The coming of September means the start of the fall event season for LNS Research. Over the coming months, with our Monday Musings blog series, we will be working hard to give you compelling insight and analysis from the industrial software and automation market’s newest happenings.
Foxboro User Conference 2017
Last month Schneider Electric hosted a Foxboro specific version of its industrial automation user conference at the company’s site in Foxboro MA. The event brought together thought leaders from the company, customers, media, and analysts for an overview of what’s new and a lively discussion regarding the future of the industrial automation market.
There were three main highlights from the event the intrigued LNS:
- Launch of Maintenance Advisor: Schneider Electric is moving to take its roots in automation, maintenance software, and open systems to provide a holistic maintenance analytics solution delivering enterprise wide decision support for asset optimization.
- Launch of Profit Advisor: Schneider Electric is moving to take its process specific profit models and push them down to the control level. Profit Advisor is built upon Schneider Electric IP and Seeq’s technology capabilities to provide analytics across all the leading data historian providers. Profit Advisor will allow companies to start controlling for not only production and uptime goals but now also profit goals.
- Evolving Vision of DCS: Schneider Electric fellow Don Clark gave a compelling presentation on how he sees (and later echoed by his colleague Peter Martin) the DCS market evolving over time. In his view, based on the technological changes happening regarding the IIoT(he hates the term btw but is resigned to use it), the market over time will move to be more:
- Asset centric, as opposed to process centric
- Distributed and autonomous control, as opposed to centralized command and control
- Embracing of innovation enabled by the IIoT
- Open, Flexible, Scalable
- Reliant upon new model for services and system integrators
- LNS sees Schneider Electric as the leading vendor for promoting concepts regarding how Industry 4.0 and IIoT will disrupt the traditional DCS market for core process industries.
- LNS agrees that disruption in these markets will happen eventually. The real question is when will the disruption occur -in the next 5 or next 25 years?
- For the disruption Schneider Electric fellows described at this event to happen, LNS believes there needs to be broad-based consensus across hardware, software, EPC, IT services, systems integrators and end-user companies regarding the architectural models and path forward. No one player has the needed market power to drive disruption independently, and risk aversion makes it unlikely a new entrant will drive quick shifts. Overall, it is much more likely disruption will come slowly and by driven by pilot projects for non-mission-critical applications with less operational risk that prove value; eventually moving to mission-critical applications.Driving for and achieving this broad-based consensus is actually the goal of the growing Open Process Automation Forum (OPAF), for which Schneider Electric has taken a leading role. OPAF, an open, consensus-based group of end users, hardware, software and solutions suppliers and several other companies and organizations (including LNS), is working together to develop a technologically appropriate open process automation architecture and the specifications and business guidance for adopting and using the architecture.
Siemens Industry Analyst Conference 2017
Labor Day in Boston means only one thing, get ready for the annual Siemens Analyst Conference. Per usual, Siemens showcased one of the broadest and deepest portfolios of industrial software in the market – and it is a portfolio that only continues to grow through both organic development and a continued aggressive stance towards acquisitions.
There were three main highlights from the show that LNS sees as important for customers and prospects to be considering:
- Mentor Graphics Acquisition – This was the first analyst day since the acquisition and the focus was clearly on the unique positioning it gives Siemens now in the Electronic Design Automation (EDA) space. But the acquisition may also have positive impact for the company in the operations space. With Valor, one of the leading NPI and MOM providers for the electronics industry (including SMT) Siemens can now build a solution combining Teamcenter and the Siemens legacy Unicam product, which will now position the company to more effectively compete against the leading independent vendor in the space Aegis, and the new cloud only entrant, 42Q.
- Digital Twin – Siemens continues to espouse the value of a digital twin and provide a differentiated vision that includes the design and simulation of both products and processes. Alan Wardle, Chief Engineer Rolls Royce Customer provided the presentation of the show and walked the audience exactly how his company views and uses the Digital Twin. In the world of Rolls Royce, the Digital Twin is what enables the connection between engineering and manufacturing and more importantly provides the critical context for analytics and improved decision making across closed loop processes.
- MindSphere – The company’s IoT Platform has come a long way since it was first announced in end of 2015. With v2 now available to customers, and v3 coming later this year, the company has moved well past its MVP of automated cloud based data collection coupled to a simple logic and analytics engine. The visualizations are now being brought to life through Siemens content and with partners like Bentley, the cloud offerings now include SAP - AWS, and Azure in the next few months, and LNS expects a continuation of new and improved apps to be available on the platform in v3 and beyond. Most importantly, MindSphere is being managed by veterans of the enterprise software market, with a proven record of delivering open platforms with continued innovation over many years.
- 3D Printing – HP 3D printing global head Michelle Bockman spent time with the audience sharing further advancements in the longstanding partnership with Siemens to better optimize printing batches and also the progress the companies are making towards driving 3D printing from spare parts and prototypes to mass production. The goal is to industrialize 3D printing. Siemens also showcased a partnership with Deloitte for a Digital Thread for Additive Manufacturing (DTAM) solution.
Siemens long term strategy of offering the most complete industrial software portfolio across engineering, automation, and operations has not wavered. If anything, with the advent of the IIoT, it has only accelerated.
Moving forward, there is still much white space available for the company, especially when an industry overlay is applied to the two main divisions housing industrial software and automation at Siemens: Process and Drives and Digital Factory.
It will be interesting to see how Siemens drives the adoption of MindSphere across both these divisions, especially since the product is being managed by the veteran PL team, which sits in the Digital Factory division. LNS does believe that Siemens will be successful in this endeavor if it remains committed to openness (especially including platform to platform connectivity), focuses on customer driven use cases, and delivers a technology and business model that prioritizes it.