Recently, a new Forum commenced operation in The Open Group, the Open Process Automation™ Forum. This new Forum is focused on developing a standards-based, open, secure, interoperable process control architecture.
The first Members Meeting of the Forum was held in San Francisco, CA, November 16-17, 2016. The industry turnout for this initial meeting was impressive with 57 individuals from 30 different organizations attending.
Forum membership (as of December 7, 2016) includes the following companies:
|ARC Advisory Group||Process Systems Enterprise|
|Aspen Technology||Hewlett-Packard Enterprise|
|ATE Enterprises||Honeywell International, Inc.||Radix|
|Cirrus Link Solutions||Inductive Automation|
|Emerson Process||Yokogawa Electric Corporation|
|Ernst & Young||Merck & Co.|
A bit of history about this initiative:
ExxonMobil has been describing the need for a new standards effort in the process control automation area for several years. In early 2016, having seen how a similar Open Group standards effort transformed the avionics industry, ExxonMobil approached The Open Group to potentially initiate a new open standards activity. From March to September 2016, ExxonMobil and staff of The Open Group worked to build a “coalition of the willing” comprising end-users in the process control-using industries, and their key suppliers. During this time, several public outreach meetings were held including face-to-face meetings and webcasts to build interest and identify early participants. As the incubation work proceeded, it became clear that there was interest from at least seven different industry sectors who use similar systems from the same community of suppliers in their process manufacturing environments:
- Food and Beverage
- Mining and Metals
- Oil and Gas
- Pulp and Paper
During the first Members Meeting, a few things quickly became very clear:
- There are common pain points spanning multiple sectors, such as aging control systems and the need for more rapid technology insertion, which the proposed standards effort can address to the benefit of customers,
- There are common pain points shared by suppliers in current business models,
- The supplier community is eager to work collaboratively on an open standard for process control, and,
- The participants had a common understanding that a “win-win” outcome providing benefits to end users and suppliers is essential, and the members of the Forum are keen to deliver on this.
During the meeting, the scope of the standards effort was discussed, the Forum organization was created, and interim leadership roles were identified for the Forum and for specific work groups. Interim co-chairs for the Forum will be Don Bartusiak of ExxonMobil and Trevor Cusworth of Schneider Electric. The Business work group described a number of specific sub-groups in the areas of outreach, business guide development and certification. An Enterprise Architecture work group was formed, as was a Technical workgroup. The Technical workgroup conducted a pain points brainstorming exercise that will be useful in shaping and defining the technical standard. In addition, the Forum is working on a standards landscape document, which will survey other standards for possible incorporation into the “standard of standards” that we expect to create. Outreach and engagement with other standards organizations is currently being discussed and planned.
A great deal of progress was made in a short period of time, and the members are eager to move forward quickly with development of the technical standard, marketing and outreach activities, and consideration of a certification program. During the meeting, it was also clear that the proposed standard could be transformational in a way that is positive for all industry participants. The word “renaissance” was used (and embraced by the participants) to describe the potential impact of this standards effort on the industry at large.
Last but not least, we encourage customer organizations, suppliers, academics, systems integrators, and others who want to help influence the direction of the standards development to become members and get directly involved. Details on how to join may be found here.
For those who want to track the progress of this initiative, we have established an open LinkedIn group for the Forum, and will use this to communicate upcoming events and ongoing progress. To follow, join and/or invite others who may be interested, please click here.
The website for the Open Process Automation Forum is accessible here.