The Open Group San Francisco 2017 Highlights Day 2

By The Open Group

Day two of The Open Group San Francisco event was held on Tuesday, January 31.  Steve Nunn, President & CEO, and Jim Hietala, VP Business Development and Security, both of The Open Group, greeted attendees for morning sessions centered around the theme of Making Standards Work®.

The first certification courses for ArchiMate® 3.0 , an Open Group standard, kicked off at the conference. In addition, the San Francisco event marked the launch of The Open Group Open Process Automation™ Forum, a Forum of The Open Group, which will address standards development for open, secure, interoperable process control architectures. The Forum will include end users, suppliers, systems integrators, integrated DCS vendors, standards organizations and academics from a variety of industries, including food and beverage, oil and gas, pulp and paper, petrochemical, pharmaceuticals, metals and mining, and utilities.  Hietala joined Nunn on stage to discuss the launch of the Forum, which came out of a vision from ExxonMobil. The Forum has already grown rapidly, with almost 100 members. Forum Members are also attending and holding events at the annual ARC Advisory Group Industry Forum in Orlando.

The morning plenary began with Dennis Stevens from Lockheed Martin discussing “The Influence of Open Architecture Standards on the Emergence of Advance Process Control Systems.” Stevens, who is involved in The Open Group FACE™ Consortium, will also be leading the Open Process Automation Forum. Stevens opened by saying that this is a particularly exciting time in industrial automation due to of the intersection of standards, technology and automation. According to Stevens, the work that has been done in the FACE Forum over the past few years has paved the way for what also needs to be done in process automation.

Stevens noted that many of the industrial systems in use today will be facing obsolescence in the next few years due to a variety of reasons, including a proliferation of proprietary and closed systems, a lack of sophisticated development tools and the high-cost of technology refreshes. Tech trends such as the Internet of Things, cybersecurity, open source and virtualization are also forcing a need for industrial manufacturers to change. In addition, the growth of complexity in software systems and the changeover from hardware dominant to software dominant systems is also compelling factors for automation change. However, Stevens says, by reusing existing and creating new standards, there are many opportunities for cost savings and reducing complexity.

According the Stevens, the goal is to standardize the interfaces that companies can use so there is interoperability across systems built atop a common framework. By standardizing the interface only, organizations can still differentiate themselves by bringing their own business processes and designs to those systems via hardware or software components. In addition, by bringing elements from the FACE standardization model to Open Process Automation, the new forum can also take advantage of proven processes that already take into account regulations around co-opetition and anti-trust. Stevens believes that Open Process Automation will ultimately enable new markets and suppliers for process automation as well as lower the cost of doing business in industrial automation.

Following the morning break, Chair of the Department of Economics at San Jose State University Dr. Lydia Ortega took stage for the second morning session, entitled “Innovative Communities.”  Ortega took a refreshing look at what The Open Group does and how it works by applying economic theory to illustrate how the organization is an “Innovative community.” Ortega began by providing what she called an “economist’s definition” of what open standards are, which she defined as a collection of dispersed knowledge that is a building block for innovation and is continually evolving. She also described open standards as a “public good,” due to the fact that they are knowledge-based, non-rivalrous, non-excludable and produced once and available to others at marginal cost. Teamwork, consensus, community are also characterizing features of what makes the organization work. Ortega plans to continue her research into what makes The Open Group work by examining competing standards bodies and the organization’s origins among other things.

Prior to introducing the next session, Steve Nunn presented an award to Steve Whitlock, a long-time Open Group member who recently retired from Boeing, for more than 20 years of leadership, contributions and service to The Open Group. Colleagues provided additional praise for Whitlock and his willingness to lead activities on behalf of The Open Group and its members, particularly in the area of security.

The morning’s third session featured Mike Jerbic, Principal Consultant for Trusted System Consulting Group, highlighting how the “Norwegian Regional Healthcare Project & Open FAIR” have been used to analyze the cost benefits of a home treatment program for dialysis patients in Norway. Currently, due to health and privacy regulations and security requirements, patients who receive home dialysis must physically transport data regarding their treatments to hospitals, which affects the quality of patient’s lives but protects the state from security issues related to transporting data online. Jerbic and a group of economics students at San Jose State University in California did an economic analysis to examine the costs vs. benefits of the program. Using The Open Group Open FAIR™ body of knowledge to analyze the potential threats to both patient privacy and information security, the group found it would make sense to pose the program risks as an engineering problem to be solved. However, they must do additional research to weigh the benefits of potential cost savings to the state vs. the benefits of quality of life for patients.

Concluding Tuesday’s plenary sessions was a panel entitled “Open FAIR in Practice,” which extended the conversation regarding the Norwegian healthcare project by taking questions from the audience about the program. Jerbic moderated the panel, which included Ortega; Eva Kuiper, ESS GRC Security Consultant, HPE; John Linford, Lecturer, Department of Economics, San Jose State University; and Sushmitha Kasturi, Undergraduate Researches, San Jose State University.

Jerbic also announced that a number of students from San Jose State, many of whom were in attendance, have recently either completed or begun their certification in Open FAIR.  He also talked about an Academic Program within The Open Group that is working with students on projects that are mutually beneficial, allowing The Open Group to get help with the work needed to create standards, while providing important practical work experience for students.

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San Jose State University Students

Following the plenary, Tuesday’s lunchtime partner presentation featured Sean Cleary, Senior Consultant, Orbus Software, presenting on “Architecture Roadmap Visualization with ArchiMate® 3.0.”

Afternoon sessions were split into two tracks, Cognitive Computing and EA in Practice.

  • EA in Practice – Hosted by Len Fehskens of the Association of Enterprise Architects, two sessions looked at maxims and folktales for architects, presented by Fehskens, and how to enable government and management with continuous audits with Robert Weisman, CEO/COO of Build the Vision.
  • Cognitive Computing – Chris Harding from The Open Group served as host for four sessions in the track:
    • Ali Arsanjani, CTO for Analytics and Emerging Technologies, IBM – Arsanjani provided an overview of different ways that data can be structured for cognitive computing applications. According to Arsanjani, cognitive systems are meant to augment, not replace, human systems and to be of service to us. By combining human interaction and curation with automated data analysis and machine learning, companies will be able to gain greater business advantages. However, we also must also always be aware of the implications of using artificial systems and the potential consequences of doing so, he said.
    • Jitendra Maan, Enterprise Architect and Center of Excellence Lead, Tata Consultancy Services – Maan says cognitive computing signals a shift in how machines interact with humans, other machines and the environment, with potential for new categories of business outcomes and disruption. The design of automated systems is critical to how cognitive systems are expected to evolve but unlike traditional computing, cognitive will rely on a combination of natural language processing, machine learning and data. Potential business applications already in progress include service support centers, contract management, risk assessment, intelligent chat bots and conversation work flows. Maan predicts bots will actually replace many service functions in the next few years.
    • Swaminathan Chandrsekaran, Industry Apps & Solutions, IBM Watson, both of IBM – Chandrsekaran’s talk took a deeper dive into cognitive computing and the make-up of cognitive systems. Understanding, reason, learning and interaction are key to teaching cognitive systems how to work, he said. Cognitive systems are also broadly categorized around language, speech, vision and data & insights, much like the human brain. Patterns can generally be created from cognitive conversations, discovery and application extensions. Chandreskaran also shared how to model a reference architecture for a cognitive conversation pattern.
    • The Cognitive Computing panel, moderated by Harding, included afternoon speakers Arsanjani, Maan and Chandrsekaran. The panel discussed how businesses can gain advantage from cognitive computing, learned personalization and contextualization via systems training, the time it takes to train a system (now days or weeks vs. months or years), making the systems more intelligent over time, and the need to aggregate and curate data from the beginning of a project and also focus on introducing domain-relevant data, as well as the importance of good data curation.

The day concluded with a social event and dinner for attendees held at the Autodesk Gallery, a San Francisco destination that marries creativity, design and engineering in more than 20 exhibits sponsored by companies such as Lego and Mercedes Benz.

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Networking at the Autodesk Gallery

The following day, the event offered track sessions in areas including  Internet of Things (IoT) and Architecture.  The Open Group San Francisco drew to a close with Members Only Meetings on February 2.

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We are looking forward to seeing you at The Open Group Berlin April 24-27, 2017! #ogBER