Back in the 90s, I used to haul around a $25,000 vision system in the trunk of my car to perform demonstrations of machine vision technology applications.
Today, there is more video power in my smartphone than in that entire system.
Just like all the technologies we use in manufacturing, vision systems and video have become more powerful and useful,most often leveraging consumer electronics or IT innovations. I visited a small chemical refinery that installed streaming video into its operator interface for a unique, but essential, personnel safety/security application. Located in a rural area of Texas, the refinery operators periodically opened the gates to allow railway cars into the facility or to let the filled cars leave. The open gates became a welcome invitation to the local coyote population. Of course, these guys were not wanted wandering around the facility. The video system watched for incursions and alerted personnel.
Not too long ago, the bandwidth required by that streaming video would have been too expensive or awkward to be economical. Now, it’s just another sensor.
Intelligent Video for Health and Safety
These Covid pandemic days have led to new use cases for video. AT&T identifies a few key examples on their video intelligence page:
- Ensuring social distancing
- Counting people to maintain safe capacity
Infrared thermal imaging has progressed to the point that strategically placed thermal imaging cameras can monitor personnel for fevers—an outward sign of potential Covid infection. We can potentially stop the spread of the virus at the plant entrance.
Another Covid-related application involves contact tracing and social-distancing assurance. These applications require high bandwidth along with sophisticated analysis software—both now readily available. And, both technologies are poised for improvement. We will see 5G installations before long that will improve bandwidth, speed, and latency forvideo applications.
“Outside of these pandemic applications, process plants with hazardous areas have found video sensors to be a perfect solution to determining personnel safety during an incident. Rescue teams need to know who is in the area and where they are. Security teams can be alerted if someone wanders into a hazardous or restricted area.
Intelligent Video for Quality Control
Then we return to the applications I once tried to solve—product quality. While it is best practice to fix the process such that defects are not produced, vision inspection is another step in assuring products that fail to meet specification are not shipped to customers. Taking a feedback loop from inspection information provides a pathway to solving the process problem. As network bandwidth improves and video sensors become smaller, cheaper, faster, these video IoT solutions become more attractive.
5G is the Foundation
Apple released its latest iPhone (one of which is lying on my desk) with great hoopla about 5G. Apple pundits were originally less than enthusiastic about the 5G bandwidth. I have been advising them, along with clients and readers,about the tremendous value that will be unlocked by 5G. It may not be as apparent in an individual iPhone, but we will see a massive shift in business and manufacturing applications.
5G skeptics do exist, but most technologists are decidedly bullish on the possibilities. I think that manufacturers of many varieties will begin deploying the networks for one or two of the reasons that fit them, and then discover that they’ve received more benefit than they expected. Then managers and engineers will have difficulty remembering why there was any debate over moving from LTE to 5G.
As the AT&T Business team puts it in their “Agility Refined” white paper:
5G is the next generation of wireless communications technology. In essence, 5G will put the network edge closer to users and devices. It uses mid-band frequencies and millimeter wave (mmWave) to help accomplish this.
5G offers significantly larger spectrum allocations and enables exponentially increased data rates. It has a reduced range compared to today’s 4G frequencies—but the antennae needed for 5G are much smaller. This will allow for a dense network of small cells, enhancing the current user experience.
As you lay out your 5-year-and-beyond scenarios, this intelligent video powered by 5G will be technology to keep in the narrative.
This post was sponsored by AT&T Business, but the opinions are my own and don’t necessarily represent AT&T Business’s positions or strategies.
My day has had a bit of a delayed start. I left the house about 6:45 this morning to go obtain my second Covid vaccination. There was perhaps a slight amount of fear and trepidation. I’ve heard a variety of stories ranging from no reaction to being very tired and achy. Sitting in the observation room (unlike YoYo Ma, I didn’t bring my cello (well, guitar) to the room to entertain during the wait), I did begin to feel a little soreness in the area of the shot. But that feeling left. We’ll see how tomorrow goes.
I like historical fiction, but I don’t read much of it. Steven Pressfield wrote a popular work of nonfiction, The War of Art: Break Through The Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles, cited by many creatives I follow. I recommend it. Mostly, he writes historical fiction. I decided to buy his latest book, A Man at Arms. I could not put it down. Totally destroyed yesterday’s productivity. The setting is the eastern Mediterranean in 55 AD. A “Man at Arms”, a warrior and mercenary, accepts a job from the Jerusalem-based Roman Authority to track down and capture a man and girl child who have a letter from the Apostle Paul to the Christians in Corinth. Early on, he attracts to him a male youth who follows him. The story is gripping. You can’t guess the end until the next-to-last page.
Note: it is a warrior story, so there are pretty graphic battle scenes as well as scenes of Roman brutality. Pressfield gives you a look at the cultural backdrop of Roman occupation that is only alluded to in the Bible. I think it’s great. It may be one of those few books I’ll read again.
A year ago this past week I was in Hannover, Germany. The organizers of the annual huge trade fair known as Hannover Messe had assembled an international cohort of journalists, writers, and other media types to preview the trade show that none of us would return to visit. By April, we were all on some sort of lock down.
I returned home on Thursday evening. Friday morning I taught the regular Yoga class and went home to let the house inspector in. For we had accepted an offer (very nice one) to sell our house where we had lived for 35 years. Saturday, I taught a soccer referee class (most likely the last one I’ll do, even though I remain a ranking instructor), drove to the Chicago suburbs, looked at houses, and made an offer to buy.
While in Germany, we remarked that there were no Chinese journalists in attendance. We knew something was up. Little did we know how bad it would get.
The next four weeks were a blur of arranging financing, waiting for deals to complete, and packing. And packing. And selling excess stuff. And throwing away excess junk (I estimate 2,000 lbs.). Advice–don’t live in one place for so long–or leave it to the kids to clean up 😉
We moved March 23. We then found the reality of the Covid shut downs in the sudden reduction of activity. Yes, we had to unpack, hang pictures, and all that stuff. But we were in a new community where we knew no one, in a lock down, in a new state, with a new lifestyle (sort of).
The first thing I decided was to maintain my daily disciplines of study, meditation, writing. We made one trip back to Ohio to vacation in the back woods of the southern part of the state and to close out banking accounts. And then the virus took off again, and we were back to mostly staying inside.
I’m ready to travel, if I had somewhere to go. It’s been a year since the last time I set foot in an airport. Missing the annual trip to Orlando for the ARC Forum provoked a bit of withdrawal feeling. Eleven months since I’ve taught Yoga; twelve since I’ve taught soccer.
But the daily disciplines carry on. Here I am with breakfast writing this essay just like the past. I am beginning my 18th year of this blog (three different names–“Gary Mintchell’s Radio Weblog” became “Gary Mintchell’s Feed Forward” at Automation World followed by a rebranding when I went on my own–and I have a spiritual disciplines blog beginning its 9th year.
I hope you all remain safe and maintain your disciplines.
Businesses implementing what we’re calling Digital Transformation, which is actually just a new focus on something we’ve been doing since the 70s—applying digital technologies in service of improved operations, find many tools within the toolbox. One of those basic tools is called Digital Twin. That is the ever-closer representation of the physical asset and product in digital format. This allows improved quality, closer tolerances, better processes.
Companies seem to be joining together more than ever to develop best practices and de facto standards around these digital technologies.
This release details how Autodesk, GE Digital, and Northrop Grumman join Ansys, Lendlease, and Microsoft as founding members of the Digital Twin consortium.
This from the press release
The newly formed Digital Twin Consortium announced that its membership has grown to nearly 150 in four months since its formation. The Consortium also announced that Autodesk, GE Digital, and Northrop Grumman Corporation are now founding members, joining founders Ansys, Dell Technologies, Lendlease, and Microsoft as well as Executive Director, Dr. Richard Soley and President Bill Hoffman on the Consortium’s Steering Committee.
“Our ecosystem of experts is working feverishly to reduce the risk of implementing digital twin technology – improving interoperability, developing best practices, and influencing requirements for digital twin standards. Today’s announcement shows the importance of digital twin technology to the market; Digital Twin Consortium is the fastest-growing consortium to date,” said Bill Ruh, CEO Lendlease Digital and Chair of the Digital Twin Consortium Steering Committee.
“The value of a digital twin cannot be overstated because of its ability to connect the physical and digital worlds providing real-time operational awareness of structures, machines, or products,” said Nicolas Mangon, Autodesk Vice President for AEC Business Strategy. “As the recognized leader in advanced intelligent 3D modeling, which serves as a foundational component of a digital twin, Autodesk’s participation in the Digital Twin Consortium is motivated by our tradition of openness and working with our peers to advance the industries we serve.”
“With a footprint in 100 countries, GE Digital comprises several software businesses serving the Power Generation, Oil & Gas, Aviation, Electric & Telecommunications Utilities, and the Manufacturing sector,” said Colin Parris, Senior Vice President and Chief Technical Officer for GE Digital and a board member for the Digital Twin Consortium. “The Digital Twins market category is growing quickly. Bodies like the Digital Twin Consortium will play an important role in driving new standards and lowering barriers of entry for industrial companies to accelerate the commercial adoption of digital twins to accelerate business transformation.”
“The consortium will help to better enable cross-industry collaboration while providing a forum to respond to the challenges we all face with digital twin technologies. Creating common standards and practices for digital twins will better enable our ability to deliver products and services more efficiently and more affordably to our customers,” said Silvia Bouchard, corporate director programs, quality, and engineering, Northrop Grumman.
Since its launch on May 18, 2020, the Digital Twin Consortium ecosystem of companies is driving the adoption of digital twins in six core working groups focused on technology and terminology and four industry sectors. Tiger teams are working to accelerate projects like taxonomy types, platform stacks, security and trustworthiness, and the development of uses cases within the key industry sectors of aerospace and defense, infrastructure, natural resources, and manufacturing. Digital Twin Consortium will help enhance the portability and interoperability of digital twins which, in turn, will advance the use of digital twin technology across industries.
“Today, there are no standards, definitions or common language for digital twin technology and therefore it’s been very difficult for companies to integrate it across their product lifecycle and legacy systems,” said Dick Slansky, Senior Analyst, PLM & Engineering Design Tools, ARC Advisory Group. “However, the definition of digital twin is often insufficient to provide a meaningful basis for discussion – especially when comparing digital twin technologies across applications and industries. With so many companies trying to integrate different digital twin technologies, guidance from Digital Twin Consortium comes at a great time.”
Public webinars to demonstrate the priorities for the Digital Twin Consortium began in September.
Digital Twin Consortium is open to any business, organization, or entity with an interest in digital twins. Its members are committed to using digital twins throughout their operations and supply chains and capturing best practices and standards requirements for themselves and their clients. Membership fees are based on annual revenue.
Looking for an opportunity to learn about the leading edge of Open Source community work? Check out the Open Networking & Edge Summit next week.
- Deep Dive demonstrations on 5G, Edge, IOT, O-RAN, AI, Cloud Native & CNFs covering most important enterprise, cloud and telecom use cases
- Expert live sessions on “Why Open Source for Edge?” answered – Over 75% say collaborative market creation and adoption acceleration are top factors for participating in open source
- Total value of software created by shared innovation model totals $7.3B (2000+ Devs over 6+ years), according to new COCOMO research, “Estimated Development Value of LFN Software”
- 5 tracks, 13 keynote presentations, 80+ sessions with thousands of peers attending to collaborate on business value of open networking & edge
The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling innovation through open source, has marked significant progress in the open networking and edge spaces. In advance of the Open Networking and Edge Summit happening September 28-30, Linux Foundation umbrella projects LF Edge and LF Networking demonstrate recent achievements highlighting trends that set the stage for next-generation technology. “We are thrilled to announce a number of milestones across our networking and edge projects, which will be on virtual display at ONES next week,” said Arpit Joshipura, general manager, Networking, Edge and IOT, at the Linux Foundation. “Indicative of what’s coming next, our communities are laying the groundwork for markets like cloud native, 5G, and edge to explode in terms of open deployments.” Recent Acceleration within Networking & Edge includes:
- LFN is shepherding the culmination of Cloud Native and 5G (5G Cloud Native demo, OVP, which now includes Cloud Native requirements).
- The industry is becoming accustomed to a new way of compliance and verification out in the open (via OVP) – be it cloud native, 5G, Edge, or otherwise.
- SDN + NFV: OPNFV celebrates its sixth birthday as CNTT prepares to issue its Baraque release; meanwhile, OpenDaylight issues Aluminum, its 13th release.
“We are together in a tough period. Thanks to all developers and contributors of LFN and LF Edge to tirelessly propel various projects to be on the trac,” said Dr. Junlan Feng, chief scientist at China Mobile, general manager of AI and Intelligent Operation R&D Center, and LFN Board chair. “Cloud Native and 5G are also top priorities of China Mobile to strengthen the experience of our customers. For moving forward, we see there is a great opportunity to fuse together network automation and network intelligence through ONAP, Acumos, Edge, etc. EUAG under LFN is conducting a study to collect and analyze the common requirements of 5G and intelligent network in our industry. We as a community will continuously work together. Thanks to Linux Foundation for taking the lead.”
At the edge, unification has happened and projects (e.g., Akraino, EdgeX Foundry, and Fledge) have delivered deployable code. And the new LF Edge Vertical Solutions Group is working to enable easily-customized deployments based on market/vertical requirements. Opportunities exist for end users across verticals – e.g., enterprise, automotive, industrial – to participate in shaping the direction of how open source gets deployed at the edge.
Join the launch event, “Launching the LF Edge End User Community” on October 1, co-located with ONES. “Open source collaboration from edge to network is critical to achieve compatibility and complementarity. ONES is THE event for communities to come together – learning about the latest trends in projects and determining how to evolve technology across boundaries and borders, ” said Melissa Evers-Hood, governing board chair for LF Edge and vice president, Intel Architecture, Graphics and Software, Software Business Strategy.
Technology in action at Open Networking & Edge Summit
See innovation in action during the virtual ONES event, September 28-30 and immerse yourself in the latest open source innovations across networking and edge with community-driven demos in the LF Networking & LF Edge Pavilion. The demos will be open throughout the event but visit during booth hours to engage with the demo managers and ask questions. Key demonstrations include:
- OVP Automation DevOps: Agile Adoption in VNF/CNF based Network Service Industry: This demo will leverage ONAP SDC, ONAP VF-C, and OVP VTP projects to build DevOps for OPNFV Verification Program end-to-end VNF and Network service testing which helps to address agility, automation, and testing challenges.
- Self-Healing Using Streaming Analytics & Observability for Latency Sensitive Kubernetes Workloads: This demo showcases components necessary towards zero touch infrastructure automation using Kubernetes enhancements, streaming analytics, host telemetry, and a viable path to deployment.
- Real-Time Sensor Fusion for Loss Detection: This demo shows how different sensor devices can use LF Edge’s EdgeX Foundry open-middleware framework to optimize retail operations and detect loss at checkout.
- Managing Industrial IoT Data Using LF Edge: LF Edge projects EVE and Fledge will show how they can securely manage, connect, aggregate, process, buffer and forward any sensor, machine or PLC’s data to existing OT systems and any cloud.
The event also features expert keynote speakers, 80+ sessions, and five separate tracks, including: Business Critical & Innovation; Carriers: Core/Edge/Access; Cloud Networking & Edge; Enterprise, Networking & Edge; and Sponsored Tutorials.Due to the current COVID-19 outbreak, ONES is being offered virtually for only $50 US. Register today and join the community September 28-30:
Support from Project Technical Steering Committee Chairs
“Launched in 2018, and founding project of LF Edge umbrella, Akraino delivers an open source software stack that supports a high-availability cloud stack optimized for edge computing systems and applications. With three successful releases, the community of over 40+ companies engaged worldwide, more than 20 fully integrated edge blueprints, blueprints tested in 15 user labs and a community lab, and a growing list of user deployments across the globe, Akraino truly become the enabler of edge computing use cases across Telco, IoT, Cloud, and Enterprise use cases,” said Kandan Kathirvel, TSC-Chair, AT&T, and Tina Tsou, co-chair, Arm. “This ONES event will be an opportunity to learn more about the edge use cases and Akraino solutions to it.”
“EdgeX Foundry is in its 4th year of development as a Linux Foundation project.With 6 successful releases, a community of over 180 committers worldwide, more than 7 million container downloads, and a growing list of commercial companies adopting and using EdgeX (like Accenture, HP, ThunderSoft, Tibco, IOTech Systems, and Jiangxing Intelligence), we believe EdgeX has established itself as one of, if not the, premier open source edge solution frameworks,” said Jim White, TSC Chair, EdgeX Foundry and CTO of IOTech. “We are excited that ‘edge’ has been incorporated into the formerly Open Network Summit, and we are looking forward to our participation in the new “edge” tracks with our fellow LF Edge project members.”
“Fledge is an open source framework and community for the industrial edge focused on applications for critical operations, condition-based monitoring, predictive maintenance, quality, situational awareness and safety. Fledge integrates IIoT, sensors, machines, processes and other industrial assets with existing ISQ95 systems and the cloud” said Mark Riddoch, Fledge TSC Chair. ” Fledge 1.8 is a mature, field-tested solution operating in power generation/transmission/distribution, water and wastewater processing, oil and gas, discrete manufacturing, pharma and professional auto racing. We invite manufacturers, equipment suppliers, system integrators, and partners to use Fledge and join our community as we grow THE open source application stack for industrial transformations.”
“Being a young stage one project, Open Horizon is grateful for the opportunity to meet so many people active in the open source networking and edge computing areas. Despite not being able to meet face-to-face, the Linux Foundation’s LFN and LF Edge have provided us with a great format that allows us to have personal, in-depth discussions with anyone who is interested from the comfort of home, and without needing to shout over the crowds to be heard. We hope you’ll come visit us and enjoy our short demo,” said Joe Pearson, TSC chair, Open Horizon and Technology Strategist, and IBM Cloud.
“This event will be an opportunity to learn about the pivotal changes, new emphasis, and growth in the OPNFV community. OPNFV’s conformance testing and infrastructure projects, led by the contributions of Orange and many other industry leaders, will soon benefit from even more Telco participation as the CNTT task force members merge with OPNFV. Also, we have paid-forward our successes by taking-on many Linux Foundation Networking Interns in OPNFV this year. Join us and hear our stories,” said Al Morton, OPNFV TSC Chair.
“Our ONAP Community is actively working on the certification of our 7th Major Release (Guilin) scheduled for the end of this year. This release continues to increase the support for 5G in areas of network slicing and O-RAN integration, ETSI (e.g. SOL007) and 3GPP standards, as well as our E2E CNF Orchestration chain,” said Catherine Lefevre, AVP-Network Cloud and SDN Platform Integration, AT&T, and chair of the ONAP Technical Steering Committee. “The ONES Summit is a great event where enterprises who have embraced ONAP can showcase their latest innovations. Also, do not miss our demo corners, which will illustrate areas such as: Onboarding 5G CNFs with ONAP, Policy-based RAN Management using O-RAN’s Open-Source Non-RealTime-RIC, ONAP Policy Framework Integration with Bell Canada’s Control Loop Use-cases, and much more. We also invite you to our special panel, ‘ONAP & Cloud Native – the Best of the Two Worlds’, where we will present an overview of our ONAP Cloud Native journey.”
State of the Edge (SOTE)
“As edge computing goes mainstream it will bring forth a wave of technologies that require cooperation across the entire ecosystem to deliver value to end customers,” said Matt Trifiro, CMO of Vapor IO and co-chair of The Linux Foundation’s State of the Edge project. “The Open Networking and Edge Summit creates opportunities for technologists and end users to collaborate around open source for edge and networking that will revolutionize the cloud, robotics, artificial intelligence, healthcare, manufacturing, data centers, mobile devices, smart cities, and autonomous vehicles.”
No less a thinker and scientist than Albert Einstein extolled the value of curiosity. A lifelong pursuit of learning is the mark of being human. This month kicks off what would have been conference season complete with airline and hotel reservations. However, we are now sitting quietly in our offices checking out new things. This week and next we have opportunities to learn about
How about what’s new with robotics and peripherals? I was a little late getting to this due to pressing matters. But you can pick up what you missed today and listen in the rest of the week to the RIA Robotics Week Virtual Conference and Trade Show.
How about machine technology and automation? Next week’s feature is the IMTS Network Streaming Sept 14-18.
In the midst of the IMTS week comes the Inductive Automation Ignition Community Conference
Sept 15. I am missing my annual trip to Folsom, California, although given the bad weather enhancing forest fires, perhaps this is a good year to miss. You can pick up all the action here.