Hannover Messe is an annual industrial trade show that has grown to be the largest of its kind. While for many in the technology industry, the likes of CES or MWC are the focal point, this event has more exhibitors and visitors, which is in part due to the size of the manufacturing and industrial sector, but also due to the blend of operational technology (OT) and industrial technology (IT) with IIoT.
The 451 Take
It cited a three-year cycle coming to fruition in technology and awareness. Its approach also discussed the conceptual use of a digital twin across the entire chain, in discrete and process industries – an engineering twin, operation twin and a service twin. The company has also opened up to new forms of collaboration, such as its MindSphere Open Space Challenge, in which is sees partner crowdsource developments in a cooperative competition.
ABB's product set in power delivery was extended with the unveiling of its Terra HP fast charger for electric vehicles, also tied in with its sponsorship of the Formula-e racing championship. After its acquisition of B&R in 2017, the company was able to show integration into its Industrial Automation division, with it now being the Machine and Factory automation unit.
Products such as B&R's Orange Box, a brownfield site advanced-analytics offering for previously isolated machinery, were demonstrated. ABB also announced a global Automation Readiness report that looked at which countries are most prepared for the coming wave of AI and robotics disruption. It was also present across the venue with products such as robot arms on partner stands.
Schneider Electric showed its place in energy management and automation under its branding of EcoStruxure. The applications and services on EcoStruxure are called Advisors. This architecture is focused on the areas of buildings, datacenters, industry and utility infrastructure. Like many other OT companies, it is looking for partner ecosystems, so it can focus on its core competency.
In 2017, Schneider's industrial software business was combined with the UK company AVEVA. This put products such as Wonderware, SimSci and Avantis along with AVEVA's PDMS, Everything3D and NET under the same banner, 60% owned by Schneider Electric. On the stand, AVEVA demonstrated how detailed design time 3-D CAD models of an oil rig could be pulled into an operational setting, allowing engineers to plan work orders and see the real-time instrumentation from the IIoT sensors in situ on the model. It also allows practical solutions to problems, such as an engineer that needs any special equipment, like a ladder, to reach a part to be worked on.
EdgeX Foundry was launched at Hannover Messe the year before. The open-sourced framework for IoT edge computing, and its supporting ecosystem, brings together originators such as Dell with open source veterans Canonical and networking startups such as IoTium. The platform's evolution now sees GoLang micro-services in preview, to be able to replace Java components.
Cisco's industrial stand was arranged into Connected Factory Network, providing the software-defined backbone, and also an area for TSN with standard data such as OPC-UA running over it. Enterprise-to-factory security is a key area for the company with identity services, Industrial Network Director and Stealthwatch. In the data space, it showed Cisco Kinetic to help resolve disparate data sources across plants. It also showed uses cases with major partners such as Rockwell Automation and Intel to optimize operations and provide increased reliability.
The company also described its Azure Times Series Insights to unify complex time series data and archive it in the cloud, but still enable complex queries to be run on it, such as connecting to Azure Machine Learning studio or third-party machine learning tools such as Jupyter Notebook. OT companies running platforms on Azure include ABB, Rockwell Automation, Schneider Electric, GE, Yokogawa and Honeywell.
AWS was attending for the second year with a very much increased presence and focus. At the end of 2017, the company had announced its AWS IoT Analytics service, and it declared its general availability at the show. This service aids the ingestion of different types of IoT data, with help to prepare and normalize that data for processing. Data can be queried with an SQL style language and also routed to machine learning services. AWS has a flexible pricing model to help scale with customer needs, as with cloud pricing. It is worth noting we have our Cloud Price Index to help compare standard application sets across cloud providers in order to contrast costing, and we are looking into IoT use cases as well.
SAP showed multiple scenarios for digital manufacturing with a focus on the flow of multiple stages of digital twins across the enterprise in manufacturing engineering, creating and flowing 3-D design data to production; manufacturing execution with tight integration between people and machines for maximum efficiency; and distributed manufacturing (such as 3-D printing). The SAP Cloud Platform is a key component used across a significant partner network.
Splunk has found its services used in a number of OT use cases, as we have covered previously, and this year, it was the company's first stand at the show, although as with many of the other IT companies, it had representation as a partner on many others.
Nokia is also a relative newcomer to the show. It showed a private 4G/LTE network and Nokia WING to help communication service providers engage with IoT. Also featured was the Nokia Drone Network; in this case, aimed at first responders providing a fleet of purpose-built observation drones with a backpack 4G/LTE providing on-site connectivity to remote and dangerous areas. We covered the growing number of drone use cases recently.
Arm, besides building chip offerings, is developing a partner ecosystem with the Mbed Platform now consisting of over 300,000 developers and 80 partners. It has added integration with IBM Watson IoT and security companies Cybertrust and GlobalSign. Mbed Cloud and Cloud on Premises allows for device management and provisioning securely at scale.
Gemalto is a digital security specialist, and so plays its part in helping industry secure across IIOT, but it is also a manufacturer that is on the same digital transformation journey as many others. This means it can offer IIoT products already tried and tested on its own lines.
Augmented and virtual reality
Tulip demonstrated its work order construction and execution for the factory floor. A simple interface allows instructions to be created and then controlled based on the devices and sensors available. A start Factory Kit was announced with a few basic components to get any production up and running. Upskill and its Skylight Augmented Reality platform, like many of the AR providers, is now in the sweet spot of being able to interact with IoT data and weave that into workforce productivity flows. Its case studies run across aviation, healthcare and field services.
Holo-light's stand was noticeable due to its lack of furniture and posters; this was because the stand was a space to use AR on a HoloLens, so much of the product demonstration was experiential. The company has a multi-user 3-D model explorer Holo-View, which can run on other platforms. It has also developed a physical 3-D pen device, the Holo-Stylus, with an external sensor that makes it work with any headset. DAQRI attended the show demonstrating its Worksense software applications to go with its AR smart glasses, something we recently covered.
Ian Hughes is a Senior Analyst for the Internet of Things practice at 451 Research. He has more than 27 years of experience in emerging technology as a developer, architect
Jeremy Korn is a Research Associate at 451 Research. He graduated from Brown University with a BA in Biology and East Asian Studies and received
Aaron Sherrill is a Senior Analyst for 451 Research covering emerging trends, innovation