What can you do when you have a product, but its lifecycle appears to be nearing saturation? Turn to services. That’s what all the big boys are doing. So also is Ocean Data Systems. Known for Dream Report, the company is launching Dream Report Professional Services.
New Dream Report services include:
• Project development
• Technical audits and review of existing projects
• Technical consulting and applying best practices
• Development of custom reporting objects and custom communication drivers
• Fundamental, advanced, and custom training programs
These and other customized initiatives offered by the newly formed services team will significantly increase user satisfaction by optimizing the value of their Dream Report software.
The professional services team is comprised of experts with in-depth regulatory and compliance expertise. Training and project consulting experts draw on an extensive knowledge base of product use cases, technical hints, and best practices. Direct access to Dream Report R&D will also give users a faster path to key technology experts, who can solve complexities and challenges in reporting. The Dream Report Services project development team members, experienced with a wide variety of automation platforms and product implementations, will deliver unique insights on how to achieve specific and customized requirements that drive ROI.
My first digital transformation project in manufacturing was in 1978. We had an IBM Series 3 minicomputer. I procured (leased) a set of programs from IBM. There were classes and other training. I remember a trip to New York City. We put all current engineering data on that little machine (not nearly as powerful as the thing in my lap that I’m typing on). Then…the market tanked, the company was sold, the president was fired by the corporate overlords, the new president fired my boss the vice president, the new vice president fired me (stuff runs down hill).
But they couldn’t take away the learning.
That’s why I look with prejudiced eye at the marketing and analyst aspect of today’s articles on digital transformation. We’ve been at it for a long time.
On the other hand—
- Compute platforms grow ever more powerful
- Databases become ever better servants of our data needs
- Organizations grow to incorporate new digital realities
New products and services that help end users get better at this digital journey provide needed support. Aside from hype, these are good.
At the ARC Industry Leadership Forum in Orlando February 6-9 this year, I had a chance to listen to people from Schneider Electric describe their new offering. I’m sure many customers will find it quite useful.
- Industrial Digital Transformation Consulting and Deployment Service
- Specialized end-to-end service to accelerate successful digital transformation strategic planning and implementation for industrial businesses
- Sustainability, industrial performance, digital operations, and energy management experts to drive transformation at enterprise and local levels
Industrial Digital Transformation Services offering is designed to help industrial enterprises achieve future-ready, innovative, sustainable, and effective end-to-end digital transformation. (OK, that was the marketing hype.)
The targeted benefits include:
- operational efficiency and workforce empowerment
- sustainability and energy efficiency
- asset optimization
And, I’ll close by giving you a quote from the organization leader:
“Successful industrial digital transformation requires a global vision that is agile enough to support local needs,” said Marc Fromager, SVP Industrial Automation Services, Schneider Electric. “Successful programs encompass efficiency, sustainability, and employee empowerment, underpinned by robust cybersecurity. What elevates Schneider Electric is our unmatched combination of digital transformation experience across a myriad of industries, supported by our world-leading energy management and automation technology and software—all delivered by local experts with the full backing of our global teams.”
The control and automation market I’ve been in since the late 90s has definitely become a software market. Yes, the main players that remain do still have their legacy controllers, instrumentation, sensors, and networking. The excitement that remains is mainly software and services. Domain expertise within the supplier community becomes increasingly important.
I was coming off a vacation (not planned by me) and couldn’t work out the logistics of making it to Dallas. I kept up with things through press releases and reports from social media guru Jim Cahill. I survived missing presentations by the inimitable CTO Peter Zornio. News came through, anyway.
Announcement summaries follow.
This next-generation architecture will empower companies through “boundless automation” to manage, connect and deliver operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT) data seamlessly and easily across the enterprise. Moving data freely and securely across OT and IT domains – from the intelligent field to the edge and cloud – will enable operational and business performance optimization across the enterprise.
It really is all about the data.
Check out Jim Cahill’s report.
- Emerson’s Latest Control System Update Lays Foundation for Software-Driven, Data-Centric Automation Platform
- DeltaV version 15 helps drive faster, easier digital transformation to accelerate IT/OT convergence, enabling easy upgrades and modernization
PlantWeb plus recent acquisition AspenTech = Emerson’s Plantweb digital ecosystem, optimized by AspenTech, enables industrial manufacturers across all industries to “See, Decide, Act and Optimize” their operations. Leveraging a robust suite of sensors, software and control technologies, Plantweb now enables companies to optimize the business and sustainability performance of their plants and enterprise through advanced asset and business optimization software.
Movicon.NExT 4.2 is a flexible, modular platform that provides local HMI, supervision and analytics that scale from small IIoT or WebHMI applications on embedded Linux devices to large Windows server systems, allowing users to achieve sustainability and performance improvements, one step at a time, easily and cost effectively.
Emerson has released DeltaV IO.CONNECT, a new subscription software service designed to help plants simplify modernization with an open architecture pathway that makes it possible to transition to more efficient control schemes without the need to completely overhaul existing infrastructure. In a traditional plant with tens of thousands of I/O points and many controllers, this can save hundreds or thousands of hours of labor and up to 40% of the capital required for a total rip-and-replace upgrade.
Southern California Gas (SoCalGas), a regulated subsidiary of Sempra, has selected Emerson’s digital technologies, software and services to demonstrate the resiliency and reliability of its new [H2] Innovation Experience in Southern California. One of the first microgrid projects of its kind in the United States, the [H2] Innovation Experience is a technology demonstration that aims to show how carbon-free gas made from renewable electricity can be used in pure form or as a blend to fuel clean energy systems of the future.
Here are two interesting announcements from Rockwell Automation this month. DataOps and asset management subscription service—both technologies for the future.
IT companies have been touting edge-to-cloud architectures for several years. I’ve followed several of those companies until they decided there’s not enough revenue from the industrial market to satisfy them. Industrial technology suppliers have been notoriously slow to adopt new technologies. But the pace is picking up.
In my next post after this one, I’ll discuss another industrial company who has discovered edge-to-cloud as a promising architecture of the future. Rockwell Automation beat them by few days. I have two announcements from Rockwell from last week revealing that company’s continued advance into software and IT-related technologies. Some executive sources in the industry have told me that Wall Street is driving much of this strategy by valuing software companies over hardware companies.
Check out Rockwell’s investment in and subsequent partnership with PTC that enhanced its software connectivity of automation to IT. Then acquisitions of Plex and Fiix to get into the cloud. Now a partnership with Cognite for a data hub—yet another key component.
- Strategic partnership to develop a unified, edge-to-cloud industrial data hub offering
- Combines Rockwell’s FactoryTalk software with Cognite’s Industrial DataOps platform Data Fusion [Note: I’m on record somewhere predicting DataOps as a cool tool for the future.]
My Equipment Subscription
I always forget that often when Rockwell talks asset management, it’s not the same thing as when a process automation company discusses it. In Rockwell speak, this means keeping track of Rockwell assets in a manufacturing company.
- My Equipment Digital enables digital collection and updating of industrial automation asset data through the use of network-based devices.
- The digital collection method includes firmware information and a one-time vulnerability assessment.
- Customers can self-manage and track their installed base automation assets
- The self-manage feature can be added to an Installed Base Evaluation (IBE service) and is included in the My Equipment Digital and My Equipment Managed offerings.
- Mitigate network risks if legacy products and/or unmanaged switches are found
- Review modernization potential to determine risks and productivity improvement opportunities by identifying which older products may be less expensive to repair than to buy new
- Provide adequate remote support coverage by confirming that the most prevalent technical segments are covered
- Reduce costs through the optimization of asset and spares strategies by comparing storeroom data to the installed base, and the identification of warranty savings
Rockwell Automation Expands Threat Detection Offering through Managed Services
In many ways the tech industry—consumer and industrial including even Apple—is moving from product-centric to finding ways to promote continuing revenue through service offerings. This example comes via Rockwell Automation.
Rockwell Automation launched the new Threat Detection Managed Services offering in early 2022 providing customers with application-level, real-time monitoring, and response services to help detect, identify, contain, eradicate, and recover from a cyber incident. This is a cloud-based service focusing on both Cisco and Claroty threat detection software.
- 24/7 security alert monitoring
- 24/7 hardware health monitoring
- System tuning
- Software update administration
- Backup administration
- Value reporting
Rockwell Automation Simplifies Sizing, Selection of Motion Control Components with New FactoryTalk Motion Analyzer
I appreciate the efforts of companies to automate and optimize everyday activities such as all the work involved with designing and implementing motion control. This is a new release from Rockwell Automation.
FactoryTalk Motion Analyzer software enables users to select, analyze and validate their system components using new intuitive workflows and comparison tools. It is now available for download on the Rockwell Automation website.
FactoryTalk Motion Analyzer consists of a comprehensive component library that allows the analysis of a wide-variety of user-defined applications. Designers can select their system using a combination of Kinetix motors, Kinetix drives, select PowerFlex drives and third-party components such as gearboxes from Rockwell Automation Technology Partners. They can choose from pre-built application templates or by start with a blank template adding components and motion profiles to define the ideal machine.
Craig Duckworth, President and Co-Founder of Velta Technology, spoke with me shortly before I left for two conferences. I’m catching up, slowly. You may not have heard of Velta Technology. It’s just four years old. They are trying to find a niche within the cybersecurity market without being just another packet sniffing or intrusion detection company.
The company doesn’t sell just one product family. It relies on working with partners such as Claroty and Cisco to bring solutions to customers. It is comprised of multi-disciplinary industrial manufacturing and critical infrastructure experts. “We understand the differences between industrial and IT infrastructures, as well as the toolsets required to secure them.” In this regard, they are one of the companies attempting to bring IT and OT to the same table.
“Our experience and partnerships with the world’s leading solution providers in the industrial space allow us to integrate cybersecurity solutions with existing technologies. We bridge the gap in expertise and understanding from industrial assets on the plant floor across to the enterprise.”
Much of our conversation focused on risk. He talked about the role of the customer company’s board of directors as the key leadership element in focusing management on cybersecurity in order to mitigate risks of cyber intrusions. Velta works with customers to implement solutions to retrieve data and organize risk. They recognize that many IT trusted tools simply are not effective or even possible in the operations environment.
Here’s a summary of the company’s offering:
- Technology & Tools
- End-to-End Protection
- Industrial Hardened Platforms : Appliances, Enclosures, Networking
- Continuous Monitoring : Ability to see real time performance and threats
- Secure Remote Access : With full Audit Tracking and Controls
- Industrial Endpoint Protection : The definitive protection in the industry
- Connected Devices Vulnerability Index (CDV Index): Identify your supply chain risks
- Visibility & Digital Safety
- Velta Technology Visibility Program : Real-time visibility into the assets in your industrial environment, behavior anomalies, security threats and vulnerabilities. More than simply a moment-in-time Risk Assessment.
- Velta Technology Digital Safety Standards : A continuous improvement methodology that supports protection of industrial assets. Covers everything from cybersecurity threats to process integrity issues that can impact environmental and human harm.
- Service and Support Options
- Strategy & Advisory Support : Recommendations, designs and roadmaps to navigate safety maturity for industrial asset networks.
- Deployment : From onsite Basic installation and configuration to Enhanced assistance for a full year.
- Operationalize : Build programs for existing or new platforms to improve value and mitigation in your local environment
- Managed Services : Basic/Standard/Premier options to deliver full-platform and resources for your organization.