The end of 2016 saw continued momentum for standards and testbeds. For example, last month, I had the opportunity to brief operational executives from Woodside Energy. Woodside is the largest private LNG (liquefied natural gas) provider in the world, tapping huge fields northwest of Australia in the Indian Ocean. They have been doing amazing things already with the Internet of Things, but are running into huge performance and data integration problems as they pull together their operational and information systems. The attendees were intensely interested in the Object Management Group® (OMG®) standards and the Industrial Internet Consortium® (IIC) testbeds.
Later that month, the Boston Chief Technology Officer Club, which I helped found, met for breakfast and a presentation. The speaker was Stephen Mellor, CTO of the Industrial Internet Consortium (and well known to the UML® community at the Object Management Group too, of course). The Club doesn’t make projectors available, PowerPoint slides aren’t allowed, and interruption is encouraged. The meetings, if the speaker is smart, turn into fascinating conversations and even arguments. Steven was interrupted constantly, signifying a great topic and an excellent speech. After a long argument about model-driven systems and executable modeling, and a surprisingly short discussion of agile methods (both of which Stephen has been involved in), there was a great discussion on IoT standards, security and testbeds.
As most people know, Boston is a hotbed of innovation and creativity in life sciences; one cornerstone of that activity is Biogen, headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts across the street from MIT. Through a contact I met a couple of years ago at a NECINA (New England Chinese Information and Networking Association) meeting, I was invited to an event called the Biogen Business Inclusion Challenge (BIC). Managed by the supply chain and procurement operations at Biogen, the BIC (which will be an annual event) brings together diverse suppliers to compete, on the basis of innovation and other key points, for awards from Biogen. This is a high-level activity at Biogen, supported directly by the former CEO George Scangos. I was honored to be the only non-Biogen employee in the judging panel of four. Starting with 20 entries, four were chosen for brief presentations and Q&A in front of not only the four judges, but also an audience of about 200-250 including both Biogen employees and other interested parties. The winner, Encova, showed an extraordinarily innovative prototype robot for swabbing bioreactors and other equipment for biologics, while keeping the operator safe (nearly 100 people died due to swabbing mistakes over the past year, I was horrified to learn). Definitely a fascinating afternoon!
Finally, I was interviewed by managers at consulting firm A.T. Kearney for a World Economic Forum study on the future of production, intensely interesting to me from both the standards and testbed points of view. As readers of my reports/blogs will realize, I am a participant in the World Economic Forum's Global Future Council on the Digital Economy & Society, a closely-allied area, so I found their questions quite interesting.
Now that 2017 is here, I’m looking forward to seeing continuing strides in standards development and testbeds by OMG and Industrial Internet Consortium members. Just in the last year, OMG members have developed and published standards in areas including: finance, architecture, component modeling, software sizing, language-coding support, safety-critical systems, robotics and metalanguages for modeling. The IIC continues advancing IIoT with testbeds: in Sensor-to-the-Cloud Connectivity, Factory Automation Platform as a Service, Smart Airline Baggage Management and the Security Claims Evaluation testbeds as well as focusing on collecting learnings from those testbeds.
Both organizations are starting the New Year on a strong footing. Like many other CEOs, I’ll make a prediction – 2017 will be the best year yet!