New alliance #1: Invensys selects NextNine platform for remote monitoring & support


There are few things in a process plant environment that have not been automated to some extent, so it should be no surprise to know that software platform suppliers are trying to automate technical support. While your first reaction may be that it is simply an attempt to cut costs, bear in mind that automated support is available on demand, 24x7x365, and it already knows everything about your system. Invensys is now working to integrate support for its Foxboro I/A systems using NextNine Service Automation platform and its Virtual Support Engineer.

Invensys says this new capability will be integrated into its Process Systems’ Sentinel Monitoring System, designed to monitor and support operating infrastructure for I/A control systems. (It monitors only the control system, not your process.) NextNine Service Automation is designed for the entire service ecosystem, including vendors, system integrators, enterprises and support providers. At its core is the Virtual Support Engineer which is a small footprint Java software utility that can be downloaded when needed or installed permanently at the customer site. NextNine says it functions as an automated on-site support engineer for all support communications, automating data collection, remote diagnostics, resolution and maintenance. Since the Virtual Support Engineer is integrated with the control system, it has all operating data and history at its disposal as it troubleshoots and diagnoses system problems.

Invensys chose NextNine's platform for its ease of use, support of multiple protocols (including Telnet, SSH, Web, Desktop) and secure communications. This is critical as Invensys seeks to deliver efficient, secure, 24X7 support to its global client base. The NextNine Service Automation platform is expected to play a significant role in helping Invensys achieve that goal.

"When reviewing vendors offering support automation solutions, the decision of which vendor to choose was made very easy by NextNine's flexibility to adapt to Invensys' broad product base, along with its ease of use," says Jenny Coleman, program manager, remote services for Invensys. "This is imperative for our future growth regarding remote support."

—Edited by Peter Welander, process industries editor, , Control Engineering Weekly News

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