundation of Emerson’s new Operational Certainty initiative. This is the first of a few reports on the latest Emerson Automation news.
Steve Sonnenberg, recently elevated into the role of Chairman of Emerson Automation—the company formerly known as Emerson Process Management, introduced new Executive President Mike Train to the assembled customers and press at the 2016 edition of Emerson Global Users Exchange in Austin, Texas on Oct. 24. Train then introduced Operational Certainty.
The previous initiative was Project Certainty where the company strategists arrayed its existing and new products into a package that was designed to remove automation from the critical path of capital projects. These days capital projects are few and far between. Companies are scrambling to wring more profitability from existing assets. Therefore a new approach from Emerson that is obviously driven by its customers’ needs. Train says that this initiative will help wrest more than $1 trillion from operational losses globally.
Initiatives need benchmarks. Emerson introduced peer benchmarking on best practices to achieve Top Quartile performance in safety, reliability, production, and energy management. Top Quartile is defined as achieving operations and capital performance in the top 25 percent of peer companies.
The company is also launching a new Operational Certainty consulting practice plus expanded project execution methodologies and resources. Additionally, on October 24, the company will announce a new Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) digital ecosystem to provide the technology foundation for companies to securely implement Industrial IoT to achieve measurable business performance improvement.
A few examples of Emerson’s findings:
- In terms of safety, Top Quartile performers had one-third the number of safety incidents as compared to their average industry peers.
- In terms of asset reliability, Emerson found that Top Quartile performers spend half as much on maintenance compared with average performers and operate with an incremental 15 days of available production each year.
- In the domain of production, Top Quartile manufacturers spent 20 percent less on production-related expenses as compared to average producers.
- In the area of energy and emissions, the top 25 percent of producers spent one-third as much as the industry average on energy costs and had 30 percent less CO2 emissions.
I am a conservationist.
What that means is that I have a lifestyle of conserving and preserving. Especially nature. It doesn’t mean that I’m political. Or even anti-development.
On the other hand, I have ceased being political. Whether I’m “liberal” or “conservative” (as if anyone really knows what all falls under those labels!) bores me. Don’t care for the discussion.
But it’s a weird world. Take industrial risk management. I guess that there are many “conservationists” who do not want to build the oil pipeline known as Keystone. They are afraid of oil spills.
OK, that means one of two things–either they wish to live in a petroleum-free society or they endorse shipping massive amounts of oil across our nation via rail. I’d like to see them accomplish the former. And look at the unintended consequences of rail-based shipping, especially when we as a nation do not really care about upgrading the infrastructure.
If you study the comparative risks, oops, looks like pipelines are a better option.
One of my economics professors used to say that people never really vote their economic interests because they are voting emotions. Interesting observation think about it. Maybe the conservationists are actually achieving the opposite of their desired outcome. Wouldn’t be the first time in politics that happened. Won’t be the last.
Now, I’d never tell you to rush right out and email your congressperson. Even if they had not voted already, it would be too late. I’m in favor of the movement to require congresspersons to wear jackets like those the NASCAR drivers do–there’s a patch that shows who all their sponsors are!
But I do think that no matter your politics that you should stop and think that maybe you’re supporting an outcome that is exactly opposite of what you think you are.
It’s a good business and engineering idea, too. Maybe you’re too stuck on an idea that you’ve missed the real solution.