Open Architecture IoT Solutions Will Bring Major Benefits to the Energy Industry

In Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) application domains such as energy generation (including transmission and distribution), the co-ordination of operational systems (power plants, electrical power grids etc.) has traditionally been via back office centralized management infrastructure. Energy utility technologies and their data are often siloed, based on proprietary hardware from different vendors, and use many different communication protocols and telecommunication technologies to make the device data available to the centralized information systems.

Open Architecture IoT solutions offer the potential for the energy industry to move from single function and proprietary centralized managed systems to new multi-function distributed control systems. They can enable co-ordination between grid-edge technologies and with the centralized systems, improving grid efficiency, reducing integration costs, enabling vendors to improve their products and ultimately, customers to pay less for the electricity that they consume.

Traditional Grid Management Architecture
Traditional Grid Management Architecture

The next generation of energy grids will need to adopt new approaches for the integration of distributed grid-edge devices and equipment from many different manufacturers to realize operational benefits. Existing systems that were designed to support a small number of large generation facilities will be faced with the need to integrate an increasing number of Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) such as wind, solar and electricity storage into existing power generation and distribution networks.

In the current business climate, the power industry has recognized the need for change. Already in Europe the profits of the large power utilities who have invested heavily in fossil fuel plants are starting to fall. In fact, over the last five years, the top 20 utilities in Europe have lost half of their value (source: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/this-is-what-the-utility-death-spiral-looks-like). Many of their large customers are leaving the grid as they adopt renewable energy resources and become self sufficient. This has the effect of pushing up energy costs for the customers who stay and encourages more companies to become self sufficient. These major shifts are forcing the utilities to re-assess their business models, driving them to greatly increase investment in wind power, solar and distribution projects to connect renewables into their existing grids in an attempt to arrest the decline in their profits.

Open Architecture IoT Grid Management
Open Architecture IoT Grid Management

In the US the legal and commercial drivers for the adoption of renewables have not been as great up to this point. However, the US utilities have also recognized that things need to change.  In 2013 US utility giant Duke Energy formed the “Coalition of the Willing” (COW), a consortium of grid technology vendors focused on the promotion and adoption of an Open Architecture approach to standardizing the way grid-edge technologies are integrated together.

The consortium is made up of communications and grid control systems, electronics and software vendors. The initial COW member companies were limited to Duke Energy, Accenture Alstrom Grid, Ambient Corporation, Echelon, S&C Electric and Verizon.  After successfully demonstrating in real-time how different grid devices could talk to each other without the need to contact a remote centralized management system and reducing the feedback control process from minutes to less than 10 seconds, the energy industry started to really take notice. The responsiveness that Duke and its partners demonstrated can enable a system to react dynamically to changes such as a sudden drop in the wind powering a farm of turbines. The distributed management system can automatically and in real-time (within seconds) switch in battery backup storage to ensure that a smooth voltage supply is maintained. This is something that is much harder to achieve if the process of communicating with a centralized system takes minutes.

As a result, the consortium has quickly grown to over 25 companies, with new members including ABB, Cisco, Itron, PrismTech, Schweitzer and others.

All COW members must implement interoperable communication protocols that conform to open standards. These protocols must also conform to the Common Information Model (CIM) utility standard.  The protocols are used as the basis of a common communication backbone called the “Field Message Bus” which is used to connect edge-devices via standardized nodes deployed by Duke Energy. The core communication protocol that must be supported is the Object Management Group’s Data Distribution Service for Real-time Systems (DDS) standard. DDS implementations including PrismTech’s Vortex are being used by the consortium to provide a high performance, fault tolerant, secure, real-time interoperable data connectivity layer between edge-grids and centralized management systems. DDS can be used to unify co-ordination for the edge-grid devices while at the same time making important real-time data available to the centralized systems, as well as feeding centralized control decisions back down to the edge-grids

The ability to process data at the edge and share control decisions in real-time across device networks that were previously isolated from each other, is where the real value of the IIoT for the energy industry will be gained.  DDS as part on an Open Architecture for edge-grids is a key enabler of this capability.

Read the full article at www.iotsworldcongress.com

5th Annual IoT Day Celebrated in an IIC-organized 24-hour Tweet Chat Marathon.

PrismTech participated in a Tweet Chat to celebrate the annual IoT Day organized by Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) on 09 April 2015.

The event started at 9.00pm ET (1.00am UTC) with IIC member companies, IoT developers, analysts and enthusiasts tweeting their insights and updates about the Internet of Things for the whole 24 hours using hashtags #IIC24 #IoTDay.

Security, innovation, government’s role, value creation, IIoT adoption and its drawbacks are amongst many topics discussed. While healthcare, self-driving cars, smart factories, smart grids and home automation are unanimously recognized as areas where the IoT has found a need, innovations such as smart welding, tyres with sensors, solar-powered beacons, aquatic robots and connected cows were highlighted as exciting new IoT application domains.

During the discussion, it was agreed that IoT adoption is becoming widespread and gaining momentum all over the world, already transforming many businesses and organization through improved operational efficiency, better networking capabilities; providing a new arena for innovation and powering the rise of the Data Scientists.

Security and Interoperability emerged as key IIoT challenges that need to be addressed with some urgency. Lots of excellent insight on how to address the risks for companies looking to invest in the IIoT emerged, such as utilizing open, agile, flexible and updatable platforms; and transparency of data ownership and usage.

While there were common agreement that the government could play an important role, the day also highlighted the massive amount of effort that the IIC has done and encouraged them to continue to raise awareness & collaboration among companies, build consensus, create trust, recommend standards, ensure interoperability, and enhance credibility.

“It’s been an epic #IoTDay! Busy as bees sharing experiences & inspired by the discussions. Thanks! #IIC24 #IntelIoT” says David McKinney, Marketing and Media at IntelIoT.

As the clock had its final tick, IIC concluded the “insightful” IoT Day had been a big success.

PrismTech earns special recognition as first industry (non-founding) member of the Industrial Internet Consortium

The IIC highlights PrismTech during its quarterly meeting, which also coincides with the consortium’s one-year anniversary

 

Boston, MA, USA – March 26, 2015 – PrismTech™, a global leader in software platforms for distributed systems, was honored this week as the first industry (non-founding) member of the Industrial Internet Consortium.  The IIC highlighted PrismTech’s early involvement in the consortium during its quarterly meeting, which also coincided with the IIC’s one-year anniversary.

Through the efforts of founding members AT&T, Cisco, GE, IBM and Intel, the IIC launched as an open membership group focused on breaking down the barriers of technology silos to support better access to big data with improved integration of the physical and digital worlds.  With the addition of early adopters such as PrismTech, the IIC is attracting the leading organizations and technologies necessary to accelerate the growth of the Industrial Internet.

“We are honored to be recognized by the IIC as its first non-founder industry member,” said Keith Steele, CEO, PrismTech.  “Our intelligent data-sharing platform, Vortex, is proving to be a key enabling technology for Industrial Internet systems.  Our active participation in the IIC provides an outstanding opportunity to work closely with the other leaders in the industry to help shape the future of the Industrial Internet and enable these systems to deliver the significant economic benefits we know are possible.”

Through its industry leading Vortex™ platform suite, PrismTech offers the most comprehensive intelligent data-sharing platform solution for Internet of Things (IoT) systems.  The Vortex platform family includes Vortex Café for mobile phones and tablets, Vortex Cloud for cloud services, Vortex OpenSplice™ for corporate systems and Vortex Lite for embedded sensors.

In addition to this IIC recognition, the company was recently honored by IoT Nexus as a “Top Power Player in the Internet of Things.”  The company also has been named a Sand Hill Group “Needle Mover” in building the future of the Internet of Things and a Postscapes “Must-Follow IoT Company.”  Gartner recognized the company as a “Cool Vendor” and Steve Jennis, SVP Corporate Development for the company, has been recognized as one of the most influential Internet of Things executives by market researcher Appinions.

Industrial Internet Consortium Meeting Reston Virginia 2015

24th March 2015 to 26th March 2015Industrial Internet Consortium Meeting
Location: Reston, VA, USA

PrismTech was the first (non founding) industry member of the Industrial Internet Consortium and will pay an active role in its forthcoming meeting in Reston, VA, USA between March 24-26 2015.

The Industrial Internet Consortium was founded in 2014 to further development, adoption and wide-spread use of interconnected machines, intelligent analytics and people at work. Through an independently-run consortium of technology innovators, industrial companies, academia and government, the goal of the IIC is to accelerate the development and availability of intelligent industrial automation for the public good.

This goal of the consortium is to:

  • Utilize existing and create new industry use cases and test beds for real-world applications.
  • Deliver best practices, reference architectures, case studies, and standards requirements to ease deployment of connected technologies.
  • Influence the global development standards process for internet and industrial systems.
  • Facilitate open forums to share and exchange real-world ideas, practices, lessons, and insights.
  • Build confidence around new and innovative approaches to security.

The IIC meetings are two-day working and networking events. Each event is unique but will include:

  • General members meeting.
  • Small working groups sessions focused on specific topics.
  • Networking opportunities.
  • Social event.
  • New member orientation.
  • Steering Committee Meeting (closed door).
  • Additional half-day event on the Industrial Internet, open to the public.

Further information about the meeting is available from the Industrial Internet Consortium website at: http://www.iiconsortium.org/events.htm

PrismTech to Present Vortex Intelligent Data Sharing Platform at Industrial Internet Consortium Meeting

Vortex presentation features as part of IIC’s “member information sessions” at its quarterly meeting in Austin, Texas

Boston, MA, USA – September 05, 2014 – PrismTech™, a global leader in software platforms for distributed systems, will be a featured presenter during the “member information sessions” prior to the start of the Industrial Internet Consortium’s quarterly meeting scheduled in September in Austin, Texas.

The day-long member information sessions are scheduled September 15 at the Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol in Austin and will feature several consortium members.  PrismTech’s session titled “Vortex™: The Intelligent Data Sharing Platform for the Industrial Internet of Things” will run from 11:15 am to 12:15 pm.  Company executives and technical leaders will provide an overview of the Vortex platform for Industrial Internet environments, including a detailed Q&A session.

A public forum titled “The Industrial Internet: A Sense of the Future” will run in parallel with the member information sessions.  The Industrial Internet Consortium quarterly meeting, hosted in the same location, will run September 16-18.

Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) applications are naturally data-centric and operate as data-flow systems where (1) data is efficiently and securely gathered from a large and disparate set of end systems and applications, such as embedded, mobile, web, enterprise and cloud applications, (2) high volume data flows are analysed in real-time and stored for long term analytics, and (3) intelligence derived by the analytics engines, processed data and control decisions are efficiently and securely shared.

Information is the currency of the IIoT, therefore the selection of the data-sharing technology is a critical element of successful IIoT systems. The market is currently considering a number of different technology solutions; among these, the OMG’s Data Distribution Service (DDS) is emerging as the standard that best fulfils the data sharing needs of IIoT systems and applications.

This presentation will (1) introduce PrismTech’s Vortex: the only DDS-based platform designed ground up to address the data-sharing needs of the most challenging IIoT systems, (2) explain how Vortex compares to other technologies and addresses the efficiency, performance, scalability, interoperability, and security needs of IIoT systems, and (3) highlight a number of key use cases that demonstrate how Vortex is being used today.

Vortex includes components to connect and share real-time information between mobile phones and tablets (Vortex Café), sensors and machines (Vortex Lite), Cloud services (Vortex Cloud), from its Starter Kit (Café and tools) to the full Vortex suite, its components are delivered in convenient and affordable development and deployment bundles to simplify the evaluation and procurement process.

Further information about Vortex is available from PrismTech’s website at: http://www.prismtech.com/vortex.

Vortex Live Demo at the IIC Information Session

Discover Vortex at the IIC Information Session

Spend an hour with PrismTech for an introduction to and live demo of Vortex, including a detailed Q&A session with our technical leadership.

  • Learn why we selected the DDS real-time pub/sub standard for Vortex and how DDS compares with other IoT messaging technologies (e.g. MQTT, CoAP, AMQP, REST, XMPP, etc.)
  • Learn how Vortex provides unprecedented levels of QoS (not just superior performance) ..system-wide
  • Learn how Vortex enables intelligent system-wide data-sharing independent of the underlying device platform (hardware, operating system, programming language and development environment)
  • Learn how Vortex Cloud enables both private and public cloud services, independent of cloud service provider
  • Learn how each Vortex component is specifically optimized for its deployment environment (e.g. Vortex Café a ‘pure Java’ DDS implementation for JVMs/Android)
  • Learn how Vortex Lite brings DDS to very-constrained devices but without sacrificing desirable QoS
  • Learn how Vortex Gateway provides seamless inter-operability with legacy systems and other protocols
  • Learn about Vortex Use Cases in applications such as: industrial automation, power generation and distribution, smart cities and healthcare
  • Learn how Vortex uses the DDSI protocol to support interoperability with pre-existing DDS implementations; therefore supporting upgrade potential for these to the Industrial Internet

PrismTech Joins the Industrial Internet Consortium

Becomes the first (non-founder) industry member and plans to play an active role both in the IIC working groups and as a provider of its intelligent data-sharing platform for Industrial Internet systems

Reston, VA, USA – March 27, 2014 – PrismTech™, a global leader in software platforms for distributed systems, today announced that it has joined the Industrial Internet Consortium as its first (non-founder) industry member.

Quoting from today’s IIC launch press release, “AT&T, Cisco, GE, IBM and Intel today announce the formation of the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), an open membership group focused on breaking down the barriers of technology silos to support better access to big data with improved integration of the physical and digital worlds. The consortium will enable organizations to more easily connect and optimize assets, operations and data to drive agility and to unlock business value across all industrial sectors.”

The IIC will establish and influence common architectures, interoperability, and open standards that integrate devices and machines to people, processes and data.  The Object Management Group (OMG), a non-profit trade association in Boston, MA will manage the consortium.

“We’re excited to welcome PrismTech as one of the first members of the IIC,” said Dr. Richard Soley, Executive Director of the Industrial Internet Consortium. “As a leading contributor to the OMG Data Distribution Service standard – a protocol for the Industrial Internet – we look forward to leveraging PrismTech’s expertise in helping to identify the key enabling technologies for the Industrial Internet.”

Steve Jennis, SVP of Corporate Development at PrismTech added, “We are proud to be the first non-founder industry member of the IIC.  We believe our Vortex intelligent data-sharing platform provides a unique and key enabling technology for business-critical Industrial Internet systems, and the work of the IIC will just help us further develop and further differentiate Vortex.  As such, we look forward to working with the other IIC members to help deliver the huge economic potential of the Industrial Internet.”

PrismTech also announced today details of Vortex.  Vortex is an efficient, secure and interoperable device-to-device and device-to-Cloud real-time data-sharing platform with over 20 configurable end-to-end Qualities-of-Service.  Vortex is designed for Industrial Internet solutions that connect devices, machines, enterprise systems, mobile people and Cloud applications; to deliver new levels of secure inter-operability, control and real-time situational awareness.

Further information about PrismTech and its Vortex platform is available at http://www.prismtech.com/vortex.