Digital transformation was the central theme of the ARC Industry Forum in Orlando. So, the topic of conversation between Rashesh Mody, Senior Vice President, Monitoring & Control Business Unit, AVEVA, and ARC’s Craig Resnick, Vice President Consulting, focused on how AVEVA is helping its customers progress on their digital transformation journeys. Craig asked Rashesh to substantiate this via specific case studies and solutions deployed by AVEVA’s customers. This blog captures some of the focal points of the interview. You can also watch it here and/or on YouTube.
Digital Transformation is about Collaboration
Rashesh said that “digital transformation is AVEVA’s number one priority,” and the company is integrating engineering, maintenance and operations into one cohesive offering. “And this led to the creation of Unified Operations Center,” he explained. Unified Operations Center acts as a connectivity hub of systems and people in the plant, which ultimately provides digital transformation and collaboration. The Unified Operation Center is being deployed across various industries, such as oil and gas, infrastructure, power, metals and mining.
AVEVA’s Edge Solutions
“AVEVA's answer for edge is contained in the AVEVA Edge portfolio,” said Rashesh. The entire portfolio in the operations area ranges from connecting IO points and collecting data, then visualizing, operating, analyzing and integrating all of this into smart information. AVEVA Edge provides this end-to-end complete portfolio in one single offering. Recently, the company announced the launch of its lean digital platform that allows plant floor applications to run directly from the edge solutions.
Disruptive Technologies: Challenges and Opportunities
In this context, Rashesh spoke about artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), which are infused into all the company’s solutions. AI is infused into every aspect of the portfolio - SCADA, predictive analytics, supply chain etc. “So, AI plays a key role in decision making, in predictive analytics, and making operations more efficient,” said Rashesh.
Next, Rashesh highlighted the user-experience areas where these technologies are used, such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). Regarding mobility, Rashesh said that more of their customers now allow their employees to bring their own devices on the plant floor. So, what is required now is to provide context appropriate applications, security, and access for operators so that the right information can be given to the right person and right device. “So, I believe these three technologies (AI, AR/VR, and mobility) all augmented by the Cloud, are becoming very important,” said Rashesh.
Impact of Retiring Baby Boomers
Craig asked, “With the retirement of the baby boomers, the plants have less qualified personnel to provide a lot of the services that they may have once done in-house, so they're putting more pressure on their automation and enterprise suppliers to provide those services. In such a scenario, how is AVEVA helping its customers on their digital journeys and providing services?” Rashesh responded by listing some of the key common characteristics of each of AVEVA’s solutions and how they are designed specifically to help its customers progress on their digital transformation journeys, such as:
- Flexibility – in terms of architecture, technical and commercial perspectives, across the board for operational efficiency
- Worker’s education and services that includes:
- Collaboration – sharing knowledge and training. Collaboration between IT and OT, and between maintenance and engineering
- Improved visualization – enables the customer to have the same visualization access to their engineering and design graphics across multiple platforms (mobile, desktop, or cloud) as they do to their operations graphics
These are some of the core capabilities in all of these areas, augmented with our services from a partner ecosystem. We have 4,000 plus system integrator partners. They help customers to deploy all of these new technologies on their plant floor. So that's how we join our solution portfolios, services and support all together,” explained Rashesh.
Shifting Business Models
At the last ARC Industry Forum, a new model providing commercial flexibility called AVEVA Flex was launched. This has been successfully deployed across organizations of all sizes. “AVEVA Flex provides customers access to the company’s HMI SCADA portfolio, the operations portfolio, maintenance portfolio, and engineering portfolio all under one umbrella, and with a very simple way to commercially transact. And this has made the model very popular,” said Rashesh.
In his concluding remarks, Rashesh thanked ARC for its continued support in getting their message across to their customers.