Digital Transformation Council

Digital Transformation Council

Digital Transformation has generated so much news that company executives have begun ordering projects and task forces within the company to begin that transformation. The pressure on engineers and IT people increases with each new directive. To help clients deal with these new directives, ARC Advisory Group launched the Digital Transformation Council (DTC) at its 2018 Forum.

The council is a member community for industry, energy, and public-sector professionals. Membership is by invitation only and restricted to end users of digital transformation technology, such as professionals working for manufacturers, utilities, and municipalities. There is no fee to join.

“As data-driven market disruption grows, professionals across similar industries need to connect and learn from one another,” according to Jesus Flores-Cerrillo, Associated R&D Director at Praxair, one of the world’s largest providers of industrial gases. He added, “It’s becoming mission-critical to understand how to use data to develop services and products and optimize operations and assets. That can only be accomplished by understanding the possibilities provided by modern data tools such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and digital twins.”

“We are delighted to support the Digital Transformation Council by bringing members together in person and online,” commented Greg Gorbach, Vice President at ARC Advisory Group. “This community will enable individuals and companies to get up to speed quickly on digital transformation innovations and share ideas about what provides value and what doesn’t.”

Each February, a member-only meeting, anchored to the annual ARC Industry Forum, will bring the Council together to set the focus and agenda for the coming year. Members will also gather via virtual quarterly meetings to discuss research findings, activities, and other topics.

In addition to annual in-person meetings and quarterly virtual meetings, Digital Transformation Council members will have year-round access to research and fellow members via an online community. ARC Advisory Group’s role will be to conduct research, organize meetings, provide venues, and facilitate peer-to-peer discussions. ARC will also deliver technical support for the group’s online presence.
The DTC will address topics such as analytics, industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), artificial intelligence and machine learning, cybersecurity, and additive manufacturing.

ARC Forum Digitizing and Securing Industry, Infrastructure

ARC Forum Digitizing and Securing Industry, Infrastructure

The one industry conference where manufacturing industry insiders network and discuss the latest technologies, standards, and applications occurs a little later this year at the ARC Forum Orlando from Feb. 12-15.

This year’s theme is Digitizing and Securing Industry, Infrastructure, and Cities. You can meet me here as I head south for the 21st straight year. I always take away something from the event. ARC Advisory Group’s Paul Miller tells me that this year is shaping up to be one of the best.

Read about the conference from the organizer’s promotion material:

It’s happening fast. Everywhere we turn, things and processes are becoming more connected and intelligent. Streetlights, cars, gas turbines, and thermostats stream data. Buildings, refineries, oil platforms, mines, and wind turbines are optimizing asset and operating performance. Parking meters and distributed power grids deliver value to both consumers and operators. Design software can link to additive machines to print parts directly. And it’s only the beginning.

Challenges continue to grow for the industrial cybersecurity community. Broader deployment of operational technology is expanding the use cases requiring protection. Resource shortages are undermining the effectiveness of established defenses. Blurring boundaries between IT, OT, and IoT are increasing the need for more integrated, collaborative cybersecurity strategies.

How will disruptive technologies change existing products, plants, and cities? Can cybersecurity threats be overcome? When will machine learning and artificial intelligence transform operations? Will open source solutions impact traditional software and automation domains? How will a digitally-enhanced workforce stem the loss of tribal knowledge? How do connected products create opportunities in aftermarket services? What steps can organizations take to foster innovative thinking?

There are countless ways to conduct your digital transformation journey, too many technologies and suppliers to evaluate, and endless choices to make along the way. Embedded systems, networks, software platforms, augmented reality, and machine learning may play a role as you begin to improve uptime, optimize operating performance, enhance service, and re-think business models.

ARC Forum Digitizing and Securing Industry, Infrastructure

2018 ARC Industry Forum to Explore Digital Transformation

The 22nd annual ARC Industry Forum in Orlando, Florida, Feb. 12-15, 2018, will focus on the new digitally-enabled technologies, approaches, and business processes that are disrupting the way industry, infrastructure, and municipalities around the world operate and serve their respective customers.

This digital transformation impacts every aspect of business, industry, and infrastructure.

Digital Transformation Changes Everything

“We’re seeing signs of positive disruption via digital transformation everywhere we look,” said Andy Chatha, president and founder of ARC Advisory Group. “Today’s smart, connected, information-driven industrial enterprises are making better use of their assets and data to improve business and regulatory performance. We’re seeing a similar transformation across infrastructure and within municipalities.”

But Chatha also points out that challenges remain. “Without robust cybersecurity, connected enterprises are more vulnerable to hackers and other cyber-criminals. Also, today’s shortage of the skilled knowledge workers needed for successful digital transformation will become an increasing constraint.”

To help meet these and other challenges, ARC has helped organize an end user-driven Digital Transformation Council, which will convene for the first time at this year’s Forum.

Learn from Industry Leaders

Experts from industry, infrastructure, government, and academia will convene in Orlando in February to further explore these and related topics.

Keynote speakers will include Kenny Warren, Vice President of Engineering at ExxonMobil Research & Engineering, who will speak on the business goals of the company’s Open Process Automation initiative; and Jason Handley, Director of Smart Grid Emerging Technology and Operations at Duke Energy, who will speak on new technologies that are impacting the emerging Smart Grid. Mr. Warren and Mr. Handley will be joined by many other senior executive presenters at the ARC Forum.

Forum topical tracks include:

  • Advanced Analytics and Machine Learning
  • Asset Performance Management
  • Automation Innovations (including Open Process Automation)
  • Connected Smart Machines
  • Cybersecurity and Safety
  • Industrial Internet Platforms
  • IoT Network Edge Infrastructure and End Devices
  • Convergence of Information, Operational, and Engineering Technologies

Join in the Conversation

The upcoming ARC Industry Forum in Orlando offers a unique opportunity for professionals from industry and infrastructure to learn from their peers and share their own experiences and lessons learned in their respective digital transformation journeys.

Are We Too Old To Be Creative?

Are We Too Old To Be Creative?

Are we too old to be creative? I don’t even know you, but I know the answer.

No!

When I reached 30, I was really bummed. Over the hill. No great mathematician, so they said, ever had a significant discovery after age 30.

But then, I was no mathematician. But still, was life over?

Be Creative

Actually I have never been more creative and productive than over the past 20 years. And I’m way past 30, now. And The New York Times this month ran an article with some proof that creativity does not necessarily end at 30. It leads with a 94-year-old inventor.

It states, “There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that late blooming is no anomaly. A 2016 Information Technology and Innovation Foundation study found that inventors peak in their late 40s and tend to be highly productive in the last half of their careers. Similarly, professors at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Hitotsubashi University in Japan, who studied data about patent holders, found that, in the United States, the average inventor sends in his or her application to the patent office at age 47, and that the highest-value patents often come from the oldest inventors — those over the age of 55.

Keep reading. Try new things. Learn a different language. Go for new experiences. Ask questions.

Marketing

 

Speaking of geniuses. Did you hear about the TV advertisement that instructed your Google Home (OK Google) to search for ingredients of its sandwich? There is another reason not to have one of those devices that is always listening to you. The other being Amazon Echo (Alexa, buy a book…). I do not have one installed. There is one disconnected in my closet. Here’s a New York Times article on the ad and one from TechCrunch.

The question is how obnoxious do you need to be to be an effective marketer?

I hate, Hate, I say, those pop-ups on Websites. And all the other tricks I see to get you to click. Ever seen those things at the bottom of the WeatherBug app? Even the marketers know that most clicks are due to error. People are frantically trying to click the vanishing X that makes the ugly thing go away. Then they click the ad and get carried off to some place they don’t want to go.

But Website owners need money. Marketers will pay well even for obnoxious, accidental click ads. The poor users, well, we just get a degraded experience. No wonder we don’t go to the Web like we once did.

Digital Thread

Can HMI/SCADA Software Be the On Ramp to the IIoT Digital Thread?

Craig Resnick, vp at ARC Advisory Group wrote a provocative article on the role of HMI/SCADA and the IioT.

These are interesting comments about the state of manufacturing software, “The Digital Thread often combines manufacturing software that provides real-time, role-based HMI dashboards with Ethernet networking technology, using Big Data, HMI/SCADA and analytics software, sensors, controllers, and robotics to help optimize industrial asset performance and availability in an edge to cloud world. This enables end users and OEMs to collect and analyze asset performance and operational data in the network, often from connecting disparate systems, from the factory floor to ERP, providing an ‘industrial-strength’ data analytics solution that combines role-based manufacturing HMI dashboards with real-time manufacturing KPIs for decision support.”

“The Digital Thread has, for example, driven the convergence of HMI/SCADA and MES platforms. Increasingly, these converged HMI/SCADA and MES platforms help users visualize both key automation and business metrics and KPIs, such as overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) and energy savings, to help maximize the productivity and profitability of their businesses.”

This idea of things converging around MES is intriguing. There are so many applications gaining traction, along with interesting standards for data transfer, databases, analytics, visualization. All this, and I’m not sure where the money-making places are right now. Maybe writing smaller communication apps and mobile apps that can be sold to big companies?

ARC Forum Digitizing and Securing Industry, Infrastructure

Edge Devices On The Industrial Internet

What is an “edge” device in terms of network architecture for today’s Industrial Internet of Things? Classical networking practice has had it’s definition. But how do you extend the definition in today’s industrial networks with perhaps thousands of devices at the edge? Do you label all those smart devices as edge?

I have been spending much time with Dell Technologies and its IoT division. It has built a computing device with a multitude of connection ports, data storage, and computing capability. This device is named Gateway, but it is labeled as an edge device. Meanwhile I interviewed two GE Automation and Controls executives who labeled controllers (PLCs) as edge devices.

I ran across this article by ARC Advisory Group’s Greg Gorbach. I’ve quoted some of it below. You can read it in its entirety here. He analyzes a number of points of view. Does it all matter to you what is called an edge device? How do you configure a modern IIoT network?

arcbanner-300x250

Power of Edge – Greg Gorbach

What is the industrial edge, and why does it matter?  Is it network infrastructure? Can the edge be found in a sensor that feeds a controller in a plant?  Or is it in a smart machine that’s in service halfway around the globe?

In networking, an edge device is a device which provides an entry point into enterprise or service provider core networks.  Examples include routers, routing switches, integrated access devices, multiplexers, and a variety of local area network (LAN) and wide area network (WAN) access devices. Edge devices also provide connections into carrier and service provider networks.  Network providers and others have been pushing intelligence – compute power and the ability to run applications and analytics – to these edge devices for some time.

But the growth of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) extends the ‘edge’ beyond the network devices, into industrial and commercial devices, machines, and sensors which connect to the network.  Edge computing and analytics can, often should be, and increasingly is close to the machines and data sources.  As the digitization of industrial systems proceeds, we expect that analysis, decision-making, and control will be physically distributed among edge devices, the network, the cloud, and connected systems, as appropriate.

These functions will end up where it makes most sense for them to be.

IIoT will change the way industrial organizations generate, collect, and analyze data. Data will be generated faster and in greater volume than ever before. This will require today’s plant information infrastructure to evolve. One part of this new infrastructure will be intelligent edge devices, which will include the latest generation of controllers, such as DCS’s, PLC’s and PACs. Besides providing control, these edge devices will securely collect, aggregate, filter, and relay data, leveraging their close proximity to industrial processes or production assets. They will also be capable of collaborating with powerful analytics tools, detecting anomalies in real time, and raising alarms so that operators can take appropriate actions.

With edge computing and analytics, data is processed near the source, in sensors, controllers, machines, gateways, and the like.  These systems may not send all data back to the cloud, but the data can be used to inform local machine behaviors as it is filtered and integrated.  The edge systems may decide what gets sent, where it gets sent and when it gets sent.

Placing intelligence at the edge helps address problems often encountered in industrial settings, such as oil rigs, mines, chemical plants, and factories.  These include low bandwidth, low latency, and the perceived need to keep mission critical data on site to protect IP.

As you think about digitizing and transforming your industrial operations or your products and services, pay special attention to the edge.  Consider the optimal location for analysis, decision-making, and control, and the best way to distribute these among edge devices, the network, the cloud, and other connected systems.