Seeq Announces Enterprise and Team Editions for Its Analytics Solutions

Seeq has developed some pretty cool analytics solutions. This announcement seems to be just some repackaging and rebranding of components, but it serves as a refresher for its suite of products.

New editions address end-user deployment requirements from individual plants and facilities 
to multi-plant enterprise and cloud deployments.

Seeq Corporation, a leader in manufacturing and industrial internet of things (IIoT) advanced analytics software, announces a new packaging of Seeq features and applications as Seeq Team and Seeq Enterprise editions. These editions address the needs of customers from a local water utility to a multi-national chemical, pharmaceutical, or oil & gas company.

Both Seeq editions, which run best as SaaS on AWS or Microsoft Azure, represent the culmination of learning and experiences with hundreds of Seeq deployments in process manufacturing organizations. For these manufacturers, Seeq enables advanced analytics insights to improve production and business outcomes across their organizations.

Seeq Cortex, a renaming of Seeq Server, is included in both editions and is the execution engine that delivers key features, including multi-source and type data connectivity, security, calculation scalability, and other features. Seeq Cortex ensures immediate and long-term support for customer data architectures and IT requirements.

“Seeq Cortex enables immediate access to analytics innovation with existing data architectures and silos, while also supporting customer data roadmaps and strategies on the cloud,” says Steve Sliwa, CEO and Co-Founder Seeq Corporation. “Cortex is the backbone of the predictive, diagnostic, machine learning, and descriptive analytics used by customers around the globe.”

Cortex benefits include:

·       Abstraction of data sources with high-speed connectivity to multiple and diverse time series and contextual data sources, including historians and SQL-based data sources.

·       Calculation speed with a highly parallelized, time-series specific engine to enable fast execution of analytics including data interpolation, filtering, cleansing, and modeling.

·       Data security and user access control through integration with OSIsoft PI for tag-level access control, or organizations may implement their own governance policies.

Seeq Team is optimized for new deployments in a single site facility such as a water utility or power generation plant with a limited number of time series and contextual data sources, or for the first usage of Seeq by a workgroup within a larger organization. Quick and easy deployment of Seeq and resulting ROI will demonstrate the benefit of leveraging existing data and expertise to improve production outcomes.

Seeq Enterprise is designed for complex single-plant, multi-site, or enterprise deployments with hundreds or thousands of users. It includes support for more complex data sources such as data lakes and ERP systems, along with features for integrating OT and IT data science teams driving digital transformation initiatives. Features specific to Seeq Enterprise include:

·       Seeq Data Lab is built on Jupyter Notebooks to enable easy Python access to Seeq functionality and to the vast library of open source modules and algorithms.

·       Unlimited Seeq users: Seeq Enterprise does not have a limit on number of users.

·       More and complex data sources: Seeq Enterprise supports up to 10 connections including data sources such as data lakes, ERP, and non-SQL databases.

·       Audit trail support: Seeq Enterprise includes features and administration tools for customers in regulated industries including support for CFR Part 11.

·       Data visualization tools: Seeq Enterprise supports data integration with BI and process applications such as Tableau, PowerBI, Spotfire and OSIsoft PI Vision.

In addition to support for large deployments with Seeq Enterprise, Seeq also has a licensing option for indirect usage of Seeq through its REST API and related software development kits for Java, C#, and Python, and Seeq connectivity to more than 10 enterprise data sources. This license, the Seeq Strategic Agreement, is appropriate for Seeq customers who require these capabilities and are making a multi-year commitment to Seeq success within their organization

“Seeq continues to release compelling analytics solutions for end users in process manufacturing and Industry 4.0 engagements,” comments Janice Abel, Principal Analyst at ARC Advisory Group. “The need for the faster and better insights provided by Seeq is a consistent requirement for organizations investing in IIoT and Smart Manufacturing.”

Seeq’s rapid growth is being fueled in part by its partnerships and commitment to cloud-based computing. Seeq is available in the AWS marketplace and is an AWS Industrial Competency Partner. On Microsoft Azure, Seeq has been available in the Azure Marketplace since 2019 and was recognized last year as a 2020 Microsoft Energy Partner of the Year Finalist.

Google Funds Linux Kernel Developers to Focus Exclusively on Security

As our world in manufacturing technology moves ever more quickly into software, open-source software becomes more prominent. This news is significant given funding from Google and the amount of work going on at the Linux Foundation that is benefiting manufacturing.

Google and the Linux Foundation announced they are prioritizing funds to underwrite two full-time maintainers for Linux kernel security development, Gustavo Silva and Nathan Chancellor. 

Silva and Chancellor’s exclusive focus is to maintain and improve kernel security and associated initiatives in order to ensure the world’s most pervasive open-source software project is sustainable for decades to come. 

The Linux Foundation’s Open Source Security Foundation (OpenSSF) and the Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard(LISH) recently published an open source contributor survey report that identified a need for additional work on security in open source software, which includes the massively pervasive Linux operating system. Linux is fueled by more than 20,000 contributors and as of August 2020, one million commits. While there are thousands of Linux kernel developers, all of whom take security into consideration as the due course of their work, this contribution from Google to underwrite two full-time Linux security maintainers signals the importance of security in the ongoing sustainability of open-source software. 

“At Google, security is always top of mind and we understand the critical role it plays to the sustainability of open-source software,” said Dan Lorenc, Staff Software Engineer, Google. “We’re honored to support the efforts of both Gustavo Silva and Nathan Chancellor as they work to enhance the security of the Linux kernel.”

Chancellor’s work will be focused on triaging and fixing all bugs found with Clang/LLVM compilers while working on establishing continuous integration systems to support this work ongoing. Once those aims are well-established, he plans to begin adding features and polish to the kernel using these compiler technologies. Chancellor has been working on the Linux kernel for four and a half years. Two years ago, Chancellor started contributing to mainline Linux under the ClangBuiltLinux project, which is a collaborative effort to get the Linux kernel building with Clang and LLVM compiler tools.

“I hope that more and more people will start to use the LLVM compiler infrastructure project and contribute fixes to it and the kernel – it will go a long way towards improving Linux security for everyone,” said Chancellor, Linux maintainer. 

Gustavo Silva’s full-time Linux security work is currently dedicated to eliminating several classes of buffer overflows by transforming all instances of zero-length and one-element arrays into flexible-array members, which is the preferred and least error-prone mechanism to declare such variable-length types. Additionally, he is actively focusing on fixing bugs before they hit the mainline, while also proactively developing defense mechanisms that cut off whole classes of vulnerabilities. Silva sent his first kernel patch in 2010 and today is an active member of the Kernel Self Protection Project(KSPP). He is consistently one of the top five most active kernel developers since 2017 with more than 2,000 commits in mainline. Silva’s work has impacted 27 different stable trees, going all the way down to Linux v3.16. 

“We are working towards building a high-quality kernel that is reliable, robust and more resistant to attack every time,” said Silva, Linux maintainer. “Through these efforts, we hope people, maintainers in particular, will recognize the importance of adopting changes that will make their code less prone to common errors.”

“Ensuring the security of the Linux kernel is extremely important as it’s a critical part of modern computing and infrastructure. It requires us all to assist in any way we can to ensure that it is sustainably secure,” said David A. Wheeler, the Linux Foundation. “We extend a special thanks to Google for underwriting Gustavo and Nathan’s Linux kernel security development work along with a thank you to all the maintainers, developers and organizations who have made the Linux kernel a collaborative global success.”

Funding Linux kernel security and development is a collaborative effort, supported by the world’s largest companies that depend on the Linux operating system. To support work like this, discussions are taking place in the Securing Critical Projects Working Group inside the OpenSSF

GE Digital Updates CIMPLICITY HMI/SCADA and Tracker For Centralized and Remote Operations

GE Digital has updated a couple of its HMI/SCADA and MES products to work with Proficy Operations Hub making it available for remote operations. The release follows.

  • New releases deliver increased integration with Proficy Operations Hub and Proficy Historian to provide centralized web-based visualization, control, and data in context
  • Proven multi-purpose, multi-industry HMI/SCADA and MES routing solutions are highly scalable and offer powerful development tools to promote efficient operations

GE Digital unveiled enhancements to its CIMPLICITY and Tracker software that provide decision support for operators to make them more efficient. CIMPLICITY HMI/SCADA provides client-server visualization to precisely monitor and control operations. Tracker, part of GE Digital’s Proficy Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) offering, automates routing and sequencing to accelerate time to market, reduce warranty and recall exposure, and support Lean operations and building right the first time.

Key to these newest versions is Proficy Operations Hub integration. Centralizing operations with Operations Hub enables businesses with multiple locations or large sites to centralize operational views and enables remote access to information and control to support site operations, increasing efficiency and reducing downtime.

“Today’s digital plant and its mobile, connected workforce accelerate and sustain continuous improvement to drive greater productivity and efficiency, lower total cost of ownership, and increase profitability,” said Richard Kenedi, General Manager for GE Digital’s Manufacturing and Digital Plant business. “Connected workers enable industrial companies to accelerate digitization enabling more advanced insights into operations. Whether you are looking at multiple sites that you need to manage or you have multiple applications at a site, centralizing views makes operations more efficient.”

Providing a single-entry point for operations, CIMPLICITY enables a consistent, paperless view for operators, plant management, and quality personnel. The new Operations Hub Widget for viewing CIMPLICITY provides multi-site views for Lean operations, offers reduced training through consistent operator experience, and leverages displays and data from existing installs. The new Widget also allows for mashup displays of CIMPLICITY and other Proficy application screens in Web Apps, in context.

Another new feature is multi-user development for Tracker, which accelerates configuration and deployment. Tracker is a comprehensive routing, tracking and order execution management system that helps manufacturers raise productivity and cut costs by monitoring and managing the execution of production orders. It is ideal for high volume, high variability, and high value operations. Combined with CIMPLICITY, Tracker is a unique, proven solution that increases throughput with detailed, continuous information to help manufacturers make the best decisions. It enables faster time-to-market with powerful order execution and reduces risk in the manufacturing process by minimizing recalls with genealogy and traceability data for audit trails and regulatory compliance. Supporting Lean initiatives, Tracker helps manufacturers and suppliers understand real-time sequence requirements and handle situations that occur on the plant floor when the sequence is broken –enabling manufacturers to build right the first time. It helps facilitate a large reduction in WIP inventories along with finished goods inventories while meeting production targets.

Both CIMPLICITY and Tracker are available now. 

MES for Small to Medium Manufacturers

Anna reached out from Poland to comment on my Website informing me of a new MES product specifically targeted to small-to-medium-sized companies called Prodio. Eventually we set up an interview with company founder and leader Marek Mrowiec.

The product is simple to buy, set up, and use—perfect for smaller businesses that typically lack the “luxury” of an IT department. It’s a production scheduling software housed in the cloud. It performs many of the functions common to traditional MES at a fraction of the cost, requiring no team of consultants to install, and easy for the entire team to use.

Prodio sells in Poland, Romania, and is expanding in central Europe. However, there is an English version and the company representatives can converse well in English. Since it is cloud-based, location does not matter. Curious business owners can go to the website and simply try it out.

Why should a company buy the software? Mrowiec told me this story of a customer. The owner discovered that there had been a scam going on for quite a long time. Night shift workers and a foreman “opened” their own company inside his company, committing extra orders, taking side jobs, and stealing the customers. They used all the machines and materials during their working hours. When Prodio was implemented, they were forced to quit because it was no longer possible to hide their unfair practice. To this day, the company hires fewer than ten people (comparing to 20 workers previously) having the same number of machines as yet, and the staff loves Prodio.

Prodio always had in mind serving a customer base of small-to-mid-sized companies. At present, it has more than 200 customer companies, half of them hiring less than ten staff, 40% of the companies employ 10-25 people, and only 10% are larger enterprises. 

Prodio grew out of Mrowiec’s experience working for his father at the family manufacturing business. Like many ideas, the product grew from solving their customers’ problems. Originally developing the idea in Microsoft Excel, then moving to Google docs in order to leverage the Web. But that technology did not scale to handle the amount of data the customers were generating. “These tools I created seemed irreplaceable, and many companies couldn’t imagine life without using them. However, as time passed, more and more problems appeared: obviously, neither Excel nor Google docs were designed to process such an amount of information simultaneously.”

“Some of my clients asked me to change Excel sheets to easy to implement ERP systems. I was supposed to oversee the whole process as an independent consultant and ensure that the implementation went smoothly. There were at least three such projects, and each of them faced similar problems: the simple Excel tools I’d created proved to be far more useful than the new ones, which cost the company 30-50 thousand dollars. It seemed to be impossible to achieve the same functionality using expensive ERP systems. My clients became more and more stressed and frustrated because the companies which sold them new products weren’t keen on improved functionality or increased productivity.”

“After about year and a half, another company noticed that even though the ERP system had been introduced, they still carry on using “my” Excel sheets and Google Docs (although not everything worked perfectly because of the amount of data to process) had a light bulb moment. Why don’t we create a simple software based on the same idea as Google Docs and Excel sheets?”

ERP systems with MES work well in the large companies, with recurrent production, mainly because of co-operation with the numerous suppliers, and components which must be delivered on time. In small companies, you have to fill lots of forms with different data would be suicide, not a facilitator. Imagine a situation where there is an order form where you need one ton of metal sheet, but you can’t use it because this material was assigned to a different order in the system. Although you have it physically in stock, you can’t do anything about it, because of inventory mistake.

We see our product as the first step for small and medium-sized companies on their way to technological transformation in the spirit of 4.0 Industrial revolution. The data collected via Prodio can inspire to buy other machines, to automate, become more advanced. From that perspective, Prodio supports transformation – it is a solid foundation for the company to base on further development decisions. Prodio means the end of chaos, order and organisation, insight into possibilities of growth. All of the above is possible without physical presence 24/7 at the shop floor because the progress is monitored from your smartphone, and orders are scheduled online.

Podcast 220 Software is Eating the Manufacturing World

“We tend to overestimate risk and under estimate value when we’re evaluating digital technology implementation,” stated a keynoter during the 25th annual ARC Advisory Group Forum. Another keynoter told us that if we are evaluating digital transformation initiatives using a spreadsheet, we are off base. Some things have too great a risk of not doing. A Wall Street analyst told us that over the past year industrial software companies outperformed industrial companies. Software for digital transformation is where it’s at. Check out the new Schneider Electric initiative promoting software defined control based on IEC 61499. This is an outgrowth of the Open Process Automation initiative that seems to be gathering some momentum. Software is eating the world–or at least the industrial one.

Manufacturing SaaS Platform Tracks Material Flow, Not Assets

I recently heard about a new company, ThinkIQ talking with Niels Andersen, someone I’ve known in the industrial software business for (ahem) many years. We conferenced in Brian Anderson, also with ThinkIQ to introduce me to a different take on industrial software–Track material flow, not assets.

Industrial companies are facing disruptions. The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing how things are made, bought, used, and shared. The always-on, always-connected world is changing how consumers expect to conduct business. The combination of Big-Data Analytics, Machine Learning and Cloud computing is changing how applications are built and what they can do.

They told me about embracing digital transformation to run a supply chain more efficiently and collaboratively, make its products safer, and increase the quality of the output, all whilst driving down costs.

ThinkIQ developed what it dubs Digital Manufacturing Transformation SaaS. It delivers material traceability and insight into ways to improve yield, quality, safety, compliance, and brand confidence. “Our fact-based granular and data-centric contextualized view of material flows and related provenance attribute data integrates into existing IoT infrastructures and crosses supply chains to manufacturing processes and beyond. Our customers have saved $10’s of millions by identifying waste and underperforming assets, as well as reducing warranty reserves for quality and safety issues.”

The occasion for the conversation was a recent release of new functionalities.

New functionalities improve yield, quality, safety, compliance, and brand confidence while reducing waste and environmental impact.

ThinkIQ, a pioneer of digital manufacturing transformation SaaS driving continuous intelligence on the shop floor and throughout the global supply chain, today announced added functionality to its SaaS Manufacturing platform. This new release adds significant product enhancements, which include UI components that allows customers to build custom dashboards, simplified analysis of time series data, and reusable type systems that help to accelerate deployment.

In this release, ThinkIQ addresses core issues that have hindered broad adoption of manufacturing analytics with features that power continuous intelligence driven by sensor data and control systems rather than transactional capabilities.

The new added functionality adds to ThinkIQ’s platform which delivers fact-based granular and a data-centric view of material flows and related providence attribute data. The platform integrates into existing IoT infrastructure to help manage everything from supply chains to manufacturing processes and beyond. These added capabilities will continue to build upon ThinkIQ’s unprecedented material traceability and insight which helps manufacturers improve yield, quality, safety, compliance and brand confidence while reducing waste and environmental impact.

“Most manufacturing systems are transactional in nature, which creates a disconnect between the transactional information systems and the real-life continuous nature of the processes,” said Niels Andersen, CPO of ThinkIQ. “This has limited manufacturers’ ability to analyze operations and find opportunities for improvements. Traditional data lakes do not structure manufacturing data in a reusable schema that is easy to analyze, which results in a vast amount of custom code being written for every analytics scenario where every dashboard has to be created from scratch.”

The following new features break down these barriers:

  • Consistently Analyze Sensor Data – ThinkIQ features a richer type and instance system model that provides additional meaning to sensor data, making it easier to build systems in a repeatable manner and consistently analyze the data across many production units.
  • Dynamic Data Calculations for Continuous Intelligence – The upgraded product features a simplified approach to performing calculations on time series data while fully embracing the complexities of how sensor data must be processed. These ValueStream Expressions include manufacturing specific functionality such as material flow alignment of the data, rich interpolation algorithms and unit of measure conversion. ValueStream Functions are able to process time series data at its full resolution with no need to downsample or resample the data prior to performing calculations. This process can be compared to the power of Digital Signal Processing (DSP) for live data streams with the simplicity of 5th grade arithmetic.
  • User Interface (UI) – ThinkIQ features updated UI Components that allow people with simple web site development skills to build rich dashboards and user interfaces. The UI Components are an integral part of ThinkIQ’s Content management system and embraces ThinkIQ’s type and instance system model so that users don’t have to worry about how to map the UI Components to the underlying data.

“The newest functionalities to our platform will allow our customers to achieve a more precise understanding of their manufacturing data which can be utilized to better fine tune their production execution,” said Mr. Andersen, CPO of ThinkIQ. “Our customers are continuing to push the boundaries of material traceability and we are committed to giving a holistic view of the supply chain process from farm to fork.”

ThinkIQ’s SaaS Manufacturing cloud-based platform simplifies the creation of web-based applications and leverages the strengths of the Internet of Things, Big Data, Data Science, Semantic Modeling and Machine Learning. The platform is able to collect data inputs across supply chain (existing & IIoT sensors) and analyze with AI, ML to identify correlations and root causes. It creates a new set of value-added traceability data which is delivered with actionable insights and decisions to guide systems across the supply chain.

“We are continuously looking at ways we can improve our platform in order to help our customers obtain the most information possible to manage their supply chains,” said Doug Lawson, CEO of ThinkIQ. “The latest functionalities we have added to our platform will give our customers more ease of use which in turn will allow them to operate their supply chains and material flow with even greater efficiency.”