ICC 2020 Keynote

53 min video  /  1 minute read


Kevin McClusky

Co-Director of Sales Engineering

Inductive Automation


Travis Cox

Co-Director of Sales Engineering

Inductive Automation

Carl Gould

Chief Technology Officer

Inductive Automation

Colby Clegg

Chief Executive Officer

Inductive Automation

Don Pearson

Chief Strategy Officer

Inductive Automation

Steve Hechtman

Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors

Inductive Automation

As we enter a new decade, let’s look together with fresh eyes and envision a prosperous new future where the arbitrary limitations of the past are gone and innovation is free and open for all. Join the leaders of Inductive Automation at our annual keynote address as they reflect on the past year in the Ignition community, envision what the future holds for the industry, and share exciting glimpses of where the Ignition platform is headed and what that means for Ignition users.




Don: Well, hello, everyone. I'm Don Pearson. I just wanna welcome you to the Ignition Community Conference, ICC 2020. This is our first-ever fully virtual conference. And a special welcome to those of you who are brand-new to Ignition and to ICC, whether you're just starting with Ignition or you've been using it for years. We've got some great speakers, some exciting announcements in store for you in this year's conference. I'm happy you could join us here today from wherever you are in the world. We actually started this conference in 2013 as a place where all of you brilliant industrial professionals who use Ignition could assemble and share your knowledge, your ideas and your enthusiasm with one another. And although this year, we can't all get together in person, I hope that some of that same community spirit comes through in our virtual conference today. I'm certain that I'm a bit biased with what I'm about to say here, but I really do believe that the Ignition community is the strongest, most innovative group of industrial professionals in the world. This community is made up of engineers, and integrators, and plant managers, and IT professionals, and C-level executives, and many, many more hard-working folks in the world of industrial automation, and our community extends to virtually every industry.



Don: Just think about that for a moment. As Ignition community members, you're doing amazing things in oil and gas, and water and wastewater, and general manufacturing, discrete and process, food and beverage, data centers, fulfillment centers, automotive, transportation and logistics, energy-building automation, chemical, pharmaceutical, life sciences, and many, many more industries. There are Ignition installations and integrators in well over 100 countries, all around the world, and we've got community members from many of those countries in attendance here and taking part in our conference for the very first time today. Also, we now have five distributor ships covering a dozen countries in four continents around the world, including Australia, and France, Italy, South Africa and Costa Rica. And with plans in the works now for more distributors, I'm excited to see how our community will continue to grow all over the world over the coming years.



Don: This conference of the Ignition community has grown every year since we started holding it back in 2013. And actually now, by taking it virtual, this conference being our first online and opening it up to anyone in the world, I can honestly say that this is the single biggest online gathering of our community to date. So welcome again to all of you, and thank you for taking the time to join us at our conference today. Our company and this community wouldn't even be around if it were not for the vision of our founder, Steve Hechtman. As the CEO of Inductive Automation, Steve leads our company every day and always with that goal of empowering our community to turn their great ideas into reality. So here to talk more about our company, please welcome with, of course, a big round of applause from wherever you are in the world, Inductive Automation's founder and CEO, Steve Hechtman.



Steve: Welcome to the ICC. As Don mentioned, we have several presenters and they'll update you on many exciting things we have happening this year. We have news about the industry, our products, and amazing Ignition projects created by you, our community members. But first, I'd like to give you a briefing on Inductive Automation and how we're navigating these unprecedented times. I know the pandemic has affected everyone. And to some extent, we've been affected, too. Like many of you, we've been closely following the news about the pandemic. In early March, we put together a plan enabling most of us to work from home, while staying efficient and responsive to your needs. To stay ahead of the curve, we ordered a large quantity of laptops well in advance of California's stay-at-home orders. So we were prepared when the orders came down and were able to make the transition to remote work over a weekend. What we never expected though, is that many of our staff would be so much more efficient working remotely. So the option to work remotely will become normal for many of our staff moving forward, even after the pandemic ends.



Steve: Throughout this ordeal, we've been very fortunate because our company has not only stayed strong, but has also continued its robust expansion. I know some members of our community have been hard-hit during this period. In an effort to help, we focused on improving everything we do, product-wise, organizationally, and in terms of community support. This entails a lot, and you'll hear more about it throughout the keynote. Another silver lining to working remotely is that it more or less mandated that we reevaluate and refine many of our internal systems and procedures, and this has made us a far more efficient company. Now, I'd like to share some of our recent activities with you. First of all, we've been improving support. We've actually grown our support staff throughout the pandemic, and we're also working on improving our internal and public-facing support software systems because we wanna deliver to you the best possible support experience.



Steve: Next, we're improving our training and documentation. Both teams have been bolstered and are turning out even more documentation, improved courses and university content. Additionally with the pandemic, we've had to develop remote training, which is very popular. We'll return to in-person training in Folsom and on-site training after the pandemic, but we'll continue to offer remote training as well. This is because 50% of trainees say they prefer it this way. We're also increasing university engagement because, after all, where will our next generation of controls professionals come from? We are heavily engaged with universities and trade schools to support them and also to help increase awareness of the controls and automation business. We've also released Maker Edition. Tagging on to the idea of raising the next generation of controls professionals, we have now released a free personal-use version of Ignition to enable people to do fun home projects to learn and innovate in new ways. But perhaps the most exciting thing to talk about is the release of Ignition Version 8.1, which is a long-term supported version, and which add significant features and improvements to Ignition, which you'll hear more about later.



Steve: As we said at last year's ICC, Version 8 implements changes to the platform, which set the stage for unprecedented new features and functionality moving forward. Well, we're already starting to see the fruits of this with the release of Version 8.1. Also in 8.1, we've improved stability and ease of use, we've added user interface improvements to make it easier for new users to get started, and we've added improvements to the back end to make Ignition more responsive and stable for large systems. Being an integrator at heart, I'm a good barometer for how the product is coming along. My recent exploits with Ignition have left me exhilarated with the possibilities, and this has given me a yearning to do integration again. Though, of course, that'll never happen. But just as a barometer, I'm absolutely giddy about the current state of Version 8, Perspective, and new features yet to come. What I've come to realize is Perspective is the easiest and fastest way to develop things once you get used to its new paradigm. It's a little different, but it's trivial to get over that and on the other side of it is an amazing new world of possibilities.



Steve: As far as I'm concerned, Ignition keeps getting better and better. And one of the reasons for this is our unlimited licensing model. I've mentioned this before. When we take the shackles off of you, you push Ignition to the sky. And as a result, we have to push it to the ionosphere and beyond. Frankly, this factor alone is why we're light years ahead of anyone else. I find it rewarding, and I know our team finds it rewarding to contribute to and be a part of this amazing community. It is a community that I personally love because it is this group that in fact makes the world go round. It is you and us who go quietly about our business while facilitating the production of almost everything made in the world. For your hard work, support and amazing projects, I wanna thank you. And I promise, we will work continuously to improve our products and our company while adhering to our core values. Thank you. Please enjoy the conference.



Don: Thanks, Steve. I actually couldn't agree with you more 'cause just like you, I'm also more excited today than ever before about the direction of our company and our product. One of the most exciting parts of my job is I get to see the growth of this community, I get to see the growth of this entire ecosystem, it's even more thrilling to realize that this is really just the beginning for us. The future really is filled with limitless potential, and it really gives great opportunities for us to continue to work together, and I truly think that this group can achieve anything. The future of this community, that's really what I'd like to talk about today. But I'd actually like to start by maybe just taking a minute or two to go back and talk about the past. It was late 2019, and I'm sitting in a meeting, all the rest of our conference committee has gathered around and we're trying to pick our conference theme for 2020. Our marketing team has pitched several ideas for a theme, and the one that really stuck out was Envision. We all liked Envision as a theme for this year's conference because it was about looking forward and seeing what was possible. But the irony of that theme was that none of us could have possibly envisioned, if you will, how our world would change in just a few short weeks later.



Don: Because it was just a short time later that I was in another meeting, this time with our CEO, Steve, and the rest of our executive team, and we were meeting about how we should respond to the effects that the coronavirus was having on our company and on our customers around the world. We certainly talked about a lot of things during that meeting, but the thing I remember most was Steve's strong commitment to supporting our community during this time of uncertainty. He emphatically said, "We have to empower them like never before." So as Steve mentioned earlier, the company developed an action plan and set it in motion. We decided that we needed to transition to a fully remote workforce, conduct all training online and cancel all of our live in-person events. We also determined that to keep the Ignition Community Conference going, we needed to transition it from a large in-person conference here in Folsom, as we've done every year before, to a fully virtual conference that you are participating in with us today, and all of this had to happen in just a few weeks. So it truly was no small effort, but for us, none of these decisions really was much of a decision.



Don: We started this company to empower our customers because it is truly what you do with our software that makes a difference, and that has always been the case that we intended to continue to do that in good times and in bad. One of our concerns about canceling our live in-person events, however, was that it would make it a lot more difficult for the members of our community to connect with each other. Steve's remarked to me on more than one occasion that one of the things that impresses him most about this community is how much you share and support one another. As an integrator for a couple of decades before, he had never seen any other integrator community that was like this one. In fact, it was often the opposite. So as a company, we really wanted to do everything that we could to foster that sharing and that cooperation. A lot of the world was closing down. And with so much of the world closing down, we wanted to keep the lines of communication to you, to the community, wide open.



Don: So instead of hosting live in-person events, we decided we were gonna kick off two new programs. Well, the first was a re-launch of a program we started a few years ago called Integrator Roundtables, and the second program is our new Ignition Community Live series of webcasts. The goal for both of these programs is to give our community a place to come to share knowledge, to share best practices, so they can support their own companies and customers. And honestly, it's really great to report to you that the results have been outstanding. The Integrator Program Manager, Justin Reis, has been holding Integrator Roundtable meetings on a weekly basis for months now. And he's really doing a great job, it's really nice to see these roundtables emerge. Each roundtable is a meeting that features different panelists and presenters from Inductive Automation and from the community. These meetings have helped to facilitate some really beneficial conversations and collaborations about topics like digital transformation, hardware integration and MQTT-focused architecture development. They never would have happened if this community wasn't open to sharing and really free with their time and their knowledge.



Don: We've had similar success with our Ignition Community Live webcasts. We have now had productive presentations from talented and knowledgeable professionals across a lot of our community: Presentations from Brock Solutions, from Sepasoft, Cirrus Link, Roeslein & Associates, 4IR, Grantek, Corso Systems and many, many more, and we have a whole lot more companies taking part all the time. And if you haven't yet had a chance, really take the opportunity to attend one of these. I really encourage you to take part. We do an Ignition Community Live webcast almost every week, and we post the recorded webcast on our YouTube channel.



Don: Another big success for our Ignition Community Live series was the huge turnout for the surprise release we did in June of the Maker Edition for Ignition. Thousands of people registered for the Maker Edition webcast. We actually had to contact our webinar platform provider and upgrade our account to accommodate everybody that wanted to attend. We were thrilled to see that level of excitement for the release of Ignition Maker Edition. As Steve mentioned earlier, we released the Maker Edition to help inspire innovation, to help inspire education by making Ignition widely available outside of traditional industrial settings. And that is why we made Ignition Maker Edition totally free for non-commercial use. It's publicly available, it's open and community-supported. So anyone can use Ignition for their personal or educational projects.



Don: In fact, some members of our community have used Maker to build DIY home automation systems, and others have used it just to automate some of their favorite hobbies. I wanted to just share one example today, just share one with you from one of our integrators in Sweden named Enuda. They used the Maker Edition to create an automated heating system for their greenhouse. Using temperature sensors, MQTT and a homemade PLC, they can see and control temperature of the greenhouse from a mobile phone application they built with the Ignition Perspective Module. It's simple, it's fun, it's educational and it's just the kinda thing we had in mind when we released the Maker Edition. 'Cause what we found is very simple: Whenever we make Ignition available to more people, it opens new avenues of innovation, and those new avenues of innovation push the whole community forward. It's that spirit, if you will, that spirit of open sharing that really sets this community apart.



Don: As a matter of fact, if you think about today and what you've got for a conference here, we wouldn't be even having this conference if it wasn't for you as a community. Most of the sessions and events in today's conference had been created and delivered by someone in the Ignition community. The way that this community has rallied together to help and to share with each other, with all the challenges of this year, has been one of the most amazing things to see. So thank you. Really, sincerely thank you for sharing your knowledge and your success with all of us. It's really what makes this community special. Broadly, knowledge-sharing is a critical component of our mission as a company. Every day we work hard to actually live that mission, which is to create industrial software that empowers our customers to swiftly turn great ideas into reality by removing all technological and economic obstacles. That is and continues to be our mission.



Don: I'd like to focus just for a couple of minutes here on one particular word in our mission. That word is empowers, empowers. Yes, the subject of empowerment. I can't think of any better way to empower someone than through knowledge-sharing and education. And that's why as a company, IA is making a big investment in education. As many of you know, we launched Inductive University in 2014. And we had a goal, that anyone could learn Ignition anywhere in the world for free. It's been simply amazing to see what this community has embraced in terms of their response to Inductive University. To date, we've had more than three-and-a-half million videos watched, 2,750,000 plus challenges taken, almost 10,500 credentials earned by the more than 33,800 users that have registered on the university website since its launch, and those numbers continue to grow every month.



Don: Last year, we decided to double down on the subject of education and knowledge-sharing, and we formalized and launched our university engagement program. It had a goal also, and that goal was helping engineering students get the practical experience they need to be successful in the field of industrial automation. The mission of the program is to foster relationships with local, national and global communities by connecting industrial professionals and educational institutions. We work to partner universities and colleges with local integration and industrial companies, so students get great hands-on experience with Ignition as well as great mentorships and internships with controls professionals from the Ignition community. And the integration company, what do you get? You get to build strong relations with the universities and their student bodies that will help drive your future workforce requirements. It's a win-win-win for the universities, the integrators and the students, and is being adopted by schools and integration companies in many places all across North America and around the world.



Don: I just wanna give you one quick example of how these partnerships work: The University of Waterloo, it is the largest engineering school in Canada. They use a co-op educational philosophy, as they describe it, which alternates between academic and work-based experience for the learning process. Their campus has a pretty massive lab called The Ideas Clinic that can accommodate 200-plus students. The University of Waterloo wanted to add a new automation section to their lab, so they brought in Brock Solutions to help. Brock's a premier integrator in our program, and Brock recommended Ignition and brought us on board to donate the software. But Waterloo also needed PLCs, they needed to get someone to be willing to participate by giving PLCs and contributing. So we talked to our Onboard partner, Opto 22, to see if they'd be interested in helping out.



Don: Now, all three of these companies are working together with the University of Waterloo to help bring their students real world, hands-on learning experience that they have never had the opportunity for before, and it's all due to the amazing collaboration of the members of this community. We are actively working now with dozens of universities in six countries. And really, we're starting similar Ignition educational programs with them, and 30 schools have already started working with Ignition and partnering with members of our integrator program in their curriculum. With more universities joining the program every month, we're just starting to see the beginning to the benefits of this program and how much it's gonna offer our industry. And I, for one, I get really excited about this because I like to see the direction it's going. I get really excited to see how it's gonna continue to grow, and grow, and grow.



Don: It's also been pretty exhilarating to see the knowledge and skills growth in our community overall, particularly in our integrator program. This year alone, a record number of new integrators have gotten credentialed and certified in Ignition and they've moved up in our program. That's 1800 new certifications that have been earned since last year's ICC, it's at double the rate before that. It is impressive to see the effort that you as a community are putting into learning and sharing your knowledge of Ignition. So thank you, thank you for your fantastic support in building a brighter future for our industry.



Don: When we picked Envision as this year's conference theme, we thought it was about looking into the future. But in light of the current world that we all live in, Envision has taken on a new meaning for us. I'm actually reminded of a famous quote from a Nobel Prize-winning inventor, Dennis Gabor, when he said, "The future cannot be predicted, but futures can be invented." That notion really embodies what our theme is all about. With so much uncertainty about what the future actually holds, let's just stop trying to predict the future. Instead, let's just build it, let's just build it together with every new graduate going into this field with the knowledge and skills they need to hit the ground running and to make an immediate contribution to their companies. Let's build it together through the knowledge, inspiration and ideas you share with us and those that we share with you. Let's build it together with every solution you come up with for your customers and with every project you build to improve your processes. Let's build it together, and let's build it now. Not tomorrow, but today. I believe this world needs this community and its best ideas and its best innovations to overcome the new challenges we all face today. Let's just visualize a bright future for our industry, and then let's just get busy inventing it. Because as Dennis Gabor pointed out to us, futures can be invented.



Don: I envision that this community will become the largest, most innovative and influential group of industrial professionals in the world. And honestly, again, maybe a bit biased here, but based on the work I've seen you do to date, I'd say that it's becoming more and more a reality day-by-day. At the beginning of this year, we asked this community to share your best projects so we could showcase them at this year's conference, and you responded by submitting a record number of entries for our Discover Gallery. In fact, we got so many that we only had really enough time and resources to highlight about 20 of them. So I encourage you though, really, check out those for yourself by going over to the Discover Gallery section of our conference website. We are inspired by your work every day, and we'd like to share a bit of that work with you now. To do that, I can't think of anyone better on our team than the two gentlemen I'm about to introduce. Travis Cox and Kevin McClusky are co-directors of sales engineering, and they have worked hand-in-hand with our community for years to help build amazing systems. So to talk more about how our community is building the future today, please welcome Travis and Kevin.



Travis: Thanks, Don. And hello, everyone. I'm Travis Cox.



Kevin: I'm Kevin McClusky, and we are the co-directors of sales engineering here at Inductive Automation. Together, we have more than 26 years of experience working with Ignition from support, training, presentations, design, integration, and, of course, sales engineering.



Travis: Every day we work with industrial organizations to assist them in their digital transformation. And right now, we'd like to take a few minutes to share our vision for the future. Together, we can envision a future where industrial systems will be infinitely scalable, when connecting all of the OT and IT data in the enterprise will be effortless and when monitoring control will be instantly accessible.



Kevin: And just to be clear, we're not describing some vague vision of a distant future, we're talking about things that this community is actually doing right now.



Travis: First, let's talk about IoT. In 2016, we shared our vision of a future when IoT would become the standard for all industrial system architectures. Today, just four years later, this community is realizing that vision. By leveraging the Ignition platform and its ecosystem of solution partners, companies are building exciting edge-to-cloud solutions, combining OT and IT, and doing things that simply were not possible before.



Kevin: Companies are changing the way that they think about mobility and remote monitoring and control, especially in a world so dramatically affected by COVID-19. And companies are taking important steps forward like using Ignition Edge locally, building applications with the Ignition Perspective Module and bringing applications to the cloud.



Travis: One recent project that really stands out to us is the application for the New South Wales Rural Fire Service. It was created by an integration company that recently joined our community, Centric Process Automation. This innovative project is not only saving time and money, but it's also saving lives and natural resources. Located in Southeastern Australia, New South Wales has the largest volunteers’ fire service in the world, with over 70,000 total volunteers operating from over 100 airports.



Kevin: Recently, their area was hit by an especially massive wildfire that pushed the fire service’s capabilities to the limit. They did their best to respond, but it became apparent that they were losing valuable firefighting time due to a lack of communication and coordination. For example, the planes were flying to airports that didn't have the correct supplies they needed to fight the fire. The fire service needed better automation for their process, and they needed it quickly. So Centric used Ignition and the Perspective Module to build an iPad application for the pilots and the ground crew.



Travis: This app allowed them to see the supply levels at any of their airports to make sure that the right planes were flying to the right places to get the right materials and to log all of that historically, and it made a big difference in fighting the wildfire. Centric and the Fire Service chose Ignition because it was the only technology that let them successfully bridge control automation with IT to build the type of applications they needed to deliver. We were really impressed with how the app combines OT and IT. And from a user-experience standpoint, it's got a really sharp interface that showcases the quality of screens you can build in Perspective.



Kevin: The app has gained international attention as a breakthrough for fighting fires. The Discovery Channel is planning to profile the project in an upcoming documentary. It's also led to a new joint venture with Cal Fire, which means it will save even more lives, resources and property. Another way that our community is making the future happen today is with large enterprise solutions. Every year, this trend grows as we add enterprise enabling features into each major Ignition release and more and more companies take advantage of them.



Travis: These include very large, multi-national companies that are leaders in their industries. One example is Waste Management, which built an Ignition project for a landfill in Alberta, Canada. This landfill has systems that are spread across hundreds of acres and need constant support. Most of the monitoring, alarm response and maintenance for these systems had to be done manually. So Waste Management partnered with two integrators, SCS Engineers and Vertech, to implement a new SCADA system with Ignition 8 and Perspective. The new system gathers data from around the landfill and makes it centrally visible.



Kevin: Some of the new system features are: A Perspective interface that employees can use in the office and the field, remote controls for selected pieces of equipment, an integrated weather interface, a flow overview and a customized computer maintenance management system, or CMMS. This new system gives the managers a live view of the landfill's day-to-day operations, and the operators can know whenever problems occur.



Travis: In addition to Waste Management, many other leading companies are using Ignition to build enterprise architectures. These include Amazon in the distribution industry, Pioneer in the oil and gas industry, and Sherwin-Williams in the paint industry. There are also other major companies whose names we can't disclose. Let's just say they are well-known, forward-thinking companies in entertainment, automotive, agriculture and other industries. We're truly excited to be working with companies that share our vision of making enterprise-scale IIoT a reality. We'd like to share one more project with you, one that really illustrates the way that this community has quickly turned Ignition and MQTT into the new standard for IIoT platforms.



Kevin: It's a project that The Integration Group of Americas, or TIGA, created for a Houston-based mid-stream water management company named Waterbridge Operating. Waterbridge had an outdated proprietary SCADA system that wasn't providing the level of reliability and support that they needed. The system couldn't keep up with the company's growth, yet the costs were going up dramatically. So TIGA did an engineering assessment for them and defined a migration path for upgrading Waterbridge's SCADA system to an updated IIoT platform. The new system utilized Ignition in the enterprise, Ignition Edge at each facility and Perspective as the user interface.



Travis: It optimized bandwidth usage with Cirrus Link's MQTT Ignition Modules, and it used Ignition's Enterprise Administration Module to deploy an enterprise Ignition SCADA system within a Microsoft Azure cloud-hosted infrastructure. The results have been fantastic. The new IIoT platform has given Waterbridge more flexibility, it's improved the visibility and control they have over all of their operations, which has made them much more efficient, they have data stored in one centralized location that serves over 30 Waterbridge customers, and the cost savings have increased over the life of the systems.



Kevin: To help make IIoT a reality for even more companies, we're expanding what we're doing in the cloud. In fact, we're now working with the two biggest cloud service providers in the world; Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. Both AWS and Azure have reached out to work with our company and both are dedicating resources to create products that make their data even more accessible with Ignition.



Travis: Amazon has developed a new AWS olution, which lets you deploy an IoT infrastructure almost instantly using Amazon SiteWise services and Cirrus Link's SiteWise Engine Module for Ignition. Once a solution has been deployed, you can easily access data in the Ignition Perspective Module where you can quickly create first-class, industrial applications for anyone in the organization using a computer or a mobile device. Microsoft Azure is currently developing two new resources that work with Ignition: Time Series Insights and the Azure Data Explorer.



Kevin: As the name suggests, Time Series Insights makes it easier to get your time series data into Azure and get more done with it. Cirrus Link is also working with Azure and with us on this resource. The Azure Data Explorer provides long-term data storage and offers very fast querying and analysis through huge amounts of data and offers even higher-level capabilities, such as machine learning functions, as well. So whereas Ignition and MQTT made IIoT possible like never before, these new resources from Amazon and Azure will make IIoT easier than ever to implement.



Travis: We're really excited about both of these cloud collaborations, and we're even more excited to see what kinds of new solutions you'll start building with them. Speaking of building new things, that brings us to the subject of the Ignition Exchange. The Exchange is a new online community-driven library of free resources for Ignition projects, which we announced at last year's ICC. And this year, we're going to be announcing the winners of the first Exchange Challenge contest at our live Developers Panel, so don't miss that today.



Kevin: Since we launched it a year ago, the Exchange has grown quickly. You can find a wide variety of useful resources there; everything from the home automation dashboard, Ad Hoc trends, the factory packs, to fun resources like the Toddler Distractor and Ignition Minesweeper. And the Exchange is just getting started. I'm confident that in the months and years ahead, your contributions to it will help Ignition users to visualize new solutions and realize them faster. Tools like the Exchange are important because projects today are getting more and more sophisticated. And if you're stuck spending a lot of time on things that should be fairly easy, then it's hard to focus on reaching the next level. With the Exchange, you can quickly add powerful pre-built resources to your project, so you can keep focused on making your projects better and better.



Travis: That's true of all the tools we offer: The Ignition Exchange, Ignition Maker Edition, product documentation, and Inductive University and the free downloads of the software. They are all about helping you focus on the things that lead to innovation. That's why we do our best to listen to you, our customers. As you tell us what you need, we put new features in the software, and then you build amazing things. Honestly, that's the best part of our job. I love to see the innovative solutions you come up with using the tools we provide in Ignition, and we have some great new tools coming in Ignition 8.1 that I can't wait to see what you do with. So to see what we're developing next, let's pass it over now to Colby and Carl.



Colby: Hello, I'm Colby Clegg, Vice President of Technology.



Carl: And I'm Carl Gould, the Director of Software Engineering. Thanks for joining us. Last year, we introduced the most substantial update to Ignition since its initial release: Ignition 8. This new version brought sweeping changes to many core Ignition systems, and perhaps most importantly, introduced a completely new visualization system; Ignition Perspective.



Colby: Our goal with Ignition 8 was to balance the familiar with the new, to provide our users with a coherent experience that was familiar to them, but to hold nothing back in enforcing Ignition's position as the industry's leading next-generation SCADA platform. The response from our users has been incredible. The Ignition community has been building new applications, larger systems, and more innovative solutions non-stop since the initial release.



Carl: Along the way, you've been providing valuable feedback and we've been working continuously to improve and refine Ignition 8. In fact, the launch was just the starting point for us. At that time, we adopted a new cadence of releasing updates to Ignition, which we call the release train system.



Colby: Our goal with this system was to provide an understandable and reliable release cadence with a new update every month. A side goal was to introduce improvements and features, even large ones, as they were ready, instead of holding them back for major releases.



Carl: The result has been an aggressive rollout of impressive new features on top of many important changes and improvements across 16 releases of Ignition 8. Since the initial release, we've added some major enhancements such as Perspective theming, new device support for BACnet and Omron FINS protocols, a completely new installer system, and important security features.



Colby: Your feedback and support has been crucial in helping us mature the Ignition 8 platform. We know that a major update is a significant commitment and can carry with it some risk and uncertainty. We appreciate the close relationship we have with our customers, the trust you put in us, and the strong, constructive feedback that we receive from you.



Carl: All major releases go through a cycle of introduction, refinement and improvement. We recognized this years ago and have followed an even-odd release pattern ever since the initial Ignition release. Major features are introduced in even versions, and then the subsequent odd version focuses on refinements to the user experience and reliability improvements. Perhaps even more crucially, it is the odd versions that we designate as long-term support versions. These are versions of Ignition that we commit to maintaining with important bug fixes and security updates for a full five years after their initial release.



Colby: We are a lean and efficient company. Many of you have visited our offices over the years at previous ICCs for training or for other reasons. You know that all of our development happens here at our headquarters with our fully in-house team of designers, developers and quality assurance engineers. This system of a five-year, long-term support version helps us to manage our engineering mode while also serving two distinct segments of our customer base; those who desire the latest innovations as quickly as possible, and those who prefer a slower cadence with a focus on stability and reliability with a more gradual update cycle for their systems.



Carl: Today is an exciting day for us because not only are we introducing a range of features that greatly enhance the revolutionary innovations we made in Ignition 8, but also finally bringing those innovations to our entire user base as the first long-term support version of Ignition 8 and Perspective. Today, we're proud to introduce Ignition 8.1. As you'll see, Ignition 8.1 continues the tradition of our release cadence. It enhances and it refines, but most importantly, it brings together our complete vision for Ignition 8. Of course, that vision is focused squarely on Perspective, which we consider a game-changing platform for modern industrial visualization and application-building.



Colby: Perspective was a massive undertaking. It was conceived and implemented from the ground up with absolutely no artificial constraints or existing preconceptions, with the singular goal of being the very best modern platform for industrial visualization that spans all devices and use cases. For the initial release, we focused on delivering a native web experience that filled an important use case that was lacking in Ignition. Based on what we've seen from you in the Ignition user community, we succeeded beyond our expectations. Thanks to your hard work and ingenuity, over the last 18 months, Perspective has been used to create many incredible and innovative systems.



Carl: In typical style, we have been blown away by the way that you have taken the tools that we've created and pushed them to the extreme. And yet, that initial release was just the seed of where Perspective could go. Since the release, we've been making substantial improvements to the product with every update, from improved user experience, to powerful new features in the native applications, the incredible dashboard component, to full theming support. Perspective has been maturing at a rapid pace. Today, we introduce several incredible features that push it even further.



Colby: One of the great advantages of Perspective is that it allows you to create applications that work equally well across mobile, tablet, laptop and PC devices, all using a single toolkit and design environment. This is a game-changer. Not only saving time, but also creating new opportunities for new kinds of control applications that take advantage of all of these devices and their sensors. We've seen many in our community jump into this new paradigm and create amazing new applications. Perspective uses web native technology to help you build applications. But often in control room environments, running the SCADA or HMI inside of a commodity web browser like Chrome simply isn't appropriate. That's why we're excited to introduce the newest update to the Perspective Module: Perspective Workstation.



Carl: Using Perspective Workstation, you can now run your Perspective applications as first-class desktop applications. Designed for HMIs, panel PCs and dedicated workstations, Perspective Workstation breaks Perspective out of the web browser and into native Windows, Mac or Linux applications. Perspective Workstation has built-in features to run in full-screen kiosk mode, eliminating any distractions from the underlying OS. There are also features to help you manage how your application runs on dedicated workstations with multiple monitors, configuring which of your pages is launched on which monitor.



Colby: With Perspective Workstation, your Perspective applications now have ideal deployment vehicles across any kind of computing device. The native Perspective mobile application creates a first-class mobile deployment experience. Deploying to a web browser is as simple as sending out a link. And now, Perspective Workstation creates a dedicated desktop deployment environment. Since Perspective first came out, there have been many requests for new and improved components to round out the palette. One of the most common is for a Perspective version of Vision's beloved Easy Chart component.



Carl: We are excited to announce the arrival of the Perspective Power Chart component. Current Vision Module users have greatly benefited from the Easy Chart component. The Easy Chart allows users to quickly make powerful and runtime configurable time series charts that make use of Tag Historian data. The Perspective Power Chart includes the same great features found in the Easy Chart, but we really wanted to take it up a notch.



Colby: Out of the box, the Power Chart includes a built-in tag browser and pen table. Now, users can easily generate Ad Hoc charts within a Perspective session without having to stitch these features together in development. In addition, the pen table provides statistical values that correspond to the plots and traces, providing an even richer analytical capability. Since the Power Chart is designed for the Perspective Module, the component has been designed to meet the needs of mobile users out of the box.



Carl: When the component is viewed on a mobile screen, the chart and its configuration options adapt themselves automatically to be touch-optimized and to be used on a small screen. There are many more features packed into this component such as built-in support for annotations, support for multiple simultaneous X-traces, runtime access reconfiguration, and much more. Ignition has long shipped with Symbol Factory, an industry-standard vector graphic library for industrial symbols. While Symbol Factory has an impressive library of thousands of symbols, they are, at the end of the day, flat graphics and manipulating them into dynamic displays takes some manual configuration. Plus, the visual design of these symbols doesn't always match up with modern, high-performance HMI graphics. While many of our users have done amazing things to bring these symbols to life, we've long envisioned an easier to use and more visually appealing solution.



Colby: With 8.1, we are introducing Perspective Symbols for the Ignition Perspective Module. Perspective Symbols represent our continued effort to improve visual design standards for industrial applications. They are components that represent industrial equipment, they have dynamic data models, so binding them to process values is a simple matter of drag and drop. Users will have the choice of three distinct visual appearances; P&ID, simple and mimic. These visual appearances can set the overall style within a project or apply to just a specific component. Perspective Symbols can be customized in a variety of ways. Visual options such as supporting text, animation and device orientation can be defined.



Carl: Each symbol can display state driven by dynamic process variables such as, on or off, open or closed, percent full, just as examples. In this initial release, the Perspective Symbol Library will contain a selection of the most popular symbols: valves, motors, pumps, vessels and sensors. With our release train, additional symbols will be added regularly in the coming months, helping to grow the Perspective Symbol Library even more. We believe that Perspective Symbols will pave the way for improved visual development and more attractive-looking applications, which our community of users, new and old, will definitely enjoy.



Colby: It's never been a better time to get started with Ignition with the new Quick Start feature in Ignition 8.1. When you install Ignition, it's a blank slate. You can turn it into anything. To get started, you have to configure things like security, connections to external devices and databases, and create projects. This isn't difficult to do, and we have plenty of documentation and training videos to help you get started. That said, we thought we could make things even easier. Upon a fresh install and commissioning of Ignition, new users will be given the option to use Quick Start.



Carl: Quick Start will automatically configure the gateway to have a sample tag provider, internal historian and connection to a simulator device. And most importantly, a sample project that will help introduce you to Ignition and that is designed to be reverse-engineered in the Designer. The goal of Quick Start is to provide new users a way to quickly get started and explore what they can accomplish with Ignition and to learn by experimentation. We believe that this feature will be incredibly useful for those who are new to Ignition and will help provide a path to success.



Colby: These are four major highlights of Ignition 8.1. And there are even more great improvements behind the scenes, like first-party docker support and new licensing technology. All of that said, we know that for many of you, the most important part of Ignition 8.1 is that it is now an LTS version, which means we'll be supporting the release with new fixes and improvements for a full five years. We'll continue to use our release train methodology to provide predictable and regular updates, but the focus will shift from features to reliability and performance.



Carl: The ecosystem around this product continues to expand at an incredible pace. Between the Exchange, Ignition University, the work of our strategic partners, Maker Edition, Edge and the Onboard program, Ignition is truly becoming the de facto standard for modern industrial status and control. With Ignition 8.1, we've reinforced the very core of that ecosystem.



Colby: With this brief introduction of Ignition 8.1, we hope that our entire user base will agree that it is an exciting and significant step forward. Ignition 8.1 is available now in RC form and will be available for general production use shortly. We'll be back in the developer panel to answer your questions, dive into more new features for Ignition 8.1 and talk about our vision for the platform moving forward. So please be sure to join us for that.



Carl: We regret that we're not able to see you in person this year. The ICC is always a highlight of the year for us, and it's really an important time for us to connect personally with you and the community to learn and to really understand how we can improve Ignition for you in the best way possible.



Colby: Still, we're glad to be able to at least connect with you in this way, and we are truly excited to see the amazing things you continue to do with Ignition.



Carl: Thank you for your support and feedback, we are truly grateful and always inspired by what you do with Ignition. We can't wait to see what you do with Ignition 8.1. So give it a try and build something awesome.



Don: Well, on behalf of myself and Kevin and Travis and Carl and Colby and Steve, I wanna thank all of you for joining us today. We always look forward to this opportunity at ICC to share some of our vision for Inductive Automation, for Ignition, for the industry and for the community. In times like these, cooperation and innovation are needed more than ever. By sharing and working together as a community, we can envision new possibilities, we can turn our visions into reality and we can build a brighter tomorrow. And it can all start right here, right now.



Don: That wraps up our keynote presentation, but we have a lot more for you to enjoy at this year's virtual conference. After this session, go watch the Developer Panel, which streams live September 15th, 10 AM Pacific Time. That's where Carl and Colby will join you to talk about what's next for the Ignition platform, and to answer your questions about the future of Ignition. It's one panel discussion that you definitely do not want to miss, then we're proud to offer a wide range of community sessions from members of the Ignition community. These are all pre-recorded and available to watch on demand, just check the Schedule page to look up the topics and speakers that are available to choose from. And of course, we have the Discover Gallery filled with some of the most innovative Ignition projects in the world. We encourage you to watch all of these case studies in the Discover Gallery to find new inspiration for what is possible with Ignition.



Don: Last, but certainly not least, networking is an important part of ICC. This year, we're using the Discord app for virtual networking and chat. If you're not already a Discord user, just set up an account and hop onto the server that we've created specifically for this conference. Then, you'll be able to share your conference experience with the many other attendees from a variety of industries who are here today, and you can communicate with Inductive Automation team members on Discord as well. With that, let's head to the developer panel and the rest of ICC. Be sure to network. Tell us what you think. And by the way, have a great conference.

Posted on October 1, 2020