Burke Steps Down After 23 Years at OPC Foundation

Burke Steps Down After 23 Years at OPC Foundation

Tom Burke stepped down as President and Executive Director of the OPC Foundation after 23 years of leadership. He will remain on the Board of Directors continuing his global evangelization for the standard.

Stefan Hoppe, currently a vice president of the organization, becomes the new President and Executive Director. This follows on the recent news that the Board created a new Chair position and elected Veronika Schmid-Lutz of SAP to that position.

Hoppe is a familiar face in the community through his work as VP of Marketing for the past four years.

He joined BECKHOFF in 1995 where he developed OPC classic server and in 2006 the first OPC UA server integrated into an embedded controller. In 2008 he initiated and chaired the PLCopen OPC UA Companion working group. In 2010 Mr. Hoppe was elected President of OPC Foundation Europe. Since 2014, he is Vice President of the OPC Foundation and member of the OPC Board.

Hoppe said “It is truly an honor to be entrusted with the responsibility and exciting opportunity to lead this incredible global organization towards its full potential. While the OPC Foundation roots come from industrial automation and will always be grounded there, I believe it is our duty to greatly widen our horizons in multiple directions – inside industrial automation but also into other new markets.“

On the future adoption of the OPC technology Mr. Hoppe continued, “the value of the open, secure, vendor independent data interoperability the OPC UA standard introduces is universal and is as important to IoT applications across all markets as Ethernet was to connect computers and is to the Internet. My mission is to position and grow the OPC Foundation to work on this scale.”

Elaborating on his decision to change roles, Burke said, “After an amazing 23 years, I have decided it is time to turn over the reins of the day-to-day operations as the President and Executive Director of the OPC Foundation to the next generation. I believe Stefan Hoppe is the right person for this job as he has clearly demonstrated his commitment and strong leadership on many occasions. I look forward to him advancing the OPC Foundation and its OPC UA technology.”

Hoppe concluded “On behalf of the OPC Foundation I sincerely thank Thomas Burke for the vision, leadership, and tireless evangelism he provided all these years. It was great to work with Thomas Burke for the last 8 years and I appreciate his decision to continue his worldwide OPC UA evangelization and contribution of his deep valued insights and strategic advice.”

I am not surprised by the changes. I’ve worked closely with Tom for many years. I’ve also known Stefan since his days at Beckhoff Automation. His presentations for OPC UA have increasingly become less German-centric remaining a powerful statement of the value of standards for the successful implementation of Industry 4.0 and Digital Transformation.

I view this transition as a classic move from the entrepreneur to management. In the end it will be a positive step for the organization. I wish them all well.

Continuous Learning For Self Development

Continuous Learning For Self Development

Continuous learning is essential for economic survival in this increasingly technological world. However, I believe it is also essential for growth as a human. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in technology and organizational success that we forget that our first duty is to improve ourselves.

Drawing as Thinking

When you take notes or think about a project, what do you write? Do you use pen and paper? Or some sort of notes app or outliner on your computing device?

How about drawing mind maps or sketching ideas? On listening to a recent podcast I jotted this note

Drawing is not an artistic process; it is a thinking process.

Math as Thinking

Reading Peter Diamondis’s newsletter recently, he once again talked about how worthless math was in school—“I have never expanded a polynomial in my life.” I bet he used the logical thinking instilled by working math problems his entire life!

Wishing for Certainty

When I was young I knew old guys who had worked for the same company for many years. There was a certainty about life. I, on the other hand, have never really known that certainty. Here is a thought that once again draws out that idea of clear, logical thinking

The antidote to uncertainty is not certainty—which is impossible—but clarity.

It’s all about passion

Henry Cloud—The fruitfulness of our lives will come from our hearts. Developing our inner selves helps us prioritize our lives. Our hearts will determine the “issues” of our lives.

Resources

Your most important resources are time and energy.

Leadership

Andy Stanley—Leaders who don’t listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing to say.

Open Process Automation Forum Update

Open Process Automation Forum Update

Our schedules finally aligned and I was able to catch up with Ed Harrington, director of the Open Process Automation Forum for The Open Group. A few months ago I talked with Gary Freburger and Peter Martin of Schneider Electric’s process automation unit. We discussed the OPAF and what had been going on since the ARC Forum in Orlando last February.

OPAF has laid out an ambitious agenda moving automation toward an era of open connectivity and interoperability.

The original plan broached a couple of years ago at ARC Forum by representatives of ExxonMobil and Lockheed Martin was to prod suppliers into reducing the problem of upgrading systems in the field without the huge expense of rip-and-replace. Considerable industry jockeying ensued. Schneider Electric (Foxboro) eventually taking a leadership position in the effort with assistance from Yokogawa and to a degree Siemens. Other suppliers are watching and evaluating.

Smaller suppliers such as Inductive Automation have become involved along with some of the major automation systems suppliers.

The OPAF specification is really a standard of standards. The group wishes to build upon existing standards, assembling them in such a way as to advance the cause of open automation.

Harrington told me that so far this year, the group has published three items (that are open to the public). One is a business guide, The Open Process Automation Business Guide: Value Proposition and Business Case for the Open Process Automation Standard.

The industrial control systems that manufacturers use to automate their processes are critical to the company’s productivity and product quality. To increase the business contribution from control systems, manufacturers need:
1. Increases in operational benefits from improved capabilities
2. Improvements in cybersecurity compared to currently available systems
3. Reductions in the system’s capital and lifecycle costs

The organization has also published The Open Group Snapshot—Open Process Automation Technical Reference Model: Technical Architecture and a white paper Requirements for an Open Process Automation Standard.

Harrington also told me to expect an announcement of further work at next week’s Open Group Quarterly Meeting in Singapore.

I have seen a number of these initiatives in my career. Few succeed in entirety. However, the thinking that goes into this work always moves industry forward. I don’t know if we’ll ever see a truly OPAF control system. Anything that brings more rationality to the market keeping in minds the goals of OPAF will do much for helping manufacturers and producers improve performance. And that’s what it’s all about.

When IoT Projects Fail

When IoT Projects Fail

Browsing LinkedIn, something I seldom do, I saw this image from a company called Seebo. “Where IoT Projects Fail.” Interesting, but can’t these be summed up in a word or two?

Try “management” or “leadership”.

The recurring theme I’ve found in my consulting and qualification process for a client concerns not really understanding what Internet of Things (IoT) means. Nor do they always understand realistically what benefits could accrue. Or what technologies fit.

A client one time hired me to justify a decision already made—in their minds at least—about acquisitions that would enter them into the IoT market. Another looked for use cases and settled on one not understanding the complexity of that use case.

On the other hand, a wise CTO once explained to me about themes for the company’s annual conference. One year might be IoT and another digitalization. He said they looked at the current themes in the market and then figured how their products fit, and presto—a theme.

If you are in an IoT project or contemplating one as a user or looking at a product and service plan as a supplier, step back and try using good basic management first. Organizing, defining, staffing.

Here is the list from the image:

  • Failure to capture business opportunities
  • Unclear and incomplete use cases
  • Systems are too complex to communicate
  • Missing critical data
  • Unable to extract actionable insights
  • Unable to identify root cause of product malfunctions
  • Ensuring market-fit and early buy-in
  • High cost of mistakes
  • Prototyping products not technically or financially feasible
  • Skills or capacity gap
  • Aligning and syncing teams
  • Detailed and complete spec docs and keeping them up-to-date
Podcast Developing the Soul of a Leader

Podcast Developing the Soul of a Leader

I’ve published another podcast. Despite the many dystopian views of technology, automation, and robots in the future, it is human decision making and leadership that determines what will happen. Gaurav Bhalla’s “Awakening a Leader’s Soul” teaches a different perspective on leadership.

You can subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Overcast, or any other podcatcher. You can also subscribe to my YouTube channel and get the video edition. If you like my thoughts, please give me a good rating on your source.

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