There’s a lot to be optimistic about in the future of manufacturing. Several new technologies are now gaining momentum, starting with the Industry 4.0 transformation that began nearly 20 years ago. Critical mass is being achieved with innovation evolving faster. Many obstacles have been eliminated. What used to be all-consuming issues have become afterthoughts. This change has enabled greater focus to be applied to a thriving digital marketplace that is increasingly open, operating on multiple devices, and is more unpredictable than ever before. As a way to help accelerate this transformation, iBASEt launched iSeries. In this blog post I will review five great new features of iSeries.
All too often, new digital technologies were viewed as a headache, were hard to justify the investment, or were difficult to deploy. At the same time, monolithic applications have been cumbersome to manage. What often resulted was “shelf-ware.” Software that was bought but not deployed. And, as part of these challenges, many an IT resource was overloaded trying to navigate a way through the challenges.
Today is a completely different story. Most of these problems have faded into the rearview mirror, particularly over the past two years.
The Golden Age of Digital in Manufacturing
Manufacturers have fully embraced the digitalization of manufacturing processes – at rates we have never seen before.
In their 2021 Worldwide Digital Transformation Predictions, IDC predicts the economy will remain on course to its digital destiny with 65% of global GDP digitalized by 2022. This will drive over $6.8 trillion of direct digital transformation investments from 2020 to 2023 (source). Manufacturing will get a strong share of this total.
In the digital world, an open digital ecosystem has huge advantages. Innovation can be harnessed faster, and the results can be distributed with greater ease and efficiency. In this type of environment, monolithic “closed systems” throttle back these types of advances and will soon be archaic as a dinosaur.
Watch this on-demand webcast where Jan Snoeij, President of the MOM Institute, shares his insights on: Why Today is a Great Time to Retire a Legacy MES.
As part of this transformation, the rise of applications based on a microservices architecture makes sense. View this evolution akin to the process of loading apps on your smartphone. You pick and choose only those you need. As updates become available, you can apply them to your device based on the schedule you decide – quickly and easily.
We’ve gone from “monolithic” to “modular.” This means that digital transformation projects can now target precise areas of improvement without sweeping everything up in a wave of unnecessary features.
iBASEt’s iSeries delivers these advantages – too many to fit in just one blog post! Here are five great new features of iSeries that I think you will really appreciate.
Screenshot of iBASEt’s next-generation MES solution – take advantage of all the new features of iSeries
1. Software Developer Kit (SDK)
SDK is a built-in toolkit that lets developers create custom APIs in iSeries without changing code. In the past, it was a major obstacle to have the right API ecosystem for your systems to communicate — that reality has changed (for the better) over the last five years.
With its streamlined, native configuration, iSeries SDK empowers you successfully create and expand your digital ecosystem comprising data, devices, processes, and people. A well-executed API ecosystem can be a continued and powerful driver of digital transformation and sustained performance improvement.
2. Modern UX Design and Standardized UI
There is no more need for outdated, cluttered user interfaces. A key feature of iSeries now gives you a polished UI (with a web-based HDI framework) that is consistent across virtually any device. We already use smartphones and tablets with touch screens and wireless capabilities. Now you can run Solumina on these same devices since the iSeries was designed with that in mind. This is not just providing flexible displays of commands – the whole UX has shifted to get the most out of touch screen commands, including what works best in an industrial environment. Your user experience is now optimized to the device you use.
3. Direct Communication to the Shop Floor
When your technicians run into a problem on the line, how quickly and directly can they communicate the issue? In iSeries, they can take a video/picture on their phone and send it straight to the QA technician’s desktop. iSeries is all about allowing your enterprise to precisely isolate and resolve issues, to keep factory downtime to a minimum, and to keep production rates stable. The social/collaboration feature built into iSeries can be used to communicate with anyone through the app, adding convenience and productivity.
4. IIoT Connectivity
Much has been said about the Internet of Things. But how well are you capturing and leveraging this data? Is it positively impacting performance? The iSeries has the right APIs for IIoT connectivity. This means that you can take an amalgamation of data from other software applications, sensors, robotics, and automation equipment to create an online framework to see and analyze all sorts of intricate data from across your enterprise.
For example, challenges like machine maintenance and product defects are a lot less tricky when each machine on the line can tell you its exact status, down to small details like operating temperature and RPMs.
5. Modern Data Structure — ELK Stack
If you haven’t heard of an ELK Stack, then of all the features of iSeries, this one is really going to impress you. The database in iSeries isn’t just an archive. ELK stands for Elasticsearch, Logstash, and Kibana. This is a three-pronged system that turns your database into a scalable, connected view of your business.
- Elasticsearch might just be a search engine, but don’t underestimate its value. It provides an HTTP web-based interface, allowing you to begin typing a keyword search and see matching results start to populate right away with schema-free JSON documents. In so many words, it’s a speedy, distributed, and programmable search & analytics engine.
- Logstash is the data collection pipeline for Elasticsearch. It can ingest data from a range of sources, transform it, and then store it, at any level of complexity and in any format.
- Kibana provides a singular, uniform interface for you to visualize all of this collected data. It’s quite dynamic, from creating waffle charts to complex time series analysis reports. Whatever you decide to do, it’s all contained within one clean and modern UI.
There’s a lot to like about the new features of Solumina iSeries. Every member of the enterprise can benefit, from line workers to top-level decision-makers. Today, technology innovation is accelerating like never before. When it’s properly harnessed, as in the iSeries, we’re just starting to see the amazing things it lets us do.
As Chief Marketing Officer at iBASEt, Tom brings over 25 years of enterprise software marketing and business development experience to the executive leadership team. He is responsible for the strategic growth of the company. Tom earned his MBA at the University of Southern California and holds a BS degree in Management from Northeastern University.