OPC Foundation Cites Advancements at Recent ARC Forum

OPC Foundation Cites Advancements at Recent ARC Forum

The OPC Foundation was active during the recent ARC Industry Forum in Orlando as a Platinum Sponsor and presenting a press conference. With OPC UA released and in use and the publish/subscribe about to be release, OPC Foundation’s emphasis has been on companion specifications. It had a joint press conference with the FieldComm group to discuss its joint working group and then released news of a released companion specification with Ethernet Powerlink. The last release, something I was able to work on pre-release review, concerns a study with ARC Advisory Group on adoption of the UA specification.

Below are some details. More at the Foundation website.

OPC and FieldComm

The OPC Foundation and FieldComm Group announced an alliance to advance process automation system multi-vendor interoperability and simplified integration by developing a standardized process automation device information model.

A joint working group between OPC Foundation and FieldComm Group, tasked with developing a protocol independent companion specification for process automation devices, was formed in late 2017. The goal of the working group is to leverage the extensive experience of FieldComm Group with the HART and FOUNDATION Fieldbus communication protocols to standardize data, information, and methods for all process automation devices through FDI using OPC UA. The OPC UA base information model and companion Device Information (DI) specification will be extended to include the generic definition and information associated with process automation devices.

The OPC Foundation and FieldComm Group have worked together for over a decade, initially working on the development of the EDDL specification and most recently on the creation of FDI technology.

“FDI provides the new standard for device integration to deliver a protocol independent path to configuration, diagnostics and runtime operation for process devices,” states Ted Masters, President and CEO of FieldComm Group. “The partnership between OPC Foundation and FieldComm Group further builds upon the common information model of both to deliver process automation data in context which is the key to enabling value from enterprise systems and analytics. The 350+ suppliers of devices and applications that are members of FieldComm Group have an opportunity to benefit from the key initiative to develop a standard process automation information model by their adoption of FDI and OPC UA technologies.”

“I’m excited that the OPC Foundation and FieldComm Group are working together on this important initiative, and will be partnering with other organizations, end-users and suppliers to make the dream of a standardized process automation device information model a reality. This is truly a breakthrough in our industry that will provide significant operational benefits across all points of the value chain,” states Thomas J. Burke, OPC Foundation President and Executive Director.

“This important collaboration will provide a solid foundation for standardization of devices that will serve as the base infrastructure for the numerous other collaborations that the OPC Foundation is doing across international boundaries,” says Stefan Hoppe, OPC Foundation Global Vice President.

The joint working group plans to release an extensible, future-proof process automation information model specification during the first quarter of 2019.

OPC and Powerlink

An OPC UA companion specification is now available for POWERLINK according to a joint announcement by the OPC Foundation and the Ethernet POWERLINK Standardization Group (EPSG). The companion specification describes how payload data is exchanged between POWERLINK and any OPC UA platform. The result is integrated communication from the sensor to the cloud.

“As technologies, OPC UA and POWERLINK complement each other perfectly,” emphasized Thomas Burke, President of the OPC Foundation, in his announcement. “POWERLINK is among the leading real-time bus systems used in plants and machinery. Together with OPC UA, POWERLINK networks can now communicate seamlessly and securely with the IT environment and into the cloud.”

“This specification allows OPC UA and POWERLINK to fuse into a single network,” added Stefan Schönegger, Managing Director of the EPSG. “We’re then able to join devices from different manufacturers and across different levels of the automation pyramid into a single, cohesive system.”

A joint working group between the OPC Foundation and the EPSG had been working on the specification since 2016. The document can be downloaded from the OPC Foundation website.

OPC UA Adoption

OPC Foundation announced today the release of an in-depth ARC Advisory Group report on the important role the OPC data connectivity standards play in control automation today and in future IIoT and Industrie4.0 based solutions.

Key ARC report findings confirmed that with an estimated global install base of over 45 million units, OPC is the de facto standard for open data connectivity and that OPC UA is well positioned to serve as the next data connectivity foundation for control automation applications in traditional industrial settings and new ones like building automation, transportation, and others. Key contributing factors to the continued success of OPC UA included the scalability, performance, and robustness of the technology and the large community of end-users, vendors, and other standards bodies actively working with the OPC Foundation to best utilize OPC UA in their applications.

According to Thomas Burke, OPC Foundation president, “the [ARC report] findings accurately reflect what we [OPC Foundation] have been seeing from an adoption and collaboration point of view. I highly recommend reading this ARC report for a high level perspective of what OPC UA is doing in the market and the future of data connectivity”

Commenting on the popularity of the OPC UA standard, Mr.Burke explained “OPC UA has something to offer for everyone from end-users and product vendors to other standards bodies. After people look at what is really out there as far as a single standard that has the scalability, performance, and flexibility to meet the challenges of modern data connectivity and interoperability and has the reputation and a large enough adoption base needed to make it a safe investment – they come to realize OPC UA is the real deal.”

“OPC technology has become a de facto global standard for moving data from industrial controls to visualization up to MES/ERP and IT cloud levels”, according to Craig Resnick, Vice President, ARC Advisory Group. “The rapid expansion of OPC UA in automation, IIoT, and into new, non-industrial markets suggests that OPC will remain an important technology for multivendor secured interoperability, plant floor-to-enterprise information integration, and a host of other applications yet to be envisioned.”

OPC Foundation Cites Advancements at Recent ARC Forum

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.

OPC Foundation Cites Advancements at Recent ARC Forum

Internet of Things and Conference News To Start 2018

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.

• Conferences

• Honeywell Data

• Schneider Award

• Bluetooth at 20

• RFP for IoT Software Platform

Conferences

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.

Honeywell

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.

Schneider Award

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.

2018 ARC Industry Forum to Explore Digital Transformation

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.

Annual Gathering of Manufacturing and Production Automation Industry

Annual Gathering of Manufacturing and Production Automation Industry

There is plenty of time to register for the 21st Annual ARC Industry Forum Industry in Transition: Realizing the Digital Enterprise February 6-9, 2017 – Orlando, Florida. I can’t believe that this will mark my 20th trip to Orlando this time of year.

While in many ways this is an ARC Advisory Group “user group” meeting, almost everyone shows up. For several years now this is the one place where you can go and talk with people from many automation suppliers. And with many engineers and managers who implement and manage automation and information.

You can come to make contacts or pick up on the latest trends.

As for me, I will be looking for new companies and products, a sense of the industry’s direction, and contacts who are looking for someone to help them with things I can assist with—strategic messaging, advice on status of industry and companies, product development ideas. It will also be interesting to get an update on the ExxonMobil attempt to commoditize the DCS (I presume so that it can catch up to peers in modernizing operations). That effort has quieted during the past few months.

ARC tries very hard to limit presentations by suppliers. As technology developers, suppliers can be a source of great information. Unfortunately most of the suppliers have used the Forum in the past to simply promote their company and products. No one is paying to attend a forum to hear from marketing managers. Now if a few people from the CTO’s office spoke…

The comments below are taken from the latest ARC promotion. I see only one supplier listed in the speaker lineup so far.

Industrial companies are starting to employ ‘digitalized’ business processes and exploit the increasing convergence between operational technology (OT), information technology (IT), and engineering technology (ET) on the plant floor. How will disruptive technologies change existing products and plants? How will open source solutions impact traditional software and automation domains? Is cybersecurity a threat to digitalization? How ‘smart’ are smart machines? How do Big Data and predictive and prescriptive analytics enable operational change?

Join us to learn how the digital enterprise benefits from smarter products, new service and operating models, new production techniques, and new approaches to design and sourcing.

Check out these topics:

  • Industrial Cybersecurity and Safety Analytics and Machine Learning
  • Asset Performance Management
  • IT/OT/ET Convergence
  • Service Performance Management
  • Automation Innovations
  • Industrial Internet Platforms
  • Connected Smart Machines

Partial List of Executive Speakers:

  • S. Dept. of Homeland Security, Marty Edwards, Director ICS Cyber Emergency Response Team
  • ExxonMobil Research & Engineering, Don Bartusiak, Chief Engineer, Process Control
  • NOVA Chemicals, Doug Lutz, Principal Process Automation Engineer
  • Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, Laura Sheets, Tritium Process Control Lead Engineer
  • Local Motors, Justin Fishkin, Chief Strategy Officer
  • NIST, Adam Sedgewick, Sr. Information Technology Policy Advisor
  • Duke Energy, David Lawrence, Technology Development Manager, Emerging Technology
  • Merck, Gene Tung, Director of IT
  • WAGO, Thomas Holm, Head Innovation & Technology
  • Eli Lilly, Kevin Wilhelm, Senior Consultant
  • Ascend Performance Materials, Terry Unruh, Maintenance Process Leader
  • Kinder Morgan, Lawrence Staab, Training Coordinator/Instructional Designer
  • Georgia-Pacific, Michael Carroll, VP Innovation and Operations Excellence
  • 3M, Liu Qiao, Technical Director, Software Electronics Mechanical Systems Lab
  • Dow Chemical, Glen Mutscher, Global Director, Manufacturing & Engineering
  • ExxonMobil Research & Engineering, Steve Bitar, R&D Program Manager
  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Dean Bartles, Sr. Technology Advisor
  • Dow Chemical, Mary Beth Seasholtz, Data Services Technical Leader
  • Fluor, David Hoeppner, David Hoeppner
  • Shell Global Solutions, Tyler Williams, Global Technology Leader
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stuart Madnick, Professor of Information Technologies and Engineering Systems
  • Albermarle, Jonathan Alexander, Operations Engineer
  • AGCO, Jan Theissen, Director Strategy & Methods, Global Purchasing & Materials
  • Pepsi Beverages, Jeff Russell, SE Regional Engineering Manager