Challenges in Digital Transformation Addressed by Press Announcements at 2019 ARC Industry Forum   (Part 2)

By Paul Miller

ARC Report Abstract


Our ARC Industry Forums routinely attract many editorial participants from the media, most who  keep coming back year after year. These annual events provide an opportunity  for editors and publishers to stay on top of the latest technology and industry trends, network with users and suppliers, and hear the latest supplier press announcements, especially those that address challenges in digital transformation.

At this year’s Forum, senior executives from AVEVA, Baker Hughes, Bedrock Automation, Bentley Systems, GE Digital, Honeywell, HIMA, Inductive Automation, L&T Technology Services, Schneider Electric, Siemens, and Yokogawa all took advantage of this opportunity to make press announcements.  We couldn’t help but notice that common threads running through these announcements included digitalization, Industrial IoT, cybersecurity, and computing at the edge and in the cloud.  These resonated well with the overall theme of this year’s event: “Driving Digital Transformation in Industry and Cities.”

This, the second in our two-part ARC Insight on the Forum Monday afternoon media session, provides brief overviews of the press announcements made by GE Digital, Baker Hughes, AVEVA, Honeywell, and Schneider Electric.  For more Forum press announcement summaries, please refer back to our earlier report.

GE Digital Discusses New Digital Capabilities

Matt Wells, VP Digital Product Management, discussed the powerful new capabilities delivered through GE Digital’s iFIX products and provided insights into the investments the company continues to make across its entire portfolio of Predix products.  Part of the GE Digital Predix portfolio, the new iFIX 6.0 can help improve operational productivity by providing plant operators with “a more informed view of the problem or task and secure visualization from anywhere at any time.”

“We are excited to announce a number of powerful improvements to our iFIX offering,” Mr. Wells said. “Building on our heritage as an industrial company, we are intimately familiar with the challenges our customers face every day.    Industrial companies are looking for better ways to quickly build new SCADA applications, improve user performance, and respond to changing needs while maintaining the security of the application. By leveraging standards such as OPC UA, integrated support for ISA alarm shelving, and enabling new web development tools, iFIX 6.0 allows organizations to rapidly build new applications while ensuring the stability and security of their operations and empowering operators to respond better to changing conditions in real time.”

Baker Hughes Discusses Its Edge-to-Cloud Approach to Wireless Condition Monitoring

Kimberly Murphy, Executive Vice President, Hardware at Bentley Nevada, part of Baker Hughes, a GE Company, discussed the value of wireless condition monitoring technology such as exemplified in the company’s flagship Ranger Pro and System 1 products.  She also discussed how these can help customers solve tough condition monitoring machinery issues plantwide and how the company’s edge-to-cloud approach Challenges in Digital Transformation  Bentley%20Nevada%20Ranger%20Pro%20Wireless%20Condition%20Monitoring%20Sensor.JPGto asset protection and condition monitoring allows customers to increase safety, uptime, and efficiency, “to achieve new levels of productivity and control.”

According to the company, “The efficient, rugged Ranger Pro Wireless Sensor System provides condition monitoring across a broad range of machinery that support power generation, oil & gas, and other energy-producing industries. This small but powerful hardware makes it easier to monitor hard-to-reach and unsafe locations and has an impressive battery life.  The Ranger Pro hardware is now integrated with Bently Nevada's flagship software, System 1, allowing data to flow seamlessly to the user.” 

The product measures velocity, acceleration, and temperature, all in one package.  It  deploys easily and is effective in hazardous environments or hard-to-reach areas.  According to the company, “Ranger Pro lowers maintenance and installation costs while improving uptime and productivity plant wide.”

AVEVA Announces Major Update to Monitoring, Control, and Information Management Portfolio

AVEVA CEO, Craig Hayman, announced a major update to the company’s monitoring, control and information management portfolio.  According to Mr. Hayman, these deliver edge-to-cloud integration and advanced visualization tools, along with seamless access to advanced applications and powerful analytics. These advanced capabilities are delivered in AVEVA’s comprehensive portfolio including InTouch HMI, InTouch Edge HMI, System Platform, Historian, and AVEVA Insight products.  According to the company, these provide unmatched enterprise-wide visualization and insight into operations and a high degree of commercial flexibility with subscription, a foundational element of digital transformation.

With these capabilities available in a hybrid cloud model, customers can quickly bridge OT and IT requirements, create reusable industrial applications with rapid time to value, and drive operational efficiency with increased visibility across multiple levels of an organization, in the discrete, process, hybrid and infrastructure industries.

Mr. Hayman explained, “AVEVA is committed to partnering with our customers to achieve maximum value from industrial digital transformation. We enable smarter decisions by creating innovative technology. The latest enhancements in our monitoring, control, and information management portfolio, exemplified by the benefits delivered through the ADNOC Panorama initiative, perfectly illustrate how we are empowering our customers with edge-to-enterprise visibility.”

Honeywell Announces Enhancements to Its Secure Media Exchange for USB Devices

Sam Wilson, Global Product Marketing Manager, Honeywell Industrial Cybersecurity, discussed the “David vs. Goliath” nature of the current industrial cybersecurity landscape, including the big risk presented by small, removeable devices.  Here, he was referring largely to those ubiquitous USB thumb drives most of us carry around with us or have floating around in our desk drawers.

As Mr. Wilson explained, USB devices such as flash drives and USB-attached devices such as charging cables are industry’s “dirty little secret,” since they can represent a primary attack vector into industrial control system (ICS) environments.  He stressed, that you can’t identify a bad actor by its appearance, since the maliciousness is defined by the device’s behavior, rather than by the way it looks or may be labelled.

While existing security controls typically focus on detecting any malware on these devices, new categories of USB threats are emerging that could circumvent traditional security controls and directly attack the industrial control system.   Since these attacks could potentially weaponize common USB peripherals — like keyboards, speakers — effective protection requires sophisticated device validation and authorization. 

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Keywords: Digital Transformation, Industrial IoT, Cybersecurity, Process Safety, Edge, Cloud, GE Digital, Baker Hughes, AVEVA, Honeywell, Schneider Electric, ARC Advisory Group.

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