- May 29, 2019
By Bill Lydon, Automation.com
Amazon is clearly focused on manufacturing and, based on industry events, interviews, analysis, and briefings with users applying AWS technology, is causing another round of disruption in industrial automation.
By Bill Lydon, Contributing Editor, Automation.com
Back in the 1980s Microsoft caused dramatic disruption in the industrial automation industry, revolutionizing the HMIs, historians and production middleware first leveraged by Wonderware, due to Windows software. Turn the clock forward to today, and I believe Amazon Web Services (AWS) is on a similar disruptive course. Amazon is clearly focused on manufacturing and, based on industry events, interviews, analysis, and briefings with users applying AWS technology, is causing another round of disruption in industrial automation. The accelerating integration of OT into IT coupled a high adoption rate of AWS by Enterprise/IT gives them high credibility.
The Microsoft Windows Effect
The major leap forward for industrial & process system architectures in the 1980’s, due to Microsoft Windows, enhanced PLC and DCS HMI (Human Machine Interface) software and opened the door for a wide range of creative and valuable applications. Prior to this change, each automation vendor had proprietary closed software. Yet, the openness of the Windows platform enabled a number of upstart companies to create software add-ons including, PID tuning, optimization and other software which ultimately improved automation. In addition, the Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) interface, by Microsoft, enabled applications to access data in database management systems by using SQL to facilitate control of enterprise information sharing between production equipment and business enterprise systems. The Dynamic Data Exchange (DDE), introduced in 1987, facilitated inter-process communication under Microsoft Windows allowing one program to subscribe to items made available by another program - for example a cell in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet - and be notified whenever that item changes. Along with the release of Windows 2.0, DDE enabled a range of functions, including PLC/DCS, to spreadsheet interface so that one program could communicate with or control another program.
Inside the Amazon Effort
Amazon is clearly focused on the IoT edge-to-enterprise computing applications, including manufacturing, as one of its segments and is causing disruption in the industry right now. Amazon had another great booth at the 2019 Hannover Fair, featuring partners who demonstrated a wide range of applications to improve performance, profits, and lifecycle return-on-investment for manufacturers. The booth also featured AWS Use Cases presented by users.
Caption: Optimizing production and asset optimization at Georgia Pacific with AWS
2019 Hannover Fair Amazon booth featuring partners demonstrating a wide range of applications.
AWS has an architectural framework & platform which includes building blocks and development tools, designed to make it easy to apply their technology. AWS has already created an ecosystem with a large number of users/developers to build and extend capabilities.
AWS Manufacturing Reference Architecture is a model for open systems.
Amazon AWS has an entire stack of building blocks from the embedded edge, enterprise, to cloud.
- Amazon FreeRTOS - IoT Operating System for Microcontrollers
- AWS IoT Greengrass - Secure Local Triggers, Actions, and Data Sync
- AWS IoT Core - Secure Device Connectivity and Messaging
- AWS IoT Device Management - Fleet Onboarding, Management, and Software Updates
- AWS IoT Device Defender - Fleet Audit and Protection
- AWS IoT Things Graph - Visually Connect Different Devices and Web Services to Build IoT Applications
- AWS IoT Analytics - IoT Data Analytics and Intelligence
- AWS IoT SiteWise - Collect, Structure, and Search Industrial IoT Data
- AWS IoT Events - Detect and Respond to Events from IoT Sensors and Applications
These are links to other resources:
- Manufacturing Resource Center
- AWS IoT Greengrass - AWS IoT Greengrass is software that lets you run local compute, messaging, data caching, sync, and ML (Machine Learning) inference capabilities on connected devices in a secure way. FAQs
- AWS Partner Device Catalog
- Turn Industrial Machines into Innovation Machines with AWS IoT
- Tension in Industrial Automation: Open Systems and the User’s Dilemma
- Can Manufacturers Compete When Trapped in Existing Automation Architectures?
- Is IT/OT Convergence Becoming Misguided Thinking?
- Bill’s Top 10 Automation & Control Trends for 2019 – Accelerating Change & Reaching the Tipping Point
- 2019 Hannover Messe Wrap Up - The Growing Realization of Industry 4.0 & Digitalization
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