1660601873854 Ge14day2partner

Software at the Heart of the Industrial Internet

Oct. 29, 2014
Two Award-Winning Innovations Complement a Strategic Partnership.
About the Author: Mike Bacidore
Mike Bacidore is the editor in chief for Control Design magazine. He is an award-winning columnist, earning a Gold Regional Award and a Silver National Award from the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He may be reached at 630-467-1300 ext. 444 or [email protected] or check out his .This could be the start of something big. "Over my career, I've witnessed three or four major shifts in automation," began Bernie Anger, general manager of GE Intelligent Platforms, who kicked off the second day of the company's 2014 User Summit in Orlando, Florida. "Right now, we're witnessing the next huge wave of change and innovation. This wave of Industrial Internet and cloud-assisted automation is as big as HMIs and PLCs were."

"Hardware matters, but it matters differently than it did in the past. Hardware is the edge of the Industrial Internet," he said. Software, meanwhile, is at its core. The new software, computing and communications capability now available mean that "every notion we've had about how much something costs and how long it takes to do it are absolutely false," he said. "We want you to think of GE as the leader in the off-the-shelf software that makes it all possible."

Anger's words rang especially true on a day that also marked some noteworthy announcements from GE. These included two award-winning innovations, one a workflow implementation that works with Google Glass and the other its exida-certified safety management system, as well as a partnership with Webalo to enable mobile intelligence.

Novotek, the largest European distributor for GE's Intelligent Platforms business, was awarded the Scanautomatic Prize for Innovation at Scanautomatic 2014 in Gothenburg, Sweden. The innovation, which combines GE's electronic work instructions with the Google Glass wearable computing device, is being demonstrated to User Summit attendees in the Technology Fair.

A work process management solution, GE's Proficy Workflow software provides users with interactive, step-by-step task instructions and captures process, traceability and quality data across systems to reduce errors, waste and delays. At Scanautomatic, Novotek combined Workflow with Google Glass for hands-free, expert guidance through process steps. Visitors could try the innovation by building a Lego car, with all of the instructions displayed in the Google Glass glasses. They could keep both hands available to complete task steps with instructions presented directly in front of them.

"Every notion we've had about how much something costs and how long it takes to do it are absolutely false." GE's Bernie Anger believes that whether we realize it or not, the Industrial Internet and cloud computing have already turned the economics of automation on its head.

"By combining Proficy Workflow with Google Glass, this innovative solution from Novotek allows operators to get to a new level of ease-of-use and expertise that can be extended to industrial applications," said Matthew Wells, general manager of automation software for GE's Intelligent Platforms business. "By getting the work instructions directly on Google Glass glasses, the user always has the right information at the right time and can perform operations with the support of electronic work instructions, helping to ensure that every process step is completed correctly, with automatic tracking and analysis for improvement. This is truly the next generation of interactive work tools."

Meanwhile, GE's Mark VIeS Safety Management System received the exida 2014 Safety Award in the Logic Solver category. "To help meet the ever-evolving safety challenges of today's connected world, GE has leveraged its rich history of critical process control to deliver the Mark VIeS Safety Management System," said Steve Close, exida senior safety engineer. "We feel as though the Mark VIeS Safety Management System best demonstrates exceptional work and has the ability to play a key role in the continuous journey of making the world a safer place."

Exida, which provides functional safety and cybersecurity certification for the process industries, presented awards in three categories: Sensor, Logic Solver, and Interface Module. "Exida has certified many logic solvers," said Dr. William Goble, CFSE, principal partner at exida. "The GE Mark VIeS Safety Management system has very flexible redundancy architectures. This feature, as well as several others, made this product stand out amongst the 2014 Safety Award nominees."

The Mark VIeS system is a complete, flexible and reliable engineered process safety system with enhanced cybersecurity for critical processes such as plant emergency shutdown, burner management, critical process control, fire and gas detection, and turbo machinery safety. Part of the Mark VIe family of integrated control and power conversion solutions, Mark VIeS boasts SIL3 fault tolerance, triple modular redundancy (TMR) and an end-to-end architecture that optimizes assets and operations, as well as reduces costs.

GE also announced a partnership with Webalo to mobilize business intelligence combined with operational awareness and enabled by the Industrial Internet. Proficy Scorecard, built on Webalo's secure, scalable, high-productivity mobile app development platform, Webalo Pro Appliance, and GE's Proficy Mobile, generates real-time views of information, from multiple data sources within the company to provide actionable "scorecards" for all departments in an organization.

Proficy Scorecard is enabled by GE's Proficy Mobile solution, which allows industrial environments of all kinds to provide engineers, on their desktop or on a mobile tablet computer or smartphone, with real-time information about the state of operations. With Proficy Scorecard views in hand, engineers can then make the connection between business intelligence and operations. Because it is mobile, critical data helps users to monitor the KPIs the business cares most about while drilling down to the operational details and making the Industrial Internet real in the company.

"Proficy Scorecard is a very productive, high-value, use of Webalo," said Peter Price, CEO of Webalo. "It delivers a panoramic view of the enterprise that is tied to real-time data and provides employees with the exact information they need to maintain the highest levels of productivity."

Using Proficy Scorecard companies can combine data from Proficy with other enterprise applications that the business relies on, including ERP systems or in-house custom-built applications.

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