Turning a giant organization that has the great inertia can be likened to turning a large ship at sea. It takes great force and a lot of space. Such is the task of remaking Microsoft.
Satya Nadella has been CEO of Microsoft replacing the combative Steve Ballmer more than three years ago. I’ve seen him speak at conferences at least three times. I’ve talked to many Microsoft people. He truly has turned that big mass toward the future.
Hit Refresh: The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft’s Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone tells Nadella’s personal story, as well as his business and leadership.
He begins personally. The key takeaway is his discovery of empathy. I imagine that that value was in short supply in Redmond during Ballmer’s tenure. Nadella talks about a mentor, but also the birth of a handicapped child and what the family learned while caring for him introducing him to the emotion and value of empathy.
Like most people with an MBA, he was steeped in strategy theories. As he thought about his task as the new leader of Microsoft, naturally he thought about strategy.
His early three-pronged message was
1. Reinvent productivity and business processes
2. Build an intelligent cloud platform
3. Move people needing Windows to wanting Windows
Remembering Peter Drucker’s dictum, “Culture eats strategy,” he also move quickly to change the corporate culture. He includes a few stories revealing how he went about that gigantic task.
His view of what leaders tasks are:
1. Bring clarity
2. Generate energy
3. Find a way to deliver success
He has given much thought to values. These are similar thoughts to what we hear at National Instruments’ gatherings—engineers solving the world’s biggest problems. He urges policy makers, mayors, and others not to try to replicate Silicon Valley but instead to develop plans to make the best technologies available to local entrepreneurs so that they can organically grow more jobs at home—not just in high tech industries but in every economic sector.
The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) has been incredibly active over the past month. While I’ve been traveling, news releases and interview opportunities have been pouring in.
- IIC and Avnu Alliance Liaison
- IIC and the EdgeX Foundry Announce Liaison
- IIC Develops Smart Factory Machine Learning for Predictive Maintenance Testbed
- IIC Publishes Edge Computing Edition of Journal of Innovation
See my white paper on OPC UA and TSN. I wrote this following interviews at Hannover for the OPC Foundation and subsequent travels to see people. I think this is a powerful combination for the future.
Why it’s important:
These news items when viewed collectively show momentum for what is happening with the Industrial Internet—or as some say the Industrial Internet of Things. These technologies are soon to be powerful business drivers for a new age of manufacturing.
Liaison with Avnu Alliance
The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) and Avnu Alliance (Avnu) have agreed to a liaison to work together to advance deployment and interoperability of devices with Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) open standards.
Under the agreement, the IIC and Avnu will work together to align efforts to maximize interoperability, portability, security and privacy for the industrial Internet. Joint activities between the IIC and the Avnu will include:
- Identifying and sharing IIoT best practices
- Realizing interoperability by harmonizing architecture and other elements
- Collaborating on standardization
“Both Avnu and the IIC are well aligned to pursue the advancement of the IIoT. An example of this is Avnu’s participation in the IIC TSN testbed where members have an opportunity to try their equipment and software on the testbed infrastructure. This provides the participants with the ability to discover what’s working and what is not and provide feedback that helps speed market adoption,” said Gary Stuebing, IIC liaison to Avnu. “The lessons learned in our TSN testbed fuel the ability of both of our organizations. TSN could open up critical control applications such as robot control, drive control and vision systems.”
“Our liaison agreement and work with the IIC TSN Testbed demonstrates real-world applications and solutions with TSN and helps to accelerate readiness for the market. The testbed stands as a showcase for the value that TSN standards and ecosystem of manufacturing applications and products bring to the market, including the ability for IIoT to incorporate high-performance and latency-sensitive applications,” said Todd Walter, Avnu Alliance Industrial Segment Chair. “Our collaboration with IIC and the work coming out of the TSN Testbed is already having a direct impact on suppliers and manufacturers who see the technology as a value add for their system structure.”
Avnu and IIC are meeting for a TSN Testbed plugfest later this month to evaluate and trial TSN device conformance tests that are being developed as a baseline certification in the industrial market.
Avnu creates comprehensive certification tests and programs to ensure interoperability of networked devices. The foundational technology enables deterministic synchronized networking based on IEEE Audio Video Bridging (AVB) / Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) base standards. The Alliance, in conjunction with other complementary standards bodies and alliances, provides a united network foundation for use in professional AV, automotive, industrial control and consumer segments.
Agreement with EdgeX Foundry
The Industrial Internet Consortium and EdgeX Foundry, an open-source project building a common interoperability framework to facilitate an ecosystem for IoT edge computing, announced they have agreed to a liaison.
Under the agreement, the IIC and the EdgeX Foundry will work together to align efforts to maximize interoperability, portability, security and privacy for the industrial Internet.
Joint activities between the IIC and the EdgeX Foundry will include:
- Identifying and sharing best practices
- Collaborating on test beds and experimental projects
- Working toward interoperability by harmonizing architecture and other elements
- Collaborating on common elements
- Periodically hosting joint seminars
“We are excited about working with EdgeX Foundry,” James Clardy, IIC liaison to EdgeX Foundry. “And we look forward to leveraging the experiences of the IIC to help further accelerate the adoption of the industrial Internet.”
“EdgeX Foundry’s primary goal is to simplify and accelerate Industrial IoT by delivering a unified edge computing platform supported by an ecosystem of solutions providers,” said Philip DesAutels, senior director of IoT for The Linux Foundation. “Formalizing this liaison relationship with the IIC is fundamental to unlocking business value at scale. Together, we will provide better best practices that will drive the unification of the industrial IoT.”
Hosted by The Linux Foundation, EdgeX Foundry has an ecosystem of more than 60 vendors and offers all interested developers or companies the opportunity to collaborate on IoT solutions built using existing connectivity standards combined with their own proprietary innovations. For more information, visit
Smart Factory Machine Learning for Predictive Maintenance Testbed
The Industrial Internet Consortium announced the Smart Factory Machine Learning for Predictive Maintenance Testbed. The testbed is led by two companies, Plethora IIoT, a company, designing and developing cutting-edge answers for Industry 4.0, and Xilinx, the leading provider of All Programmable technology.
This innovative testbed explores machine-learning techniques and evaluates algorithmic approaches for time-critical predictive maintenance. This knowledge leads to actionable insight enabling companies to move away from traditional preventative maintenance to predictive maintenance, which minimizes unplanned downtime and optimizes system operation. This would ultimately help manufacturers increase availability, improve energy efficiency and extend the lifespan of high-volume CNC manufacturing production systems.
“Testbeds are the major focus and activity of the IIC and its members. We provide the opportunity for both small and large companies to collaborate and help solve problems that will drive the adoption of IoT applications in many industries”, said IIC Executive Director Dr. Richard Mark Soley. “The smart factory of the future will require advanced analytics, like those this testbed aims to provide, to identify system degradation before system failure. This type of machine learning and predictive maintenance could extend beyond the manufacturing floor to have a broader impact to other industrial applications.”
“Downtime costs some manufacturers as much as $22k per minute. Therefore, unexpected failures are one of the main players in maintenance costs because of their negative impact due to reactive and unplanned maintenance action. Being able to predict system degradation before failure has a strong positive impact on machine availability: increasing productivity and decreasing downtime, breakdowns and maintenance costs,” said Plethora IIoT Team Leader Javier Diaz. “We’re excited to lead this testbed with Xilinx and work alongside some of the leading players in IIoT technologies. This is a unique opportunity to test together machine learning technologies with those involved in the testbed at different development levels starting from the lab through production environments, where a real deployment solution is utilized. As a result, from these experiences, we can significantly reduce the time-to-market of Plethora IIoT solutions oriented to maximize smart factory competitiveness.”
”Xilinx is committed to providing the Industrial IoT industry with our latest All Programmable SoC and MPSoC platforms – ideal for sensor fusion, real-time, high-performance processing, and machine learning from the edge to the cloud,” stated Dan Isaacs, Director of Corporate Strategic Marketing and Market Development for IIoT and Machine Learning at Xilinx. “The combination of these highly configurable capabilities drives the intelligence of the smart factory.”
Additional IIC member companies participating in this testbed are: Bosch, Microsoft, National Instruments, RTI, System View, GlobalSign, Aicas, Thingswise, Titanium Industrial Security, and iVeia. They provide technologies to enable the Smart Factory Machine Learning testbed, including:
- Factory automation
- OT and IT security
- Edge to cloud machine learning and analytics
- Time-sensitive networking (TSN)
- Data acquisition
- Smart sensor technology
- Design implementation
- Embedded programmable SoC technology
- Secure authentication
Journal of Innovation
The Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) has published the fifth edition of the Journal of Innovation with a focus on edge computing. The Journal of Innovation highlights the innovative ideas, approaches, products, and services emerging within the Industrial Internet, such as smart cities, artificial intelligence, the smart factory, and edge computing.
Edge computing promises to bring real-time intelligence to industrial machines at the edge of the network, where data can be processed closer to its source. Edge computing provides businesses with a cost-effective means to transmit and analyze large quantities of data in real-time, enabling them to reduce unplanned downtime, improve worker safety and enhance asset performance.
“The Journal of Innovation brings together innovators and thought leaders across the IoT spectrum. In this issue, our experts share their insights on edge computing as a key enabling technology poised to transform the IIoT,” said Mark Crawford, co-chair of the IIC Thought Leadership Task Group and Standards Strategist, SAP Strategic IP Initiatives. “Edge computing is not a new concept, but as IIoT transforms business processes, the need to use data closer to its source, whether that be from a wind turbine, a deep-water well’s blowout preventer, or an autonomous car, is paramount.”
The Edge Computing edition of the Journal of Innovation includes articles contributed by leaders at IIC member companies including:
- Where is the Edge of the Edge of Industrial IoT? · Pieter van Schalkwyk XMPro
- Device Ecosystem at the Edge – Manufacturing Scenario · Sujata Tilak, Ascent Intellimation Pvt. Ltd.
- Edge Intelligence: The Central Cloud is Dead – Long Live the Edge Cloud · Yun Chao Hu, Huawei Technologies Duesseldorf GmbH
- Outcomes, Insights, and Best Practices from IIC Testbeds: Microgrid Testbed · Brett Burger, National Instruments · Joseph Fontaine, Industrial Internet Consortium
- A Knowledge Graph Driven Approach for Edge Analytics · Narendra Anand, Accenture Technology Labs · Colin Puri, Accenture Technology Labs
- Industrial IoT Edge Architecture for Machine and Deep Learning · Chanchal Chatterjee, Teradata Inc. · Salim AbiEzzi, VMWare Inc.
- A Practical and Theoretical Guide to Using the Industrial Internet Connectivity Framework · Stan Schneider, PhD. Real-Time Innovations, Inc. · Rajive Joshi, PhD. Real-Time Innovations, Inc.
You’re a technology provider and wish to expand your presence in the Internet of Things (IoT) space? Build partnerships. I’ve written about several over the past year. There will be more. This is the age of partnership. Right now companies have figured out that they cannot be all things to all people.
Here is an interesting one. Opto 22 is not a large company, but because of that it is always pushing the envelope of OT and IT applications. On the other hand, we have IBM, a huge company, and its vaunted Watson super computer technology. A little like peanut butter and chocolate, looks like a winning combination.
Industrial automation manufacturer and Internet of Things application toolset provider Opto 22 announced it has been accepted into the IBM® Watson IoT™ Partner Ecosystem. This partnership provides developers with a full stack toolset for building applications that connect real-world signals and data from industrial “things” to the digital world of information technology, mobile, and cloud computing.
Tapping A $6 Trillion Opportunity
A Business Insider report forecasts there will be $4.8 trillion in aggregate IoT investment between 2016 and 2021. Billions of sensors, machines, and devices already exist in industrial infrastructure but are currently unable to connect to the Internet of things and cloud-based applications, like the IBM Watson IoT Platform.
This legacy equipment holds valuable untapped data that is needed to improve business processes and decisions in almost every enterprise and every industry. The partnership between IBM and Opto 22 enables developers to rapidly design, prototype, and deploy applications to connect existing industrial assets to the IBM Watson IoT platform and share their data, capabilities, and resources with other connected systems and assets, to build the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).
Building IIoT applications has historically been complex, requiring multiple layers of expensive middleware and significant developer manpower. IIoT applications built from the ground up can take months or even years, and require expertise in both the operations technology (OT) domain, where industrial assets live, and the information technology (IT) domain, where digital and cloud computing assets exist. These long development cycles increase cost, slow time to market, and increase risk of IIoT project failure for customers. Together these problems delay and reduce the return on investment for implementing IIoT applications.
Streamlining and Simplifying IIoT Application Development
Through this partnership, developers and systems integrators have a concise toolset for connecting the OT and IT domains. Combining open technologies like RESTful APIs and Node-RED with powerful and proven computing platforms like the IBM Watson IoT platform decreases development time, eliminates the need for expensive middleware, reduces risk for customers, and gets solutions to market faster.
According to Evans Data Corporation, 79% of Internet of Things app developers spend at least 25% of their time on developing analytics tools. The Watson IoT Platform reduces the need to focus on developing analytics systems and provides everything needed to harness the full potential of the Internet of Things. Rather than reinventing the wheel, developers can tap into the already built toolset provided by the IBM Watson IoT Platform.
Developers can connect, set up, and manage edge processing devices like programmable automation controllers from Opto 22 and apply real-time analytics, cognitive services, and blockchain technology to the data generated by these devices. Cognitive APIs deliver natural-language processing, machine-learning capabilities, text analytics, and image analytics to help developers realize the potential of the cognitive era with the IBM Watson IoT Platform.
“The industrial automation and control industry is in transition right now,” says Benson Hougland, Vice President of Marketing and Product Strategy. “A product development strategy based on proprietary and closed technologies is outdated. The future of industrial automation and process control lies in the rising API and data economies made possible through open standards-based technologies. Our objective in partnering with IBM is to enable IIoT developers to build their applications faster using well-known and proven Internet tools and technology like Node-RED, RESTful APIs, and the IBM Watson IoT Platform.”
Getting Started With Opto 22 and IBM Watson IoT
Opto 22 has provided a recipe for developers to get started in connecting industrial systems to the Watson IoT Platform, as well as a video walking developers through the steps. Developers can access a trial version of the Watson IoT Platform on the IBM website.
I just attended an amazing conference, Industry of Things World USA, in San Diego. Internet of Things was discussed from many angles. The nonstop pace is the reason for no posts for two days. The 400 attendees, about 10% women, gathered from 28 countries and 234 companies. 21 companies sponsored the event, and I was one of the media sponsors. The high profile speakers, ranging from an Undersecretary of the Dept. of Commerce to Harvard Business School professor and author Michael Porter.
Check out the Twitter feed at #IoTClan.
The conference was organized from Berlin, Germany. So, how did they attract such an outstanding attendee list without running ads in major media sites–even major considered from the industry point of view. I heard about the conference from an email. Several people I talked with also heard about it from an email. The organizers, in fact, sent 1.5 million emails in the course of bringing the conference together.
They told me that it was emails and networking. A few people I talked with had been contacted by colleagues in Germany where the organizers have a track record.
Here are a few notes:
Willie May, Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology (NIST) called the IoT a new paradigm, “It’s going to be big.” NIST is working with industry and academia on standards and testbeds.
Jeff Jaffe, president of W3C–the worldwide web consortium, discovered the importance of metadata and interoperability of data among apps. RESTful interfaces lie on the standards roadmap. Everyone seems to want to rename the IoT in their own way. For Jaffe, it is the Web of Things. “The Web is fueling a transition from costly monolithic software to an open market of apps. Check out the diagram showing his idea that Web technologies can enable vertical & horizontal integration. These go vertically field level to business level (low to high levels of abstraction) and horizontally as integration along supply chain to integration along the value chain.
SAP, EVP for IoT Tanja Rueckert, said, “What will really be impacted by IoT are the business processes, disruptive business models, efficiency models.”
Tom Burke, president of the OPC Foundation, discussed the value of data in his presentation to a packed room during a breakout. That showed the amount of interest in the manufacturing side of things
Lead of PwC IoT practice, Kumar Krishnamurthy, in one of the better presentations I heard “IoT from Strategy to Execution”, calld for the right focus–creating value rather than technology. He noted, “Evolution of products, integrate digital with operations, reevaluate go-to-market, manage shifts in revenue model.” Continuing a conference theme, he proclaimed, “Digital transformation is not about technology…but about creating value using an enhanced set of asset base. Technology enabled devices do not make the machines smarter…rather they enable businesses to evolve their model to serve differently. Success is not all about data and analytics…but leveraging the information with judgement and expertise.”
Michael Porter predicted that IoT (or smart products) will expand industry boundaries as well as change organizational structure.
Finally, in a presentation “IoT, Fact or Fiction, Timothy Chou, a lecturer at Stanford and author, suggested that young students learn machine learning-static and dynamic-for the future. “Lots of sensors generate too much data. We must learn to deal with it–with machine learning a key.
He said, “Asset management was developed when things were very dumb. Now I can put a full computer in almost everything. Why not have the machine issue the work order? It is time to rethink middleware.”
Everyone is in a rush to get an opinion or observation published about the Internet of Things. Evidently it gets lots of page views. Recently other analysts have been publishing thought pieces on IoT in Industry. It appears they have reached the same conclusion that I first broached a couple of years ago. The IoT is not a “thing.” To make any sense of it and use it for any strategy, it must be thought of as an ecosystem encompassing a variety of technologies.
Here is an article that appeared in the Sloan MIT Management Review. Since I am a subscriber, I don’t know if you can see the article at this link.
The writer is Sam Ransbotham is an associate professor of information systems at the Carroll School of Management at Boston College and the MIT Sloan Management Review Guest Editor for the Data and Analytics Big Idea Initiative. He suggests, “The Internet of Things will bring huge changes to the way markets and businesses work — and it could get messy.”
Here is a bromide that I’ve read a thousand times, “Most businesses aren’t ready for the changes to the marketplace that the Internet of Things will bring. But the time to prepare for them is now.”
Actually most business adapt. Some are visionary and will develop new products, processes, and services–and make a lot of money. Others will adapt and survive. Still others will wonder what happened and die. That is the way of business for at least 5,000 years.
Use Case for Internet of Things
“Yes, the potential insights from IoT are enticing. For example, it’s fun to think about the potential personal and even societal benefits from self-driving cars, such as fewer accidents, no problems with parking, more productivity while traveling, car sharing, greater infrastructure efficiency, etc. But perhaps a more profound implication is the data that they can collect. These cars will also be widely distributed “things,” gathering performance data that can help manufacturers diagnose problems, operational data that can help mechanics prevent failures, driver data that can help insurers understand risk, road data that can help cities improve infrastructure, etc. These kinds of insights, we’re ready for.”
But there are a lot more changes coming with the IoT transformation than many people may recognize.
Ransbothem looks into information technology as a model for what will happen in IoT. “About a decade ago, advances in information technology converged to fuel a boom in corporate use of analytics. First, widespread implementation of information systems captured unprecedented amount of data in ways that could be used in isolation or combined. Second, tools and technologies allowed the inexpensive storage and processing. Third, savvy analytical innovators creatively combined these to show everyone else what could be done.”
We have seen all this play out in industrial systems. There remains more to be done, here, though.
He proceeds to look at Internet of Things. “First, the cost and physical size of sensor technology have dropped such that they can be incorporated into most items. Second, widespread communications infrastructure is in place to allow these distributed components to coordinate. Third, once again, savvy innovators are showing the rest of us the possibilities from the data they collect.”
Manufacturing and production are not only poised to exploit these technologies and strategies, they have already been implementing to one degree or another. But his point is valid. IoT needs the ecosystem of sensing devices, networking, communication technology, databases, analytics, and visualization.
Ransbothem identifies four areas of change. Of these, I direct your attention to the last–process changes. I think everything feeds into process changes–not just the processes to make things, but also the information technology, supply chain, and human processes that must not only adapt but thrive with the new information awareness.
- Market Power: IoT should provide a greater amount and a greater value of data, but are companies ready to align their interests in obtaining value from this data with the multiple other companies and end users who create, own, and service the products that originate the data? In the driverless car example, it is easy to see how multiple stakeholders could make use of the data from cars; the same is true for other devices. But it may not be clear who owns what data and how it can be used.
- Complexity: Few organizations are prepared to be hardware and software development companies. But that’s what the Internet of Things will enable. As products are built with embedded sensors, the component mix increases in complexity. As a result, manufacturing systems and supply chains will become more elaborate. Software embedded in products will need to be updateable when the inevitable shortcomings are found.
- Security: If we believe data is valuable, then we need to be ready for people to want to take it from us — why would data be any different than any other precious item? The IoT context intensifies the need for security requirements; for example, sensors or software that allow physical control of the product make attacks easier.
- Process Changes: Many business processes continue to be “pull” oriented. Information is gathered, then analyzed, then decisions are made. This works when change is slow. But with the IoT transition, data will stream in constantly, defying routine reporting and normal working hours. Flooding data from IoT devices will give opportunities for quick reaction, but only if organizations can develop the capacity needed to take advantage of it. Few mainstream large companies are ready for this, much less small- to medium-sized companies that lack the resources of their larger corporate brethren.
The Internet of Things is bringing and will continue to bring advances in how we do business. How well will executives, managers, and engineers execute on this vision? That is key.