We just concluded our autumn Board meeting hosted by Yokogawa in their facility in Amersfoort, Netherlands and I am pleased to share some major news with you: the emerging FDT IIoT Server™ (FITS™) standard will be completely platform independent!
The FDT Group Board of Directors has approved the immediate transition of the new browser and server-based FITS architecture to a fully platform independent server architecture. This means that our developer’s common components, previously built on the Microsoft .NET Framework, will be immediately ported to a pure .NET Core and .NET Standard implementation. By doing so, the FDT Server supporting the FITS architecture can run on a Microsoft, Linux, or macOS based operating system. Since the user interface can be securely viewed with any major web browser running on any operating system, the entire FITS standard is therefore entirely platform independent.
The significance of this development cannot be overstated, as the secure deployment and application scenarios become nearly unlimited. Cloud-based FDT Servers can enjoy the performance and cost benefit of a Linux operating system. Traditional control system vendors can offer the FDT Server embedded in their hardware. Machine builders can deploy a small Linux-based FDT Server offering a comprehensive pre-configured asset management system for their skid that can be securely accessed remotely or with smart phones or browsers. MES applications can incorporate an FDT Server in order to gain secure, direct access to production data and asset health and availability metrics through OPC UA. Service Providers can wrap services around an FDT Server that is delivered in an industrial hardened Linux box. And the opportunities for cost savings and value creation goes on due to the highly flexible deployment options of the FITS standard.
The Board is very grateful for the investigation and prototyping by our Architecture and Specification Working Group that led to this decision. The only deleterious effect of this decision is a delay of approximately six months for the release of the new FITS standard. Given the value delivered through full platform independence, this is a small, short-term trade off that will pay off in huge dividends.
The Board also thanked Ted (Tetsuo) Takeuchi for his ten years of service to the FDT Group as Vice President of Technology. Ted has overseen two major revisions of the standard and the development of Common Components and severaldtmINSPECTOR tools. Ted is retiring from his FDT Vice President role to focus on other responsibilities within Yokogawa. The Board has named Suriya Kumar Selvaraj from Yokogawa as the new VP of Technology with immediate effect. Suriya has served in other leadership roles within FDT including Chairperson of the Test and Certification Working Group and Chairperson of the Architecture and Specification Working Group. Welcome, Suriya to the FDT Group executive team.
Additionally, we would like to welcome Mariko Imai from Schneider Electric as FDT Japan’s newest marketing chairperson taking over responsibilities from Hiro Kamei of Azbil. We appreciate Kamei-san’s leadership and commitment to growing the FDT brand in the Japan marketplace and wish him well in his new endeavors. FDT marketing committees are alive and active around the globe; and are committed to both educating the base and listening to the voice of end users in efforts to advance the standard forward meeting the needs in the process, hybrid and discrete automation sectors. We appreciate Mrs. Imai for taking on this role in Japan.
This certainly is an exciting time for the FDT Group Standard. If your company is interested in helping to guide the future of the standard and its associated technology, please consider joining the FDT Group as a sponsoring member and serving on its Board of Directors. We welcome both industry vendors and end-users to join us in this exhilarating journey.
Lee Lane, Chairman – FDT Board of Directors