Ignition Community Live: Practical Ways to Use Ignition to Achieve Digital Transformation

35 min video  /  33 minute read


James Burnand

Chief Executive Officer

4IR Solutions

Joseph Dolivo


4IR Solutions

Lauren Walters

Marketing Projects Manager

Inductive Automation

The phrase "Digital Transformation" is taking the world by storm — but is there substance behind the hype? In this presentation, executives from 4IR will describe current trends in manufacturing digital transformation and show how these initiatives deviate from technology adoption cycles of the past. We will close with a technical showcase of specific, practical examples of Ignition techniques you can use today in support of digital transformation initiatives.


Lauren: Good morning, everybody. Welcome to Ignition Community Live. Thanks so much for joining us this morning. We're really excited to share with you all, today. Today is Episode 34, and we've got an exciting topic for you all. It's “Practical Ways to Use Ignition to Achieve Digital Transformation.” And just to introduce myself, my name is Lauren Walters. I'm the Marketing Projects Manager at Inductive Automation, and I'm just here to moderate today's episode. But, I am excited to introduce our speakers, both of whom are from 4IR Solutions. If you haven't heard of 4IR Solutions, they are the leading provider of cloud-based platform solutions for manufacturing to enable digitalization and embrace the Fourth Industrial Revolution. And, we're super excited today to announce that 4IR is now officially a Solutions Partner of Inductive Automation. And as a Solutions Partner, 4IR collaborates with Inductive Automation to provide excellent solutions to their customers. Today, we'll be hearing from the company's CEO, James Burnand, and CTO, Joseph Dolivo. Thanks for being here, James and Joe, we're so excited to have you. I'd love both of you to tell us a little bit more about what you do, how you got to where you are today, and we'd love to hear a little bit about the role your company is playing as an Inductive Automation Solutions Partner. James, could we start with you? 

James: Oh, sure. Thanks, Lauren. So hi, everybody, I'm James. I've been in this industry for a little while. I spent the last 20 years working at a systems integration company in a variety of roles, including technical operations and sales. In 2001, in June, I started working with 4IR, with the purpose of refocusing and relaunching the company to enable systems integrators, OEMs, and end users to be able to leverage Ignition in the cloud. Our two products, FactoryStack and PharmaStack are designed to fit in what we see as a white space. This makes it easy for system integrators, OEMs, and other service providers to be able to offer their solutions in the cloud and for end users to be able to leverage our fully managed platforms for operating their Ignition workloads in either a hybrid or full-cloud deployment. We're super excited to be announcing our Solutions Partner status with Inductive Automation today. We've been working very closely with the Inductive team for a number of years, and are looking forward to being more deeply engaged with this community.

Lauren: Awesome. Thank you so much, James. And Joe, could I hear a little from you as well? 

Joseph: Absolutely. Thanks, Lauren. Hi, everybody. I'm Joe, I've been working in the community first as a happy user for a very long time, and then more recently, focused around enterprise solutions. Been very involved with the Inductive and Sepasoft teams with the Business Connector and the Interface for SAP ERP product. More recently, we've been getting involved in some consulting around the life sciences industry as well as cloud and in this case, enterprise solutions. So the theme, "Digital Transformation," really fits in well with where I think we see the industry going, and where a lot of our expertise from building products in the space is hopefully something we can lend to the community. So, looking forward to the discussion today.

Lauren: Absolutely. Well, we're so excited that you're both here, and really interested to hear more. With that, I will hand it over to you, James, to start the presentation.

James: Alright. Thank you, Lauren. Alright, so for today's agenda, we'd like to start off by describing some plant-floor technology adoptions in the past and why Digital Transformation is different. We'd also like to describe the landscape of companies and stakeholders for Digital Transformation initiatives and what we believe it means to be plant-floor-focused people for many of you on the call today. And then we'd like to dive into some examples and scenarios of ways that you can use Ignition to solve problems that are often connected to or at the core of Digital Transformation initiatives. So, let's get started. So, to really understand what Digital Transformation is and why it's so important for manufacturing, I think it's important to first look back. I'll use my own career to hopefully paint this picture. I started working in industrial automation in the late '90s, and at that time, most PLCs, HMIs, and data systems were proprietary and integration between systems was very complicated and cumbersome. PROFIBUS, Modbus, DeviceNet, ControlNet, Data Highway, RS45, RS232 were the protocols very commonly used, and understanding how to transfer data from controller to controller, or to data collection systems, not only required knowledge of how the network functioned, but also the perspective of how to use those networks without causing issues in their operations.

James: And yes, I had all the connectors shown on the left, plus a whole lot of others that I carried around the continent in my backpack, for a number of years. Across the next 20 years, technology adoption has often been connected to the purchase of equipment, upgrade of processes, or introduction of new products. Innovation has been there, but the speed of adoption wasn't as high as it could have been, because of some of the constraints. So to help describe this, I'd like to talk about virtualization on the plant floor. We've only recently reached the point with virtualization, where it's become the de facto way for plant floor applications to be deployed. As you can see on this graph, there was a large delay between starting the rollout in the enterprise versus the plant floor, and this is due to a combination of vendor support and user risk tolerance and the driving force behind adoption being generally project-focused. So, why have I taken you on this journey down memory lane? I wanted to do this to contrast what is happening today. The initiatives of the past were primarily driven by the incremental merit of their adoption. They were mostly introduced by technology vendors, partners or solution providers, and the convergence of technologies has completely changed this landscape.

James: So, let's talk a little bit about convergence. We've heard the term thrown around for years. It means the interoperability and technologies used by the IT space, becomes similar to that of the OT space. The ability to exchange information using standard interfaces, the ability to leverage the capabilities of IT technologies like the cloud and to create a more connected data landscape. To be clear, we're not fully converged, but we've come a long way towards it. This is hugely important because a converged infrastructure can adopt and adapt faster. The use of standard interfaces and easy-to-connect platforms and data models, means that new technologies can be deployed at scale without some of the challenges I've described in my last few slides. This specifically enables the changes brought by Digital Transformation, to be more of a revolution versus an evolution in the industrial space.

James: So, I mentioned the word, “revolution.” I'm sure you've heard of Industry 4.0, which refers to the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The digitalization of industry, as opposed to the first three industrial revolutions: mechanization, electrification, and automation. Each of these previous industrial revolutions fundamentally changed how industrial companies operated and led to step changes in productivity and flexibility. Digitalization is expected to be as or perhaps more significant. Don, Kevin, and Kent described in one of their recent webinars, “Bringing Digital Transformation Into Focus,” that this is not a technology problem. It's a combination of people, processes, and programs that is needed to deliver this change. Digital Transformation changes the way you operate, by leveraging the capabilities that can be enabled with technologies. Some of the most common examples are digital twins, digitally-enabled workforces with things like mobile access and augmented reality, migration to the cloud, advanced analytics, predictive maintenance, and a host of others.

James: Because of these technologies, there's a lot of companies that are involved in plant-floor Digital Transformation and that many industrial automation folks might not be familiar with. Consulting houses, cloud providers, technology providers, IT-centric integrators are all part of the Digital Transformation puzzle for our organizations. We need to make sure that as industrial-focused individuals, that we know how to play our part in these initiatives. So, how do you do that? Well, first, speaking and describing solutions in terms of their business value is absolutely critical when you're working with end users. For example, if you look at the McKinsey Digital Compass, the circle shown on the slide on the left, which aims to connect value drivers to the Industry 4.0 leverage that can be used to achieve them, you'll see that predictive maintenance as an example, has business drivers that are asset utilization and service costs, which relates to reduction in downtime and reduction in maintenance cost.

James: Using tools like this is a way for you to be able to connect plant-floor-level initiatives to those higher level business drivers that the C-suite is often focused upon. Now, seeking to understand whether there's already been a road map developed, will help you understand how to contribute to the objectives using your expertise and the tools you're familiar with, like Ignition, and ensuring that good technology choices are being made for plant floor uses. We need to balance between usability, risk, and functionality. Ensuring that the needs of the plant floor are being met while still providing the ability to achieve the business objectives is a function that only plant-floor-knowledgeable people can do effectively.

James: So, what we brought for you today are some examples of ways to use the power of the Ignition platform as part of Digital Transformation initiatives. We feel that these examples can be used in many different ways to help with the integration of plant floor assets to business systems. So I'll hand it over to Joe Dolivo, who's gonna walk you through those examples. Joe.

Joseph: Awesome, thanks, James. The first example I wanna talk through is, providing context for disparate data sources. Now, Digital Transformation initiatives, of course, require access to manufacturing data, which comes with a handful of challenges. The first challenge being, getting access to that data. Data often exists in what we tend to call data silos, which are various systems that are disconnected from each other, and then even once you have physical access to this data, you wanna make sure you are providing appropriate context, to make the data meaningful and actionable. There are many self-proclaimed IoT platforms that will allow you to simply ingest data from a limited set of sources, but oftentimes, this data is missing context, such as financial data from business systems, to understand the real cost of downtime, maybe historical data from previous runs, to compare against your current performance, even other contemporary factors like environmental conditions in the room that can prove really useful for analytics and machine learning tools. They're trying to derive correlations and insights. And finally, even once you acquire access to data, and you contextualize it with other relevant data, you have to make sure that the data is accurate, so it has correct time stamps, correct units, and then it doesn't have any gaps which could impact your analysis and decision-making.

Joseph: Data scientists will tell you that data cleansing is one of the most time-consuming parts of building machine learning and analytics solutions, and that it is a lot easier to clean data at the source than it is after the fact. So with that background information, I wanted to showcase a specific example of how we can use Ignition to provide context for these disparate data sources. Consider this simplified architecture, where we have a single Ignition Edge gateway connected to two PLCs, controlling two different production lines. One PLC might be something like a SLC 500 with some non-obvious tag names like you see on the left, and the other might be something more modern, like a ControlLogix or Siemens S7. Looking at the code, I might be able to figure out that both of these PLCs are controlling equipment with motors, but what would be nice would be to be able to model a generic motor, let's say, and to be able to organize and structure these tags in a way that is consistent with how I think about my manufacturing processes, possibly using a standard like ISA-95. So Ignition as a tool, lets me create user-defined types or UDTs that can model any repeatable asset like a motor, in this case, and using the tag browser, I can build a cohesive model with proper tag names that better reflects my manufacturing process.

Joseph: James, can you click to the next slide, please? Thanks. And so, using a standard structure like this is particularly important when you talk about enterprise deployments where you might wanna have data that gets rolled up and compared across multiple sites. Having the data structure the same across those multiple sites is gonna make it easier for us to be able to do those kinds of comparisons and look at data in aggregate at the enterprise level. This leads actually, right into our next example of providing real-time access to data across the enterprise. So here, we're gonna build on our previous architecture that we just looked at and introduce a new enterprise-level Ignition server and a corporate SAP system there at the top. The ERP systems like SAP contain lots of relevant business data that can be useful for the manufacturing floor. Synchronizing this data across systems enables faster decision making and eliminates human error and time wasted from performing things like manual data entry. So for this example, we wanna showcase how we can create a production order, let's say an SAP, and using a combination of modules and some built-in Ignition features, we can distribute that production order down from a corporate Ignition server all the way down to the plant floor.

Joseph: On the right side here, you can see a production order we created in SAP. What we'd like to be able to do, is to automatically download this and other production orders to the plant floor, so the manufacturing team knows what product to make and the target quantity to make. To do this, we're gonna use the Sepasoft Business Connector and the Interface for SAP ERP modules. If you look on the left here, we've created a simple piece of logic that calls a native SAP function to get a list of production orders that meet certain criteria that we care about. Maybe we're filtering by plants or we're filtering by a range of order numbers. And then on the right, we've defined a simple structure called a parameter, which contains just the information we care about. As you might imagine, SAP systems have lots of information, some of which may or may not be useful to the manufacturing process that we're doing on the production floor. And then using the Business Connector, we can create a simple mapping that stores the relevant fields from the SAP function and map them into our parameter.

Joseph: If you look at the map here, we have the order ID, we have the SKU, which is basically the products or the material that we wanna create, and then we have the quantity. And you can see here, we have a very simple one-to-one mapping of these fields, and there's a lot of other information that may or may not be important to us. And the rest of this is just gonna be standard Ignition features. So here, we need to find a tag up there at the top, which is basically a trigger event for communicating with SAP. And we have an example here that when this tag is set to true, we're gonna run that Business Connector chart, we're gonna pass the data as something called the gateway message, which basically will package it up and send it over Ignition's gateway network, down from the corporate instance to the site-level Ignition instance. And then at the site-level gateway, we define something called a message handler, which is going to receive that data, it's gonna write it to a tag, and then we can use the data in that tag, anywhere inside our application.

Joseph: Note that there are a number of other ways to synchronize data across Ignition gateways such as remote tag providers, MQTT brokers, and what we've shown here is just a single example. We'll put out our contact information at the end of this presentation, if you're interested in receiving actual project files for this example that you can use for your own systems. For the next example, when we look at talking about real-time data access, we have to recognize the role of mobile devices in accessing that data. And especially over the last couple of years, companies have had to deal more and more with distributed workforces, especially with employees working from home. And so, having remote visibility into that data is especially critical. Even for employees on the manufacturing floor, enabling them to receive and acknowledge alarm notifications, for example, can save precious cycles of running around to HMI terminals, and it can ultimately reduce your machine downtime.

Joseph: And then aside from the manufacturing process itself, many companies are going paperless and may provide tablets for employees to, for example, take quality samples and be able to complete forms on the go. So really, whether you're working from home and need access to data or while you're on the move, having mobile device access is a critical part of companies, especially as a part of these Digital Transformation strategies that are getting built out. And so for Ignition, by being built on standard-responsive web technologies, you already get best-in-class mobile device support, and that's for devices of all form factors, including mobile phones, tablets, even smaller screen panels. In this example, we have two different views for acknowledging alarms, and these views depend on whether or not we're on a mobile device, like on the left, or on the desktop device, where we may expose some additional features in a way that takes advantage of the larger screen size. From a security standpoint, Ignition is quite robust, in that it allows us to allow or disallow certain actions depending on which system we're connected to.

Joseph: So if you consider the architecture we discussed before, you can see there's a new mobile device icon there on the left, and depending on our policies in our manufacturing processes, we can connect to an Ignition gateway either locally in the plant, or potentially at the corporate level. And let's say, for devices connected to the corporate Ignition instance, we may wanna provide visibility to what's happening at the plant floor, but we probably don't wanna allow a device control for safety reasons, like on the left. One way to support this in a distributed architecture is to use Ignition's robust security model, to specify read-only access levels for services like tag providers over the gateway network. If you look on the right, when you have this setting configured, clients connected to the corporate Ignition instance can read from but not write to tags at the plant level, and this is a great way of enforcing that kind of security restriction at the gateway level. Of course, some companies may not wanna provide all business-level employees with direct access to manufacturing applications at all, and may instead wanna provide actionable insights in a more digestible format inside of a dedicated analytics tool like Microsoft Tableau or Microsoft's Power BI.

Joseph: If you look at the next screen, I have an architecture showcasing one of the ways in which you can kind of achieve this kind of data synchronization, and certainly, there are a number of ways to get data into these tools, such as with REST APIs, but I'm gonna show you an actual example we're using, that allows us to visualize sales information inside of Power BI. Here, we're building on that existing architecture we've already shown and we've added a few new components that we'll talk through coming slides. So we start by defining RESTful web service endpoints using the Sepasoft Web Services Module, to query order information from our CRM system. Looking at the screenshots, you may notice that these are actually still from Ignition 7.9, but the same principles apply in 8 and 8.1. After querying data from the CRM system, we use Ignition's named query feature to store order information that we've obtained from that RESTful endpoint and to store it in a relational database. We then use a free Microsoft tool called the on-premises data gateway to synchronize data from the database with Power BI and to make it available for use in reports, dashboards, and even on mobile dashboards like you might have on an Apple Watch.

Joseph: Now, using the same principle, you can create your own reports in Power BI and even use some of the built-in analytics capabilities for generating insights and looking for anomalies. As the sample report from Microsoft shows on the next slide, Power BI can offer to detect anomalies in data, and in this case, to actually explain a month-to-month decrease in sales volume. If you click on Analyze and then Explain the Decrease, Power BI will show you a visualization that attributes that decrease to two product categories, which in this case, may help us with forecasting or maybe with making other decisions at the business level. And this is data that we may not see in this format at the manufacturing level, and it's something that we'll see more of from the business-level folks.

Joseph: So the last example I wanted to talk through was change management. You know, an important driver of Digital Transformation initiatives is making companies more agile, and in order to adapt to changing market conditions and customer preferences, companies must have the freedom to be able to iterate rapidly in order to be able to stay competitive. Now at the same time, moving quickly sometimes means breaking things, and it's equally important to plan for the inevitable disaster scenario so that you can roll back to a good known state. And finally, even with fast iteration, it's important to be able to demonstrate control. This is of course, critical for regulated industries, but even non-regulated industries benefit strongly from having clear tracking of changes. The more automated this whole process can be, the more confidently and safely companies are able to iterate. A key technology for enabling automated change tracking is a version control system like SVN or Git or even CVS in the older days.

Joseph: And so, while version control systems have been around for decades, they are quite new to the industrial automation world. Fortunately Ignition provides best-in-class support out of the box. And so for a final example, today I'll be demonstrating change control using 4IR's cloud-based Ignition platform called FactoryStack, which includes a visual front-end for Git. The “Ignition 8 Deployment Best Practices Guide” linked to here provides guidance on how you can set up a similar system yourself. So to start, consider an existing Ignition Perspective screen to which we’d like to make a change. In this case, we use the Ignition Designer to change the label above a chart. You can see the original value there at the top, and then what I'm changing to in the little pop-up.

Joseph: Using FactoryStack, when we hit Save inside the Ignition Designer, our change is immediately pushed up to a cloud-based Git repository where a properly authenticated user can visually observe the change. The system provides automated change tracking out of the box, complete with an auditable history of when and where resources were changed, which itself is enough for many companies to just have that change log.

Joseph: Now, for other companies making changes directly to a production system is not acceptable, and so these companies choose to require an approval workflow for migrating changes from development systems to test or production. For these cases, it's useful to use a concept called a pull or a merge request. When the developer is happy with the changes they made inside the Ignition Designer on the dev system, they can create a new pull request, which notifies a designated team that changes made to that development system are available for review and approval. If an approver is happy with those changes, they can choose to merge the pull request, which will appropriately pull those changes into the test or production system, maintaining a sort of digital paper trail along the way. Lauren, I'll pass it back over to you.

Lauren: Awesome, thanks so much, and I'll take a couple of questions from the audience. Looks like we have a few already popping in, but I'll start with one we often get, which is, is this presentation recorded? And yes, it is recorded, we will send out the recording to the entire audience, and anyone who even didn't make it today. We'll move on to one of the first questions I see in the queue here. Joe, can you explain what the Microsoft tool that interfaces with Power BI you were... It sounds like you went through it pretty quick...

Joseph: Sure, yeah, so it's a tool called the on-premises data gateway, it's a free tool that Microsoft provides, and it's really... It's a way of taking data that might exist within your own, let's say, on-premise infrastructure and making it available to Power BI, which is also available in a downloadable form, but we're using the cloud-hosted version of that that's provided as a service. And so from the on-premises data gateway, you can make connections to, let's say, local databases over an ODBC-type connection, and then you can synchronize that data up into the cloud. So then when you're configuring your reports inside of Power BI, you can connect to a data source and that data source will be replicated data that's pushed from, let's say, an on-premise instance. There's a lot of other ways to do that.

Joseph: If you're looking at Power BI or Tableau in particular, they have published endpoints, so like a REST or a SOAP API that you can use to push data up into there, because we already had this data stored in a database format, it was really easy for us to use that tool but it's called the on-premises data gateway. So not super creative, but it's pretty direct and to the point of what it does.

Lauren: Awesome, thank you for that question, Julian. I've got a few other seed questions for you guys, how does ERP play into the unified main space of a manufacturing Digital Transformation? Does it need to be isolated from the manufacturing plant or...

Joseph: I can take that one. I think unified namespace is, I've heard from a couple of vendors and some other folks in the space, I think what it really gets to is having... I'll avoid using the term in the definition. But having a single model that is reflective of all of your data regardless of where it comes from. And so we showed an example of having kind of a tag model that conforms to a standard like ISA-95. Even within the Ignition ecosystem, you have Sparkplug B within the MQTT infrastructure, which is really aimed at providing that kind of model. And even ISA-95 has the top level for the enterprise, and so we do have a way in that model to consider data that isn't just from the manufacturing floor, but may also contain data coming from the enterprise, like an ERP system. One of the challenges in building these models, of course, is defining where is that single source of truth, and if I have data that's generated on the manufacturing floor, for example, the machines are really where that data is coming from.

Joseph: And then if I have financial information about what's the cost of downtime, for example, that's something that is that single source of truth where that information is configured, is there in my SAP or my ERP system. And so using, let's say ISA-95 or some other modeling standard something like B2MML, which is a representation of those ISA-95 models in a format XML, which is kind of common to other MES systems, other ERP systems, you can have that single model regardless of where the data originates. So I hope that kind of speaks to that, that question there was that piece as well, about does it need to be isolated from the manufacturing plant floor, and I think it's absolutely critical that the data that the manufacturing systems need to operate is available regardless of connectivity to an ERP system.

Joseph: So we tend to think of manufacturing systems as running in real-time business systems, like ERP systems are more transactional. So even if you're, let's say, consuming material to produce something on the manufacturing floor, you may not be reporting every single material that's consumed or produced at the time, you may do something called a backflush where you're gonna populate that after the fact. And so it's really important, it's critical, in fact that the manufacturing system can operate at least to a point offline and disconnected, but obviously synchronizing that data is really critical. And so there's a number of different ways we can do that, both using the modules that we highlight today as whether... As well as some of the other tools that are out there. Great question.

Lauren: Excellent, and I have kind of a more general question, and maybe James or Joe, you can both chime in on this one. When starting this digital manufacturing journey, there are some common pitfalls that people might kind of fall victim to. What are some that people can avoid or should avoid if they're really getting started? 

James: I guess I'll take this one. I think being dazzled by technology is a pretty common, pretty common thing that we run across is that no matter where the journey starts, you have to focus on what the business objectives are first, what you're trying to achieve, and really look at the technologies that will help you achieve those goals. Yes, technologies and testing and learning technologies is absolutely critical to understanding how they work and how you might apply them, but if there's no business reason to be applying those technologies, then you're kinda doomed from the start... It's kind of like my 3D printer, it's a solution without a problem to solve. It's still in the box. The other thing is, I would suggest that folks start out small, doing pilots, doing initial rollouts, doing proof of concepts and really ensuring that the hypotheses that you generate as you're generating the business value justification, prove them before you go and roll out or make a wide investment. I think it's a hugely important step that I think sometimes gets missed.

Joseph: And I'll just add to that as well, in the context of this presentation, I mean, Ignition really is a great tool for doing that because you can do these little proof of concepts or pilot projects very quickly. Ignition is modular, so you can just use the modules that you care about to demonstrate value very, very quickly before you bite off a whole solution that may take a much longer time to be able to actually see that value in your business.

Lauren: Excellent. Well, that's great to hear from both of you. I know we talked about some resources that were available. Can people reach out to you to learn more about those resources? 

James: Yeah, absolutely, yeah. Certainly, you can reach out to us via our website or we do have an email included on this slide. But yeah, we're able to provide some of the details from the slide deck today, and I think one of the sample projects, and certainly if there's any questions or you guys wanna dig in deeper to those examples, we're happy to do so.

Lauren: Excellent. Well, do we have any kind of final thoughts? Big picture before we wrap up today from the two of you, maybe... James, I can start with you.

James: Yeah, yeah, I guess I would just encourage the amount of opportunity investment and attention that Digital Transformation has today is really unprecedented in terms of the ability for, I'll call it plant-floor-centric folks to be able to really make big changes in the way that things happen inside of the four walls of a factory or in an industrial setting. I think it's really an important piece for us to make sure that we understand how to connect what we see as opportunities for improvements or new ways of accomplishing the goals that we're most connected to with the business objectives as well. And application, and intelligent application of technologies while connecting those with the right processes, the right people, and the right programs, I think that's all a part of that formula, but I would encourage you not to pretend that it... Don't put your head in the sand and pretend that this isn't happening in your company, because it probably is. If you're not aware of it, you're probably just not paying attention.

Lauren: And Joe how about you? 

Joseph: Yeah, I'll just kind of echo that it's funny 'cause I think even looking at cloud as an example, these are things where I'd say a lot of vendors were maybe pushing this five or 10 years ago, and the end users weren't really... weren't really ready for it. The past couple of years, especially, have really kind of been an about-face where we've had companies that are asking for this because they're putting these strategies together that are driven by market conditions, driven by other things that are going on in the world, and they realize that if they're not gonna start adopting some of these practices or starting to think about these things, they're gonna get left behind. And so what we've seen is, let's say even the companies that have been able to be very successful in the past couple of years have already started thinking or in some cases, implementing these business process changes and using technologies like Ignition to drive that and to make them successful. So this isn't one of those things James talked about, the technology adoption curves. This isn't one of those things where you have maybe 10 years to lagging behind the leaders, this is something that companies are doing right now, and we encourage everybody to start finding ways to undergo their own Digital Transformation journey, and we're more than willing to help with that.

Lauren: Awesome, thanks so much, James and Joe. As we wrap up here, I point you to 4IR's website, which is at the bottom of this slide, www.4ir.cloud, or you can email them, sales@4ir.cloud to reach out and hear more from them and really... We're so grateful that we got some time, but let's see, it looks like we did get one more question and we do have a little bit of time, any comments around cybersecurity concerns from Joe or James? 

James: Yeah, actually, it's a great topic and we didn't really touch on it very much, but specifically when you look at the integration of applications and the leveraging of the cloud, cybersecurity has to be kind of paramount. I think what's interesting is if you look at the relative level of vulnerability of plant floor systems, and you look back at things like NotPetya and some of the impacts that have been felt inside of the plant floor environments in the last several years, I would actually argue that by leveraging technologies, like for example in our product FactoryStack, everything is built using containerized deployment, updates are handled automatically, all of the system is running on encrypted data connections from place to place, with the zero trust policy integrated in with Active Directory. That's probably a whole lot more secure than my factory floor server that's been sitting there for 15 years and has never received an update. So I actually think that there's different sorts of risks than there was before, but certainly the ability for organizations to be able to do, to leverage these technologies in a secure way is something that I think the enterprise has already been demonstrating and is something that the factory floor, or the plant floor needs to follow along quickly.

Lauren: Excellent, any other thoughts on that? On that particular topic.

Joseph: Well, cybersecurity is itself, it's a fantastic topic, maybe a great topic for a future webinar, but it's definitely relevant and certainly with what we've been doing is something that we've kind of built in from the ground up, if you will, and as companies are looking at the... Again, beyond the business process piece of the Digital Transformation, but looking at how would they actually implement that from a technical level, having that be critical to that process is especially important.

Lauren: Awesome. I do wanna put a quick plug in for the Discover Gallery before we end. Submissions are due by April 30th for the Discover Gallery, we're taking project submissions. And to participate, you fill out the online submission form, tell us about your most innovative recent Ignition project for those of you who are members of the Ignition community. If your project gets selected for the Discover Gallery, we'll feature it at 2022’s ICC, the Ignition Community Conference. And we hope you'll take this opportunity to get recognized for your work. It's a really neat program, and we can't wait to see what you've built and to share it with the community. And I wanna say thanks again to you, James and Joe as we head out today, it was really great to hear from you both, and yeah, we'll look forward to hearing more from you as partners in the future. And finally, please join us on Thursday, March 31st for our next webinar, which is “5 Mobile-Responsive Layout Strategies.” And as always, don't forget to follow us, social media, subscribe to our newsfeed and our podcast. Thank you, James. Thank you, Joe, for joining us today.

James: Happy St. Patrick's Day.

Lauren: Ah yes, Happy St. Patrick's Day everybody, and we will see you for the next ICL.



Posted on March 9, 2022