10 Questions From Yesterday's Agile MES Webinar [Recording]

connected_enterprise.jpgOn February 29 LNS Research hosted a webinar entitled "Agile MES and IIoT: How the Traditional Hierarchies in Manufacturing Operations Management Are Being Dissolved."

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The presentation focused on the development of ever more sophisticated Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Cloud technologies, and how these are being integrated into shifting the hierarchy and default model of how Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) has been structured and executed.

As anyone involved in manufacturing execution and management knows, the ISA-95 model has been the standard for some time across industries. This is something that's poised to change as the IIoT and Cloud begin to allow direct interaction and communication between the different levels, eventually decomposing the hierarchy that's typically existed. 

This has broad implications across industries in developing smart connected devices, operations and business processes. The top challenges according to our MOM survey are perennial ones that have to do with lack of communication and integration between systems.


II discussed this at length during the webinar, prompting much discusson and response. As is often the case, we weren't able to get to all the questions asked during the live event.

For those who were unable to attend the live webinar, you can access the free recording here.

Questions & Answers

Q. What do you see as the timeframe for decomposition of the ISA-95 model and smart connected devices? How long until this actually pervades industry?

A. We will see examples of standalone IoT enabled MOM apps within a year or so. However, factories are conservative places (or should I say -- the people in them like things just the way they are). MOM and other plant systems tend to have a long life so I would not expect to see the majority of plants using decomposed MOM for 4-5 years.

Q. Can you speak a little bit about the current state of security measures in moving MOM functionality into the cloud?

A. Security is one of the main concerns of companies building Cloud and IoT systems. There is a much more holistic approach to security than was the case in the not too distant past. Indeed, factories are not typically the bastions of security best practice. I would suggest that moving MOM from the plant to a modern, well-designed IoT platform with built-in security will increase the opportunity for state of the art security measures to be taken. In the plant, total isolation was one way of ensuring security but in today's fast changing factory environment, cutting yourself off from the rest of the world is not an option.

Q. With regard to Level 3 systems in the Cloud -- With IoT, they will be real execution systems and is this too risky at the moment?

Q. Do you consider Cloud the proper solution if MOM is mission critical for production as in case with tank or movement management in Oil/Gas?

A. I have combined these two questions as they address similar issues through different lenses. What you put where in your future IT Enterprise Architecture is not something that is going to be decided in a one-hour webinar! There will be cases where particular functionality needs to reside close to the plant and there will be cases where the advantages of running applications on the IoT Platform will outweigh their need to be close to the plant. I foresee some critical Level 3 functionality running on what is today Level 2 hardware (We already see this with localized data historians running on PLCs). I know this is not a definitive answer but that can only be given in specific cases.

Q. How is putting MOM/MES into the Cloud different from having everything on premise, even with integration of multiple sites globally? Why would you put it in the Cloud? Why not?

A. The Cloud is sometimes used as a generic term for "not on premise." It could be anything from a private data center to a multi-tenant public Cloud. The simple reason for putting it in the Cloud is to reduce costs, ease maintenance, aid roll out and make information much more freely available within the enterprise. Of course, once it is in the Cloud, we start talking about how an IoT platform can move things into an entirely different gear.

Q. Can you comment on any issues with respect to connecting supply/demand chains?

A. This is a great question; I could spend a year of research answering it. To be very brief, we are very excited about the possibilities that the "smart connected supply chain" will bring when it includes manufacturing information as well as data from suppliers, customers, and all your business systems.  

Q. Are there market examples of these systems being used right now or is it purely exploratory right now?

A. We do not know of any live real IoT applications running MOM solutions on the IoT platform. I would expect this answer to change before the end of 2016.

Q. Do you think a new IIoT S-95 standard will be created?

A. This is hard to answer as we cannot read the minds of the standards people, especially software vendors, some of whom are starting to develop competing IIoT solutions. The definition of functionality in S-95 is still up to date but the implementation of integration between the various systems will change. Do we need a new standard today? No. Would one be useful in the coming years? Probably yes.

Q.Talking about connectivity and HW, what about BLE (Bluetooth low energy) based sensors as alternative to MQTT Wifi based devices? How do you envision the BLE technology having a role in IIoT?

A. To date we have seen several promising BLE pilots enabling direct mobile to equipment connectivity providing information to shop floor workers. BLE is one of many approaches to addressing connectivity in manufacturing and is a long way from broad adoption but is showing early potential.

Q. For a company with no current automation, what difference do we need to know between MES and MOM and how to keep IIoT in mind?

A. Do not worry about the difference between MOM and MES. To keep IIoT in mind, work with your corporate IT department to ensure that they are aware of your future needs as they move to modern IT architectures. As a manufacturing company, your next generation IT solutions should support a level of manufacturing automation that will bring you competitive advantage.

Access the full, on-demand webinar by clicking below.

MES, MOM, IIoT, Cloud

All entries in this Industrial Transformation blog represent the opinions of the authors based on their industry experience and their view of the information collected using the methods described in our Research Integrity. All product and company names are trademarks™ or registered® trademarks of their respective holders. Use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.

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