“This is the first time that our personal lives have better tools than our work lives,” began Vimal Kapur, president of Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS), at the opening keynote of Honeywell Users Group (HUG) 2016, highlighting the rapid change in our daily lives thanks to mobile technology, the Internet and interoperability.
While the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) may have some catching up to do relative to consumer devices, Kapur assured attendees that the speed of business (and device commissioning) is accelerating. HPS is focused on digital transformation for customers, and highlighted several new IIoT-ready offerings, such as its mobility platform Pulse and the ControlEdge programmable logic controller (PLC) that uses the OPC UA protocol and features built-in cybersecurity. When combined with Experion PKS (Process Knowledge System), the PLC allows for efficient integration with software and devices from multiple vendors.
On the digital intelligence front, the Uniformance Suite reportedly turns plant data into actionable information, enabling operators to see patterns, predict risks and make informed decisions more efficiently.
With the downturn in oil prices, much of the company’s message centered around making the most of existing infrastructure, creating systems that can be expanded incrementally by skids and ensuring that upgrades show measureable value. “If we cannot improve efficiency, reliability or safety, then you can’t justify it,” Kapur said. “You can’t just say [an IIoT technology] is cool. You need to prove the business case.”
To that end, HPS highlighted its desire to create products that make enterprises more efficient by allowing customers to become part of the development process. Its User Input Subcommittee allows customers to provide detailed input for future enhancements to products. Extending far beyond a mere suggestion box, enhancement ideas are discussed, weighted and voted on by the subcommittee to determine which provide the greatest benefit and make process control easier for everyone.
The company also gave a sneak peak into the future of augmented reality with maintenance instructions overlaying equipment to simplify troubleshooting and maintenance.
Of course, no discussion of IIoT integration would be complete without talk of cyber security efforts. HPS is partnering with cloud providers to provide security, and deploying proactive security products like Risk Manager to monitor and manage cyber security risks in a single view.
Kapur was clear that deriving the benefits of the IIoT is not about starting from scratch, and that there can still be significant value in enabling and connecting assets in the plant to the outside world and a new infrastructure. As he put it, “It’s an evolution not a revolution.”