Suppliers of manufacturing software, some from surprising places, are putting sizable investments into products that will help customers reap the rewards of digitalization. Today, I’m looking at both ABB and Emerson Automation Solutions. Previously I checked out GE Digital and Rockwell Automation. Each has taken a slightly different course toward the goal, but notice the common thread of enhancing software products to help customers prosper.
ABB enhances manufacturing management technology
The new version of ABB Ability Manufacturing Operations Management will offer new features including:
- Enhanced user experience based on new HTML 5 web client;
- A new smart interactive dashboard application that provides greater visibility and collaboration;
- A new statistical process control (SPC) application, to determine if each process is in a state of control;
- A new Batch Compare application – for advanced batch analysis.
“ABB Ability Manufacturing Operations Management is a comprehensive, scalable and modular software suite that optimizes visibility, knowledge and control throughout the operations domain,” said Narasimham Parimi, Head of Digital Products – Product Management, Process Control Platform. “This release provides a range of rich new functionality and a new enhanced user experience that enables operations to become more productive and responsive.”
ABB Ability Manufacturing Operations Management is designed to simplify production management by enabling performance monitoring, downtime management, and maintenance support, as well as providing statistical production analysis tools. It provides solutions and tools to facilitate the collection, consolidation and distribution of production, quality and energy information via the plant’s web-based reports, trends, and graphs.
A new, self-service dashboard application promotes increased collaboration, providing visibility from shop floor to top floor and spanning IT and OT environments. It increases data connectivity to all apps and modules within the MOM suite, combining historic and manufacturing data and providing the user with improved customization capabilities. Dashboards can be shared amongst users, further promoting collaboration between teams. Trends and events are displayed together, which enables customers to identify issues and opportunities enabling informed and timely decisions.
The new common services platform features an HTML 5 web platform that runs across all suites ensuring customers have a seamless user experience, so that applications can be viewed on different devices right down to a 10-inch tablet.
Statistical data process control (SPC) is used in manufacturing to determine if each process is in a state of control. The new SPC application works across all the different apps and modules and helps the user to improve quality and production related performance.
In addition to the existing Batch View and Batch Investigate features, a comparison option has been added to the platform’s batch analysis applications, allowing different types of comparison.
Cyber security remains one of the key issues in the advancement of Industry 4.0, and the new features in MOM include enhanced security.
Emerson Expands Analytics Platform
Plantweb Insight platform adds two new Pervasive Sensing applications that manage wireless networks more efficiently with a singular interface to the enterprise.
Emerson has added two new IIoT solutions to its Plantweb Insight data analytics platform that will enable industrial facilities to transform the way they manage their enterprise-level wireless network infrastructure.
As digitalization and wireless technology adoption continue to rapidly expand in industrial facilities throughout the world, the need for greater visibility of network infrastructure performance is key. These new Plantweb Insight applications provide a quick-to-implement, scalable IIoT solution that helps customers advance their digital transformation strategies and achieve greater operational efficiencies.
The new Plantweb Insight Network Management application provides continuous, centralized monitoring of WirelessHART networks. This first-of-its-kind application provides a singular, consolidated view of the status of all wireless networks in a facility, with embedded expertise and guidance for advanced network management.
A key feature of the Plantweb Insight Network Management application is a configurable mesh network diagram, providing visualization of network design and connections along with device-specific information. It also provides an exportable record of syslog alerts, network details outlining conformance to network best practices and more.
While the new network management application provides a holistic look at wireless networks, the Plantweb Insight Power Module Management application drills down to the device level, allowing facilities to keep their wireless devices appropriately powered so they can continuously transmit key monitoring data. By aggregating power module statuses, users can evolve traditional maintenance planning and implement more efficient and cost-effective practices.
“We were able to infuse a decade of experience with wireless technology into these new offerings,” said Brian Joe, wireless product manager with Emerson’s Automation Solutions business. “Our customers will now be able to manage and improve hundreds of networks through a singular interface, realizing significant efficiencies in individual network and wireless device management and maintenance.”
These new applications further enhance the Plantweb Insight platform, a set of pre-built analytics primarily focusing on monitoring key asset health. Other applications in the platform include pressure relief valve monitoring, heat exchanger monitoring and steam trap monitoring.
DataOps—a phrase I had not heard before. Now I know. Last week while I was in California I ran into John Harrington, who along with other former Kepware leaders Tony Paine and Torey Penrod-Cambra, had left Kepware following its acquisition by PTC to found a new company in the DataOps for Industry market. The news he told me about went live yesterday. HighByte announced that its beta program for HighByte Intelligence Hub is now live. More than a dozen manufacturers, distributors, and system integrators from the United States, Europe, and Asia have already been accepted into the program and granted early access to the software in a exchange for their feedback.
HighByte Intelligence Hub will be the company’s first product to market since incorporating in August 2018. HighByte launched the beta program as part of its Agile approach to software design and development. The aim of the program is to improve performance, features, functionality, and user experience of the product prior to its commercial launch later this year.
HighByte Intelligence Hub belongs to a new classification of software in the industrial market known as DataOps solutions. HighByte Intelligence Hub was developed to solve data integration and security problems for industrial businesses. It is the only solution on the market that combines edge operations, advanced data contextualization, and the ability to deliver secure, application-specific information. Other approaches are highly customized and require extensive scripting and manual manipulation, which cannot scale beyond initial requirements and are not viable solutions for long-term digital transformation.
“We recognized a major problem in the market,” said Tony Paine, Co-Founder & CEO of HighByte. “Industrial companies are drowning in data, but they are unable to use it. The data is in the wrong place; it is in the wrong format; it has no context; and it lacks consistency. We are looking to solve this problem with HighByte Intelligence Hub.”
The company’s R&D efforts have been fueled by two non-equity grants awarded by the Maine Technology Institute (MTI) in 2019. “We are excited to join HighByte on their journey to building a great product and a great company here in Maine,” said Lou Simms, Investment Officer at MTI. “HighByte was awarded these grants because of the experience and track record of their founding team, large addressable market, and ability to meet business and product milestones.”
To further accelerate product development and go-to-market activities, HighByte is actively raising a seed investment round. For more information, please contact [email protected].
Learn more about the HighByte founding team —All people I’ve know for many years in the data connectivity business.
From Wikipedia: DataOps is an automated, process-oriented methodology, used by analytic and data teams, to improve the quality and reduce the cycle time of data analytics. While DataOps began as a set of best practices, it has now matured to become a new and independent approach to data analytics. DataOps applies to the entire data lifecycle from data preparation to reporting, and recognizes the interconnected nature of the data analytics team and information technology operations.
DataOps incorporates the Agile methodology to shorten the cycle time of analytics development in alignment with business goals.
DataOps is not tied to a particular technology, architecture, tool, language or framework. Tools that support DataOps promote collaboration, orchestration, quality, security, access and ease of use.
From Oracle, DataOps, or data operations, is the latest agile operations methodology to spring from the collective consciousness of IT and big data professionals. It focuses on cultivating data management practices and processes that improve the speed and accuracy of analytics, including data access, quality control, automation, integration, and, ultimately, model deployment and management.
At its core, DataOps is about aligning the way you manage your data with the goals you have for that data. If you want to, say, reduce your customer churn rate, you could leverage your customer data to build a recommendation engine that surfaces products that are relevant to your customers — which would keep them buying longer. But that’s only possible if your data science team has access to the data they need to build that system and the tools to deploy it, and can integrate it with your website, continually feed it new data, monitor performance, etc., an ongoing process that will likely include input from your engineering, IT, and business teams.
As we move further along the Digital Transformation path of leveraging digital data to its utmost, this looks to be a good tool in the utility belt.
Kepware Technologies, a PTC business, announced the release of KEPServerEX Version 6 software for industrial automation data connectivity. A major release of its flagship industrial connectivity platform, Version 6 strengthens Kepware’s core product offering for global corporations requiring increased operational scalability, security, and support. Enhancements include a new method for remote configuration, additional languages that support critical industrial automation markets, and significant updates to the user interface and licensing experience.
“Since the launch of Version 5 in 2009, the need for industrial connectivity has grown tremendously. As the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to influence industrial architectures, companies require a comprehensive solution that can communicate and analyze a greater volume, variety, and velocity of data to a wider, more diverse set of client applications,” said John Harrington, Vice President of Product Management, Kepware. “We’ve incorporated important usability and architectural enhancements that support these evolving industry standards into KEPServerEX Version 6. Enterprise-ready, IT-friendly, and secure, Version 6 is a direct response to our customers’ expanding and evolving needs.”
KEPServerEX Version 6 features significant enhancements to the core server functionality and user experience that deliver an IoT-friendly industrial connectivity platform, including:
- Programmatic Changes via the Configuration API: The new REST-based API enables off-site users to remotely apply programmatic changes to the configuration via third-party client applications. Now customers can easily configure multiple KEPServerEX instances from their enterprise software, enabling improved security and collaboration between Operations and IT.
- Localization for Japanese and German Markets: Core features and top-tier drivers have been localized to improve the accessibility, productivity, and safety of KEPServerEX for local customers in Japan and Germany as well as global multinationals.
- Native Development of OPC UA Technology: Native development of core OPC UA technology provides improved performance, enhanced diagnostics, and a solid foundation for continued OPC UA functionality enhancements.
- Streamlined Licensing: Updates to KEPServerEX, the License Utility, and My Kepware improve the user experience and simplify license management—providing customers with more streamlined tools to deploy, manage, and update their servers.
- Improved User Interface (UI): An enhanced user interface streamlines project setup and deployment, enabling more effective and efficient interactions with KEPServerEX. The updates also promote a safe user experience, enable increased productivity, and improve accessibility.
- Robust Security: Now included as a complimentary core server component, the Security Policies advanced plug-in complements an industrial defense-in-depth strategy by enabling customers to assign security access permissions on individual objects based on user role.
“With the release of KEPServerEX Version 6, Kepware is able to provide a secure, truly enterprise-ready connectivity layer to the market,” said Tony Paine, Platform President, Kepware. “Our customers will benefit from an easy migration path that maximizes uptime—allowing them to meet productivity demands today while preparing for the requirements of tomorrow.”
KEPServerEX is an industrial connectivity platform that leverages OPC and IT-centric communication protocols to provide a single source of industrial automation data to enterprise applications. The platform offers a library of more than 150 device drivers, client drivers, and advanced plug-ins—enabling connectivity to thousands of devices and other data sources.
Marketplace for IoT
I think I first met Russ and Rick, the founders of ThingWorx, about 15 years ago at a National Manufacturing Week trade show (remember those?) as they were launching Lighthammer—a data connectivity product that has worked out well for eventual owner, SAP.
They came back with a new start up a few years ago named ThingWorx. This company provides a platform designed to efficiently build and run the applications of today’s connected world. Its model-based design and search-based intelligence reduces application development efforts by 10X, minimizing cost, risk and time to market. The ThingWorx platform combines the key functionality of Web 2.0, search, and social collaboration, and applies it to the world of “things,” including connected products, machines, sensors, and industrial equipment.
This idea of connecting the world of things intrigues me. We’ve discussed it for years, but I think that we as an industry are nearing critical mass where things begin talking with things and humans interact simply to direct processes and make critical decisions.
ThingWorx announced Nov. 18 the immediate availability of the ThingWorx Marketplace. The ThingWorx Marketplace is a global platform that enables developers, hardware and software providers, and systems integrators to build value-added IoT/M2M components and make them available to a broad range of companies.
“The ThingWorx Marketplace is a first mover in an exciting new niche with vast potential,” stated Emil Berthelsen, Principal Consultant at Machina Research. “Through application extensibility, ThingWorx Marketplace aims to deliver a comprehensive and complete apps store that allows developers to integrate with other systems, devices, industries and partners in a quick, seamless, and highly intuitive way.”
The ThingWorx Marketplace offers a wide range of components and services that are required for innovative M2M and IoT applications, including: widgets, analytics, application templates, device connectors, protocol adapters, and integrations to device clouds, provisioning platforms, enterprise systems, and big data stores. These components are built by ThingWorx, ThingWorx partners, independent hardware and software vendors, and third party developers.
“As a ThingWorx Partner, we are excited about the release of the ThingWorx Marketplace,” stated Alicia Asín, Co-Founder and CEO of Libelium. “The Marketplace provides us with a venue for making our sensor products and Meshlium Cloud platform front and center to a global ecosystem of M2M and Internet of Things developers and solution providers.”
The ThingWorx marketplace provides value to all members of the M2M/IoT value chain including:
- Enterprise Customers – deploy a private instance of the Marketplace, to simplify sharing of internally developed applications, application templates, analytics, visualizations and services.
- ThingWorx Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) Partners – deploy a private labeled instance of the Marketplace, to simplify sharing of partner specific applications, analytics, visualizations and services.
- Marketplace Partners – an opportunity to make a company’s intellectual property available to customers on a global basis, offering new ways to promote and monetize their offerings.
“We are excited about the launch of the ThingWorx Marketplace,” stated Russ Fadel, CEO of ThingWorx. “With the predicted 50 billion connected ‘things’ by 2020, we believe there will need to be at least 5 million applications created to drive value. Our Marketplace will provide the next significant improvement in application development efficiency by providing a global market with the building blocks necessary to rapidly assemble these applications.”
Before I had even set foot into Emerson Exchange a couple of weeks ago, I ran into an old acquaintance—Roy Kok. He has held several marketing positons over the 15 or so years I’ve known him. He’s now VP, Sales and Marketing at Ocean Data Systems, developers of Dream Report—an interesting reporting tool. I saw a demo at Exchange, then chatted again a couple of weeks ago.
He told me the company has joined the OPC Foundation. It already uses OPC DA and HDA to obtain data from servers for its reporting system. According to Roy, “Joining the OPC Foundation will provide Ocean Data Systems with access to the latest technology and domain experts, ensuring that Dream Report will continue to deliver excellent support for this standard.”
“The OPC Foundation continues to expand and be the community for OPC experts,” says Thomas Burke – President of the OPC Foundation. “And we are excited to have Ocean Data Systems as a new member.”