Main Keynote: Elevating Automation98 min video / 63 minute read
Chief Executive Officer
Chief Technology Officer
Chief Operating Officer
Chief Technology Evangelist
Chief Technology Architect & VP of Sales
Let's kick off the 2023 Ignition Community Conference on a high note. Join Inductive Automation's leadership team as they reflect on the past year, look toward the future, and give you a bird's-eye view of our growing company, ever-evolving industry, and thriving Ignition community. This is ICC, elevated!
Colby Clegg: Wow. Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Colby Clegg: Wow. Wow. What an incredible start yesterday. In 11 years of doing this, I don't think we've ever had a first day quite like that. From morning to night this place was packed with people talking, connecting, and reconnecting. It was really amazing. And I think almost two-thirds of you are here for the first time, so I'm sure yesterday really gave you a sense of what ICC is all about. Well, I'll tell you what, we've squeezed more people than ever before into here. And although I don't think we succeeded in pushing the walls out, we have broken it down virtually and are streaming this in real time for the first time ever. We have people participating this week from all over the world: from South Africa, South America, Europe, Middle East, Australia. But I think the current leaders on my longest voyage travel board scoreboard, which I do keep track of, are our friends from Element8 in South Africa with 34 hours of travel to be here.
Colby Clegg: So if you can beat that, let me know and I'll go update the board, but I'm not sure anyone will. So whether you've come from near or from far or are joining us virtually today, I just wanna say once again, welcome and thank you for making the effort to participate because I'm confident with the content and the activities that we have lined up, this is really gonna be the best ICC ever. Alright, so it's been quite a year, hasn't it? Who had AI dominates the world on their 2023 bingo card?
Colby Clegg: But don't worry, I'm not gonna talk about AI, although that would be the cool thing to do. Sorry. But I do wanna highlight how I think it represents something really important. To me what it represents is a continuation of the trends, the discussions that we've been having for years. A lot of these technologies that we've been discussing that are starting to reach a level of utility and practical application that's starting to create a lot of attention. And it's starting to create a real sense of urgency around us.
Colby Clegg: Consider a couple recent quotes. "There is no alternative to Digital Transformation," says Jeff Bezos. "Visionary companies will carve out new strategic options for themselves, and those that don't adapt will fail." That's dramatic. "The next five years... " Oh, this is from Saul Berman from IBM, also says, "The next five years will be more disruptive than the last 15. This is not business as usual. A lot of technology that came in three years ago doesn't work anymore." Okay, well, despite all the hand-wringing, a lot of companies haven't taken action yet. A recent survey on Digital Transformation says that 90% of CEOs believe that the digital economy will impact their industry, and yet less than 15% are executing a digital strategy. Well, we all know that technology progresses at an exponential rate, and we're getting to the point where companies that have embraced Digital Transformation are really starting to distinguish themselves from those that haven't.
Colby Clegg: Now, I'm not trying to flatter you, but I do believe if you're joining us this week you're among the more forward-thinking companies in the world. That said, we all have different situations and are in different places. Our goal with this conference, as always, is to help you wherever you're at to fall on the productive side of that urgency, to help you start, continue, or elevate your Digital Transformation journey. And that's because no matter where you are, we are at a point in time where the technology ecosystem available to us, combined with the needs, the factors driving the need for Digital Transformation are creating an environment ripe for making real and lasting change.
Colby Clegg: Okay, but how do we get started and how do we make that change lasting and successful? At Inductive Automation we have an opinion, and it's a very strongly held one. We firmly believe that lasting change isn't forced from the top down, but it grows from the bottom up. As a company with roots in industrial integration, this is the story we've lived. This is how we've built everything from the ground up. We've continued that path as we've grown our company, cultivating the world's best integrator program, and then working with companies and partners to develop technologies and standards, and models that make it ever easier, more practical to move data upwards and into higher-order applications. Doing this and creating real value at every step of the way is how real Digital Transformation happens.
Colby Clegg: What do I mean by creating value at every step? Well, we can look at how we built Ignition, for example. We started by unlocking data with unlimited licensing. Then we added distributed functionality with our gateway network. After that, we introduced MQTT in partnership with Cirrus Link launching IIoT and edge data collection, which has now led to massive unified data systems. Most recently we introduced Ignition Cloud Edition to add one more building block to take things to the next level. But these are only tools. The next and most significant layer of value are the applications created on them, and that's where you come in. More than ever before, you, the community, are elevating automation through the incredible applications that you're building. Today, you are elevating your enterprises on a global scale, using tools from edge to cloud to deliver value layer by layer to build systems that introduce new operating paradigms.
Colby Clegg: Along the way we at Inductive Automation are working every day to elevate ourselves so that we can be there to support you in the best way possible. Have you started getting an idea of why we chose "Elevate" as this year's theme? This one word perfectly captures the mission that we are all on across their companies, across the technology, and across the world. It's an open invitation to consider what we're doing and what we can do to raise the bar in an ecosystem where there's virtually nothing stopping us except for our imaginations.
Colby Clegg: This morning we're gonna go on a journey through many incredible examples of how this Ignition community and our company are elevating industrial automation. You'll hear from Travis Cox and Kevin McClusky about how this community is leveraging all of the tools I just mentioned to build applications and solutions that are truly next-level. You'll hear from Carl Gould, Kat Jeschke, and myself about how our company is elevating our efforts to support, to continue to open up this incredible technology ecosystem to you through Ignition. Ultimately, this is a team effort and you'll see many members of Inductive Automation and this community highlighted this morning. In fact, every single one of you is a participant in this story. And I hope that our discussion this morning will inspire you to take this theme to heart as we dive fully into ICC. So with that, let's begin.
David Grussenmeyer: The Ignition community is really a remarkable community.
Jacqui Leake: They help us by sharing best practices, giving us regular feedback on the product.
Mara Pillott: I see a lot of just amazing and innovative ideas out there, but the really important part is that they're sharing those ideas and talking about them.
Madison Knowles: Our customers are taking those things and saying, "Hey, we need this. Let's talk on the forums. Let's build Exchange resources."
Daniel Forbes: Having the ability to share information, share knowledge, really helps accelerate development. It really helps accelerate new ideas.
Vannessa Garcia: Yeah, I'm consistently impressed by just the creativity of the community when it comes to the applications that they're building with Ignition.
Annie Wise: The Ignition community elevates the automation industry by its consistent transformation. This is a group of incredibly bright people that are asking, "Can we do this differently? Should we do this differently? And how can we make our customers have a better experience?" And that outlook, that approach is shaping our industry at large.
Laura Duckett: Sharing ideas, asking questions, encouraging conversations, that's gonna benefit all of us. It's really our combined knowledge that's going to elevate the automation industry.
Arnell Ignacio: The Ignition community has elevated the automation industry by developing some of the most amazing and innovative applications that we've seen today. They're finding solutions to everyday pain points, and they're figuring out what can be done with the software, Ignition.
David Grussenmeyer: Seeing their interaction through our partner programs or through our events or conferences has been something really remarkable.
Don Pearson: They're able to say yes, they're able to do more. They're able to really accelerate the plans of those end-user customers to make their Digital Transformation happen, to make their deployments happen, to solve their problems.
Kathy Applebaum: And you would think these people would be competitors, but they've realized that by helping each other, they make more jobs available and more interesting jobs available.
Travis Cox: Man, good morning everybody. How y'all doing today? Alright. Man, I'm excited to be back in ICC again. Yesterday was so much fun. There was so much energy out there. I'm sure y'all felt it. And this, Colby said, "This is what ICC is all about." It's been a year now that I've been in my new role here, and as part of my job I get to introduce Ignition to new people all the time. And during that I have to answer one really important question: Wha the heck is Ignition? Now, I've answered that question thousands of times over the years and that question's evolved over the years as well, but it's actually a pretty hard question to answer, right? From the beginning, we've talked about Ignition as being The New SCADA, right? It's SCADA, but there's so much more that's possible with that.
Travis Cox: Today we talk about it as an industrial application platform, one where you can build any kind of application out there from HMI, SCADA, MES, IIoT, and a lot more. But how do you encapsulate? How do you explain all that Ignition can do? It's been difficult. So that's why this year we launched a social media campaign to help get your answers to that question. And we got a lot of responses back, and we can tell in those responses how passionate you guys are about Ignition. We can see the impact that Ignition has had on the applications that you all are building. And we can see that your unique perspective that you bring to what Ignition means. And what I wanna do this morning is actually share a couple of those responses with you. So the first is: Ignition SCADA is a software platform used to build and deploy industrial automation and control systems. Yeah, absolutely, right? Ignition is a fully integrated asset-monitoring platform. It's an historian. It's an OPC UA server. It's a web server out the box. It's a platform to develop your own module. And this last one is my favorite: Ignition is like magic, but real.
Travis Cox: And how many of us feel that way about Ignition, right? About how it's been able to help us solve so many unique challenges. I can tell you that it is my partner in crime every day. When I have some challenges I need to be able to solve, I just pop open Ignition, and we take care of it. So, as you can see, we got some really great responses back with this campaign. And despite them all being different, they're all so totally true. And this is why it's so hard to pinpoint exactly what Ignition is because it means a million different things to a million different people. And I love being here at ICC getting your perspective on what Ignition means to you.
Travis Cox: So Ignition could be HMI software. It could be a SCADA system. It could be a complete IoT infrastructure. It can even be a home automation system. Ignition is what people make with it. And the applications that this community is building it helps shape people's ideas about what Ignition is. And more than that, your ideas are what elevate Ignition to a whole new level, and bringing something that's powerful, that's productive, and that's change-making for all that's using it. This community is building applications that can handle massive amounts of data, that can turn information into real action and insight, that can extend Ignition to brand new use cases that we never thought that were possible, and that can harness the collaborative power of large working groups and this amazing community that we have.
Travis Cox: And there's no better place, you'll all agree with me, there's no better place to see all of that than right here at ICC. And there's no better place to see all of the amazing applications that you're building than with our Discover Gallery. So if you haven't checked it out, I would highly encourage you to do that. Our Discover Gallery is a video showcase that really shows all the amazing outstanding projects that the community is building, and you can watch those videos while you're here at ICC. You could check it out on the app. You can also go online and check them out too. And we got some fantastic projects this year. Every year, I love being able to share these projects with all of you. But six of them really stood out to us, and those six are the ones that won the Firebrand Award winners, and those that demonstrate excellence in their Ignition project work. So those projects this year are: Vantage Data Centers, Grantek, ESM Automation Systems, Room in the Inn, 2Gi Technologie, and Skellig Automation. Let's give all of these projects a big round of applause.
Travis Cox: So the Discover Gallery is really a great example of how this community is elevating the industry. And today I wanna focus on four areas of Ignition application development that are helping companies take their operations to the next level. And those areas are scalability, data visualization, extensibility, and collaboration. Let's start with scalability. Every SCADA application has to be able to handle large amounts of data. But how do you build one that effectively manages over five million data points and over 750,000 alarms without compromising ease of use? And that was certainly the challenge that Vantage Data Centers was facing. Vantage Data Centers support some of the world's biggest cloud providers. With expansion to Europe and to Middle East, Vantage was challenged with building a framework and an approach to deploying thousand devices on short commissioning windows and on a massive scale. Ignition scalability was used to meet this challenge using a hub-and-spoke architecture and using Ignition's gateway network.
Travis Cox: Three layers of gateways were deployed: I/O gateways at the edge to collect data, frontend gateways to allow the user interface, and gateways for regional management. And using the Enterprise Administration Module to interconnect sites, Vantage can see the big picture of all of their data, and they can extrapolate trends, and they can look for areas for improvement. And to make the application easy to use and easy to navigate, they use the Perspective Module to create a universal pop-up that displays data consistently from any device based on the UDT instance. And the application's high-performance screen design enables operators to access data from anywhere with just four clicks.
Travis Cox: So visualization is a key to understanding and acting on data. If operators can't see their data in real time in the facilities, they can't take action, right? And this is especially important in highly regulated industries like pharmaceuticals. So Merck & Co., Inc., they needed a way to effectively manage alarms at a large scale at their West Point, Pennsylvania, facility. So they brought in Grantek to help. Using Ignition Perspective, Grantek developed a solution that provides alarm monitoring, historization, and management for over 10,000 points. They created a high-density alarm summary view that lets operators see all the relative metadata and all that status in a conveniently docked pane so they can view, they can dispatch, they can acknowledge, and they can annotate alarm events in just seconds. Now Merck Co. operators can turn data into action with the visualization system that gives them exceptional awareness so they can see and react quickly to whatever changes occur.
Travis Cox: So to effectively manage change, companies must be able to extend their applications. Ignition's extensibility can help by giving companies the tools that they need to meet almost any use case, even ones that we didn't think of. And that's exactly what happened. An example, one of our Premier Integrators, ESM, built for the Creature Technology Company. They needed software to help theatrical technicians create and modify the motion of complex animatronic figures. It is pretty cool. Using Ignition Perspective and studio animation tools, the solution gives operators an easy drag-and-drop interface to link together dynamic movements and functions to create these fluid movements for the figures. We certainly never designed Ignition for this use case. Exactly.
Travis Cox: But thanks to the Module SDK for Ignition and the ingenuity of the ESM engineers, this Ignition application was elevated to a brand new use case and even helped bring these dinosaurs back to life.
Travis Cox: So the last aspect of Ignition application development that I wanna explore is collaboration. And perhaps collaboration is the most powerful feature of Ignition because it harnesses the innovative power of this amazing community, where we're creating applications that can really impact people's lives. And that's exactly what it did for Room in the Inn. Room in the Inn works with over a hundred congregations in Middle Tennessee to provide safe shelter, warm meals, and fellowship to people struggling with homelessness. They were dealing with the logistical nightmare of using outdated software and spreadsheets to coordinate the work of over 13 shelters, over a hundred congregations, and thousands of homeless participants and volunteers. They needed one system to streamline their operation, but to do that they needed a team of integrators and they needed software, which of course they didn't have, and they didn't have a budget to go out there and spend millions of dollars to get something that they actually needed.
Travis Cox: But that's when a group of volunteers from this community offered their time to help. Using Ignition's ability to support concurrent designers and create and share project resources through the Ignition Exchange, volunteers collaborate in a way that would've been impossible using any other software. Working together, over 150 people from locations around the globe, they joined forces to build the application the Room in the Inn needed. Now, thanks to all of their help, Room in the Inn is better prepared to provide food and shelter to the many people who need it in their area this winter. This project was a true labor of love, and it took the collaborative efforts of hundreds of people from this community to deliver. When you add up all the time and the technology costs that it took to pull this off, it's estimated this project was over $1 million in value. Yet everybody, they provided and worked on and offered their time for free. Now...
Travis Cox: Exactly.
Travis Cox: And for all their time and efforts, each volunteer got as much as they put into it... They get a lot out of it as they put into it. Many new resources on the Exchange were created, new skills were learned throughout this process, and stronger connections were forged. All volunteers work not only help Room in the Inn, but they also lift up the project work for all those that took part, and they can take this back to the customers and bring those resources and those examples into these facilities. It was an amazing effort, and we couldn't be more proud of how this community pulled together. Let's give all the volunteers who worked on this project a big round of applause.
Travis Cox: Now, although we couldn't give every single person a Firebrand Award for this project, we did wanna honor the one person who spearheaded this project, Chris McLaughlin.
Travis Cox: Chris has been an amazing member of this community for years. And for his effort in leading this project for Room in the Inn, we are giving him a special Firebrand Award for community involvement. Thank you Chris, for all that you do.
Travis Cox: So this project really inspired us to give back to our local communities because it showed us the good that can come out of the people that share their time and their talents and technology with their neighbors, even if those neighbors are hundreds of thousands of miles away. Giving back to the community has always been an important value of Inductive Automation. And that's why we back in 2014, we launched the Inductive University to freely share knowledge with anyone so they can learn Ignition at their own pace. It's also why we released Ignition Maker Edition a few years ago so that anyone can use it for personal use. But you know what? We also provide free licenses for educational use. But we noticed this gap for nonprofits and for communities that can really benefit from Ignition, and we wanted to do something about that gap. We wanted to fill that gap with the launch of our brand new program, the Community Impact Program.
Travis Cox: This program will allow individuals to apply for a free Ignition license in order to create a project that benefits their community. And to qualify, people have to show their project benefits the community, that it's noncommercial, and that it's not feasible to do with a commercial license of Ignition. So if you can think of more examples like the amazing project, Room in the Inn, I encourage you all to apply. This program is launched today on our website, so you can go there and you can learn a lot more about it and definitely check it all out. We are honored to be a part of a giving community like this one, and we hope for this new program that we can all work together to help even more people in our local communities enjoy the benefits of Ignition.
Travis Cox: Another way, like I mentioned, we give back to this community is through that Ignition Exchange. We set up the Ignition Exchange years ago to help our community share resources to make it faster and easier to deploy and build applications. And it's been a huge success. We have over hundreds of resources in there that help people build array of different solutions. It is a powerful resource and it's a one-stop shop for a lot of people to go and get ideas and get inspired for what they can bring into their projects. And we want to enhance that; every year at the conference we want to enhance that experience with the Exchange. We wanna pump it up more. And this year what we did is we pulled together the first-ever ICC Community-Powered Sparkplug Data Dash.
Travis Cox: Now the Sparkplug Data Dash, if you haven't checked it out, it's upstairs in the tech lounge, it allows participants from all around the world to publish actual machine data and models from the edge to our cloud MQTT server using MQTT Sparkplug. And we have a dashboard up there that shows real visualizations of that data. We are showing the true power of leveraging Ignition and open standards to provide a single source of truth of asset data that is available to anyone and any service that's out there. We're talking about true democratization of data. And we're not just talking about it, we're actually doing it. We're showing real examples of data all around the world coming in there. And this is what Digital Transformation really requires. You need to focus on getting more out of your data rather than locking it down. You need to access data on dashboards no matter where you are in the world, and you need to be able to go further with that data, leveraging ML and AI tools. There's a lot of great tools that are out there today.
Travis Cox: So I'm excited to say that with this project we had over 50 participants and companies that took part, each contributing unique data models and Perspective templates that are all available on the Ignition Exchange. See, I definitely... And go check out the Data Dash. It is really cool. That's in that tech lounge. So with this, there's nowhere that you can see practical edge-to-cloud examples using actual data with context that is truly scalable. We're showing it with that. We're also talking about a lot here at this conference. For years the industry has been talking about Digital Transformation from with edge-to-cloud technologies, and instead of just talking about it, this community here has making it happen right now. Utilizing Ignition scalability, visualization, extensibility, and collaboration features, this community is elevating the industry with every application that you guys are building. And we're doing everything that we can to help facilitate and help enterprises use the best new technologies to transform their processes. Now to talk more about Digital Transformation, let's bring out our very own, Kevin McClusky.
Kevin McClusky: Thanks, Travis. Travis shared some great examples of how this community is elevating automation through Ignition application development. And keeping with this theme, I wanted to talk a little bit about another way that we're seeing this community take the industry to the next level by elevating enterprise systems through Digital Transformation. As a side note, I'll say it's really good to be here. It's really good to see all of you. And I know so many of you are doing these types of big enterprise architectures and applications. That part of what I'm talking about here is a big validation for you and for us from what you're doing for us too and for the community. As I'm sure you know, the concept of Digital Transformation, it's pretty simple. It's about using the best digital technology to improve operational technology or operational efficiency basically at its core. In reality, transforming industrial processes can be difficult because information technology and operation technology, as you know, isn't always work built. It isn't always built to work well together between the two. As a result, many companies have been slow to implement Digital Transformation.
Kevin McClusky: But in the last few years we've actually seen a number of things that have been changing that significantly. Back in 2020 when the pandemic hit, the world changed overnight. My wife and I had just had our first child, and we were at home and I got a call that said, "Don't come back." No, they weren't firing me. As you probably have guessed, I was working from home from that point forward for Inductive Automation for the entire company, and like Inductive Automation companies everywhere we're forced to grapple with this new reality of conducting business remotely and needing to really transform how they worked. Companies frankly had mixed success. We saw that companies that had embraced digital technologies were much more capable of adapting quickly while companies that hadn't, struggled. So the ones that were able to do it quickly, for example, many of our customers, many of you were able to very quickly add the Perspective Module to your installations in order to add remote access or a good option for remote access.
Kevin McClusky: In fact, we saw sales of that module really increase during the pandemic. Adapting to change is important because the world can change fast, and as Colby mentioned, that pace is increasing. I've experienced this personally as well. Working with some of the leading companies inside the industry and inside the world, it has really shown me one thing. Companies have to keep up with the pace of technology change or they risk being left behind. Companies that combine IT and OT systems with Ignition can turn that noise of millions of data points into a clear, actionable information, and companies that don't use modern technologies can get stuck inside decision paralysis, drowning in rivers of data with no clear direction. In today's technology landscape, it really is sink or swim.
Kevin McClusky: Peter Drucker said it well: "The enterprise that does not innovate ages and declines. In a period of rapid change such as the present, the decline will be fast." With things moving faster, companies need to safeguard their processes for future-proofing their systems. Today's enterprises need a Digital Transformation strategy that helps elevate their old processes to Industry 4.0 standards. The factories of the future are connected, they're agile, and they're efficient, and they're being built today by members of this community. While the term "Digital Transformation" is far from new, it's actually something that the Ignition Community has been doing for over a decade since the Ignition platform was released.
Kevin McClusky: At Inductive Automation, I've worked with hundreds of integrators and end users who have transformed their processes using Ignition. And part of what makes Ignition a fantastic Digital Transformation platform is that it combines the best of OT and IT. With Ignition's full suite of products from Edge to Cloud, it can be the Digital Transformation platform for the entire enterprise by connecting people with their processes, their data, and an entire ecosystem of partners, which I'll talk a little bit more about in a few minutes here.
Kevin McClusky: When enterprises are more connected, they can make better decisions, and they see big gains in productivity and sustainability. And every process can benefit from new technologies, even processes that have existed for decades or more. Let me give you an example from one of this year's Firebrand Award-winning projects. Saint-Gobain PAM is the UK's leading supplier of ductile iron pipe fittings, valves, and secure manhole covers. They date all the way back to 1865. They launched a Digital Transformation initiative and chose their UK facility back in 2020. The 150-year-old plant was chosen to show how modern technologies can elevate long-established processes. The age of the plant presented many challenges to modernization. They used paper-based products which gave rise to inconsistencies and made analyzing production data in real time impossible. Basically clipboards. Their hardware and software obsolescence limited the plant's ability to connect to other systems like their ERP and limits for product traceability hampered quality improvement and data sharing with its customers.
Kevin McClusky: Saint-Gobain brought in experts 2Gi Technologie to bring their SCADA, MES, track and trace, and quality control systems all onto one universal platform. Ignition's open standards made it possible to easily interface with third-party systems, including SAP and some that even used VAX architectures designed all the way back in the '70s. Ignition was also used to collect scanned RFID tags on the surface of pipes to track production. This allowed operators to track product's locations from start to finish. And Ignition's visualization tools were used to create responsive HMIs for operators to stay in touch on the go. All of this was tested and rolled out without affecting the plant's productivity. With Ignition the people at Saint-Gobain PAM are now more connected to their processes than ever before with a system where they can monitor production data in real time for the first time in the plant's history.
Kevin McClusky: At the heart of what makes Ignition a great Digital Transformation platform is that it can connect people with their data. Ignition's ability to connect to virtually any data source on the plant floor to the cloud to the edge makes it the ultimate platform to bring all of this data from across the entire enterprise all together. One company that uses Ignition to transform its data management is the Center for Breakthrough Medicines or CBM for short. CBM is a large cell and gene therapy CDMO specializing in end-to-end capabilities for the entire market. They develop and manufacture life-changing treatments, and their work requires a massive amount of data. So they worked with Gold Certified Integrator Skellig to bring a cutting-edge data management system to life using Ignition that leverages Opto 22 groov EPICs for device data, Cirrus Link's MQTT modules for IIoT, and Ignition for visualization and deployment.
Kevin McClusky: Now CBM scientists can find the data they need easily. By better connecting people to data, CBM scientists can focus on higher-level analysis and research which can improve and save lives. That's it for our Firebrand Award winners, and after seeing all of them, I think you'll agree with me when I say that their excellent work with Ignition is really elevating automation. We already gave them a little bit of a round of applause, but now that you've seen them all, let's give them another hand.
Kevin McClusky: One of the things I really loved seeing in this year's group of Discover Gallery projects is how many are leveraging our ecosystem of partner solutions to enhance their Ignition systems. By the way, the Discover Gallery is just out there and to the right. I know in years past sometimes folks have missed it, but make sure that you check it out. We have these six projects, and we have many more Discover Gallery projects that are out there as well, which are great videos to watch and experience what some of the rest of the community is doing.
Kevin McClusky: Bringing together our partners is an important way that we're working to make the Digital Transformation process easier for enterprises. This year, as you can see, we updated our partner programs with the new Solution Partner Program category with companies who offer joint solutions that fully integrate with Ignition, including of course Sepasoft, 4IR, and Opto 22. And just last month we launched our new Alliance Partner Program. Alliance Partners are carefully vetted partnerships that provide valuable products and services that complement Ignition systems. The addition of Alliance Partners to our existing Strategic Partners and Solution Partners gives companies using Ignition a whole world of new solutions to enhance their systems.
Kevin McClusky: One example is our collaboration with Snowflake. Many of you have talked to us about Snowflake in recent years. As you may know, Snowflake provides a highly scalable cloud-based database platform based on open IT standards. They basically provide elastic data and database storage in the cloud, and they have a slew of offerings surrounding it, including some analytics and machine learning. As part of our collaboration, we've been working with Snowflake so Ignition users can leverage their platform's data and analytics tools by making data ingestion and access in the cloud as easy as working with SQL databases.
Kevin McClusky: Here's how it works. First, industrial data is pushed from sites and from the edge using MQTT Sparkplug. And after its coming there, data is stored automatically with its context in the Snowflake data cloud using Cirrus Link's new IIoT Bridge for Snowflake. You take your tags, you take your tag providers, you take your UDTs, all of that gets shipped over. After it's set up, it just works. You don't need any scripting for this, and everything just flows, even new data that's added later as it's sent over MQTT. Once the data's in Snowflake, users can easily query it back into Ignition so that they can use it to generate reports, perform advanced analytics, including anomaly detection, and create new applications. If you wanna learn more about how Snowflake and Ignition can be used together, check out the session that Cirrus Link is doing with Snowflake later in the conference.
Kevin McClusky: Snowflake is just one example of the great partnerships we have in the Alliance Partner Program, and highlighting any of these is an amazing story. I'd encourage you to explore the valuable offerings that these folks have. From pretty much all of our partners here, everyone you see listed on this, our Solutions Partners, our Strategic Partners, we very carefully vet all of our partnerships for folks who are going to be bringing you the community value, and I'd encourage you to talk to all of them. Many of them have booths inside the conference here, and they're all listed on our website as well. The value that they bring to the ecosystem helps elevate all of us, and we truly appreciate that relationship that they have and their passion for our community.
Kevin McClusky: We built Ignition to be the ultimate hub for plant floor connectivity, but our customers actually found that it does much more than that. Ignition connects more than devices; it connects people with their data, their processes, in this ecosystem of technology partners. By connecting the enterprise Ignition breaks down the barriers between companies and their Digital Transformation goals. It puts the tools in people's hands to elevate their enterprise systems to new heights. And that's part of what I see in the Firebrand Award-winning projects that we just talked about. It turns out we're not the only ones recognizing your work, so is the World Economic Forum.
Kevin McClusky: The World Economic Forum's Lighthouse Program highlights manufacturers from various industries who have demonstrated front-running leadership in Industry 4.0 innovation. And this year CEAT Tyres was officially certified as a Lighthouse Factory, making it the first tire company in the world to achieve that designation. CEAT Tyres is one of the largest tire manufacturers in India, with multiple plants across the country. Top executives leading the way, Ignition chosen as the base platform, CEAT worked to modernize every aspect of one of their plant's production. With the new system, the plant saw multiple positive outcomes, including reducing its carbon footprint, drastically cutting water and energy consumption, and increased productivity in this plant that already existed with no base machinery changes by an incredible 15%.
Kevin McClusky: It's an amazing project, and although it wasn't part of the Discover Gallery this year, I wanted to mention it here because their great work is part of leading the way in Industry 4.0 innovation. I also wanted to mention the amazing work of the integrators who worked on the project, expert Ignition integrators Automation Excellence and BASE Automation. We know that behind every Ignition application and enterprise stands a team of dedicated engineers and integrators working hard to transform their companies' and customers' projects. It's your work that's elevating the community, and it's our mission to support you. In this next section of the keynote, we'll look at what Inductive Automation is doing to help elevate the community.
Jacqui Leake: So we in the Support Division, we're a team of dedicated problem solvers. We're committed to helping our community with the support that they need to be successful. Whether you're a new user or a seasoned professional, we are here to help you get the most out of Ignition.
Daniel Forbes: I personally work in recruiting, and we really try to build a culture of people that are excited about what we're doing for the automation industry. And so we like to provide information for them, and then when we do interview them, I look for that spark. We look for people that are really excited, that we feel will be a good fit to the culture of Inductive Automation.
David Grussenmeyer: Just a few months back, we launched the Alliance Partner Program. We partner with companies that offer products or solutions that complement Ignition deployments. We're able to highlight these products or services through co-marketing efforts, and really show our customers and our community how these products or these services together provide a better experience for the end user or for the customer.
Arnell Ignacio: Luckily, with Ignition, the software pretty much sells itself. Our jobs here in marketing is to inform you of what it can do and to reveal what it does for a lot of our customers.
Kathy Applebaum: In software engineering, the obvious thing would be that we make it Ignition. But I have to say, I'm secretly really, really proud of our participation on the user forum. So many times I see our developers and myself included, we start every day with that cup of caffeine in hand, and we're going through the new posts on the forum. I see people answering questions about how the software works, how to make it work better. I see them writing tickets for bug fixes for new features all coming through that forum participation.
Don Pearson: I've actually had a good opportunity this year to spend a lot of time with our Premier Integrators. I get the opportunity to see how we really are elevating the game.
Carl Gould: Good morning, everybody. So we just had Travis and Kevin share some really incredible examples of the projects from the Discover Gallery, the Firebrand Award winners. And they represent an incredible diversity that is a good... It's emblematory of the kind of projects that are being built with Ignition, and I encourage you all to go and check out all of the projects in the Discover Gallery. There's so many excellent projects in there this year. They're really inspiring, and I really think they're of the highest caliber. And as one of the creators of Ignition, it's really gratifying to see because these projects help to validate one of our core beliefs, which is that it is open platforms that drive innovation. A regular software application can be quite useful; they often are. But ultimately, you might find that they become a bit limiting because they can only offer a fixed set of solutions for what they were originally designed to do, and they may have difficulty adapting to new situations.
Carl Gould: But a platform can give you the tools that you need to solve new problems in novel ways. And Ignition is set up like this as a platform to make you the innovator so that you can bring your domain knowledge, you can bring your expertise and your creativity to bear on whatever problem it is you're trying to solve. And that's what I see play out every year at ICC, with Ignition being showcased in a variety of fascinating and innovative new use cases across an ever-widening range of industries. I love seeing all that new technology being integrated with the platform, and as Kevin showed, this has now resulted in a growing ecosystem of technology partnerships. These partnerships open up new possibilities for the kinds of applications that you can build with Ignition. Ignition's open nature, its modular architecture and freely accessible SDK, make it readily adaptable to be used with any kind of new technology trend. And sometimes it can be hard to tell where our efforts with the software end and community efforts begin.
Carl Gould: And as an example of this, with all of the excitement around generative AI this past year, we saw someone on social media commenting about how they don't really know much about Inductive Automation, but from what they could tell we were just completely obsessed with ChatGPT. And we saw this comment, we sort of scratched our chins, and because we found this both amusing and ironic because we haven't done anything with ChatGPT as far as integrating it with the product. So what was this person reacting to? Entirely community-driven efforts, and they couldn't tell the difference between our efforts with Ignition and community integrations. And that's the point, that Ignition is so readily adaptable that it can be used with a new trending technology that can be rapidly and seamlessly integrated.
Carl Gould: And this type of extensibility is a major advantage for us because we don't have to constantly change Ignition to chase a new technology trend because Ignition is designed to be adapted by the user, by you, so you can integrate it with anything you need to. And this extensibility makes systems built with Ignition remarkably future-proof because you always have endless ways to continue to integrate new solutions into your application, and you can continually bring increasing value at every level of your organization that's using Ignition. For years, we've been improving Ignition's ability to operate at every layer of the infrastructure stack by gracefully integrating at each layer, making the right connections, we're able to create value along the way. It starts at the plant floor with the standard Ignition platform. This is really a home base for us. We're very comfortable here, we connect easily to technologies both on the OT side of the house as well as the IT side of the house, and we are used across the globe to build the common types of applications you find at this layer: HMI, SCADA, MES applications. But we also are used for a number of other applications at this layer that just defy all categorization.
Carl Gould: A few years ago, we added Ignition Edge. Edge has made it easy to deploy Ignition in remote environments on limited computing infrastructure that can be deployed adjacent to critical assets, and I think Edge and MQTT have really helped bring the promise of IIoT into reality. And earlier this year, we released Ignition Cloud Edition on the Amazon AWS Marketplace, and just last month we expanded the availability of Cloud Edition to the Microsoft Azure Marketplace. So I'm really happy that it's now available on both of the major cloud infrastructure providers in our realm. Cloud Edition enables you to augment the capabilities of an Ignition system by leveraging cloud services and easily spinning up elastic cloud architectures.
Carl Gould: What's cool about Cloud Edition is that it enables you to build applications that can really span the breadth of an Ignition-based organization or an organization that uses Ignition in various places. It can integrate with assets on the plant floor or at the edge of the network, and you can create systems that are really greater than the sum of their parts. It's common for organizations to have Ignition installed in various places, often scattered around geographically, maybe communicating with each other, maybe not. And with Cloud Edition, you can easily spin up a scalable architecture in the cloud, it can securely gather KPIs from all these different facilities, bring them into a unified data model, and present them on a dashboard that can then be accessed securely from anywhere.
Carl Gould: When we develop Ignition, we follow a pretty simple philosophy. First, make it possible and then make it easy. And Cloud Edition is a good example of this. It's been possible to use Ignition in the cloud for years. Many of you have been doing just that. But with the release of Cloud Edition, we've made it so much easier. We've really improved the user experience and the purchasing model and the ease of implementing these architectures in the cloud.
Carl Gould: We follow the same approach for product maintenance. Take Perspective, for example, where since the initial release of that module, we've added hundreds of new features and quality-of-life improvements and performance improvements. We even got Phil using it this year so you know it's getting good.
Carl Gould: This methodical and agile approach helps us get new features into your hands sooner and then just steadily improve them over time. It also helps us respond quickly to security concerns. So every year we participate in this big contest hosted by ZDI, the Zero Day Initiative. This is a conference where security researchers gather and they compete for big cash bounties by finding new vulnerabilities in industrial control systems like Ignition and a bunch of others. And when a new vulnerability arises, as they inevitably do, we often have a patch developed and released within the week, thanks to our agile process and our nightly release mechanism. We consistently impress researchers with the speed of our responses. But this year we've taken a significant step further not just by responding quickly, but also by taking a more proactive approach by securing the development process itself. This year, our company-wide software development life cycle was certified by exida to be compliant with ISA 62443 and ISASecure.
Carl Gould: These are rigorous standards that set forth the best practices and procedures and policies for the secure design and implementation and deployment of industrial control software, and the certificate is only awarded to companies that pass a strict audit that shows that not only do you have all of these policies and procedures in place, but that they are actually being followed. What this means for you is that it gives your Ignition applications the assurance that they have the strongest security posture possible.
Carl Gould: Now at this point, some of you might be thinking, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, just tell us about 8.3."
Carl Gould: I know a few of you might be thinking, "Wait a second, what happened to 8.2?" Good questions. I'll answer them both. So we're skipping 8.2 because even-numbered releases are cursed.
Carl Gould: No, the reality is a bit more boring. We have a tradition here of having odd-numbered releases come with long-term support. And because of the amount of time elapsed since the initial release of 8.1, we just wanna go straight into another LTS release, so we're calling it 8.3. As for the timeline we are hard at work in it right now, and we expect it to be released in the second half of next year, but it will be worth the wait. We have a lot of really exciting features coming in 8.3. We've got native drawing tools for Perspective. We've got a...
Audience Member 1: Woo!
Carl Gould: Yay!
Carl Gould: Long awaited. We have a new high-performance time-series historian, we've got this really interesting new method for ingesting streaming event data, and I know that was just a tease. So we will be back on this stage, Colby and I, tomorrow morning where we will go into detail about these features of 8.3, give you some sneak peeks of more features, as well as get into some more specifics about that release timeline.
Carl Gould: But back to the topic of this keynote. 8.3 is going to represent a really substantial elevation of the platform, and I'm thrilled to see what you all build on top of it. We're always amazed by the kinds of innovations you all bring to the applications you build in Ignition, and I know you will all continue to elevate the state-of-the-art of automation to new heights. And to help you do just that, here is Inductive Automation's Chief Operating Officer, Kat Jeschke.
Kat Jeschke: Hi everyone. I know you've been welcomed a lot by now, but I just wanna say, welcome. Thank you for being here. I wanted to share some company highlights with all of you, as well as some of our accomplishments and our company strategy. But before I go into those, I wanted to share just a little bit of my year with all of you. This year, I got the opportunity to attend conferences with many of you, and it's truly been a highlight of my year. In April we attended the HANNOVER MESSE with three of our international distributors, and it was incredible because we've been to shows in Germany before, but this time was different. The interest from the German market was amazing. We were in nonstop conversations all day long and well into the evening. We also got the chance to visit our Italian distributor EFA and attend SPS Parma. It was such an honor to meet all of our customers in Italy and to see the passion and enthusiasm shared across the globe for our software. These experiences reminded me how our Ignition community isn't just localized to one place, or this conference, but that it's truly everywhere.
Kat Jeschke: Seeing this community in action is what drives us to be the best company we can be. That mission to be the best came from our founders, Steve and Wendi-Lynn Hechtman, who were driven to build a different type of industrial automation software company. The result of their efforts is what you see today. So last year when the torch got passed to the new leadership team, we all came together and we wanted to continue to carry out that mission, continue to build and grow the best possible company in the industrial automation software industry. And I have to say if you could be a fly on the wall at our leadership summits, you'd be overwhelmed with the sense of purpose, care, and dedication that our leadership team embodies. It is their daily work, ideas, and creative spirit that are the driving force behind Inductive Automation.
Kat Jeschke: They truly embody our company motto, "Dream It, Do It." This motto isn't just something that we say. It's the creative spirit we strive to foster in our company, and we see examples of it every day. I just wanna highlight a few for you. There's Kevin Collins, who came up with the idea of Ignition Cloud Edition and played a huge role in developing it. And Sabrina Reese, who assembled the product council in software engineering to help steer the direction of Ignition development. And Jessica Geisser, who first thought of using the word "elevate" as the theme for this year's conference. And the incredible HR team who assembled a committee dedicated to keeping our company culture strong. And then there's more than a dozen of members of our software support team who came together to create the first-ever SCADA Arcade, which is a fun way for our support staff to develop their skills. These are just a few highlights of Dream It, Do It. And the reality is, I'm barely scratching the surface of all the talented team members at Inductive Automation that dream up new ideas every single day.
Kat Jeschke: Working with such talented people is what makes Inductive Automation a great place to work. And we see this clearly reflected in our retention numbers. Our retention numbers are far above industry averages, and much of our company's core staff has been at Inductive Automation since its early years. A great example of this is Jim Meisler. Jim was our first salesperson. He joined Inductive Automation in 2006, and he made hundreds of cold calls to any and all potential customers that would listen to him. Over these years, Jim has worked with thousands of people and helped scores of companies get started with Ignition. I'm sure many of you have probably talked with Jim over the years. In fact, I think it's fair to say that a good part of this audience may not even be at this conference today if it wasn't for Jim and his outstanding efforts. Well, at the end of this year, Jim is retiring. So before he goes, please help me give him a huge round of applause. He's right over there for seven...
Kat Jeschke: Woo!
Kat Jeschke: Thank you, Jim. Shifting now to the company strategy. At the beginning of each year we choose a handful of distinct areas that we think are vital for supporting the growth of Inductive Automation and this community. I'd like to take a few minutes here and highlight each one of these areas. I'm happy to say we've made tremendous progress in all of these areas. You've just heard about the product from Carl, and you'll learn even more in tomorrow's Technical Keynote. Suffice it to say though we've done a ton of work on the product this year, and our vision for where we want our software to go is as strong as ever.
Kat Jeschke: Growing our direct sales to more customers through more verticals has been a strategy for this year. One of the strengths of our company is the fantastic diversity of our customer base. We have thousands of customers, and our largest customer only makes up a very small percentage of our total sales. Having customers spread over hundreds of verticals shows how flexible Ignition is, and it makes our company extremely stable because we're not dependent on any one industry.
Kat Jeschke: Last year we saw strong growth in automotive, water and wastewater, and energy, and we saw substantial growth in newer verticals like transportation, data centers, public administration, and healthcare. Strong sales across these verticals and many more helped us finish last year with over 30% growth in revenue from the previous year, which continues our trend of strong year-over-year growth dating all the way back to 2010.
Kat Jeschke: Our channel sales programs continue to develop and we improve them. The program overall continues to grow a very strong rate, and distributors have done more shows and reach more customers than ever before. Our international sales grew by 33%, and today Ignition is being used in 130 countries, and that number continues to grow. We also added a new distributor, Clarion Solutions, which covers the Middle East and North Africa regions. The Integrator Program continues to be one of our key focus areas, and we've seen a ton of great growth in the program this year. We currently have 3,900 integration companies in the program, and since last September we've added 548 new integration firms, and there's five we've elevated to our highest level of Premier. The new Premier Integrators are Tristar Electrical, SAFEgroup Automation, Polaris Automation, Gray Solutions, and AXCEND Automation. Please give them a round of applause.
Kat Jeschke: Another focus area for us is employee development. This year we continued to hire a lot of new employees, bringing our total employee count to 340 total employees. This means we've nearly tripled since 2020, which is incredible. It can be a challenge to grow so quickly and maintain company culture and core values, which is why I'm extremely proud of all the work each division has done to help us stay true to our founding principles. Along those lines we also leveraged our Inductive University platform this year and created a course dedicated to onboarding new employees, and we're gonna continue to expand the series in the coming year. We put a very strong emphasis on employee growth and employee development, which is why I'm extremely proud to let you know we've had nearly 90 internal promotions in the last year. And finally our Educational Engagement Program has continued to grow, and we now have over 100 universities in the program. What's even more exciting is we continue to invest in this program, and we recently created a team that is dedicated to helping create curriculum for schools. So with all these efforts working together, we're striving to make the best possible software, spread it around the world, and create a one-of-a-kind customer experience.
Kat Jeschke: We've always believed that the impact of our software goes beyond what it can do on the plant floor. It extends to the impact it can have on people's lives. The fact is when people buy Ignition they usually have a specific purpose in mind, but then as they start using it, that purpose develops and grows, and it grows well past the original idea. So often what starts out as a solution to one problem grows organically over time to involve an entire plant, region, or even enterprise. This is because Ignition is unlimited both in licensing and functionality, and because it's backed by a company that is driven first and foremost by customer success. Together this can have quite the magic effect on the user, which we've taken to calling "The Ignition Effect."
Kat Jeschke: The best way to understand the Ignition effect is to hear from the people that have experienced it. So we've created a whole new video series that highlights members of this community to show you the impact Ignition has had on their companies, industries, and lives. I'd like to give you a sneak peek of the series now.
Bart Mans: For me, of course, it has a huge effect on my career.
Jerry Eppler: In like eight years I went from... I had never even heard of Ignition to now run a successful business.
Julio Velasco: Now, we've created a powerhouse right with Ignition from people who were straight out of the college.
Chris McLaughlin: If you happen to have even one year of experience actually implementing Ignition, seriously, there will be companies fighting over you.
Will Baker: Our hiring process has changed, where we're specifically calling out Ignition expertise.
Alicia Lomas: It kinda helps my chances of getting somebody excited about the role, being able to tell them that you're gonna be able to develop in Ignition.
J.C. Harrison: You had a lot of people ready for something different in the industrial automation.
Elizabeth Hill Reed: Ignition has allowed us to grow in our solutions that we're able to provide to customers.
Keith Gamble: I was building production applications and something that just came out of its beta.
Remus Pop: We flew out to Arizona on a Wednesday, and by Thursday afternoon we had a fully deployed OEE system monitoring four assembly lines.
Steven Downer: We've been able to provide features that are asked for and requested.
Julio Velasco: There was a very solid line between the IT world and the controls world. Now that line is completely obliterated, right? It's gone.
Alicia Lomas: What Ignition did was kind of open up everybody's minds.
Arnaud De Clerck: The only limit is the creativity that you have.
Jerry Eppler: Once they get Ignition in place, it spreads like a virus, but in a good way.
Will Baker: It's changed the way that I communicate with customers.
Keith Gamble: We're really starting to open those doors where clients were previously terrified of custom code and applications that were unsupportable.
Chris McLaughlin: And you put Ignition in there and that changed everything.
Bart Mans: A lot of customers still write things down on paper as spreadsheets, type everything in, and then they do some analysis, and we can automate that.
Chris Taylor: It's about giving value, giving new information, new data, even if a customer hasn't asked for it.
Evelyn Granizo: Before Ignition, the conversation with the customer were about limitation. The question now is, "What problem you need to solve?"
Remus Pop: The customer was so blown away that the next question was, "How fast can you deploy this to the rest of our company?"
Phillip Bourner: Everyone is sharing what they've done in the past, and everyone is taking that, innovating on top of it, making it better.
Arnaud De Clerck: When I saw the feedback on the LinkedIn from someone from Australia that say, "What? My resources is used in Australia? Come on."
Alicia Lomas: It would be kind of interesting to be the customer that kinda push some of these integrators towards Ignition.
Jerry Eppler: Why would you use 10 different pieces of software when none of them do exactly what you want, when you could build it exactly how you want?
Elizabeth Hill Reed: A lot was changing throughout the project, it was a very tight timeline, and I do not think that that project would have been possible without Ignition.
Chris Taylor: I swear we're not supposed to be doing the things we're doing, but Ignition is so flexible, it just allows us to do it.
Jonathan Swisher: Yeah, Ignition is a great solution because it's not tailored to any one industry.
Rob Raffaele: This is fundamentally what I think is a shift and really a game changer in the industry.
Remus Pop: What kinda shocked me a little bit is that Ignition is already almost everywhere, so.
Keith Gamble: Ignition was working its way into that education space, in a place that I don't think two years ago you would have ever seen.
Evelyn Granizo: It was exciting to see new talents being amazed by the power of the tool they were learning at the classroom.
Julio Velasco: His first day back he was like, "Oh, by the way, I finished the Inductive University. When can I get certified?" I was like, "What?"
Bart Mans: We did projects for really big companies in Europe.
Chris McLaughlin: So many people, they come from Australia and India and Sweden and Norway and Ecuador.
Madiha Javed: It's crazy kinda to see how far that software has gone.
Chris McLaughlin: And Canada and Mexico and all over the US.
Courtney Smith: We keep pushing the boundaries of what is actually possible with Ignition. How far can this thing go?
Elizabeth Hill Reed: I was actually the first person at TMC to learn Ignition.
Jerry Eppler: I think I was the first hire to actually go through Inductive University.
Jonathan Swisher: As far as I know, we were one of the first customers.
Bart Mans: I was the first Ignition programmer at the AT Automation.
Will Baker: It was a new world for me. I wasn't taught this stuff in school.
Remus Pop: I just went to Google and I googled off-the-shelf MES.
Chris McLaughlin: When I joined Vertech, they had done zero Ignition projects.
Alicia Lomas: And when the outbreak happened, I was in Italy with an equipment vendor.
Julio Velasco: In the Amazon jungle, teaching Ignition.
Keith Gamble: I knew your entire support staff on a first name basis.
Chris Taylor: That was the point at which I turned to my wife and I said, "We've got a huge opportunity."
Interviewer: What do you think the Ignition effect is?
J.C. Harrison: That's a good question.
Kat Jeschke: Pretty cool, huh?
Kat Jeschke: So The Ignition Effect launched today on our website along with five episodes, and we will release more throughout the year. In this series we documented a lot of incredible effects of Ignition, which all center around how Ignition is helping obliterate the line between IT and OT, to shift mindsets from limitations to solutions and make the impossible possible for people all across the globe. Helping people everywhere, "Dream It, Do It" is why we make software, and it's what drives us to keep elevating our organization. To talk more about how we're doing that, please help me welcome back to the stage Inductive Automation's CEO, Colby Clegg.
Colby Clegg: Thank you, Kat. Thank you. Well, as you can see, we've grown a lot as a company and a community. We're on a path and a trajectory that we've been on for a long time now. And frankly, I see no reason why it should slow down. But we all know, everyone here knows that growth is a challenge. Growth can be difficult. As we grow in resources, in stature, and in reach, there are real difficulties to confront. How do we maintain and scale the true essence of who we are and what you all love about us? How do we grow in sophistication and maturity to serve the needs of the large global enterprises that are approaching us every day now without forsaking the innovative early adopters and the dynamic integrators who have been here to support us since the beginning? Finally, with so much opportunity in front of us, how do we resist the urge to splinter out and dilute our focus, as unfortunately, so many companies do?
Colby Clegg: Well, these are all important questions, and we think about them all the time. And while not easy, I am confident that we can be successful, and we can do that by coming back and staying true to our core mission. From our founding, our mission has ultimately been extremely simple: to create tools that empower you to get things done. We took a far different route to build our company than most companies would, choosing to grow in an organic and independent way with no outside investment or influence. And we did that because we knew this industry needed someone it could trust, someone who ultimately only had one goal: their success.
Colby Clegg: That requires vision, and it requires independence. Today, we greatly value that independence. As a business, of course, we have all of the same goals and aspirations that any business should, but at the end of the day the only person we have to truly answer to is you, our customer. It hasn't been easy, and we've worked since the beginning, all together, led by Steve's vision to make this independence stable and viable. As I've settled into this role over the last 18 months, this has taken on a new light for me. I've been reminded in so many ways how this independence is vital to achieving our core mission. It gives me the confidence to say that we can continue to grow in a way that is responsible and beneficial to this community, growing not just for the sake of growth but growing with purpose. This lets us confront any challenges that might arise because we can always come back to that purpose: empower you to get things done. Our independence makes us unique, and we are fully dedicated to maintaining that.
Colby Clegg: It's important for me to highlight that this morning, because I do believe it is the cornerstone of what sets us apart. Our competitive advantage is far more than our software. It's the entire experience that you have with us. It is our software, but it's our support, our philosophies, unlimited access, open data, free knowledge transfer, all of that works together to create an experience that leads to that amazing Ignition effect that Kat just introduced. Ultimately, it's this experience that sets us apart from the competition, and that makes being a member of this community so special. That means that as we grow, we ultimately have to protect and then enhance that experience. And I'm very excited to highlight our dedication to that this morning.
Colby Clegg: A vital part of the Inductive Automation experience is the amazing personal service that we provide in every way, from the advice that our sales and sales engineering teams give to the incredible tech support we offer. It's all based on the personal conviction of our staff that their ultimate goal is to make you successful. A key element of our approach to this service has historically focused on keeping our staff close together, united by our office here in Folsom. There are important benefits to this especially as we manage everything we do ourselves with no outsourcing. It's important that all areas of the company can be in close and efficient communication. The downside, of course, is that even though we can interact with the whole world and even as a remote-first company now, we're still very localized to this region and time zone.
Colby Clegg: As part of our strategy to address this, we've leaned onto our Integrator Program and of course have established our international distribution program. Both of these groups work every day to reach customers in their own time zones and their own languages, and our distributors are truly doing a wonderful job of representing all of our core values in their parts of the world. However, both continue to rely on Inductive Automation for high-level support, and of course, there are many functions that only we can fill. If we're going to succeed in pushing the envelope on the experience that all of our customers have, our distributors, our integrators, our end users, we have to expand. And that is exactly what I'm thrilled to present to you this morning with the introduction of Inductive Automation Australia.
Colby Clegg: Australia is an excellent strategic location because it gives us direct coverage over a significant and important part of the world. This is the home of iControls, our long-time distributor and partner, and they have done a tremendous job of opening up and developing this market. We've reached an agreement to bring over the staff and assets of iControls as Inductive Automation Australia, meaning that immediately we have a full team of knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and dedicated staff, ready and excited to help provide the best experience possible in this important region of the world.
Colby Clegg: Not only will Australia give us the opportunity to provide more support and resources to our current customers, it'll also give us a great base of operations on which to ramp up our sales and marketing efforts to other vital countries in this region over time. We also look forward to being able to offer extended tech support, reducing response times and the need for after-hour support for all of our customers. This will, of course, ramp up over time, and as of this morning we have an announcement up on our website, laying out our timeline and our plans over the next few months. But coming back to a high level, this means that after 20 years, Inductive Automation is finally a multinational company. As our community grows to span the entire globe, we wanna be right there with you to provide the best experience possible. Please help me in welcoming the New Australian members of Inductive Automation, now joining us today and remotely.
Colby Clegg: Well, since I mentioned 20 years, when I think that Inductive Automation turns 20 this year, what excites me the most isn't how far we've come, it's how far we can go. This anniversary is a milestone to be certain. It's a testament to Steve and Wendi-Lynn's vision and drive to push forward when most of the industry thought that the established solutions were as far as we could go. But it's clear to me that this year is so much more. It's a starting point for what's to come. Ignition was developed with all kinds of features to break down barriers, but perhaps the most powerful feature of all isn't anything that we coded it to do. It's the fact that by removing limits, Ignition brings people, data, and ideas together. This morning you've seen many examples of that and have seen that the heights to which this community can elevate automation are truly unlimited. You've learned how companies are making Digital Transformation a reality today.
Colby Clegg: You've seen the impact that we can have on society by leveraging Ignition for more than just automation. You've seen our dedication to growing with purpose and striving to provide an ever richer and more fulfilling experience to this entire community. Ultimately, every day we all have different challenges to confront, new technologies to figure out trying to find the best path forward. But I know there's no better place for innovation and world-changing progress to be made than right here in this community. Supporting you is our purpose, and we promise to do everything we can to be there for you for the next 20 years, just as you've been here to support us for the first 20. With that, I welcome you once again to ICC 2023, and hope you have a wonderful conference.