AVEVA Launches 2023 Operations Control Software

This news has been out a little while. I was holding off for an interview, but we could not connect. Through a long and torturous history over the past 15 years, AVEVA’s software cloak has been pieced together from many cloths. I have met executives from a few companies in the past who assured me bringing all their software acquisitions was easy. It’s not. This release discusses how AVEVA is progressing on its journey of integrating all of its industrial software.

AVEVA, a global leader in industrial software, driving digital transformation and sustainability, has launched the 2023 release of its operations control software, the first major coordinated release of its HMI/SCADA software portfolio, available in both perpetual and subscription purchases. The new release further supports the delivery of AVEVA Operations Control, a flexible, subscription-based solution of integrated capabilities that promotes greater efficiency and workforce collaboration at the scale that best suits the business.

And, just what is Operations Control? Sounds like something from a vision I heard many years ago at a previous iteration of the company.

AVEVA Operations Control simplifies day-to-day routines of teams by aligning workers around common digital threads of information. It includes visualization technologies, analytics and development tools deployed within a hybrid cloud and on-premises environment. Not only can critical information be retrieved faster, but inbuilt flexibility provides greater scaling – of data, users, or routes to revealing the correct decision. 

“Digital technologies now comprise the beating heart of industrial enterprises. But operations teams do not yet have the ability to contextualize decisions within a cohesive and sustainable framework. AVEVA Operations Control leverages this information environment with a comprehensive set of applications that empowers users from edge to enterprise with real-time visibility of critical processes in every industry,” says Rashesh Mody, Executive Vice President – Operations Business, AVEVA. 

This release consists of updates in the following offerings: AVEVA System Platform 2023, AVEVA InTouch HMI 2023, AVEVA Edge 2023, AVEVA Plant SCADA 2023, AVEVA Historian 2023, AVEVA Communication Drivers 2023, AVEVA Reports for Operations 2023, AVEVA Development Studio, and AVEVA Teamwork.

The 2023 operations control software release is available through several procurement methods, including AVEVA Flex, the advanced industrial software subscription program. Customers can choose individual software offers within the operations control portfolio or realize new transformational value with end to end visibility across operations by subscribing to AVEVA’s broad portfolio through AVEVA Operations Control.  AVEVA Operations Control removes traditional limitations on implementation by including unlimited software usage (measured by the number of users) and offering maximum commercial flexibility.  

TeamViewer and Siemens Partner with Augmented and Mixed Reality Solutions

We hear about Augmented Reality constantly. Today MIT Technology Review’s newsletter predicted we will all be wearing AR glasses someday. [I doubt it.]

I’ve demoed many AR manufacturing solutions. They show promise, but the promise can’t jump the hurdle of practicality. We’ll see how the results of this partnership of Siemens and TeamViewer fares.

TeamViewer, a leading global provider of remote connectivity and workplace digitalization solutions, announced a strategic partnership with Siemens Digital Industries Software to bring TeamViewer’s enterprise AR platform Frontline to Siemens’ Teamcenter software, a leading Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solution from the Siemens Xcelerator portfolio. This collaboration allows Siemens’ global customers to improve their product development process based on immersive experiences with interactive, 3D content connected to the digital twin of a product. The 3D models of products can be easily modified, enabling more teams across the product lifecycle to collaborate and thus driving more informed product decisions and innovation.

The Spatial module within TeamViewer’s enterprise AR platform Frontline enables employees wearing Mixed Reality smart glasses such as the Microsoft HoloLens to execute tasks in a more intuitive, interactive way by providing them with digital information, three-dimensional elements and multimedia content in an Augmented or Mixed Reality environment. Virtual information or holograms are placed on top of objects in the real world to enrich each employee’s reality for visual process guidance. Thanks to the built-in no code editor, process owners can easily manage and update the underlying workflows without including their IT department, for example create digital twins from CAD model data.

Industrial AR as a Service

Mainstream tech media drools all over augmented reality and virtual reality. Which big tech company will introduce what? We’ve written about the benefits of AR in manufacturing for years. It’s still getting here, but closing in. This news comes from a company called RealWear with a new cloud SaaS offering—RealWear Cloud, marking the company’s shift from a hardware-centric company to a fully platform-centric business. The company calls this “assisted intelligence.”

RealWear Cloud is a multi-purpose software offering for IT and business operations. Through the new dashboard, IT and business operations can remotely and securely streamline control of their RealWear device fleet. As companies grow their fleet of RealWear devices, RealWear Cloud allows for convenient low-touch, over-the-air firmware updates, keeping the devices secure and company data protected. Working alongside organizations’ existing EMM or MDM software such as Microsoft Endpoint Manager (InTune), the offering further provides teams more real-time data and metrics to optimize operational efficiency. RealWear Cloud complements existing EMM/MDM solutions and enables device-specific control and configuration capabilities. Also, it is the only way to gain trusted and secure access to certified third-party apps designed for our product portfolio.  

In addition, RealWear is introducing RealWear Cloud Assistance as part of the offering.  RealWear Cloud Assistance provides real-time remote technical support and troubleshooting to frontline workers to quickly identify, diagnose and fix device issues. Reducing device downtime through remote troubleshooting will have a growing impact on company bottom lines. According to VDC research, individual incidences of device failure result in 72 minutes of lost or disrupted productivity for frontline workers. Remote support, firmware updates, and data analytics will not only increase productivity but will be necessary as businesses face ongoing talent shortages, the scarcity of which Gartner notes was exacerbated in 2021. 

RealWear Cloud will provide a two-tier offering: Basic and Pro. Foresight, RealWear’s previous lightweight device management tool, will transition to RealWear Cloud. Current Foresight customers will automatically be enrolled in the Basic plan.

Broadening Our Application Attitude, Operational Intelligence

What if the time has come to rethink all these specific silos and strategies around which we build manufacturing software solutions?

The time has come to rethink all the departmental silos manufacturing executives constructed over the years with vendors targeting their applications to fit. This era of the Internet of Things (IoT), sensor-driven real-time data, innovative unstructured databases, powerful analytics engines, and visualization provide us with new ways of thinking about organizing manufacturing.

A suite of manufacturing solutions that typically link shop floor equipment and operations with enterprise solutions has evolved from Manufacturing Resources Planning (MRP, what I did in the late 1970s) to MES (originally Manufacturing Execution Systems which the trade organization MESA has called Manufacturing Enterprise Solutions) to now what we can call Real-time Operational Intelligence (RtOI) solutions. I was digitizing manufacturing operations in 1978 in a crude way. Now it is much more sophisticated, yet in many ways, easier. Each of these steps has taken us deeper into increasing digitization, vast amounts of data, and increasing connectivity. Not just name changes, these solutions reflect the growing ability to provide managers of all levels the kind of information needed for better, faster decision making.

Focus on Maintenance Management

I have worked with a number of maintenance and reliability media companies. They have all been embroiled in discussions of the comparative value of maintenance strategies: Reactive (run-to-failure), Preventive, Predictive, Reliability-centered. These are presented as a continuum progressing from the Stone Age to Star Wars. Discussions about which is best proliferate within trade media.

The IT companies I have worked with fixated on predictive maintenance. They had powerful predictive analytics to combine with their database and compute capabilities and saw that as the Next Big Thing. They were wrong.

I was taught early in my career that Preventive maintenance consisted solely as scheduled maintenance. Management sends technicians out on rounds on a regular basis with clipboards, lube equipment, and meters to check out, lubricate and adjust. As often as not, these adjustments would disturb the Force and something would break down.

What if? What if we use all the sensor data from equipment sent to the cloud to a powerful database? What if we use that data to intelligently dispatch technicians to the  necessary equipment with the appropriate tools to fix before breaking and at an appropriate collaborative time?

A company called Matics recently was introduced to me via a long-time marketing contact. They wanted to talk about the second definition of preventive maintenance. Not just unscheduled rounds but using sensor-driven data, or IoT, to feed its Central Data Repository with the goal of providing Real-time Operational Intelligence (RtOI) to its customers.

According to Matics, its RtOI system has provided customers with:

  • 25% increased machine availability
  • 30% decrease in rejects
  • 10% reduction in energy consumption

Smarter preventive maintenance leverages continuous condition monitoring targeting as-needed maintenance resulting in fewer unnecessary checks and less machine stoppage for repair.

I am not trying to write a marketing piece for Matics, although the company does compensate me for some content development including this post. But their software provides me a way to riff into a new way of thinking.

Usually product engineers and marketing people will show me a new product. I’ll become enthused. “Wow, this is cool. Now if you could just do this and this…” I drive product people crazy in those meetings. I think the same here. I like the approach. Now, if customers can take the ball and run with it thinking about manufacturing in a a new way, that would be cool—and beneficial and profitable. I think innovative managers and engineers could find new ways to bring engineering, production, and maintenance together in a more collaborative way around real-time information.

VC Slowdown Happening Faster for AI Startups

In Q2, VC investment in AI fell by 44%, while overall funding fell by 25%.

One of my few trusted news sites is Morning Brew newsletter and its companion Emerging Tech Brew.

Writer Hayden Field recently posted an article looking at venture investment in Artificial Intelligence. My inbox has swelled with AI this and AI that for some time now. Marketers evidently feel this is a magic word to drive sales while showing the world their company is cool with the latest tech. Of course, Artificial Intelligence (often called neither artificial or intelligent) has been around for decades. Much of the manufacturing software you’ve used for years has AI embedded. So, I’m not surprised at this.

Total VC deal count worldwide has maintained momentum from last year’s record highs, but so far in 2022, “deal value has declined rather significantly across all stages,” according to a PitchBook report—and AI funding in particular is falling faster than the market.

By the numbers:

In Q2 2022, global AI funding plummeted by more than 44% year over year, from $33.6 billion to $18.8 billion, per Pitchbook data shared with Emerging Tech Brew. Over the same period, overall global VC funding fell by 25%, from $176 billion to $131.7 billion. On a quarterly basis, global VC funding for AI and machine learning was down more than 26% between Q2 and Q1, a slightly larger margin than the 20% drop for global VC as a whole.

Same old tech story, how to turn hype to profits.

For years, many VCs believed AI companies would figure out the path to profitability down the road, Shahin Farshchi, a partner at Lux Capital, told us. Today, investors want to see founders give more thought to how, exactly, they’ll build a sustainable business model around AI.

ABB and Red Hat Partner for Scalable Digital Solutions

Much as some of its large industrial competitors, ABB is quickly building out industrial software solutions. A friend who is a financial analyst told me that Wall Street and other investors prize software right now. A company focused on instrumentation and automation platforms doesn’t evoke the same eyes full of longing and desire as when they add software.

In this announcement, ABB and Red Hat, the open source enterprise software company, are partnering to deliver ABB automation and industrial software solutions at the intersection of information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT), equipping the industrial ecosystem with extended deployment capabilities and greater agility. This is consistent with ABB’s vision of the evolution of process automation.

  • ABB will deliver digital solutions to customers on-demand and at scale using Red HatOpenShift
  • Customers will be better able to harness the potential of data-based decisions by using applications that can be deployed flexibly from the edge to the cloud

The partnership enables virtualization and containerization of automation software with Red Hat OpenShift to provide advanced flexibility in hardware deployment, optimized according to application needs. It also provides efficient system orchestration, enabling real-time, data-based decision making at the edge and further processing in the cloud.

Red Hat OpenShift, the industry’s leading enterprise Kubernetes platform, with Red Hat Enterprise Linux  as its foundation, provides ABB with a single consistent application platform, from small single node systems to scaled-out hyperconverged clusters at the industrial edge, which simplifies development and management efforts for ABB’s customers. 

“This exciting partnership with Red Hat demonstrates ABB’s commitment to meet customer needs by seeking alliances with other innovative market leaders,” said Bernhard Eschermann, Chief Technology Officer, ABB Process Automation. “The alliance with Red Hat will see ABB continue helping our customers improve their operations as they navigate a rapidly evolving digital landscape. It will give them access to the tools they need to integrate plantwide IT and OT, while reducing risks and optimizing performance.” 

Red Hat OpenShift increases the deployment flexibility and scalability of ABB Ability Edgenius, a comprehensive edge platform for industrial software applications, together with ABB Ability Genix Industrial Analytics and AI Suite, an enterprise-grade platform and applications suite that leverages industrial AI to drive Industry 4.0 digital business outcomes for customers. ABB’s Edgenius and Genix can both be scaled seamlessly and securely across multiple deployments. With this partnership, ABB will have access to capabilities like zero-touch provisioning (remote configuration of networks) which can increase manageability and consistency across plant environments. 

“Red Hat is excited to work with ABB to bring operational and information technology closer together to form the industrial edge. Together, we intend to streamline the transition from automated to autonomous operations and address current and future manufacturing needs using open-source technologies,” said Matt Hicks, executive vice president, Products and Technologies, Red Hat. “As we work to break down barriers between IT and the plant level, we look to drive limitless innovation and mark a paradigm shift in operational technology based on open source.”