Keywords: Software, platforms, HMI/SCADA, MES, Asset Management, Mobility.
ARC Advisory Group recently attended the 2013 Invensys Software Conference and Tech Symposium in Dallas, Texas. The conference's timely theme was "The Industrial Software Revolution Begins Now." Invensys estimated that more than 1,000 customers, partners, and exhibitors attended. About 130 presentations were delivered. These included keynotes and technical support symposiums categorized by general software type (Avantis, SimSci, Wonderware, Wonderware IntelaTrac, and Customer FIRST).
In the large exhibit space, 23 Invensys partners demonstrated their solutions alongside about 20 Invensys demos. The company prominently feature three acquisitions made over the past year: Spiral Software, SmartGlance, and InduSoft.
Executives made it clear that they expect that Invensys will continue to have the freedom to chart its own course following its impending acquisition by Schneider Electric. Invensys' own acquisition of InduSoft just prior to the conference helped demonstrate this point. This was not lost on the attendees, most who left the conference reassured that they would receive continued support for their Invensys software investments in the future.
Portfolio of Mobility Solutions
Numerous sessions at the Invensys Software Conference focused on mobility solutions. Invensys' mobile strategy and vision is to provide solutions for visualization, collaboration, and execution at all levels of its customers' organizations. The goal of these solutions is to enable users to visualize domain-specific information such as real-time, historical, and KPI data and events exposed by business and plant- or site-level productivity applications. Collaboration, another key element, leverages voice, video, messaging, and task management/workflow, using resources inside and outside the organization. Finally, customers should be able to execute domain-specific tasks, such as quality control and maintenance through a growing suite of plant/site level productivity applications.
Invensys' mobile portfolio covers HMI visualization and control via Wonderware InTouch Access Anywhere, planned work tasks and execution via Wonderware IntelaTrac, real-time work tasks and collaboration via Wonderware Workflow, reporting via SmartGlance, and analytics via Wonderware Intelligence.
InTouch Access Anywhere
InTouch Access Anywhere, an InTouch extension, provides access to InTouch applications via HTML5-compliant web browsers, maintaining full InTouch functionality. According to the company, the product provides ubiquitous data access to the plant from any device in any location, extends plant data access to a wider range of users from the office to the plant floor, limits access based on user permissions and group memberships, reduces support effort as no software installation is required at the client side, and facilitates a simpler and more robust access environment.
Wonderware IntelaTrac focuses on standalone procedural-driven mobile data collection for assets typically found in production environments or geographically dispersed locations. It is used to execute business processes for operational task management as well as maintenance or enterprise asset management (EAM), planned/scheduled data collection, online/offline data collection to support disconnected environments, mobile data collection through peripheral devices (including RFID and barcode readers), and mobile data collection in hazardous environments requiring ruggedized devices.
Wonderware Workflow software provides the ability to standardize work processes across multiple industrial domains, such as production, maintenance, and quality control. Invensys designed Wonderware Workflow to enable organizations to better coordinate human-centric and system-centric tasks, gain real-time visibility to active work processes, measure and improve the performance of work processes, and enforce company policies and regulatory compliance. This software is designed to run on mobile devices, such as smart phones and tablets, in addition to PCs.
For mobile reporting, SmartGlance provides real-time, graphical reports on mobile devices. It is designed to enable real-time decision making from any location, help prioritize work according to business demands, and improve collaboration. To increase cost effectiveness, it uses a hosted software as a service (SaaS) subscription model. SmartGlance delivers role-based reports and metrics to mobile devices. It supports most mobile device platforms and leverages smartphone navigation features. It is compatible with Microsoft Azure for cloud applications, but can also be configured for on-premises applications.
Wonderware Intelligence enterprise manufacturing intelligence (EMI) software supports mobile analytics. It is designed to help industrial enterprises improve business performance by empowering employees with self-service access to real-time, contextualized operational metrics. These metrics are computed from plant systems and enterprise sources. Capabilities include self-service access to information; complex data and information modeling; and ubiquitous connectivity to the process. The software also provides tools to add intelligent context to batch processes, high performance applications, alarms, etc.
Invensys used the Software Conference and Tech Symposium to showcase InduSoft, a provider of HMI and embedded intelligent device software for the automation market, which it acquired in September 2013. Headquartered in Austin, Texas and founded in 1997, InduSoft has delivered over 250,000 HMI software licenses to over 700 customers worldwide, primarily industrial computer manufacturers and machine and system builders that embed InduSoft's software into their products.
This acquisition enables Invensys to target additional market segments, specifically in the embedded HMI, OEM, and machine building segments and leverage InduSoft' s many OEM agreements with other automation suppliers. This should extend the Invensys portfolio to basic embedded HMI devices and enable InduSoft software to expand its solutions with Wonderware supervisory, historian, and manufacturing operations management software.
The current executive team will continue to manage InduSoft, adding employees to Invensys operations in the US, Brazil, and Germany.
Major Product Releases
New product announcements represented a major component of the Invensys Software Conference and Tech Symposium. These included new releases of Wonderware InTouch and Wonderware System Platform, integrated Spiral CrudeSuite crude oil knowledge-management software with its SimSci PRO/II design and ROMeo optimization software, and a new cloud-based Wonderware historian.
Wonderware InTouch 2014 and System Platform 2014
New capabilities to Invensys's flagship Wonderware InTouch 2014 and Wonderware System Platform 2014 HMI and supervisory offerings are designed to further improve operator awareness; optimize performance; and minimize disruptions during startup, operation, and shutdown.
This new approach to HMI design and supervisory systems provides new capabilities in alarm management, color representation, information presentation and window navigation; all intended to maximize user performance. Updates include new object templates; styles for more consistent and standardized colors and fonts in HMI applications; and greater consistency in the way alarms are represented throughout systems, all managed from a central repository.
According to the company, these new capabilities encourage best practices to bring more clarity, consistency and meaning to integrated data; allowing operators at all levels to better identify, understand, react to, and resolve abnormal situations. They can also be used to empower and train new operators, helping companies address another major issue: the retiring workforce.
Spiral Crude Assay Management Integrated with SimSci Design and Optimization Software
Invensys also announced that it has integrated Spiral CrudeSuite crude oil knowledge management software with its SimSci PRO/II design and ROMeo optimization software. The new integrated offering provides the hydrocarbon processing industry with a single-source software solution that enables access to the latest crude assay information for refinery design, analysis, and optimization.
Spiral CrudeSuite, an enterprise toolset for sharing, managing and modeling crude oil information, is designed to enable hydrocarbon processors to extract maximum value from their data. It supplies validated crude assay data to engineers using the company's SimSci PRO/II software for refinery process design and its crude assay data helps engineers better optimize the refinery to further maximize profitability using the company's SimSci ROMeo software.
Industrial Cloud Historian
Invensys also released a new, cloud-hosted Wonderware Historian Online Edition that will enable customers to share more plant data with workers, while lowering their IT burden. The company designed this new historian offering to help users reduce implementation time, provide greater access, and deliver alternative pricing models for expanded industry use.
This SaaS offering uses a multi-tier historian database architecture, storing data from one or more local plant-level Wonderware Historians in a cloud-hosted, enterprise-wide instance. Data flows only one way, from the local historians to the online historian. Improved protection from cyber intrusion means data can be made available to additional workers for troubleshooting, reporting, and analytics in a secure environment. The solution leverages secure Windows Azure cloud services from Microsoft Corp., so there is no software to install or set up, saving IT resources and reducing capital requirements. This service will be offered as a yearly subscription, based on the number of users accessing the data.
Reporting and analytics are delivered to the historian online edition through standard tools, including Invensys' desktop reporting and analysis client, Wonderware Historian Client, along with its Wonderware SmartGlance mobile reporting solution. System users can view the data via multiple devices, including desktop PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones.
The Wonderware Historian Online Edition is the first commercial offering from the Invensys-Windows Azure joint development relationship, whereby the two companies jointly develop manufacturing operations software that can be hosted on the Windows Azure platform.
Invensys' various software brands -- Avantis, SimSci, Wonderware, and now InduSoft -- and the company's partners all had a specific presence at the conference. Even more significantly, they all demonstrated how these various solutions interoperate with each other to add value for users. Spiral Software, SmartGlance, and InduSoft in particular, were well represented, with Spiral Software and SmartGlance fully integrated into the solutions portfolio. Mobility and cloud solutions were part of the mainstream offering.
The conference provided attendees with a high degree of assurance that their Invensys solutions will be key components of the Schneider Electric portfolio moving forward. The challenge for Invensys is to convey this same message to the current and potential users who did not attend the conference.
ARC believes that Invensys software solutions will remain a safe and viable investment for the long term, as they are were a key reason why Schneider Electric wanted to purchase Invensys in the first place.
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