Standardization Advances From OPC Foundation

OPC Foundation held a virtual SPS press conference combined with annual general meeting last month. The most profound news comes from the group working on Field Level Communications. That seemed to be a bit of a political football when the idea was broached several years ago. It now has momentum. A couple of other items of interest relate to work with other associations. OPCF will take ownership of the MDIS Sub-Sea Standard. Meanwhile, John Dyck continues to be busy building relationships as CESMII and OPCF have launched a UA Cloud Library.

OPC Foundation’s Field Level Communications Initiative reaches significant milestone and celebrates premiere

Three years after its launch, the OPC Foundation’s Field Level Communications (FLC) initiative has completed the second release candidate of the OPC UA FX (Field eXchange) specifications and has started the review and release process for them.  In addition, a multi-vendor demo with controllers and network infrastructure components of 20 companies – among them the world’s largest automation suppliers – has been realized to showcase the cross-vendor interoperability of automation components for the most diverse use cases in Factory and Process Automation.

The release candidate of the Field Level Communications Initiative consists of four specification parts (Parts 80-83) and focuses on communication between automation components to exchange process data and configuration data using OPC UA Client/Server and PubSub extensions in combination with peer-to-peer connections and basic diagnostics:

  • Part 80 (OPC 10000-80) provides an overview and introduces the basic concepts of using OPC UA for field level communications.
  • Part 81 (OPC 10000-81) specifies the base information model and the communication concepts to meet the various use cases and requirements of Factory and Process Automation. 
  • Part 82 (OPC 10000-82) describes networking services, such as topology discovery and time synchronization.
  • Part 83 (OPC 10000-83) describes the data structures for sharing information required for Offline Engineering using descriptors and descriptor packages.

Peter Lutz, Director Field Level Communications of the OPC Foundation says: “We are happy about the progress that our working groups have made over the last months, despite COVID-19 and the associated restrictions. The completion of the second release candidate and an impressive multi-vendor live demo is a major achievement because the specifications are now mature so that the member review process could be started.”

Since the start of the Field Level Communications Initiative in November 2018 more than 320 experts from over 65 OPC Foundation member companies have contributed to generate the technical concepts and elaborate the specification contents for extending the OPC UA framework for field level communications, including Determinism, Motion, Instruments and Functional Safety.

The OPC Foundation Takes Ownership of the MDIS Sub-Sea Standard 

The OPC Foundation (OPCF) announced that it consolidated and took over the MCS-DCS Interface Standardisation (MDIS) specification ownership.  Effective immediately, as with all OPCF Companion Specifications, MDIS is freely available for adoption by all interested parties at no additional cost. The OPCF MDIS working group, co-chaired by Markus Koenig from SubSea, Tim Fortin from Honeywell, and Paul Hunkar from DS Interoperability, now oversees the ongoing maintenance and expansion of the standard. Original MDIS network group members will continue working in the OPCF working group. The OPC Foundation invites all members interested in helping shape the future of the MDIS specification to join the MDIS working group.

MDIS was formed with a vision to optimize and standardize communications between subsea Master Control Stations (MCSs) and topside Distributed Control Systems (DCSs). A standardized MCS-DCS interface simplifies the implementation of data communications and increases data quality.

The OPC Foundation and CESMII launches the UA Cloud Library

The OPC Foundation announced the launch of the globally available UA Cloud Library co-developed with the Clean Energy and Smart Manufacturing Innovation Institute (CESMII). With its multi-cloud architecture, the UA Cloud Library saw contributions from all major cloud vendors leveraging open interfaces and is available for sharing, finding, and collaborating on OPC UA Information Models. Today, the UA Cloud Library already contains over 65 OPC UA Information Models created by individual companies as well as international standards organizations like AutoID, DEXPI, MDIS, MTConnect, and over 30 VDMA working groups as part of their OPC UA Companion Specification work.

While shop floor (OT) components routinely discover and use data structures and services of other OPC UA components, direct access to such semantic information has not been readily available to cloud-based applications due to security considerations. The UA Cloud Library eliminates this gap by providing IT and cloud-based applications access to semantic information directly from the cloud instead of manually getting it from the OT systems

“The UA Cloud Library is the missing link that makes OPC UA information models available in the cloud on a global scale without requiring a connection to physical machines,” said Erich Barnstedt, Chief Architect Standards & Consortia, Microsoft Corporation, and chair of the UA Cloud Library working group. “It enables OPC UA Information Models – used as blueprints for industrial digital twins – to be looked up and matched against time-series machine telemetry data provided by cloud-based analytics software, which is a common requirement in Industrial IoT projects.”

“It was an honor to partner with the OPC Foundation in this strategic initiative,” said John Dyck, CEO of CESMII. “The UA Cloud Library is truly an important step on the journey to Smart Manufacturing Interoperability and will pave the way for dramatic simplification and cost savings for manufacturing systems!”

Stefan Hoppe, President and Executive Director of the OPC Foundation, said, “The value of what the OPC Foundation and CESMII joint working group created cannot be overstated because it equips us with the mechanism needed to facilitate access to all known OPC UA information models via an open, global, single-source of truth.” Mr. Hoppe continued, “Beyond the value the UA Cloud Library brings to applications, it will help with global OPC UA information model coordination and harmonization efforts by making it easy to search and cross-reference the latest OPC UA companion specifications in real-time. Finally, the UA Cloud Library will serve a crucial infrastructure role in Smart Manufacturing initiatives that depend on interoperability.”

Rockwell Automation News and Updates

The first business trip involving airplane and car in 18 months took me to Houston in November to Automation Fair, the Rockwell Automation user conference and trade show. They offered five press conferences via remote conferencing. I felt the urge to visit with people in person. Several thousand visitors wandered the show floor along with me. And I sat in the press conferences in person with a couple of editors from Control, a couple of analysts from ARC Advisory Group, an editor I didn’t know for one session, and an editor from Automation World for one other session. It felt good to be back, but this was hardly like old times. I was not rushed from appointment to appointment—I had no appointments.

The content was not like old times. No motor control or programmable controllers, although I did look up a PLC product person on the show floor to dive into a couple of things. The press conferences were somewhat IT oriented with cybersecurity and cloud, workforce issues around culture and diversity, and sustainability. Following are summaries of the press conferences and of three news items released at the show.

Cybersecurity Steps Needed for 2022

No discussion of industrial technology can begin without considering cybersecurity. Angela Rapko (Regional Vice President, Lifecycle Services, Rockwell Automation), Shoshana Wodzisz (Manager, Product Security, Rockwell Automation), and Theodore Haschke (Manager, Business Development, Functional Safety & Cybersecurity, TUV Rheinland) talked standards with us. High-profile cyber and ransomware attacks rocked the manufacturing industry in 2021 and raised government attention to the need for stronger oversight to protect businesses worldwide. Global cybersecurity standards have been established based on guidance from industry leaders for both the IT and OT level, but adoption still wanes. We’ll share how businesses can utilize standards to improve security in 2022, and why OT can’t be left behind when updating best practices.

Leveraging Culture and DEI as a Competitive Advantage

Bobby Griffin (Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer, Rockwell Automation) and Becky House (Senior Vice President & Chief People & Legal Officer, Rockwell Automation) discussed how many companies have put a more intentional focus on company culture and DEI – but how do you know you’re having the right impact? Diversity, equity, and inclusion are core principles at Rockwell. This has a KPI associated and manager’s compensation is tied to it. Among other things, check out the senior leadership page on the Rockwell website. There are women on it. And a couple of other faces that are not old white men. There is a refreshing mix of ages, genders, ethnicities.

Why Cloud? Why Now? Three Factors Driving Adoption of SAAS-Based Solutions

I could understand the discussion of cybersecurity, which can be expected given the several-year-old vision of Rockwell regarding the Connected Enterprise. The discussion of computing in the cloud would never have happened with a straight face even three years ago. Maybe two. Let us consider two very recent acquisitions of cloud-based companies—Plex and Fiix. Brian Shepherd (Senior Vice President, Software & Control, Rockwell Automation), James Novak (Chief Executive Officer, Fiix), and Bill Berutti (Chief Executive Officer, Plex) joined us for a discussion of the companies, products, and benefits of cloud. Yet another sign of a rapidly changing Rockwell Automation.

Using Data to Drive Productivity and Sustainability

Rockwell Automation has had sustainability goals and solutions for many years. This topic remains a key focus for the corporation. Tom O’Reilly (Vice President, Sustainability, Rockwell Automation) and Arvind Rao (Director, Product Management & Head of Industry Solutions, Rockwell Automation) met with us to discuss how “customers and investors are demanding that we do business in ways that are more productive and more sustainable.” Operational data and analytics can reduce waste, improve quality, and reduce energy, all while driving increased productivity and delivering results against sustainability initiatives.

Three Strategies for Creating an Agile and Flexible Workforce

Rachael Conrad (Vice President & General Manager, Customer Support & Maintenance, Rockwell Automation) and Sherman Joshua (Director, Workforce & Competency, Lifecycle Services, Rockwell Automation) revealed Rockwell’s on key strategies for creating an agile and flexible workforce post pandemic and how manufacturers can leverage their workforce as their greatest asset.

New Initiatives to Bolster Cybersecurity Offering for Customers

Rockwell Automation, Inc. announced new investments to enhance its information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) cybersecurity offering. These initiatives include strategic partnerships with Dragos, Inc. and CrowdStrike, as well as the establishment of a new Cybersecurity Operations Center in Israel.

Rockwell and Dragos, a global leader in cybersecurity for industrial control systems (ICS)/OT environments, have announced a partnership that combines Rockwell’s global industry, application, and ICS domain expertise with Dragos’s world-class technology, professional services, and threat intelligence services. The partnership will focus on incident response services and threat intelligence.

Rockwell and CrowdStrike, a leader in cloud-delivered endpoint and workload protection, have formed a partnership to deliver end-to-end cybersecurity and network service solutions to customers. The partnership will examine initiatives for CrowdStrike’s cloud-native, AI-powered Falcon platform with Rockwell’s global deployment, network architecture, support, OT, and managed services capabilities to deliver differentiated solutions that address customer cybersecurity pain points.

Rockwell Automation Expands Supply Chain Services with Acquisition of AVATA

Rockwell Automation, Inc. has acquired AVATA, a leading services provider for supply chain management, enterprise resource planning, and enterprise performance management solutions. AVATA has significant domain expertise in enterprise applications and is a leading consultant and systems integrator for Oracle cloud software applications.

By significantly improving end-to-end supply chain visibility and management, AVATA, together with Kalypso, Rockwell’s industrial digital transformation services business, will help further unlock the value of information technology/operational technology (IT/OT) convergence that Rockwell can deliver to customers. AVATA will be integrated into Kalypso, which is a part of Rockwell’s Lifecycle Services business.

AVATA supports Rockwell’s recent cloud-native investments, building on its open architecture to extend the digital thread and enable powerful integrations with other leading technologies, now including Plex and Oracle Cloud.

Rockwell Automation and Battery Pioneer Cadenza Innovation to Explore Driving Energy Storage and Advance Sustainability

Rockwell Automation has begun collaborating with Cadenza Innovation, the award-winning provider of safe, low cost, and energy-dense Lithium-ion-based storage solutions, to define a strategic relationship including a   shared goal of building the industry’s highest performance battery cell production lines.

During 2022 the companies intend to collaborate to develop a customer cloud portal to manage deployed distributed energy resources, an end-to-end battery manufacturing execution system (MES), and equipment automation to support the expansion of Cadenza Innovation’s battery manufacturing in the US and abroad.

Rockwell Automation and Cadenza Innovation intend to create a full digital thread that feeds information from business systems to the factory floor and subsequently out to the field-deployed energy storage systems to ‘close the loop’ by feeding data from the field back into Cadenza Innovation’s connected operations. This, in turn, will ensure peak performance of customer systems.

Linux Foundation Open Standards Updates

Industries cannot advance without standards. Trains could not operate across a continent. I could not connect to the world from my computer through WiFi to an Internet. Standards may be recognized by governments or they may be de facto industry standards. The key benefit from standards is interoperability. At some level, competing proprietary products can interoperate. I can send a text from my iPhone to your Android phone. I support standards in the name of interoperability. I say this as preamble to three pieces of news coming from the Linux Foundation.

EdgeX Foundry Announces Jakarta, the Project’s First Long Term Support Release

EdgeX Foundry, a Linux Foundation project under the  LF Edge project umbrella, announced the release of version 2.1 of EdgeX, codenamed ‘Jakarta.’  The project’s ninth release, it follows the recent Ireland release, which was the project’s second major release (version 2.0). Jakarta is significant in that it is EdgeX’s first release to offer long term support (LTS). 

“Our Jakarta release is a stabilization release,” said Jim White, the EdgeX Foundry Technical Steering Committee  (TSC) Chairman and co-founder of the project.  “As such, it is our project community’s pledge to adopters that EdgeX offers you a stable version of the platform that you can expect the community to stand behind and support for a period of two years.  We stand with you in support of EdgeX in real world, commercial deployments of the platform.”

“Only a few open-source projects offer long term support; the rapid change of open source projects and the effort needed to LTS is significant,” said Arpit Joshipura, general manager, Networking, Edge and IoT, at the Linux Foundation. “By including LTS, EdgeX demonstrates it understands the needs of the operational technology (OT) user base, and how products in this space must work and operate over longer periods of time than traditional IT solutions,” said Arpit Joshipura. “This is a big milestone for any open source community, and we are incredibly proud of EdgeX Foundry for this achievement.”

The EdgeX long term support policy states that the community will work as quickly as possible and give “best effort and development priority to fix major flaws as soon as possible.”  Major flaws by the project are defined as 

• bugs causing the system or service to crash and where there is no work around for the function

• bugs for a feature/function that does not work and there is no work around for the function

• a security issue deemed a critical or high-level CVE (per CVSS)

The project has further stipulated in its LTS policy that “no new major functionality (at the discretion of the TSC) will be added” to the LTS version after the release happens.

The next EdgeX release, codenamed “Kamakura,” is set for Spring 2022.  The community has held its semi-annual planning session to lay out the goals and objectives of this release.  Kamakura is likely to be another dot-release that will again be backward compatible with all EdgeX 2.x releases (Ireland and Jakarta).  Major additions currently under consideration and being developed by the community include:

• Initial north to south message bus.  Improved security secrets seeding and allowing for delayed service starts.

• Metrics collection

• Dynamic device profiles.  Better (native) Windows support

• Improve testing – including real hardware testing

• A second version release of the EdgeX Command Line Interface (CLI) which,  compatible with EdgeX v2.x.

The Cyber-Investigation Analysis Standard Expression Transitions to Linux Foundation

The Linux Foundation announced the Cyber-investigation Analysis Standard Expression (CASE) is becoming a community project as part of the ​​Cyber Domain Ontology (CDO) project under the Linux Foundation. CASE is an ontology-based specification that supports automated combination and intelligent analysis of cyber-investigation information. CASE concentrates on advancing interoperability and analytics across a broad range of cyber-investigation domains, including digital forensics and incident response (DFIR). 

“Becoming part of the Linux Foundation is a major milestone for CASE that will significantly benefit the broader open source and cyber-investigation communities,” said Eoghan Casey, Presiding Director of CASE. “As an evolving standard supporting structured expression and exchange of cyber-investigation information, CASE will substantially enhance efforts to address growing challenges in the modern world, including cyberattacks, ransomware, online fraud, sexual exploitation, and terrorism. Our objective is to create a culture of common comprehension and collaborative problem solving across cyber-investigation domains.”

Organizations involved in joint operations or intrusion investigations can efficiently and consistently exchange information in standard format with CASE, breaking down data silos and increasing visibility across all information sources. Tools that support CASE facilitate correlation of differing data sources and exploration of investigative questions, giving analysts a more comprehensive and cohesive view of available information, opening new opportunities for searching, pivoting, contextual analysis, pattern recognition, machine learning and visualization.

Development of CASE began in 2014 as a collaboration between the DoD Cyber Crime Center (DC3) and MITRE, led by Dr. Eoghan Casey and Sean Barnum, involving the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). In response to international interest, this initiative became an open source evolving standard, with hundreds of participants in industry, government and academia around the globe. Early contributors include the Netherlands Forensic Institute (NFI), the Italian Institute of Legal Informatics and Judicial Systems (IGSG-CNR), FireEye, and University of Lausanne. CASE governance and community coordination were formalized with support of Harm van Beek, Rich Brown, Ryan Griffith, Cory Hall, Christopher Hargreaves, Jessica Hyde, Deborah Nichols, and Martin Westman. Growing international involvement is tracked on the CASE website.

CASE, built on the Hansken trace model developed and implemented by the NFI, aligns with and extends the Unified Cyber Ontology (UCO). This year has seen the release of UCO 0.7.0, and most recently CASE 0.5.0. CASE and UCO now both are built on SHACL constraints, providing an instance data validation capability. Currently, CASE is developing a representation for Inferences, both human formulated and computer generated, to bind investigative conclusions to supporting evidence and associated chain of custody.

Linux Foundation to Host the Cloud Hypervisor Project

The Linux Foundation announced it will host the Cloud Hypervisor project, which delivers a Virtual Machine Monitor for modern Cloud workloads. Written in Rust with a strong focus on security, features include CPU, memory and device hot plug; support for running Windows and Linux guests; device offload with vhost-user; and a minimal and compact footprint.

The project is supported by Alibaba, ARM, ByteDance, Intel and Microsoft and represented by founding member constituents that include Arjan van de Ven, Fellow at Intel; K. Y Srinivasan, Distinguished Engineer and VP at Microsoft; Michael Zhao, Staff Engineer at ARM, Gerry Liu, Senior Staff Engineer at Alibaba, and Felix Zhang, Senior Software Engineer at ByteDance. Initial focus for the Cloud Hypervisor project will be security and modern operation for Cloud. 

K.Y Srinivasan, Advisory Board member from Microsoft adds: “Cloud Hypervisor has matured to the point that moving it to the Linux Foundation is the right move at the right time. As LF continues to standardize key components of the software stack for managing/orchestrating modern workloads, we feel that the Cloud Hypervisor will be an important part of the overall stack. Being part of LF will help us accelerate development and adoption of this key technology.”

EtherNet/IP Specification Completed for Ethernet-APL for Process Automation

Advanced Physical Layer for Ethernet has been about the only substantial Ethernet news of the past couple of years outside of TSN. Various German networking and instrumentation suppliers have been developing and evangelizing this standard for several years. This announcement of ODVA support opens this technology to the Rockwell Automation ecosystem along with other supporting companies.

Ethernet-APL is intrinsically safe, two-wire extension of 10BASE-T1L (IEEE 802.3cg-2019) Single Pair Ethernet that meets the requirements of the process industries. The advantages of Ethernet-APL include communication speeds of up to 10 Mbit/s, hazardous area protection, power to field instrumentation, and long cable runs of up to 1,000 meters (IEC 61158-2). Ethernet-APL devices adhere to IEC TS 60079-47 (2-Wire Intrinsically Safe Ethernet) in order to ensure “intrinsically safe” ignition protection. The Ethernet-APL physical layer overcomes the challenges of using fast, high bandwidth Ethernet at the field level in process plants with hazardous locations and a large geographic footprint.

ODVA has announced the EtherNet/IP Specification has been enhanced to enable EtherNet/IP networks to support the Ethernet-APL physical layer for process automation. Licensed Vendors for the EtherNet/IP technology can immediately start developing EtherNet/IP components for Ethernet-APL, including controllers, power switches, field switches, and instrumentation.

The addition of support for the Ethernet-APL physical layer is another key step in the adaptation of EtherNet/IP to meet the full requirements of the process industries. Completed enhancements for EtherNet/IP which benefit applications in the process industries include NAMUR NE 107 diagnostics, HART integration, IO-Link integration, and support for the next generation of digitized device description files, including FDT and FDI. Inclusion of the Ethernet-APL physical layer will allow for end users to take full advantage of the benefits of EtherNet/IP in process plants, including commercially-based industrial control hardware, an object-oriented foundation, and standard internet protocol compatibility including TCP/IP, HTTP, FTP, SNMP, and DHCP. With support for functional safety with CIP Safety, device defense with CIP Security, time synchronization with CIP Sync, and fault tolerant redundancy with parallel redundancy protocol (PRP) and Device Level Ring (DLR), process automation installations with EtherNet/IP can benefit from network and device health monitoring, built in security and safety, and remote device configuration.

The first Ethernet-APL controllers, power switches, field switches, and instrumentation that support EtherNet/IP are expected to be available in 2022 once the conformance testing certification process is complete.

Standards and Open Source News

Open source predominates in IT. One can find open source growing within OT. I expect more as the younger generation of engineers takes over from the Boomers. My generation has laid a great foundation of standards. These make things better for engineers just trying to get a job done with inadequate resources. A few news items have piled up in my queue. Here is a CESMII announcement followed by several from the Linux Foundation.

SME and CESMII Join Forces to Accelerate Smart Manufacturing Adoption

SME, a non-profit professional association dedicated to advancing manufacturing, and CESMII – The Smart Manufacturing Institute, are partnering to align their resources and educate the industry, helping companies boost productivity, build a strong talent pipeline, and reduce manufacturers’ carbon footprint.

CESMII and SME will address the “digital divide” by connecting manufacturers to technical knowledge. These efforts will especially help small and medium-size companies—a large part of the supply network—to overcome the cost and complexity of automation and digitization that has constrained productivity and growth initiatives. 

“The prospect of the Fourth Industrial Revolution catalyzing the revitalization of our manufacturing productivity in the U.S. is real, but still aspirational, and demands a unified effort to accelerate the evolution of this entire ecosystem,” said John Dyck, CEO, CESMII. “We couldn’t be happier to join with SME on this important mission to combine and align efforts with the best interest of the employers and educators in mind.”

Smart Manufacturing Executive Council

The first joint initiative is the formation of a new national Smart Manufacturing Executive Council. It will engage business and technology executives, thought leaders, and visionaries as a “think tank” advocating for the transformation of the ecosystem. It will build on each organization’s history of working with industry giants who volunteer their time and impart their knowledge to benefit the industry.

Members of the council will act as ambassadors to drive the national conversation and vision for smart manufacturing in America. Working with policy makers and others, the council will unify the ecosystem around a common set of interoperability, transparency, sustainability and resiliency goals and principles for the smart manufacturing ecosystem.

Focus on Manufacturing Workforce

The need for richer, scalable education and workforce development is more important than ever.

SME’s training organization, Tooling U-SME, is the industry’s leading learning and development solutions provider, working with thousands of companies, including more than half of all Fortune 500 manufacturers as well as 800 educational institutions across the country. CESMII has in-depth training content on smart manufacturing technology, business practices, and workforce development. Leveraging Tooling U-SME’s extensive reach into industry and academia, the synergistically combined CESMII and Tooling U-SME training portfolios and new content collaborations will expedite smart manufacturing adoption, driving progress through transformational workforce development.

Through this national collaboration, Tooling U-SME will become a key partner for CESMII for advancing education and workforce development around smart manufacturing. 

“Manufacturers are looking for a more effective, future-proof approach to upskill their workforce, and we believe that the best way to accomplish that is for CESMII and Tooling U-SME to work together,” said Conrad Leiva, Vice President of Ecosystem and Workforce Education at CESMII. “This partnership brings together the deep domain expertise and necessary skills with the know-how to package education, work with employers and schools and effectively deliver it at scale nationally.

Linux Foundation Announces NextArch Foundation

The Linux Foundation announced the NextArch Foundation. The new Foundation is a neutral home for open source developers and contributors to build next-generation architecture that can support compatibility between an increasing array of microservices. 

Cloud-native computing, Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), Edge computing and much more have led businesses down a path of massive opportunity and transformation. According to market research, the global digital transformation market size was valued at USD 336.14 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23.6% from 2021 to 2028. But a lack of intelligent, centralized architecture is preventing enterprises and the developers who are creating innovation based on these technologies to fully realize their promise.

“Developers today have to make what feel like impossible decisions among different technical infrastructures and the proper tool for a variety of problems,” said Jim Zemlin, Executive Director of the Linux Foundation. “Every tool brings learning costs and complexities that developers don’t have the time to navigate yet there’s the expectation that they keep up with accelerated development and innovation. NextArch Foundation will improve ease of use and reduce the cost for developers to drive the evolution of next-generation technology architectures.” 

Next-generation architecture describes a variety of innovations in architecture, from data storage and heterogeneous hardware to engineering productivity, telecommunications and much more. Until now, there has been no ecosystem to address this massive challenge. NextArch will leverage infrastructure abstraction solutions through architecture and design and automate development, operations and project processes to increase the autonomy of development teams. Enterprises will gain easy to use and cost-effective tools to solve the problems of productization and commercialization in their digital transformation journey.

Linux Foundation and Graviti Announce Project OpenBytes to Make Open Data More Accessible to All

The Linux Foundation announced the new OpenBytes project spearheaded by Graviti. Project OpenBytes is dedicated to making open data more available and accessible through the creation of data standards and formats. 

Edward Cui is the founder of Graviti and a former machine learning expert within Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group. “For a long time, scores of AI projects were held up by a general lack of high-quality data from real use cases,” Cui said. “Acquiring higher quality data is paramount if AI development is to progress. To accomplish that, an open data community built on collaboration and innovation is urgently needed. Graviti believes it’s our social responsibility to play our part.”

By creating an open data standard and format, Project OpenBytes can reduce data contributors’ liability risks. Dataset holders are often reluctant to share their datasets publicly due to their lack of knowledge on various data licenses. If data contributors understand their ownership of data is well protected and their data will not be misused, more open data becomes accessible.
 
Project OpenBytes will also create a standard format of data published, shared, and exchanged on its open platform. A unified format will help data contributors and consumers easily find the relevant data they need and make collaboration easier. These OpenBytes functions will make high-quality data more available and accessible, which is significantly valuable to the whole AI community and will save a large amount of monetary and labor resources on repetitive data collecting.

The largest tech companies have already realized the potential of open data and how it can lead to novel academic machine learning breakthroughs and generate significant business value. However, there isn’t a well-established open data community with neutral and transparent governance across various organizations in a collaborative effort. Under the governance of the Linux Foundation, OpenBytes aims to create data standards and formats, enable contributions of good-quality data and, more importantly, be governed in a collaborative and transparent way.

Linux Foundation Announces Security Enhancements to its LFX Community Platform to Protect Software Supply Chain

The Linux Foundation announced it has enhanced its free LFX Security offering so open source projects can secure their code and reduce non-inclusive language.

The LFX platform hosts community tools for security, fundraising, community growth, project health, mentorship and more. It supports projects and empowers open source teams to write better, more secure code, drive engagement and grow sustainable ecosystems.

The LFX Security module now includes automatic scanning for secrets-in-code and non-inclusive language, adding to its existing comprehensive automated vulnerability detection capabilities. Software security firm BluBracket has contributed this functionality to open source software projects under LFX as part of its mission of making software safer and more secure. This functionality builds on contributions from leader in developer security, Snyk, now making LFX the leading vulnerability detection platform for the open source community.

The need for a community-supported and freely available code scanning is clear, especially in light of recent attacks on core software projects and recent the White House Executive Order calling for improved software supply chain security. LFX is the first and only community tool designed to make software projects of all kinds more secure and inclusive.

LFX Security now includes:
● Vulnerabilities Detection: Detect vulnerabilities in open source components and dependencies and provide fixes and recommendations to those vulnerabilities. LFX tracks how many known vulnerabilities have been found in open source Projects, identifies if those vulnerabilities have been fixed in code commits and then reports on the number of fixes per project through an intuitive dashboard. Fixing known open source vulnerabilities in open source projects helps cleanse software supply chains at their source and greatly enhances the quality and security of code further downstream in development pipelines. Snyk has provided this functionality for the community and helped open source software projects remediate nearly 12,000 known security vulnerabilities in their code.
● Code Secrets: Detect secrets-in-code such as passwords, credentials, keys and access tokens both pre- and post-commit. These secrets are used by hackers to gain entry into repositories and other important code infrastructure. BluBracket is the leading provider of secrets detection technology in the industry and has contributed these features to the Linux Foundation LFX community.
● Non-Inclusive Language: Detect non-inclusive language used in project code, which is a barrier in creating a welcoming and inclusive community. BluBracket worked with the Inclusive Naming Initiative on this functionality.

Avnu Alliance Launches Advanced Global TSN Certification Program

Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) holds promise as a real-time and deterministic extension of Ethernet. Principle backers come from the audio-visual industry looking for a standard solution for improving streaming audio/video synchronization. Another obvious benefactor would be industrial manufacturing and production applications. 

Standards have little use without testing and certification. The Avnu Alliance moves the standard another step closer to realization with the release of globally scaled testing capabilities. Details from the press release follow.

Announcement

Avnu Alliance®, the industry consortium driving open, standards-based deterministic networking, announced globally scaled testing capabilities and a comprehensive update of its certification testing procedures at newly authorized, commercial test houses around the world. This advanced global certification program will streamline certification testing of devices with Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) capabilities, including devices implementing the Milan network protocol (using TSN) for professional media, making testing easier and more convenient for Avnu members around the world. 

Global Locations

Avnu announces expanded testing at new Registered Test Facilities (RTF) around the world: Allion in Taipei City, Taiwan; Excelfore in Tokyo, Japan; and Granite River Labs in both Santa Clara, CA, USA and Karlsruhe, Germany. These well-recognized, globally dispersed test labs will lower shipping times, offer competitive pricing models, and streamline the process for members seeking to certify products and make communications between testing sites and vendors seamless. These additional test sites and locations give Avnu Alliance greater ability to scale testing capacity to meet demand, while also allowing device manufacturers to enter products into testing with less lead time prior to release. 

“As a part of standard networking technology, TSN is built and deployed around the world,” says Greg Schlechter, president of the Avnu Alliance.  “Avnu recognized that, for device certification to keep pace with innovation, we needed to expand our testing capabilities and global footprint to increase accessibilty, enable the growth of both test programs and manufacturers, and in general support the diversity of the growing TSN ecosystem.”

Avnu’s goal is to enable an ecosystem of interoperable, secure, low-latency, and highly reliable networked devices using TSN as part of the open IEEE 802.1 Ethernet standards. Avnu has a variety of test plans and programs to help manufacturers implementing TSN ensure interoperability and demonstrate that to their markets through certification programs.

Avnu’s membership brings together experts in automotive, industrial, and networked media as well as all perspectives from across the value chain, including infrastructure providers, silicon and component vendors, and end-device manufacturers. These members collaborate on the current and future requirements for an interoperable TSN ecosystem and define and create conformance test procedures, plans, scripts, and tools for devices and products that leverage Milan and TSN. Those test scripts and procedures are licensed to designated, third-party testing laboratories, where the tests are independently conducted to validate compliance with the specifications. 

Certification Management System and Product Registry

To streamline the new program, Avnu has launched a new testing portal and comprehensive Certification Management System (CMS) with simplified and intelligent certification workflows for seamless, transparent communication. Designed and maintained by experienced certification management professionals, the new CMS provides members with real-time visibility into the testing process and the ability to track device progress and timelines. 

In this web-based portal, Avnu members can submit products for testing, view results, respond to nonconformance issues, and manage the public listing of newly Certified products. All certification and testing documents are easily managed in a single, centralized location. Intelligent workflows feed data and visibility back to Avnu’s Certification Work Group to track the number of products in certification at each lab, enabling Avnu to scale the capabilities as needed to support testing demand.  

In addition, Avnu’s certification website will launch a new product registry with a robust database showing all products currently Certified by Avnu. Advanced filtering capabilities make it easy for members’ customers and end-users to search for products to specify and design into systems.

“With this new certification platform, Avnu continues to innovate in making pre-certification and certification testing easier, faster, and more convenient for member companies, test equipment manufacturers, and test facilities around the world,” added Ed Agis, Certification Work Group co-chair. “Interoperability ultimately accelerates a broader ecosystem of devices, which is the long-term advantage of this advanced global certification platform.”

The certification program will first support testing and certification for Milan devices at new locations. Testing services will continue to be offered at the University of New Hampshire InterOperability Lab. The testing program will continue to evolve; additional certification test plans will become available through these global facilities as the TSN ecosystem grows.