Tom Comstock

Tom Comstock is a Principal Analyst with LNS Research. In this role, he conducts research on a broad range of topics including the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), manufacturing operations management (MOM), and asset performance management (APM).
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Recent Posts

Evaluating Potential Industrial Transformation (IX) Strategic Partners

Posted by Tom Comstock on Thu, Oct 07, 2021

As the year 2020 ended, LNS Research published a set of three Research Spotlights highlighting the three alternative architectural paths available for manufacturers around Industrial Transformation (IX). In the 3rd Spotlight we introduced the concept of Industrial Transformation Strategic Partners. As part of the run-up to the release of the LNS Research IX Strategic Partners Solution Selection Matrix™ let’s revisit our definition of IX Strategic Partners, highlight the criteria we use to evaluate these vendors, list the vendors, and conclude with advice to manufacturers.

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Categories: Solution Vendor / Software Vendor, Industrial Transformation / Digital Transformation, Industry 4.0 / Smart Manufacturing, Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning (AI/ML), IT/OT, IX Platform, Solution Selection Matrix

From Lighthouse to Center of Excellence

Posted by Tom Comstock on Tue, Aug 31, 2021

In a recent blog post, our fearless leader, President and Principal Analyst Matthew Littlefield, noted that, “Although no one can argue with the technological innovation and productivity gains that lighthouse plants demonstrate, our data shows that including lighthouse plants as part of your Industrial Transformation (IX) program does not correlate to success.”  This post builds on that earlier post and drills into when lighthouse strategies can be effective and what is an alternative strategy more correlated to success.

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Categories: Operational Excellence, Industrial Transformation / Digital Transformation, IX Platform, Lighthouse Manufacturing, Lighthouse Plants

The “Holy Grail” and the “Puzzle” in Discrete and Batch Manufacturing Applications

Posted by Tom Comstock on Thu, Aug 12, 2021

We all know the reality of discrete and batch manufacturers. If you walk into virtually any manufacturing plant, you will find literally hundreds of manufacturing computing applications being utilized. A few of those applications, ERP most prominently, are generally supported by the corporate IT staff. A wider number of those applications, automation and MES, are typically supported by operations itself via the OT team or the “shadow IT” team (the manufacturing engineers, etc., that are providing day-to-day support to these systems). The vast majority of applications are custom – often built in Excel, Access, or Java – and are not well-supported and virtually impossible to deploy across sites. And, the picture gets worse: despite all these applications, operational personnel are still looking for more technology to help reduce manufacturing costs and improve quality.

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Categories: Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM), Manufacturing Execution System (MES), Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Industrial Transformation / Digital Transformation, IX Platform, qualitymanagement

Digital Twins Uncomplicated: Answering the Three Most Asked Questions

Posted by Tom Comstock on Wed, May 19, 2021

LNS Research has been writing about Digital Twins for a number of years. We still find our manufacturing clients confused by the opportunities presented by Digital Twins and unclear on how to proceed. In face of this reality, we wanted to set up a simple framework for thinking about Digital Twin use cases and answer some of the most common questions we hear about these concepts.

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Categories: Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Industrial Transformation / Digital Transformation, Digital Twin, IX Platform

Reliance NXG Announced at ETQ Quality Vision 2021:  "Cloud Native" Approach May Allow Customers to Leapfrog Competition

Posted by Tom Comstock on Tue, May 11, 2021

LNS Research had the opportunity to participate in ETQ’s virtual event, Quality Vision 2021. The virtual mainstage was dominated by discussion of the company’s concurrent new product release, Reliance NXG, a cloud-native version of Reliance that is reportedly fully functional.

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Categories: Cloud, Industrial Transformation / Digital Transformation, Quality 4.0, LifeSciences, qualitymanagement

New Solution Selection Matrix for the IX Platform Helps Guide Your Shortlist of Suppliers

Posted by Tom Comstock on Fri, Apr 30, 2021

Industrial Transformation (IX) continues to animate manufacturers worldwide. Our 2020 global survey shows that more than three-quarters of companies are executing, piloting, or planning on executing an Industrial Transformation (IX) program in the next 12 months despite a global pandemic. Industrial Transformation Platforms (IX Platforms) are a core component to the majority of IX Leaders who are three times more likely to be implementing an IX Platform as compared to Followers.

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Categories: Industrial Transformation / Digital Transformation, IX Platform, Solution Selection Matrix

What is an Industrial Transformation (IX) Platform?

Posted by Tom Comstock on Tue, Mar 02, 2021

LNS Research was the first to define an Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) Platform in 2014. Our blog post continues to get strong search engine placement, readership, and inquiry. But the vision and definition were incomplete; the IIoT is not a catch all – it is focused on industrial device connectivity, management, data collection, and edge analytics – but enabling transformation takes much more.

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Rockwell Automation Fair at Home

Posted by Tom Comstock on Tue, Jan 19, 2021

LNS Research recently had the opportunity to listen in on Rockwell Automation’s first virtual Automation Fair. Rockwell Automation strove valiantly to replicate the massive Automation Fair virtually: they continued to have Perspective Keynotes, detailed product and technical sessions, hands-on training, a partner exhibit, and even a virtual tour of the Product and Technology showcase. Rockwell Automation is known for its partner and channel-based strategy and this event reconfirmed, yet again, how strong Rockwell Automation’s orientation to partners and channels really is.

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Categories: Cloud, Industrial Transformation / Digital Transformation, Industry 4.0 / Smart Manufacturing, Edge

The Year Ahead: 2021 Predictions

Posted by Tom Comstock on Mon, Jan 11, 2021

Every year, LNS Research puts forth predictions around the key trends around the Industrial Transformation (IX) topics on which we focus our research. As the IX Readiness, IX Platform, and Quality specialist at LNS, I have the opportunity to make predictions across a range of topics. Luckily for you, I am only going to make five!

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ROKLive Virtual Shows What it Takes for Transformation

Posted by Tom Comstock on Wed, Jul 29, 2020

LNS had the chance, like everyone else, to dig into the wealth of content that Rockwell Automation has put together for ROKLive. ROKLive was intended to be co-located with PTC’s LiveWorx event this year. Like so many other large gatherings, the event itself was cancelled and replaced with a virtual event. Software companies have executed different strategies for their virtual events: some scaling way back, others going virtual with everything that can go virtual, and lots of alternatives in between. Rockwell Automation went “…with everything.” As Chairman and CEO Blake Moret said: “the content is extensive with over 100 keynotes, technical labs, and a partner showcase.”

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Categories: Industrial Transformation / Digital Transformation, IT/OT, LifeSciences, Agile