Inductive Automation: Regarding the Edge and What its Future Holds

Author photo: Craig Resnick
ByCraig Resnick
Technology Trends

At the 2020 ARC Industry Forum in Orlando, Don Pearson, Chief Strategy Officer of Inductive Automation, spoke to ARC’s Craig Resnick, Vice President of Consulting, regarding what Inductive Automation offers its customers regarding Edge products and solutions, as well as what does the future hold for the company. (Watch the entire video of this interview on YouTube or here.)


Watch on YouTube   

One of the first questions Craig asked was how Inductive Automation helps to facilitate the connectivity between Edge devices and the cloud, leveraging the company’s Edge products and solutions.  Don Pearson answered this by saying, “Let’s break that into two pieces.  The first one is regarding Edge, and one of the things that we've certainly done, and we've done it at this conference, is to really expand our Edge Onboard program.  And that is what really makes it possible for manufacturers of devices at the Edge to pre-license, pre-load, ready-to-roll out-of-the-box Ignition Edge onto their actual devices.”

Don also said, “We’ve got industrial IoT, and somehow we've got to make sure that those edge devices are part of it.  Therefore, the Onboard program is taking companies, like Moxa, Advantech, Oring, Opto 22 and OnLogic, and giving them the opportunity to develop a product with Ignition Edge embedded on it, right out of the box—that's one piece.  The second piece is the connectivity with the cloud—and that’s what our strategic partners do, such as Cirrus Link Solutions—it’s their specialty.  They've created injector modules that allow us to connect into the cloud.  You can take all that sensor data, and you can get it to where something can be done with it, with advanced analytics or machine learning.  Whether it's AWS or Azure or Google or IBM cloud offerings, these injector modules work with Ignition and take it right to the cloud.  You have the Edge, sort of the idea that sensor-to-cloud needs the edge to handle everything in between, and that's what we're working on now.”

Ecosystems and Partnerships: Inductive Automation’s Philosophy

According to Don Pearson, “First off, I think it's a good thing to talk about our philosophy, because it is a philosophy that's been driven from Steve Hechtman, our CEO, from the very beginning.  He was an integrator, and he wanted to market direct to integrators.  He wanted to help them solve pain points and really build successful businesses, so that was the beginning of what's grown into a full ecosystem.  Platforms and ecosystems, really, are built around somebody bringing a core technology and then people build around it with their expertise.  We believe that we have that core technology, the industrial application platform that is Ignition, which, incidentally, is in its tenth year now.  Our partner Cirrus Link Solutions brings expertise in MQTT, Sepasoft brings expertise in MES, and the integrators bring vertical domain expertise.   So, what we're saying is we want to partner with companies that bring expertise to build out the solution so industrial organizations end up with a better result in their digital transformation challenges.”

Value Propositions for Customers in 2020

Don Pearson feels that Inductive Automation wants to continue building a sense of community.  When it comes to the Ignition exchange, assets will be available to people for free, and the company will expand on that.  Don also mentioned that he wants to get products into the hands of engineering schools and give them a chance to have educational copies, which will help the next generation of engineers.  The Onboard program will continue to grow—there is a whole pipeline of new distributors being brought in and at least 10 countries being added to the distribution program.

In conclusion, Don Pearson says that Inductive Automation is trying to build a stronger ecosystem, to help support its initiatives, and that they are quite excited about 2020.  Concluding the interview, Craig Resnick agreed that Inductive Automation had made substantial progress over the past year bringing Ignition to the edge with its Onboard program and looks forward to following the company’s progress in 2020 and beyond.

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