OSIsoft User Conference underscores growing interest in production data

San Francisco—Heavy attendance at the 15th annual OSIsoft User Conference, April 19-21, may indicate an overall upswing in the technology sector, but the large turnout is just as likely due to an intensifying corporate focus on production data.

By Control Engineering Staff April 23, 2004

San Francisco— Heavy attendance at the 15th annual OSIsoft User Conference , April 19-21, may indicate an overall upswing in the technology sector, but the large turnout is just as likely due to an intensifying corporate focus on production data. With more than 600 users from various countries and more than 100 partners at the gathering, OSIsoft’s event is one of the more well-attended conferences staged by a company outside the circle of large industry players since 2001.

OSIsoft’s leaders used the conference to highlight and take advantage of the company’s long history in real-time production data aggregation, visualization, and analysis. “All winning business strategies are knowledge-based,” said Dr. J. Patrick Kennedy, OSIsoft’s CEO, in his keynote address. He also stressed that OSIsoft’s always provides users with greater knowledge about their production operations.

Kennedy also noted that knowledge gained from real-time production data is “inherently enterprise level,” meaning that such data is no longer just interesting to production engineers. This has fueled the recent cross-industry push to integrate production and IT technologies, and give executives access to production data via portals.

Ray Verhoeff, OSIsoft’s engineering VP, reports that new and future developments are all part of the company’s preparation “for the enterprise” using strategies, such as security, remote asset management, fault tolerance, and replication. Verhoeff says that, despite the company’s effort to be viewed as an integral part of an enterprise data strategy equal to its reputation as a plant-floor production data provider, OSIsoft doesn’t advocate “federation of all data into a single pool.” OSIsoft’s position is that data should reside and be managed by those who know it best, while access to that data is critical for proper decision-making and must be open to appropriate use.

Most of the valuable information in many businesses isn’t being accessed and used properly because 80% of it resides in individual hard drives and personal files, says Michael Saucier, OSIsoft’s VP of marketing. “Individuals hold the key to the knowledge economy, and most of that knowledge is lost when they leave the company after five to seven years of service,” he adds. “The higher up you go in an organization, there is more responsibility and accountability for decisions made, but less visibility into the granular information needed to make the right decisions. OSIsoft seeks to change that.”

Major announcements at the user conference included:

  • Extension of OSIsoft’s partnership with Emerson Process Management. The two companies first began working together in 1993 as part of an OEM agreement to have PI, OSIsoft’s historian product, included as part of Emerson’s Delta V product. The new agreement extends the relation-ship beyond the Delta V OEM partnership to include Emerson in value added reseller (VAR) and joint development agreements. Joint development involves the integration of Emerson’s and OSIsoft’s configuration environments.

  • OSIsoft’s new channel partner program, which gives customers access to the best partner products and services for their RtPM solutions. RtPM is OSIsoft’s real time performance management platform, which includes applications, such as PI, RtPortal, RtAnalytics, and RtBaseline. OSIsoft channel partners include VARs, OEMs, system integrators, and general technology companies. Current participants include Emerson, New Energy, and Prasentia.

  • The development, to date, of more than 385 standard interfaces, providing connectivity to software applications and instrumentation system manufactured as far back as 1980. OSIsoft’s “smart connectors” include interfaces to these major DCS and SCADA vendors: ABB, Areva, Emerson, General Electric, Honeywell, Invensys Software Systems, Metso, Rockwell Automation, Siemens, Telvent, and Yokogawa. OSIsoft also remains committed to developing and implementing the standards for OPC connectivity. In addition to OPC, OSIsoft also supports industry standards including DNP3, ICCP, SQL, ODBC, DDE, Modbus, and OLEDB. For a complete list of interfaces, visit https://interfaces.osisoft.com .

  • PI DataLink 3.0, a report-generating application to help users analyze data from OSIsoft’s RtPM Platform within the context of their actual operations or business structure. Customers can view business and plant data in comprehensive reports using OSIsoft’s Module Database. DataLink 3.0 is a smart client in OSIsoft’s RtPortal visualization platform that links process data and events from across the enterprise collected in PI Servers to spreadsheet programs running on Microsoft Windows platforms, such as Microsoft Excel. Using OSIsoft’s PI System Software Development Kit, DataLink 3.0 can perform added functions, such as filtered and expression summaries, event-weighted calculations, and expression sampling specifications.

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
David Greenfield, editorial director