Software Investments—Looking Beyond the Surface

Software Investments—Looking Beyond the Surface

Rockwell Automation through Blake Moret, chairman and CEO, invested $1 billion in PTC with Moret gaining a seat on the board. The public reason was really to get early information about ThinkWorx, the IIoT product.

The investment valued PTC, a company with $1 billion in sales, at approximately $17 billion. On the surface, we all pondered why.

Speeding up the time, I was able to spend a couple of hours with several people from PTC at last week’s Automation Fair event. This really opened my eyes to the depth and breadth of the ThingWorx offering. There is much technology and usefulness under the hood. This is powerful software.

Now, I understand. Beyond a relationship and most likely some preferential access to ThingWorx and other PTC technologies, I’m surmising that Rockwell Automation can also drop some visualization projects, cut development costs, and utilize the full value of the PTC software. That alone would be a good return on the investment.

Therefore, the most prominent branding at Automation Fair–Powered by PTC.

Revealing more of Rockwell’s piece-at-a-time partnering strategy, it is not using PTC’s CAD and PLM offerings for its digital twin development, but instead it is partnering with ANSYS.

Like I noted in my initial report on Automation Fair, partnering was the centerpiece of news from the event. Looks like it is also the centerpiece of product development. That is most likely financially prudent.

Software Investments—Looking Beyond the Surface

Market Research Firm Says Digital Transformation to Drive Adoption of Manufacturing Operations Management Software

‘Tis the season—for market research reports. This one again from a firm I don’t know (but quite European centric)—by Transparence Market Research attempts to gauge the size and growth of the Manufacturing Operation Management (MOM) software market. I did not get a chance to chat with the company, but I find the list of companies “surveyed” interesting. Note, this software was previously (before ISA 95) Manufacturing Execution Solutions (MES), and when I did work in the space Manufacturing (prior-Materials) Resource Planning.

According to the market report, the global manufacturing operations management software market is projected to reach a value of US$ 17 Bn by 2027. The MOM software market is projected to expand at a CAGR of about 10% from 2019 to 2027. Growth of the market can be attributed to the shift of manufacturing toward digitization. [Note: I propose that as companies have acquired other companies, the MOM of choice—Microsoft Excel—became to cumbersome and not scalable. Add to this thought, the burgeoning data available through the Internet of Things.]

Asia Pacific is anticipated to dominate the manufacturing operations management software market at a CAGR of about 11% during the forecast period. In terms of revenue share, the manufacturing operations management software market is dominated by North America, followed by Europe. In 2019, the software segment is estimated to be valued at about US$ 5 Bn in the global manufacturing operations management software market, and see an opportunity of about US$ 10 Bn in terms of revenue from 2019 to 2027, reflecting a CAGR of about 9% during the forecast period.

The report does rightly point out that “MOM plays a vital role in integrating information systems on the shop floor, with business systems in corporate offices, leading to a gradual phasing-out of traditional paper-based systems.” They expect demand for manufacturing operations management software to increase during the forecast period due to these advantages offered by these systems.

Asia Pacific is one of the fastest growing markets in the global manufacturing operations management software market, as this region is witnessing increased adoption of new technologies. The manufacturing operations management software markets in North America and Europe are also expected to expand rapidly during the forecast period. [Gary’s note: have you ever seen one of these reports where the line on the graph did not reach upward from lower left to upper right?]

The research study includes the profiles of leading companies operating in the global manufacturing operations management software market. Key players profiled in the report include Siemens AG, ABB Ltd., Dassault Systems SA, Emerson Process Management, Honeywell, International Inc., General Electric Co., and Invensys plc. [Note: I’ll give them Invensys for historical data, but the software is now aggregated under AVEVA. I’d suggest a few additional players in the space.]

Software Investments—Looking Beyond the Surface

Software Investments—Looking Beyond the Surface

Rockwell Automation through Blake Moret, chairman and CEO, invested $1 billion in PTC with Moret gaining a seat on the board. The public reason was really to get early information about ThinkWorx, the IIoT product.

The investment valued PTC, a company with $1 billion in sales, at approximately $17 billion. On the surface, we all pondered why.

Speeding up the time, I was able to spend a couple of hours with several people from PTC at last week’s Automation Fair event. This really opened my eyes to the depth and breadth of the ThingWorx offering. There is much technology and usefulness under the hood. This is powerful software.

Now, I understand. Beyond a relationship and most likely some preferential access to ThingWorx and other PTC technologies, I’m surmising that Rockwell Automation can also drop some visualization projects, cut development costs, and utilize the full value of the PTC software. That alone would be a good return on the investment.

Therefore, the most prominent branding at Automation Fair–Powered by PTC.

Revealing more of Rockwell’s piece-at-a-time partnering strategy, it is not using PTC’s CAD and PLM offerings for its digital twin development, but instead it is partnering with ANSYS.

Like I noted in my initial report on Automation Fair, partnering was the centerpiece of news from the event. Looks like it is also the centerpiece of product development. That is most likely financially prudent.

Software Investments—Looking Beyond the Surface

Project Alvarium from Linux Foundation for Trusted Data

The IoT group that I’ve been working with for the past few years has been absorbed into the OEM group which is carrying on an expanded function. This blog post from Steve Todd, Dell Technologies Fellow, details the development of data confidence work that has been contributed to the open source Linux Foundation to seed Project Alvarium.

Following is a quick summary. Go to the blog for additional information about trusted data work.

A team of Dell Technologies specialists finished building the first-ever Data Confidence Fabric (DCF for short). The prototype code will be contributed to the Linux Foundation to seed Project Alvarium.

For several years, the CTO of the Dell Technologies Edge and IoT business unit has been touting a vision of data monetization. However, it’s hard to monetize untrusted Edge and IoT data. As he likes to say, “It’s midnight. Do you know where your data has been?” 

Enterprise storage systems have delivered trusted data to applications for a long time. We started our initial investigation wondering if these same trust principles could be applied to Edge and IoT ecosystems. Recent developments in data valuationdistributed ledgers, and data marketplaces facilitated everything coming together.

Five Levels of Trust

We started with the EdgeX Foundry chair of the Core Working Group, Trevor Conn. Trevor wrote the first-ever Data Confidence Fabric software using Go Lang, the same programming language EdgeX is written in. His Data Confidence Fabric software registered with EdgeX as a client and began processing simulated device data. The initial confidence score for this data was “0” (no trust was inserted). 

Dell Technologies then hired three computer science interns from Texas A&M to deploy EdgeX and the Data Confidence Fabric software on a Dell Gateway 3000 with a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) chip.

EdgeX was then adjusted to support N-S-E-W authentication by using VMware’s open-source Lightwave technology.

Dell Boomi software was invoked by the Data Confidence Fabric software to gather provenance and appended this metadata to the sensor reading.

The Data Confidence Fabric software then stored the data locally using IPFS (an immutable, open-source storage system). This fourth level of trust insertion gives an application confidence that the data/provenance has not been tampered with. It also has the additional benefit of enabling analytics to access data closer to the source.

The Data Confidence Fabric software then registered the data into VMware’s blockchain (based on the open-sourceProject Concord consensus algorithm). 

Software Investments—Looking Beyond the Surface

LF Edge New Projects, Members Collaborate at Open Source Edge

The Linux Foundation and its LF Edge project continues to gain momentum. Here are two new open source announcements.

In short:

  • “Baetyl” and “Fledge” join LF Edge ranks as newest projects, expands LF Edge’s reach across geographies and industries
  • IOTA Foundation, SAIC Foundation (TESRA), Thunder Software, and Zenlayercommit to innovating at the open source edge by joining as members
  • LF Edge helps open source move to commercialization with Akraino RI, EdgeX Foundry Edinburgh release and Open Glossary of Edge Computing v2.0

LF Edge, an umbrella organization within the Linux Foundation that aims to establish an open, interoperable framework for edge computing independent of hardware, silicon, cloud, or operating system, announced addition of two new projects and four new members.

Baetyl, an existing project contributed by Baidu and previously known as “OpenEdge,” extends cloud computing, data and services seamlessly to edge devices. Fledge, an existing project contributed by Dianomic and previously known as “Fog Lamp,”  is an open source framework and community for the industrial edge focused on critical operations. Baetyl and Fledge join the organization’s founding projects: Akraino Edge Stack, EdgeX Foundry, Home Edge, Open Glossary of Edge Computing, and Project EVE. Concurrently,  IOTA Foundation, SAIC Foundation (TESRA), Thunder Software, and Zenlayer join as General members.

“It’s incredible to witness such strong industry support for collaborative innovation to create an open source framework at the edge,” said Arpit Joshipura, general manager, Networking, Automation, Edge & IoT, the Linux Foundation. “In just nine months, LF Edge has seen tremendous growth across the board. We couldn’t be more pleased to welcome our newest members and projects.  Added expertise in industrial edge, manufacturing, energy, and more brings the community and ecosystem closer to a more comprehensive edge stack, delivering shared innovation across technology sectors at the edge.”

Launched in January of this year, LF Edge’s seven projects support emerging edge applications across areas such as non-traditional video and connected things that require lower latency, and  faster processing and mobility. By forming a software stack that brings the best of cloud, enterprise and telecom, LF Edge helps to unify a fragmented edge market around a common, open vision for the future of the industry.

About the Newest Projects

Previously known as “OpenEdge” and initiated by Baidu, Baetyl is China’s first open source edge computing platform and is now part of the LF Edge umbrella of projects. It  seamlessly extends cloud computing, data and services to edge devices, enabling developers to build light, secure and scalable edge applications. The result is stronger processing power delivered to edge devices like smart home appliances, wearables and other IoT devices.  Baetyl joins LF Edge as a Stage 1 project.

“In the era of 5G and IoT, edge computing will have tremendous opportunities to play a role in all fields and industries,” said Watson Yin, Vice President of Baidu and the General Manager of the Intelligent Cloud business group. “As a founding member of LF Edge, Baidu Intelligent Cloud decided to donate Baetyl, the intelligent edge computing framework, to the community, hoping to reciprocate the open-source community while continuously contributing cutting-edge technologies to the global technology ecosystem.  The leading edge-computing technology and framework will further accelerate the implementation of cloud + AI in a wider range of industries with a bigger scale and lead the global AI industry into a new chapter of industrialized production.”

Fledge is an open source framework and community for the industrial edge focused on critical operations, predictive maintenance, situational awareness and safety. Contributed by Dianomic and formerly known as “FogLAMP,” Fledge is architected to integrate IIoT, sensors and modern machines all sharing a common set of administration and application APIs with industrial “brown field” systems and the cloud. Fledge developers build smarter, better, cheaper industrial manufacturing solutions  to accelerate Industrial 4.0 adoption. Fledge joins as a Stage 1 project.

Fledge works closely with both Project EVE and Akraino. Project EVE provides system and orchestration services and a container runtime for Fledge applications and services. Fledge’s verticals (manufacturing, energy, etc.) are starting to roll out 5G and private LTE networks; using Akraino blueprints, Fledge applications and services can be consistently managed as they utilize 5G and private LTE networks.

“The LF Edge’s efforts for an open, interoperable framework for the edge is especially needed for the industrial factory, plant and mine where most every brown field system, piece of equipment or sensor uses its own proprietary protocols and data definitions,”  said Tom Arthur, CEO and co-founder of Dianomic Systems. “Fledge was architected and built with the help of suppliers and operators in energy, oil and gas, manufacturing, mining, food processing and pharmaceutical industries.  Being designed specifically for the industrial edge, Fledge is the ideal LF Edge framework for industrial operators, system integrators and equipment providers to embed, deploy, contribute and build a thriving industrial open source community.”

“OSIsoft has been building software to break down the silos in industrial systems but with IoT these silos are multiplying to smart equipment, new sensors, and many other sources of data. We have supported the construction of Fledge by Dianomic Systems.  Fledge is an open source tool that presents these data to the outside world and look forward to vastly increasing the scope of data that we can all ‘see.’ This is integral to the fields of automation, energy conservation, safety and health,” said Pat Kennedy, Founder and CEO OSIsoft.

Software Investments—Looking Beyond the Surface

AVEVA World Conference All About Digital

I’m at the airport with my brain shot from all the (non-digital) information I picked up during the past two days of the AVEVA World conference in Orlando.

To be sure, this is the “New” AVEVA. It was formed when the existing engineering and design software company accepted an investment from Schneider Electric whereupon Schneider gained a 51% share and AVEVA gained the Schneider software businesses which included Wonderware, Avantis, InduSoft, and more. These latter companies were buffeted from one corporate brain fart to another for a while.

So, people now ask me, “How’s it going?”

These integrated companies seldom really work out to the extent that corporate PR would have you believe.

In this case, the integration probably exceeded expectations. The conference was well attended and buzzing with energy. I did not meet a customer attendee who wasn’t pleased with the conference and what they were getting out of it. Unlike many conferences, the breakout sessions were packed.

Overall, I am positive that I was seeing the fruition of visions I had heard from a variety of Wonderware executives as well as visionaries like Peter Martin and Chris Lyden from Foxboro (once a part of Invensys and combined–sort of–with Wonderware).

When my brain can wrap around all that I learned, I’ll post many details of the various parts–Engineering, Monitoring and Control, Planning and Operations, and Asset Performance.

My last interview was with Patrick Pando, VP of Cloud sales, who left me with one last tidbit, “Artificial Intelligence isn’t a thing. It’s what we have before we have solved the problem, at which time it is merely the solution.”

Like my last podcast where I pondered AI, which, I said, is neither artificial or intelligence.

You can see pictures and some comments on my Twitter stream @garymintchell and #AVEVAWorld.

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