Top Tens and Top Twenties of the past or future year have never been my favorites. However, one can perceive trends and strain out little nuggets of gold by scanning several. Especially industrial taken broadly along with Internet of Things (IoT) and other current digital trends. I just had an interesting chat with Sean Riley, Global Director of Manufacturing and Transportation for Software AG, who released his Top Ten for 2020.
Following are his ideas interspersed with a few of my comments.
Cost Management Becomes Exceptional
As uncertainty enters the global manufacturing outlook, enterprises will become myopically focused on cost reductions. This will drive organizations to find more efficient methods of providing IT support, leveraging supplier ecosystems and simplifying value chains. [GM-much of my early work was in cost management/reduction; this is a never-ending challenge in manufacturing; however, tools continue to evolve giving us more and better solutions.]
A Blurred Line Between Products & Services
Manufacturers continue their product innovation quest and more manufacturers will begin focusing on how to deliver products as a service. The Manufacturers that have already created smart products and have elevated service levels will now begin to work out the financing considerations needed to shift from a sales based to a usage based revenue model. [GM-This is a trend most likely still in its infancy, or maybe toddler-hood; we see new examples sprouting monthly.]
Moving To Redefine Cost Models To Match Future Revenue Streams
Anticipating the shift to continual revenue streams, manufacturers will seek to shift costs to be incurred in a similar manner. This will be initially seen as a continued push to subscription based IT applications. While much progress has already been made, a larger focus will occur. [GM-I like his idea here of balancing capital versus expense budgets, continually finding the best fund source for shifting costs.]
IT Focuses on Rapid Support for Growth
The lines between business and IT users become blurred as no-code applications allow for business users to create integration services. IT professionals will leverage DevOps & Agile methodologies alongside of microservices and containers to rapidly develop applications that are able to generate incremental growth as requested by business users. This will be critical to the near term success for manufacturers, especially with economic headwinds that seem to be growing stronger. [GM-I didn’t ask about DevOps, but this idea is springing into the industrial space; cloud and software-as-a-service provide scalability both up and down for IT to balance costs and services.]
Industrial Self-Service Analytics Become Mission Critical
Industrie 4.0 / Smart Manufacturing initiatives continue to receive greater amounts of investment but in the near term, manufacturers will focus on unleashing the power of the data they already have. Historians, LIMS, CMMS’ have valuable data going to and in them and enabling production engineers to leverage that data rapidly is critical. Industrial Self-Service Analytics that allow production and maintenance professionals to leverage predictive analytics without IT assistance will sought as a powerful differentiating factor. [GM-we are beginning to see some cool no-programming tools to help managers get data access more quickly.]
Industrie 4.0 / Smart Manufacturing Initiatives Continue to Draw Investment
It’s no surprise that Manufacturers will continue to invest in Industrie 4.0 as the promises are great however, the scaled returns have not been realized and won’t be realized in the near term. The difficult of implementing these initiatives has surpassed manufacturers expectations for several reasons. First, traditional OT companies were trusted to deliver exceptional, open platforms and that wasn’t delivered. Secondly, collaboration efforts between IT & OT professionals proved to be more convoluted and difficult than expected. [GM-I’m thinking these ideas became overblown and complex, and that is not a good thing; to swallow the whole enchilada causes stomach pain.]
Artificial Intelligence Enters the Mix
AI won’t allow for users to sit back and relax while AI handles all of their tasks for them but it will make an appearance in back office tasks. Freight payment auditing, invoice payment and, in some select areas, chatbots will be the initial main stream uses of AI and will be seen as not becoming an anomaly but be understood to be more mainstream this year. [GM-I think still an idea looking for a problem; however some AI ideas are finding homes a little at a time.]
3D Printing Find New Uses
While this technology has steadily crept into production lines, the push towards usage based product pricing will have the technology move into after market services. Slow moving parts will be the first target for this technology which will help to free up much needed working capital to support financial transformation. [GM-watch for better machines holding tighter tolerances making the technology more useful.]
5G & Edge Analytics Enable New Possibilities
As Industrie 4.0 is continued to be pursued, Manufacturers will implement new initiatives that could not previously be realized without the high speed data transmission promises of 5G or the ability to conduct advanced analytics at the edge where production occurs. This will also provide manufacturers with new methods to securely implement Smart Manufacturing initiatives and in new locations that were not previously feasible due to connectivity issues. [GM-5G is still pretty much a dream, but there is great potential for some day.]
Security Still Remains a Critical Focus
With the increasing rate of IoT sensors, IT-OT convergence, the usage of API’s and the interconnectivity of ecosystems ensuring data security remains a top priority for manufacturers. As more data becomes more available, the need to increase levels of security becomes ever greater. [GM-ah, yes, security–a never-ending problem.]
A short blurb on a product that I didn’t know that Rockwell Automation had—a rack-mount compute platform that can be used as a virtual machine server.
The information did not come through a traditional press release. It was a New Product Spotlight with a request to run in the products section. Well, I’m not a magazine or traditional media, so I don’t have a “products section.” However, I have great empathy for PR firms these days. They really have to push to keep clients happy in a tough market with demanding client executives.
Given that I’ve been spending so much time at IT conferences and everyone speculates about what Rockwell is up to, I found this one intriguing. “The new VersaVirtual appliance from Rockwell Automation provides all the computing, networking and storage capabilities needed to deploy and maintain up to 15 virtual machines in one ready-to-use appliance.”
Two key features:
First, it avoids the potential pitfalls of a do-it-yourself virtualized architecture. This appliance is pre-engineered. It arrives as a complete product from one source.
Second, it is an Industrial Data Center with scaled down cost and complexity for smaller applications.
They even remove the objection of needing an IT department. The VersaVirtual appliance comes with one-year remote monitoring and administration so that users receive around-the-clock system monitoring to help prevent downtime. Customers will also receive support from certified IT/OT professionals who have an average response time of three minutes to help resolve technical issues.
It is a hyperconverged (compute, networking and storage) appliance for entry-level virtualization. And the benefits: Virtualization brings an average of 74% decrease in total cost of ownership, reduces downtime, adds compute capability, and comes with trusted IT/OT services and support.
Looks like an entry-level IT platform from the OT leader. Interesting.
I flew to Orlando May 22 as a guest of Siemens along with a select few other “influencers” to be introduced to a number of innovation projects fueled by Siemens technology. We met at the Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts in downtown Orlando (did you even know there was a downtown?), which itself is filled with Siemens equipment. There are few companies in the industrial area which I cover that have the vision and execution that Siemens is exhibiting right now.
By the way, there is a fantastic little taco place in downtown Orlando. Email or DM on Twitter, and I’ll share the name. Greg Hale of ISSSource.com and I had dinner there Wednesday. We agreed—among the best tacos we’ve had.
Barbara Humpton, CEO Siemens USA, led with an overview. Siemens has made a greater than $1B investment in R&D in the US with 7,000 engineers churning out 700 inventions per year.
She introduced former stunt man and motorcycle racer turned CEO Mike “Mouse” McCoy, CEO & Founder of HackRod. McCoy built on a foundation of Siemens PLM and SolidEdge CAD. He added a gaming engine. He was able to use VR for design reviews, interference checking, and simulation during the design process. We followed along with design and review of a new motorcycle. A few parts required somewhat exotic materials. Oak Ridge National Labs printed the parts from the design files downloaded from HackRod. The design teams were in Ventura, CA and Princeton, NJ with input from Munich, Germany. Collaboration was not a problem.
Beginning of design until component parts shipped to Orlando—2 weeks. The parts arrived Tuesday. McCoy and a partner assembled the motorcycle on Tuesday evening and wheeled (not drove) it onto the stage Wednesday about 1:30. Not bad? Heck, in my early career, we couldn’t have done a foam-core mock up in that time frame.
One thought McCoy left us with. “We need to talk STEAM, not just STEM—science, technology, engineering, arts, math.” It is now possible for artists and designers to be an intimate part of the team going from art to finished product quickly. 3D printing from PLM files. Way cool.
How about a high school mechanical design student given a project to provide a lighter prosthetic foot for an Army vet? Humpton introduced 18-year-old high school student Ashley Kimbel who had undertaken just such a project. She worked with the veteran to analyze his current “foot” looking for areas where weight could be eliminated. Then she had to learn how to fabricate and manufacture the device. We saw films of the veteran running with Ashley proving out the new prosthetic.
This is a long way from projects I had as a 17-year-old senior. Education and technology have come a long way in a lifetime. Oh, and her future? She wants to work in bioengineering designing and 3D printing organs. She will be working on that during her tenure at UAB. She is going to make a difference for many people.
I have many more ideas and conversations to capture. This will serve for now.
Check out #SiemensInnovates
Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) announced new HPE Edgeline Converged Edge System solutions that speed the deployment and simplify the management of edge applications, enabling customers to act on the vast amounts of data generated by machines, assets and sensors from edge to cloud.
I think this is another significant advance reflecting the utility of enterprise compute capability brought ever closer to the plant itself. If you are looking to be disruptive in your industry or are on a corporate engineering staff looking for OT alternatives, I’d suggest taking a long look at these technologies and then letting your imagination do its work.
The new solutions include:
- HPE Edgeline OT Link Platform, an open platform that automates the interplay between diverse operational technologies (OT) and standard IT-based applications at the edge to enable intelligent and autonomous decision making;
- HPE Edgeline systems management, the industry’s first systems management solutions designed specifically for the edge to ensure enterprise-grade reliability, connectivity and security;
- HPE Edgeline EL300 Converged Edge System featuring OT link and HPE Edgeline systems management, providing superior resilience against harsh edge environments for a broad range of industrial deployments; and
- HPE Edgeline Field Application Engineering Services are available from HPE Pointnext to help customers plan, build, and customize OT link-based Internet of Things (IoT) and cyber-physical systems.
To turn edge data into insight for real-time action, it must be processed close to its source to avoid the latency, bandwidth, and cost issues of sending the data to a remote data center. However, this opportunity comes with a set of unique challenges, including management of remote infrastructure, and the necessity to seamlessly connect sensors and industrial assets with IT applications at the edge.
“Deploying IoT, edge, and cyber-physical systems is a challenge requiring a fresh look at uniting the physical and digital worlds,” said Dr. Tom Bradicich, Vice President and General Manager, Converged Servers, Edge and IoT Systems, HPE. “With today’s announcements, we enable our customers to accelerate the delivery of applications that capitalize on edge data, safeguarded by enterprise-class management. And we lay the groundwork for a new ecosystem of intelligent edge solutions to drive innovation and growth across industries.”
Simplifying deployment of edge-to-cloud IoT and cyber-physical systems
Today, setting up an IoT or cyber-physical system is a laborious undertaking. It requires custom coding to orchestrate OT networks, control systems, and data flows with drivers, middleware, and applications running on IT systems. HPE Edgeline OT Link Platform is an open platform that significantly simplifies this process, reducing cost and time to market.
The solution includes:
HPE Edgeline OT Link Platform software, an open workflow engine and application catalogue, allowing customers to orchestrate components, data, and applications via a graphical drag-and-drop user interface. The HPE Edgeline OT Link Platform integrates an ecosystem of third-party applications running from edge to cloud – including AWS, Google, Microsoft, SAP, PTC, GE, and more – to make insights from the edge available across the enterprise and supply chain.
HPE Edgeline OT Link certified modules, HPE-developed adapters that connect to a broad range of OT systems, enabling bi-directional, time-sensitive, and deterministic control and communication, including high-speed digital input/output, CAN bus, Modbus, or Profinet. APIs and SDKs for these adapters are made available to the industry to facilitate third-party designs of OT link modules. OT link will also integrate FPGA modules to give customers maximal flexibility to connect to any industrial input/output device.
Enterprise-grade manageability and security at the edge
HPE also announced the industry’s first systems management solutions specifically designed to simplify the provisioning and management of edge infrastructure and applications, providing enterprise-grade manageability and security for remote systems with limited connectivity and IT expertise.
HPE Edgeline Integrated System Manager is embedded into HPE Edgeline Converged Edge Systems and features one-click provisioning, ongoing system health management, remote updates, and management even with intermittent wired and wireless connections. It also supports advanced security functions like preventing system boot file changes and remote system disablement during a security event. HPE Edgeline Infrastructure Manager software can remotely manage thousands of Edgeline Converged Edge Systems.
The HPE Edgeline Workload Orchestrator hosts a central repository for containerized analytics, AI, business, and IoT applications that can be pushed to HPE Edgeline Converged Edge Systems at the edge
Unparalleled convergence of OT and IT
The HPE Edgeline EL300 is a fan-less, low-energy system equipped with Intel Core i5 processors, up to 32GB of memory and 3TB of storage. It will also support Intel Movidius Myriad X vision processing units to enable video analytics and AI inference at the edge. The HPE Edgeline EL300 provides enhanced resiliency against shock, vibration, humidity, and dust, including IP50 and MIL-SPEC certifications, and can operate from -30 to +70 degrees Celsius. These features make the HPE Edgeline EL300 suitable to be deployed as an embedded system – for example, in production machines or in building infrastructure.
Expertise to accelerate deployment and create competitive advantage
To support these new offerings, HPE Pointnext, the services organization of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, provides HPE Edgeline Field Application Services, which help customers plan, design, build, and run IoT, edge and cyber-physical systems to accelerate deployment and ensure reliable and secure operation. These services include the evaluation of use cases, proof of value, solution deployment, and management of ongoing operations – helping customers get the most from OT/IT integrations.
Moreover, HPE Pointnext can help customers develop their own data acquisition, industrial network, and control components for HPE Edgeline OT Link Platform to create custom solutions and competitive advantage. HPE Edgeline OT Link Platform based solutions can be delivered on-premises with a turnkey deployment service, operated by HPE Pointnext.
Finally, HPE Edgeline EL300 Converged Edge System will be added to HPE GreenLake Flex Capacity, to deliver a consumption-based experience with usage-based payment, capacity metering, and tailored support, for customers who need a cloud-like experience for systems at the edge.
Dreamforce, the Salesforce annual customer conference, was this week in San Francisco. I should have been there. Along with 100,000 of my closest IT friends. But, my project hit a crisis and I didn’t travel. All is not lost, however, since I received this information about ABB and Salesforce partnering.
The first item of interest is that I went to Salesforce’s “small” summer conference in Chicago with 3x-5x the attendees of a typical industrial technology conference. Then there is the big one with 30x or more the size. It blows the mind.
Then I consider the strategic moves that the largest industrial players are making. Siemens nailed a couple of acquisitions to bolster its MindSphere IoT platform. Schneider takes a majority stake in AVEVA to integrate design to process. ABB aligns with Salesforce (see below). And Rockwell Automation spends major dollars for a small stake in PTC evidently for a tighter integration with ThingWorx and Kepware.
Although there was a lot of marketing buzz to sort through, what ABB gets with a partnership with Salesforce is substantial. The company under the leadership of Ulrich Spiesshofer for the past five years has staged a remarkable turnaround. Don’t forget it also bolstered its machine control / discrete manufacturing portfolio with the acquisition of B+R Automation.
You can see more by watching this Fireside Chat with ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer and Salesforce chairman and co-CEO Marc Benioff on the future of work and Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The stated objective of the partnership is for Salesforce to provide a single view of customers across ABB’s global sales, service and marketing operations.
The partnership will combine the power of Salesforce IoT, Einstein artificial intelligence, and ABB Ability, the cross-industry digital offering supporting an installed base of 70 million connected devices worldwide, to drive enhanced service and faster solutions for customers
Explaining Industry 4.0, otherwise known as The Fourth Industrial Revolution, Salesforce states it is a wave of innovation and technology that is radically transforming every business and industry. It’s no longer enough for manufacturers to differentiate on product—they must also predict customer needs and deliver smarter, more personalized customer experiences. With Salesforce, ABB is unifying its CRM globally, across every region, brand and department, to embrace the opportunities created by the Fourth Industrial Revolution and help its customers pursue important, new openings for service, innovation and growth.
“The Fourth Industrial Revolution is creating massive opportunities for our customers, making the work we do with them to drive innovation and create value more important than ever,” said Ulrich Spiesshofer, CEO of ABB. “That’s why we’re growing our relationship with Salesforce. The wealth of information we’ll get by unifying our data on Salesforce and combining it with our ABB Ability digital offering will allow us to use artificial intelligence and IoT more effectively, so we can anticipate our customer’s needs and write the future together.”
“ABB is undergoing incredible digital transformation and connecting with their customers in revolutionary ways,” said Marc Benioff, Chairman and co-CEO of Salesforce. “Our relationship with ABB is another example of the extraordinary power of artificial intelligence and IoT technologies to drive customer success.”
ABB’s expansion of Salesforce includes Einstein, Salesforce IoT, Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Community Cloud and Success Cloud advisory services.
Einstein will enable ABB to drive smarter sales and service with artificial intelligence. For example, ABB will use Sales Cloud Einstein for intelligence-driven decision making, automated data entry, identification of potential opportunities and predictive forecasting. Einstein Vision, used with Service Cloud Field Service Lightning, will be used to give ABB’s 15,000 field service technicians the ability to take a photo of an ABB product or component when they arrive onsite to automatically surface information about the product on their screens, resulting in faster, more accurate service.
Salesforce IoT will allow ABB to make data from its connected devices actionable and measurable. The company’s vision is to combine Salesforce IoT with ABB Ability so that its installed base of 70 million connected devices can use predictive intelligence, powered by Einstein, to generate and trigger actions directly into Salesforce. With Salesforce IoT and ABB Ability together, ABB will be able to improve customer experiences by getting ahead of performance and maintenance needs.