Ignition Community Live with Carl Gould & Colby Clegg

Ignition Community Live

49 min video  /  43 minute read

Join the original developers of Ignition, Colby Clegg and Carl Gould, for the surprise release of a new version of Ignition that's unlike any that came before it. Carl and Colby answer audience questions and Travis Cox demonstrates some of the exciting new possibilities of the platform. Watch this special episode of Ignition Community Live to see what's possible with the new Ignition Maker Edition!

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Webinar Transcript

Don: Welcome, everyone, to the Ignition Community Live. My name is Don Pearson. I'm Chief Strategy Officer of Inductive Automation and I'm just here to kick off today's event. This is Episode 10 featuring Carl Gould and Colby Clegg from Inductive Automation. I was just kinda thinking about this, Carl and Colby, and I think this may be the first time that we have had a presentation from you two guys, since the ICC Developer Panel last year, so it's great having a chance to get together with the two of you in a conversation today.

Colby: Yeah, thanks Don. Yeah, I guess, we've been socially distancing since before it was the thing to do, but [chuckle] we've been working hard and so, we're excited to be here today.

Carl: Yeah, excited to be here. It's a cool announcement.

Don: And working hard, absolutely. Thanks. As everyone probably knows, Carl and Colby are here to make a surprise Ignition release announcement, and we're gonna get to that pretty soon. I do suspect that most of you on this call are pretty familiar with Ignition, but for those watching who aren't familiar with our software, it's a universal industrial application platform for HMI, SCADA, MES and IoT. The Ignition platform is currently used by 54% of Fortune 100 and by 40% of the Fortune 500 companies, and it's known for these bullet points you see here and a whole lot more. The unlimited licensing model, cross-platform compatibility, IT-standard technologies, scalable server-client architecture, web-based, web-managed, web-launched design and web clients, the modular configurability, and of course rapid development and deployment tools. Before we bring on Carl and Colby, I just wanna take a few minutes to give you a sense of what our mission has been since the company started in 2003, and how today's announcement fits into that.

Don: Our mission statement is, as you see here, "To create industrial software that empowers our customers to swiftly turn great ideas into reality by removing all technological and economic obstacles." How do you remove the obstacles that stop people from changing their companies, their customers and their industries for the better? Providing great software is certainly part of the answer. One of our founders, Steve Hechtman, always understood that in order to be truly innovative, people need knowledge and tools that are readily and easily available. That's why we've always let anyone download and use the full featured software that we have for free. Pretty soon we established our training program after that, and that was great for our customers, but there was still some bottlenecks, because of the travel and expenses required to attend the classes here in Folsom. So in 2014, we launched a free comprehensive online training resource for anyone interested in learning how to use Ignition, and we called it Inductive University or IU. Basic idea was that we wanted to share our knowledge globally and make it readily available without any economic, physical or other barriers to entry.

Don: Launching IU was really an accelerator for people's ability to use Ignition. And since the launch in September 2014, there have been over 3.4 million videos watched, 778,000 challenges passed, and over 10,000 credentials earned. By staying focused on our original goal as a company, we've consistently worked towards giving people everything they need to use their knowledge, their skills and their innovative capabilities to really take industrial automation to a new level. Based on the response to this webinar, which happens to be our highest ever, I can now actually say that we have thousands of people who registered for the first time to attend today's presentation. I suspect you're pretty excited for it too, so, let's go ahead and get started and get right into it. Carl Gould and Colby Clegg have been the lead developers of Ignition platform from the very beginning.

Don: Travis Cox has also been with the company from its very early days and has participated in almost every development product that we had and the deployment of those products with customers since day one, and he's also participating in today's presentation. Carl Gould is our Director of Software Engineering. He continues to lead the development of Ignition and to innovate new ways to elevate the software and the industry as a whole. Colby Clegg is our VP of Technology, and he works continually to make Ignition do more things in more places, focusing on data management, performance and distributed computing. Travis Cox is our Co-Director of Sales Engineering. He continues to oversee HMI, SCADA and IoT projects across multiple industries, creating many vocal Ignition advocates along the way. All three of them have played essential roles in the company's growth, and they continue to push forward the development of Ignition and its application to new areas. With that, Carl and Colby, over to you guys.

Carl: Alright, thanks Don. Many of you who visited our previous office, when you walked in to the front of the office, you would see this giant poster right as you walked in that said, "Dream It, Do It." And we really like this slogan, because in four tiny words we're able to convey so much of who we are as a company, how we approach creating Ignition and how our Ignition community is able to use our products.

Colby: When we got started over 15 years ago, we didn't just set out to build another industrial software package. We wanted to create a new paradigm of what an industrial platform and software company could be. Steve Hechtman, our founder and CEO, was passionate about creating a product, and more importantly, a company that he as a long-time integrator would want to work with. A lot of how we did this comes down to one simple principle: Community engagement.

Carl: As a new company back then, you might not think that we really had much of a community to begin with, but it turns out that we really did, because as integrators, we were already part of a much larger community, and there was a whole world of other systems integrators out there that had the same frustrations, same difficulties as we did and more importantly, they had the same goals and desire to innovate as us.

Colby: Our community has been vital in helping us maintain an innovation-oriented approach to developing Ignition. What we mean by this is that we've always tried to keep an eye out for ways that technologies and tools from different sectors could be leveraged to make Ignition as capable and flexible as possible. And very often it's you, the members of our community, who show us things that you've created that blow us away and give us the best ideas.

Carl: Our software and our company have really benefited a lot from this kind of cross-pollination. Leveraging technologies from different sectors that typically hadn't been applied in the industrial space, has truly changed the landscape of SCADA software and having experts with experience in different industries come together and share ideas at events like our Annual Ignition Community Conference or in one of the several community-led user groups, has really made an impact on how companies use our software.

Colby: Another crucial aspect of customer engagement is what we describe as knowledge transfer, which Don already touched on. We feel that we have a role to play in helping build and grow this community, not just in regards to our software, but also in the broader sense of bringing diverse technical talent into industrial automation. If we make automation approachable, understandable, and exciting, we'll open the doors to the next generation of control systems professionals.

Carl: And that's why we put so much work into creating the Inductive University, where people from anywhere in the world can access top-notch educational resources for free and use them to get credentials that carry real weight in the workforce. It's always exciting for us to hear about people who've gotten jobs, either straight out of college or coming in from a different background, because they learned about Ignition through IU and used the credential that they earned to get their foot in the door somewhere. We love it because we know it benefits them, it benefits the company they've gone to, it benefits the industry as a whole, and it benefits us and everybody is excited and engaged.

Colby: That's also why we're working hard to formalize our university outreach program and are working with dozens of universities around the world to support their educational programs and develop new ways of training highly proficient and versatile engineers. We also looked at the more local community level as well and have increased our support for Innovation Labs, Makerspaces and community college programs that can introduce people to industrial automation. In turn, these talented individuals bring their own form of cross-pollination and will continue to drive innovation in our industry going forward.

Carl: So as you can see, we put a lot of effort into empowering our community to build great applications and ensuring that everyone can learn how to benefit from Ignition. Our goal is simple. We want an engaged community that continues to innovate and build amazing systems using the Ignition. And to that end, we're very excited today to present the latest addition to the Ignition ecosystem. It's a new addition of Ignition, we call it Ignition Maker Edition.

Colby: Ignition Maker Edition is a new flavor of Ignition that is completely free for personal, non-commercial use. Ever since the initial release of Ignition, you've asked us for a way to take the exciting and inspiring potential of Ignition home with you. And today we're happy to finally make it possible. We see this as a kind of final mile on our mission towards community engagement, because you no longer have to leave your enthusiasm for Ignition at the office.

Carl: Ignition has been widely appreciated in our industry as a powerful way to rapidly build automation applications. And being able to use Ignition in this way for personal use is not only powerful, but it can be downright fun. So, what might you use Maker Edition for? Home automation is a likely choice. This is a space that's really booming right now, and Ignition's capabilities built for the industrial automation sector, make it a really natural and powerful fit for home automation as well. And you're gonna see a great example of this in a few minutes from Travis. You can automate your lights, monitor energy usage, you could run Ignition on an old desktop you have laying around or play around with the Raspberry Pi. We've seen people use Ignition to manage the data from a personal weather station or build dashboards and scoreboards for their kids' sports teams, you could build a system to manage your bills. We've got someone here in our QA team who built an application to help him sort and organize his mineral collection. The possibilities are, of course, endless. You can pretty much tackle any kind of project you want, as long as it's for personal, non-commercial use. Or even if you're just trying to learn Ignition, Maker Edition would be a good fit for that as well.

Colby: So why the name “Maker Edition”? To us, this name evokes thoughts of tech enthusiasts who enjoy learning and building new things. Calling it Maker Edition brings Ignition into a completely different space, and it really captures the spirit of what we wanted to deliver. A version of Ignition that stands on its own to spur innovation and excitement among users who love to build and make things. Beyond that, the Makerspace environment is focused on concepts like education, accessibility and sharing. All of these are found in the Ignition ecosystem.

Carl: Maker Edition lets you take what you learned at Inductive University and put it to use immediately, no matter whether you're a seasoned automation professional or a student who's never been inside of a factory.

Colby: The Ignition Exchange is the perfect hub to get started quickly with custom resources built by other users. And now, it's a great place to take the amazing things that you build in Maker Edition and share them back with the community.

Carl: The Ignition Module SDK has always been the ultimate way to extend and customize Ignition's functionality. And using the SDK, anybody can build a module to let Ignition do practically anything. This unlimited flexibility and extensibility is perfect for Maker Edition, because we know that Maker Edition is going to spur many new use cases for Ignition and that means that it will be paired up with technologies that it's never been asked to interoperate with before. And to be candid, we're really excited to see what kind of innovative new modules are created, inspired by Maker Edition projects and how these sorts of innovations can be brought back into the industrial environment of standard Ignition.

Colby: Our user form has always been a great place to interact with colleagues from the Ignition community and IA's technical team as well. It's a great place to learn. And now there's a new Maker-specific sub-form, which provides a really great place to share ideas and to share your creations.

Carl: Okay, so to give you an idea of what we're talking about, we've invited crowd favorite Travis Cox to give you a quick peek at the system he's been putting together at his house. Alright, take it away, Travis.

Travis Cox: Alright, well, thank you guys. I am truly excited about this, and I've always been trying to figure out different ways I can leverage Ignition to solve different challenges for myself personally, and of course, for us at the office. And this is now a great way for anybody to solve challenges at home and that's really what I've done. I have used Ignition, and specifically the Maker Edition to build my home automation system, to manage my bills, to really track any kind of data that I want here at home, and I'm gonna give you guys a peek into this here today. So, let's go over here. So, here you're just actually seeing kind of a first look at Maker, the Ignition Gateway page here. And so, I've got a project. I'm gonna go ahead and go to run it, view my projects, and I've got my home automation project and I'm gonna give you guys a sense of what I'm doing here. So let's go ahead and first login to it. Alright, so we are now loading that, and I'm gonna agree and close this. So I'm using the Ignition here to manage a lot of different devices and to talk to a lot of different APIs out there. So first and foremost, I have a ton of Z-Wave devices here, anything from Schlage front door lock, to my garage door opener, to lights I have throughout the house, and more. I'm also connecting to a lot of different APIs. So I've written interfaces to these APIs using Ignition's standard scripting functions there.

Travis: So we're using all of the standard features that Ignition has. Now, the Z-Wave in particular, we didn't have a built-in module for that, but I have built a module that I put on our Ignition module development community, it's on GitHub, so anybody can see and play around with that. So here, you're seeing kind of a first overview of my home and looking at the current weather. I can see right now my garage door, the lock is unlocked, and I am using notifications, specifically Twilio, to send text message to myself when certain things happen, especially if lights are left on too long, I wanna be able to turn those off, whether I could do it automatically or whether I come into interface and do that.

Travis: So I can see status of my ... I have Nest thermostats, I've got Ring from the doorbell, and I've got a camera in the back. We're gonna take a look at all of these. And some of these areas I can click on to turn these things on or off. So if I wanna turn on my garage light, I can go ahead and do so. Again, I'll turn that back off. I can open the garage door from here, very handy. If we go on a walk, I can come back, open the app on my phone and just simply open the garage door right away. Also with the thermostats, I can go and control the setpoints here if I wanted to with those. But that's the first look there. I've got a ton of other areas we can go into, I'm using it for my irrigation. I've got a Rachio controller, I'm using APIs to connect to that, to get information about the drip, that I can turn on or off from here.

Travis: I have a security system and I can see the status of that right now, so it's turned off. I can see if there's any doors or motion detection within the house. I've got cameras throughout the house as well, and I can see the current status of some of these cameras. Now, I've turned a lot of these off here, but you can see the cameras at a glance. I can see this one, this is a backyard camera that the battery is actually dead, I gotta go charge that one. I can go over here and look at the pool. I got a iAquaLink controller that I'm connected to through an API, getting information about the pool. I have Direct TV, so I can see who's watching what on each of the receivers. Right now, they're all turned off.

Travis: And one of the really fun things is, I was able to get a Model 3 this year. I'm really excited about that, and I'm able to tap into the API and get information about Model 3, and where it's located, the odometer, the temperature, and I could even control or unlock it if I wanted to from here. I'm also connected to our energy and gas through PG&E, and they're sending data to Ignition, I can parse data, put it to a database so I can see that information over time. And I'm managing bills with this, I'm not gonna show that particular screen. I can see all the alarms, so, here I can see my batteries. That's the only one that's there, but I got a ton of alarms. If the power was left on too much, if the doors are open or lights are on for too long, I can automatically send notifications to myself.

Travis: So, to look at this kind of a high level, I've got a ton of Z-Wave devices here that are all connected in, anything from fountains to locks and lights. And I'm also connected to a bunch of APIs. So these are all the APIs I'm going to, like Samsung and Tesla, the weather, Wyze cameras, a whole bunch of things to bring this information in and display it on screen there. So, I hope you guys got a nice little peek into my home automation system. It's really exciting for me to be able to leverage Ignition and build on more and do more within this. I even have connected my home automation system to Amazon Echo. So, to give you a sense of this, I can say, "Alexa, ask Ignition platform how many alarms are currently active?"

Speaker 5: There are 19 alarms active.

Travis: So, we can really interface with all of that and go a lot further with all of this. So with that, I'm gonna hand it back over to you, Carl and Colby.

Colby: Great. Thank you, Travis. Yeah, okay, so maybe it's not fair for us to tease you with something built by the world's foremost Ignition expert. But the point is, it perfectly embodies the type of accessibility and innovation that Ignition is famous for, and the way that now being able to use it at home unlocks so much potential. I mean, you see data APIs pooling data together, you see the development of a module that he's now made open-source for the community to benefit from with the Z-Wave driver. All of these different aspects that really show the power of Ignition.

Carl: So let's take a few minutes now and look at how you get started using Maker Edition. It's really very simple. In just a few minutes, you'll have a Maker Edition installation up and running. The first place to start is the new Maker Edition website, which you can find from our homepage or follow the URL on the slide, and let's quickly walk through what the install and setup looks like. After all, it just takes a few minutes.

Colby: All versions of Ignition, including Edge and Maker Edition are now part of a single installer. It still takes less than 3 minutes to install, and this part is the same for all of the editions. Maker Edition is included in version 8.0.14. And since we have a few more seconds here, we wanted to point out that this version also includes a brand new installer system. The new installer has a consistent experience across all platforms, is much smarter in upgrading modules, including our third-party strategic partner modules, and it has better support for automated installations.

Carl: So once Ignition is installed, you'll be brought to the system commissioning page, which now begins with edition selection. So this is where you can choose Maker Edition, then you can agree to the EULA and then you have to apply a license key, which you can get for free. So all you need to do is have an Inductive Automation account. So you go to your account page and there's a new Maker Edition section where you can simply click the get license button, and you'll be given a free Maker Edition license. So you just copy and paste the license key and an activation token into your gateway that's sitting in the commissioning phase, and there you have it. You have an activated Ignition Maker Edition installation.

Colby: So how is Maker Edition different from regular Ignition? First and foremost, of course, is the fact that Maker is really free for personal use. All you need is an Inductive Automation account to receive your Maker Edition key. Maker Edition includes most of our popular modules, including Perspective, Tag Historian, SFCs, SQL Bridge, WebDev, and more, as well some modules from our strategic partners. The Cirrus Link MQTT modules and Sepasoft's Web Service Module. It includes up to 10,000 tags and 10 concurrent user sessions, which should be plenty of room to build incredible systems.

Carl: And that's it. So as you can see, it took less than two minutes to install and license Ignition Maker Edition, and now we're ready to start building whatever we want to.

Colby: Ignition Maker Edition is available right now, and we encourage you to go download it and start building. So before we get into Q&A, I'll hand it back over to Travis to talk about this year's ICC.

Travis: Well, thank you, Carl and Colby. Like I said, it's a very exciting announcement, and can't wait to see what people are doing with Maker. But let's give a shout-out to this year's ICC. So this year's Ignition Community Conference is gonna be a free, virtual, one-day conference on September 15th. You'll see innovative, real-world Ignition projects from multiple industries. You'll watch an exciting keynote address, and Carl and Coby will talk about the upcoming Ignition 8.1 release at the ever-popular Developer Panel. Also at ICC this year, we're gonna hold our first Ignition Exchange Challenge. Just submit a resource to the Ignition Exchange between today and August 31st, and you'll be entered automatically into the challenge. Our judges will review all the submissions and the top three will earn special recognition at ICC.

Travis: So we encourage you to build something great with Maker Edition, and share it through the Exchange for a shot at the spotlight. Also on the Exchange, I published a couple of new resources. Let me go over and take a look at this. They're specifically bringing some of the innovations I've done with my home automation system to you. There are two resources that you can play around with, and we'll do more as we go forward. First being an Alexa skill handler. And this is basically a WebDev end-point that can respond to Alexa intents, and that will allow you to really interface with that. The second is the actual dashboard that I showed. It is a very configurable dashboard that I built. All of that is available and with some additional icons in there for you to play around with and make your own.

Travis: So I encourage you to not only check those out, but make them better. Submit them back to the Exchange and really make the Exchange the go-to resource for automation, and for building anything in Ignition. So register for ICC today. Don't forget to submit an Exchange resource for the challenge, and so that you don't miss any of the excitement. So now it's time to take your questions about the Ignition Maker Edition or Ignition. So first question for you, Colby and Carl: “Now that Ignition 8 has been out for over a year, can you comment on how it's been received by the Ignition Community, and how it's been evolving through various release train updates since then?”

Carl: Sure. It's been received incredibly well in my opinion. There has been a really active conversation about all the new parts of Ignition 8 on the forum, and the new release train, release methodology that we adopted with Ignition 8.0 has really been a very successful strategy for us. If you just look at the functionality difference between the current release of Ignition 8 and Ignition 8.0.0, it's clearly a huge, substantive difference. And so it's been a great new way for us to release rolling functionality updates as we go.

Travis: Yeah. Perfect. Alright, another question will be for you guys as well: “Is Ignition Maker Edition completely compatible with the standard Ignition version?”

Colby: Yeah, it is. It is at the core, still Ignition. And so I see another question on here that says, "Can I update my unlicensed demo version I've been using at home straight to Maker Edition, and keep everything?" And the answer is yeah. The easiest way would, of course, to be to generate a backup and then just install Maker on top of it and restore it. But that just goes to show all the resources that we talked about on the Exchange, the backups, they're all fully compatible.

Travis: Exactly. And I can attest to that, and that I had a standard Ignition prior ... a home automation system prior to bringing that to Maker. So when Maker was available, simply installed that, brought in that backup over to Maker and was off and running with that. So there are quite a few questions here about what modules are included with Maker and which ones aren't. So, questions specifically about Vision as well. This will go for you, Colby and Carl.

Carl: Sure, so there are some limitations with Ignition Maker Edition. Obviously, it is only for personal, non-commercial use, and it doesn't come with all the modules that regular Ignition offers. So it comes with Perspective, SQL Bridge, SFCs, Tag Historian, the OPC UA system, as well as some of the basic drivers, Modbus, Allen-Bradley, Siemens, the reporting System, the WebDev system, the alarm notification through Twilio, and support for serial access from the gateway. It doesn't include the Enterprise Administration Module. We thought it was pretty obvious that personal projects are not enterprises. It also doesn't include the Vision Module. The reason it doesn't include the Vision Module is that we really wanted to go with a web and mobile-first approach to this new arena of personal use projects that are all brand new. And we didn't want to present two different visualization platforms to a whole new audience that was new to Ignition. Additionally, it comes with up to 10,000 tags, 10 concurrent user sessions, and it does not support redundancy.

Colby: However, it does support the gateway network, and you are allowed to activate up to three at a time. So we wanted to leave a lot of room to build mini-enterprise type architectures to explore all of the aspects of our architecture configuration.

Travis: Perfect. Alright. So there's a question here. I'll take this one, it says: “Can I update an Ignition 8.0.X unlicensed version that I use to experiment at home, so running in the trial period, straight to the 8.0.14 Maker Edition while keeping all of my projects?” And absolutely, you can do that. So if you have trial versions that you're using at home, that's running the two-hour period and you wanna bring that to Maker, you can simply install Maker and bring over that backup. And you can license it and you'll have it for personal use there. So hopefully that response from Colby and Carl kinda helps with modules that are available. There's a lot of questions like, “Does it have Historian and Perspective?” And absolutely, those two things, as Carl mentioned, are there with that. The other question here, I'll throw it your way, Colby and Carl, is: “Is it still cross-platform?” I'm talking about Maker here. Linux will run on Raspberry Pi.

Colby: Yeah, definitely. Again, it supports all of the platforms that Ignition and Ignition Edge supports. So yeah, absolutely, Raspberry Pi is probably gonna be one of the most popular platforms to run on.

Travis: Yep. And that's what I'm using here for my home automation, I'm running on a Raspberry Pi 4 with that. And a lot of people are asking about what I'm doing to the Z-Wave. I have a Aeon Z-Wave stick that is ... it's USB, it's plugged into that Raspberry Pi 4. And basically the module is going through the serial API to interface with that, to communicate to all the Z-Wave devices throughout the house here.

Colby: And that one controller can reach your whole house?

Travis: I have a couple of repeaters. So Z-Wave is a big mesh network and I have a couple of repeaters in different areas that can get from one side of the house all the way to the other. Like, for example, the fat one is outside, and with those repeaters, I can get to it. There was questions here about, like, ZigBee support. So currently, I don't have a module for ... we didn't have a module for either Z-Wave or for ZigBee. Like I said open source, the Z-Wave module, it's on the GitHub Ignition Module Development Community. You can go search for that, and you'll see the Z-Wave driver that's there. And I would encourage all of you guys, you leverage the SDK, build a ZigBee Module, provide some resources to the Exchange, and let's really make home automation awesome here with Ignition and Maker, specifically.

Colby: Let me see. There's one good question here. “Travis, what does your wife think about home automation?”

Travis: So my wife actually really likes it, because in particular, I didn't show the managing of the bills, but we ... that's a part ... just database application and we can see all the bills, which ones have been paid, which ones haven't been paid, which ones are automatic, which ones are manual. And it really helps us keep that straight. And I interface with the bank and that I can take the bank export, import it in, and automatically store it in the database. I can get some analysis of how we're spending our money. And plus with the home automation system, she likes having on her phone ... Do you ever have that feeling when you leave the house, that you left the garage door open? Well, that happens to us, and she's ... both of us were able to open our phone and make sure the garage door is closed. So she likes it quite a bit. There are some questions, since we did tease ... we're talking about the 8.1, about ... Those questions here about when do you expect 8.1 to be released, and a little more information about that.

Carl: Sure. So 8.1 is currently scheduled for release in the fall around September. And as far as what 8.1 will have in it, I don't wanna get into too much detail about that, except to say that one of the interesting things about Maker Edition is that it uses a different scheme for licensing and activation. So you saw during the video that during system commissioning, we added a license key and an activation token. And that style of activation is new, and while it's currently only used in Maker Edition, we will be rolling that style of activation and licensing out to a regular Ignition in Ignition 8.1. And this is important for people who are running Ignition in Docker systems or have elastic installations of Ignition that need to spin up and down gateways on demand. This new licensing scheme will support that. So we're excited about how this new licensing protocol is rolled in for Maker Edition, but then we'll get ... its use will be expanded in Ignition 8.1.

Travis: Okay, great. All right, so let's go back to a couple of questions here. “Are not-for-profits, registered charities considered non-commercial under the Ignition Maker Edition licensing agreements?”

Carl: Unfortunately, they're not. The free use of Maker Edition is only offered for personal, individual use.

Travis: And another question here is: “Are third-party modules portable to Maker? For example, like Plant Replay or some of the things that are on the Module Showcase.”

Colby: Yeah, absolutely. It's up to the module author. So, what we did, it's very simple, but the module author has to opt into it. We didn't think it'd be fair to make them start giving everything away, if they didn't want to. But what they can do is they can adjust their module to say it supports Maker Edition and then they can put whatever restrictions they want. We're not dictating very much of anything about Maker Edition. It's really up to those authors.

Travis: Okay, great. So, there's a question here about, I think just in general, “Does Inductive Automation plan on including a BACnet driver for Ignition?” I don't know if it's specific to Maker or not, but go ahead.

Carl: I don't think that question is specific to Maker Edition, but yes. The answer is absolutely yes. In fact, the BACnet driver is in beta right now. And if you're interested in being a beta tester, you should …

Colby: It's on the form. Yeah, there's a post about the beta program on the form. So you can go check it out right now. And then, it is going very well. I think it's scheduled for release in around 8015 maybe, but the release train, we release things when they're tested and we're satisfied with them, so, yeah, go check out the beta and help participate.

Travis: Okay. So, there's a question here about Maker. When you say license in its Maker Edition, I think, this guy is saying, "Is there a cost to that?" So, just the fact that you have to get a license for Maker, people ... There's a couple of questions on cost. And so, I think, you can address that pretty easily here.

Carl: Yeah, that's right. You do have to license it, but there is no cost to do so. So, all you need to do is sign up for an account on inductiveautomation.com and you can get up to three free Maker Edition licenses.

Travis: Here's a couple of good questions here: "Can Maker Edition be installed alongside and co-exist with a standard Ignition?"

Colby: Yeah, it would work over the gateway network with standard Ignition. And the gateway network has some fundamental support for inter-version connections.

Carl: In case that question meant install alongside on the same computer, one of the nice things about the new installer is that the new installer, on Windows anyways, lets you specify the service name, which is one of the previous hang-ups to installing two copies of Ignition side by side on the same computer.

Travis: Yeah, besides the fact that the ports have to be separate ports for these different things in order for it to start up on the same machine. So, it can be a little bit tricky, but it is possible. Another question here: “Is Maker Edition going to receive regular updates at the same pace as other editions?”

Colby: Yeah, it naturally benefits from all of the updates that we do. So we don't actually, for standard Ignition, for Edge, for Maker, we don't maintain separate code branches. They're all the same code base, so they all benefit from our standard updates.

Carl: And to that same point, they're all literally the same download now. The new installer includes all three editions. You just pick your edition on start-up or on installation.

Travis: Right, okay, so there's a question here: "Is this MQTT module free in the Maker version?" So yes, the MQTT Distributor, Engine, and Transmission Modules are made available for Maker Edition. So you'll be able to, there are a lot of devices that do speak MQTT, especially JSON payloads that you can bring in, that you can flash in firmwares for lights and various switches and things that you can bring for home automation. Plus there's devices, like Opto 22 has a remote I/O. MQTT people are using that at home. So there's a lot of different options that are out there, but MQTT having that available is a good thing for Maker, in particular for home. This is not specifically a question on Maker here, but is there a plan to support Python 3? So it could be for Maker, but is there a plan to support Python 3?

Carl: No, nothing specifically. No specific plans to support Python 3 at this point. This is something we discussed at some lengths at last year's ICC Dev Panel. Python 3 is a completely different language than Python 2. So, there are a number of challenging backwards-compatibility issues that we would have to address. I think the long-term plan will eventually be to transform Ignition into more of a polyglot platform where multiple on the JVM scripting languages are supported, but that's clearly a big development effort that is not really our priority at the moment.

Travis: Okay, great. So, “Can Maker Edition be installed via the zip file or through the executable only?”

Carl: Absolutely, zip file is fine. Both installs will eventually get you to the commissioning phase of the installation, which is where you pick the edition.

Travis: So there's a lot of questions about my system in particular and, that, is it public? Can I get access to it anywhere, so I did make my system public. I have a domain for it. So, it's very easy for me to open, to use the respective app anywhere that I want. And I will be sharing more of what I built on the Ignition Exchange. In particular, all the integrations with the different APIs, I'm gonna clean those up and make those available so people can bring those in. And then a good question here is for Maker: “What kind of support is expected for Maker?”

Carl: Yeah, that is a good question.

Colby: Yeah, it's all community support. So, that means don't call us, please [chuckle]. As you can understand, we wanna provide support to the forum mostly. So, that's the place to go. As we mentioned, we do have a lot of IA people who speak in the forum, but frankly, a lot of the community members are probably more expert than we are these days so it's a great place to learn and ask questions.

Travis: Okay. So this is kind of a privacy question: “Does the Maker collect any user data?”

Carl: Collect any data. Yes. You mean in term ... I think that question is in regards to ... I'm not entirely sure what that question means.

Travis: It's more a privacy question about personal data.

Colby: Yeah, we can guess. So, it is worth talking about that. This new licensing theme, as Carl mentioned, it's a lease or live activation system, that's why it works with the doc or in these other highly volatile environments, and so it is communicating back to our server and the protocol does collect some basic anonymized information such as CPU levels, memory usage, just basic stuff, but we've taken great care to make sure it's not ... First of all, it's anonymized, and second of all, non-identifying, no IP addresses, no names and stuff like that.

Carl: Also nothing about your configuration of Ignition. It's not like we're collecting your project configs or anything like that.

Travis: Right. Okay. Perfect. So, a question here is: "Are the same functions available in particular referencing the machine learning functions that we had put on the exchange for ICC, available on the Maker Edition?" So the same Apache maths library of functions are available with Maker and those resources that are on the Exchange, the perspective ones in particular, obviously, the vision screens won't come over, but the Perspective ones perfectly will, and you can use and leverage those functions. And there was another question about (the) gateway, "Is gateway scripting supported here?" Absolutely, you can do tag change scripts, you can do gateway timer scripts, and you can use scripting wherever, it is standard for Ignition.

Travis: So it is important to point out that Ignition is a development toolkit. There's a lot of things you can do and we're, as we said before, we can port resources that we have built between the different editions of Ignition, and it's not specifically a home — Maker is not specifically geared towards home automation. It's not a vertical off-the-shelf home automation thing. You certainly can use it to create amazing home automation systems, and there will be more support as a community here, especially with this Maker community who is building support for various kinds of devices, building modules and or scripting functions or resources that we can put on the Exchange. So there's a lot of questions about, "Do I support this or that in terms of different kinds of devices for home?" What's really out there ... What I've kinda built support for and what I put out there, I'd encourage all of you guys to do the same, and I think we have a lot to pull from on the Exchange and the Module Showcase for home automation in particular.

Colby: "This Maker Edition creates a lot of good will in the community, but what does it benefit in terms of automation to offer a free product?" And I really like that question because at first that's a good question. You say, "Okay, why are they doing this?" Maker response to a demand that has been here forever. Everyone's always been asking us, "How can I use Maker at home? How can I use …," It creates that engagement. So that alone is important, but second of all, it creates an environment for innovation. There's so many technologies out there, there's so much you can do with the SDK and so on, but to put in work, to build something to run on an expensive industrial enterprise platform, it creates an impedance, right? Are you going to spend a lot of time building a module that you can only hope to sell on top of a $10,000 or $15,000 platform? And so with Maker, we're hoping to create a place where you can innovate and build things, and you can have an audience immediately available to you that would help you to refine it, and out of that, hopefully someone's great ideas will bubble up and present themselves as being very applicable to the industrial world.

Travis: Colby, a good question there. Another one here is: "Will the two hour trial period still be available with the full enterprise version or standard ignition here?"

Carl: Oh yeah, absolutely. We're not changing anything about our normal trial period.

Travis: Right, okay, and then another question here is, "Can I upgrade a project that I build in Maker to traditional Ignition?" You certainly can. Of course, you'll have to get a ... You can upgrade but for a license, you have to get a license for traditional Ignition there.

Colby: A couple of questions about, "Is SMS and email alarming available?" The answer to both of those is yes. The built-in email functionality is totally there, and then we've included the Twilio module, which you can use for SMS notification.

Carl: There's also quite a few questions about whether or not it has compatibility with PLCs. People have a little micrologic laying around, they wanna use for home automation projects, and the answer is yes, all of our PLC-based drivers are included. All the Alan Bradley drivers, Siemens, Modbus, the TCP/UDP driver. The drivers that we didn't include were ones that we thought had really no place on a personal project, things like DNP3 and things like that.

Travis: Perfect. There's a question here about, "Are there any videos on Inductive University about Maker?" In terms of the University, there's a lot of videos on how to develop inside of Ignition, anywhere from things that are really basic to more advanced features there. While there's not specific, you won't see specific videos where they're in Maker, I'm sure there'll be some videos about Maker in particular, probably on the licensing and things like that, but all the videos that you see with the extended Ignition do apply of course over to Maker as well. It's the same development environment at the end of the day.

Carl: There's questions here, Travis, about recertifying.

Travis: There're certification programs specifically for Maker here.

Carl: Yeah, so the answer is no. Maker Edition's functionality is fundamentally just a subset of full Ignition, so there's not a separate certification process for Maker Edition.

Travis: Right.

Carl: Well, there was a question that caught my eye about a Lutron connection that's interesting to me because my house also has Lutron lighting system, so I'm very interested in building a Lutron connect module, so I'll probably be doing that in the next few weeks 'cause I'm excited to get started building my own home automation system. I'm jealous after seeing Travis's.

Travis: And then hopefully what you build there, you can contribute back and then…

Carl: Absolutely.

Travis: I can go out and buy some Lutron devices over here and bring into my system and then make it even better. So that's the name of the game here with Maker, right?

Carl: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, we're really excited to see... there's a bunch of these questions are basically people saying that they're excited to use it for this, or they're excited to use it for that. If someone's got a home brew set up in their garage and that's a great idea.

Colby: There's some questions in here about educational outreach, and so I've seen... So one says, "How much did the plan to have more outreach with colleges play into this?" And then another great question said, "My wife is an eighth grade teacher. How could that work?" And so the quick answer is that we think that Maker is a very important component of educational outreach, but we don't think it's the end of the road in that regard. And so to the question about the eighth grade teacher, I encourage, on all of these educational questions, I encourage you to reach out to our University Coordinator Manager, David Grussenmeyer, and start the conversation there. He's really done a great job over this last year in terms of trying to build up our educational outreach program, and it's gonna keep going. So that's just to say we don't see Maker as being the end of the road so we're gonna keep working on that. But for students to go home and be able to use the software, Maker is the answer. But in the classroom, we're still looking at how we can continue to improve that.

Travis: How much time is it free for personal use with Maker here?

Carl: There's no time limit for you for as long as you wanna use it.

Travis: Like we've said earlier, just continuously hit our server, the server for the license renewal.

Carl: Yeah. That's right, it does need a route to get to our licensing server. One of the things that we are planning on doing in short order here is allowing the license activation protocol to tunnel through the gateway network. We think that'll be important for Ignition 8.1 as enterprises start using this for their Docker-based deployments. And once that happens, it'll be available for Maker Edition also.

Travis: Perfect. And another question here, since we made this free for personal, non-commercial use, the question is, “How will you protect against companies who want to use this in factories or for production settings?”

Colby: We looked at it. Our first goal is to make it as unlimited as possible. We didn't wanna hinder it too much. But that said, there is this 10,000 tag limit and 10 session limit. So we thought that that was a pretty clean functionality divide between widespread commercial use versus not. Then we've talked here about how the licensing requires an internet connection. That's frankly not very acceptable for most industrial commercial uses. And as Carl just mentioned in 8.1, we're gonna introduce new... Even if you wanted, benefit from Docker-based licensing, we're gonna introduce new tools to make that more compatible with industrial settings. Finally, we've peppered legalese all over and what-not. So we just have to go with the trust that our communities ... so people who on the whole are really honest and dedicated towards doing what's right so we're not too worried about it.

Travis: All right. So I wanna turn this back over to Don to wrap up and for any final comments. Don, over to you.

Don: Thank you Travis. And Carl, Coby, Travis, thank you guys so much. It's really a great presentation, tons of questions. We hope all you enjoyed it. That's our presentation for today, folks. We certainly really enjoyed being able to release Ignition Maker Edition to all you. It's super exciting just envisioning what you're gonna go forward and create with the Maker Edition. For those of you who just attended their first Ignition Community Live, I do want you to know, we got more Ignition Community Live events and webinars coming up soon. So if you're interested in just knowing about latest events and news, then follow us on social media, subscribe to our weekly news feed or podcast via our website. And thanks so much for joining us. Have a great day.

Posted on June 24, 2020