by Gary Mintchell | Feb 21, 2018 | Automation, Podcast
The recent ARC Industry Forum attracted a record attendance affording writers and analysts like me more opportunities for meetings than there was time. Themes included collaboration, new edge devices, open automation, and many cool digital products.
You can catch my podcast or watch on YouTube.
by Gary Mintchell | Feb 17, 2018 | Data Management, Manufacturing IT, News, Organizations
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.
by Gary Mintchell | Jan 12, 2018 | Internet of Things, News, Software
This year has opened more strangely than usual. Looks like I’ll be emphasizing a lot more IT/OT intersection plus digital transformation and Internet of Things. Part of the strangeness is that several of my good friends are on the lookout for new positions. The end of 2017 was harsh for many people. If you need a good sales and/or marketing professional, I can put you in touch with some top people. In fact, my business also sort of tapered off the last part of the year. I thought things were supposed to be good (well, my investment accounts are looking good).
There was no other way than to just string together a number of news items in the Internet of Things and Industrial software space.
• Honeywell Data
• Schneider Award
• Bluetooth at 20
• RFP for IoT Software Platform
I am a media sponsor for a couple of upcoming conferences. The strange thing is that I haven’t heard from either one for a while and neither has sent an ad png for me to display.
News also seems to be a little slow. But here are a number of things I’ve compiled over several days along with some upcoming conferences. Hope to see you at some of those.
The 22nd annual ARC Industry Forum in Orlando from February 12-15 on Digitizing and Securing Industry, Infrastructure, and Cities is a great industry meeting place. https://www.arcweb.com/events/arc-industry-forum-orlando
I see ARC Advisory Group, like many of us, must branch out from control and automation in order to find a big enough market to survive. My own practice has shifted from market and industry research and analysis in that space to greater focus on IT/OT, IoT, and digital transformation.
Also on my calendar is the Industry of Things USA (I’m also a media sponsor of the September one in Berlin) from March 7-9 in San Diego. This will be its third year. The organizing group from Berlin (Germany) has been outstanding. This is becoming a place for IT to meet OT. http://industryofthingsworldusa.com
Hannover Fair this year is April 23-27. I’ll go there depending upon sponsorship. Always a great place to meet many influential people.
The Control Systems Integrators Association is meeting from April 24-27 in San Francisco. I have never been to a CSIA meeting. Maybe this year I can slip one in if I don’t go to Germany.
The MESA International USA conference held in conjunction with the Industry Week Manufacturing and Technology conference in Raleigh, NC will be from May 8-10.
Maybe I can make it to the Rockwell Automation annual software bash in San Diego from June 10-15.
Siemens Industry in the USA is holding its automation summit in Marco Island, FL from June 25-28.
If I can afford all the travel, this will be a busy 6 months.
In the realm of industrial software, Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS) today launched its Honeywell Connected Plant Uniformance Cloud Historian. This software-as-a-service cloud hosting solution for enterprise-wide visualization and analysis, helps customers improve asset availability and increase plant uptime.
It claims an industry first by fusing real-time process data analysis of a traditional enterprise historian with a data lake, enabling the integration of production, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and other business data coupled with analytics tools to provide business intelligence. “This allows enterprise data to be analyzed instantly on a scale not previously possible using tools and functions already in use at sites and plants,” says the media release.
“Uniformance Cloud Historian brings the full power of cloud and big data to Honeywell’s traditional process historian for the first time, connecting even the most complex multi-site organizations effortlessly,” said Vimal Kapur, president of Honeywell Process Solutions. “The solution makes it possible to leverage insights found at one plant across all plants, allowing smarter, more strategic decisions to be made and action to be taken.”
Honeywell’s new offering collects, stores and enables replay of historical and continuous plant and production site process data and makes it visible in the cloud in near real time. The historian combines a time series data store, which empowers plant and enterprise staff to execute and make decisions, with a big data lake, which enables data scientists to uncover previously unknown correlations between process data and other business data in the enterprise.
Last week I wrote about an interview I had with Cognizant, the Indian company that acquired Wonderware’s (Schneider Electric) R&D center. This week, an announcement about an award to Schneider Electric (not sure that these are the same it just reminded me of the Indian connection).
Schneider Electric announced its India-based Software Delivery Center (SDC) was appraised at Level 5 of the CMMI Institute’s Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI). With this designation, Schneider Electric’s SDC becomes part of a small group of companies with a CMMI Level 5 assessment in the industrial software industry.
An appraisal at maturity level 5 indicates that the organization is performing at an “optimizing” level. At this level, an organization continually improves its processes based on a quantitative understanding of its business objectives and performance needs. The organization uses a quantitative approach to understand the variation inherent in the process and the causes of process outcomes.
Select achievements include:
• Attaining a schedule variance of less than 1%
• Maintaining effort variances of less than 3%
• Delivering an industry-leading client satisfaction score
Bluetooth is 20
Are you listening to music on your wireless headset while working at the coffee house? Thanks to Bluetooth. Did you know that the technology just turned 20?
Today, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) kicks off its 20th anniversary year from the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). Formed in 1998, the Bluetooth SIG started with a handful of companies focused on wire replacement for mobile voice and data. Today over 33,000 member companies are part of an organization dedicated to perfecting and advancing a flexible, reliable, and secure wireless connection solution.
IoT RFP Platform
Here is one that I think merits a deeper dive:
Three of the biggest software vendors in IoT – HPE, PTC, and Wind River (Intel) – have agreed to join the IoT M2M Council’s (IMC) fledgling template RFP Program for IoT Software Platforms, which will be presented at the IMC’s conference at CES.
Using input from many vendors and more than 100 software buyers in an open-source process, the IMC developed a template reference document that will ease buying of IoT software, and later, hardware and connectivity solutions. HPE, PTC, and Wind River have agreed to have their platforms assessed by the IoT M2M Council which represents 25,000 enterprise users and OEMs that buy IoT solutions.
The RFP program will simplify sourcing of IoT platforms for buyers by providing reference documentation and demonstrating capabilities of established software platforms, and for participating vendors, it will ultimately shorten the sales cycle.
The IMC developed a template RFP document earlier this year in a wiki-based, open-source process with input from more than 100 IoT buyers, and has now retained a third-party consultancy to validate vendors against the RFP. The validation process, conducted by UK-based Beecham Research, includes surveying vendors for responses to the RFP, contacting their customers anonymously for references, and a hands-on analysis of the platforms for ease-of-use.
“No other industry group or major consultancy is talking to buyers at scale and looking at the actual IoT sales process. My staff spends a lot of time responding to RFPs. The IMC’s RFP program gives us a report from a credible third-party that allows us to respond to RFPs more quickly, as well as a place to send potential buyers where they can access a template RFP document and learn more. If this program reduces my sales cycle, even just incrementally, it will be well worth it,” says Volkhard Bregulla, VP of Global Industries, Manufacturing, & Distribution at HPE, with a seat on the IMC board.
IMC rank-and-file membership comes from 24 different vertical markets on every continent, and a plurality self-identify as “operations”, meaning that they are unlikely versed in communications technology. “The template RFP provides a non-technical reference, and can go a long way in establishing a common language for IoT technology among people actually doing the buying,” says Bregulla.
by Gary Mintchell | Dec 20, 2017 | News, Organizations
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.
by Gary Mintchell | Apr 10, 2017 | Automation, Security
Cyber Security is always the “elephant in the room” at Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Industrial Control Systems (ICS) conferences.
The latest edition of the ARC Industry Forum in Orlando featured many cyber security firms. Most were monitoring network traffic for anomalies. Some look at other aspects of the system. More firms are pivoting from other emphases into a cyber security firm.
Here are two news items attacking cyber security from totally different angles. One from the enterprise; the other from the lowest level user.
Manage Cyber Security Risks
Deloitte, the enterprise consulting company, announced plans to expand its cyber risk platform for end-to-end industrial control systems (ICS) and operational technologies (OT) security with next generation technology enabled by Dragos, a cybersecurity company focusing on securing ICS and OT networks.
The tactic Deloitte is taking is to monitor emerging cyber threats. Deloitte Risk and Financial Advisory Cyber Risk Services’ end-to-end ICS offering, enabled by Dragos technology, uses a combination of innovative cyber security products and services. This combination brings hunting and reconnaissance capabilities that now allow organizations to look beyond internal data to threat documentation found in external databases. Beyond securing ICS and OT systems, this combination of cyber risk services and technologies can provide a more complete picture of an organization’s ICS and OT threat landscape through active monitoring that can better inform scenario planning and response.
“Assessing the cyber risks of our clients’ ICS and OT, we see that many organizations are often unprepared for the magnitude of the impact to operational technology and industrial control systems environments” said Ed Powers, principal, Deloitte & Touche LLP, and U.S. leader for Deloitte Risk and Financial Advisory Cyber Risk Services. “A decision to include OT and ICS as a part of a broader cyber risk management program can improve a company’s understanding of the potential damage resulting from a cyberattack and can bolster the efficacy of its cyber risk mitigation strategy.”
The Dragos Platform, Threat Operations Center, and intelligence team form an ecosystem of technology, people, and intelligence to safeguard industrial networks. The Dragos Platform is designed for industrial networks and provides visibility into the environment, detection of threats through behavioral analytics, and the automation of workflows including incident response data collection and analysis.
“There have been pockets of excellence around the community in industrial security leading practices. But the world is facing a more connected infrastructure and a more aggressive threat than we’ve seen in years past,” said Robert M. Lee, chief executive officer, Dragos. “Now is an important time to get the solution correct and that’s what the Dragos and Deloitte cooperation represents.”
Protecting From USB Device Hacks
We all know about Stuxnet and how it was spread using malware in USB sticks. Well, here is an interesting tactic and new product from Honeywell.
Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS) announced Secure Media Exchange (SMX) to protect facilities against current and emerging USB-borne threats, without the need for complex procedures or restrictions that impact operations or industrial personnel.
Malware spread through USB devices – used by employees and contractors to patch, update and exchange data with onsite control and computer systems – is a key risk for industrial control systems. It was the second leading threat to these systems in 2016, according to BSI publications, and uncontrolled USBs have taken power plants offline, downed turbine control workstations, and caused raw sewage floods, among other industrial accidents.
“Industrial operators often have hundreds or thousands of employees and dozens of contractors on site every day,” said Eric Knapp, Cyber Security chief engineer, HPS. “Many, if not most, of those rely on USB-removable media to get their jobs done. Plants need solutions that let people work efficiently, but also don’t compromise cyber security and, with it, industrial safety.”
Currently, many plants either ban USBs, which is difficult to enforce and significantly reduces productivity, or rely on traditional IT malware scanning solutions, which are difficult to maintain in an industrial control facility and provide limited protection. These solutions fail to protect process control networks against the latest threats, and offer no means to address targeted or zero-day attacks.
“SMX is a great example of Honeywell’s major investments in new industrial cyber security technologies, products, services, and research which further strengthen our ability to secure and protect industrial assets, operations and people,” said Jeff Zindel, vice president and general manager, Honeywell Industrial Cyber Security. “With the continued increase in cyber threats around the world, Honeywell’s industrial cyber security expertise and innovation are needed more than ever for smart industry, IIoT and critical infrastructure protection.”
Honeywell’s SMX was developed by the company’s cyber security experts based on field experience across global industrial sites and feedback from Honeywell User Group customers. Honeywell has one of the largest industrial cyber security research capabilities in the process industry, including an advanced cyber security lab near Atlanta. Honeywell also partners with cyber security leaders, including Microsoft, Intel Security and Palo Alto Networks, among others, to develop new, highly-effective industrial threat detection techniques.
Contractors “check-in” their USB drive by plugging it into an SMX Intelligence Gateway. The ruggedized industrial device analyzes files using a variety of techniques included with Honeywell’s Advanced Threat Intelligence Exchange (ATIX), a secure, hybrid-cloud threat analysis service.
SMX Client Software installed on plant Windows devices provides another layer of protection, controlling which USB devices are allowed to connect, preventing unverified USB removable media drives from being mounted, and stopping unverified files from being accessed. SMX also logs USB device connectivity and file access, providing a valuable audit capability.
“For most plants, the proliferation of removable media and USB devices is unavoidable, but the security risks they bring don’t have to be,” said Knapp. “We know our customers have limited resources to maintain another system, so Honeywell manages SMX for them. SMX never connects to our customers’ process control networks. From a system administration perspective, it’s like it’s not even there.”
Managed and maintained directly by Honeywell, SMX provides the easy and secure solution to USB security in industrial plants. It helps prevent the spread of malware through removable media; stops unverified files being read by Windows hosts; and, through the private ATIX connection, provides continually updated threat information and advanced analytics to help detect advanced, targeted, and zero-day malware.