Lee Lane - FDT Chairman  Rockwell Automation

May Editorial:

We just concluded our exhibit and meeting activities at the Hannover Fair in Germany. It is great to see the heightened anticipation of our new FITS architecture. The demonstration of augmented reality as part of a FITS solution sparked a number of interesting conversations. You might say a lot of people’s eyes were opened to the possibilities once they tried the Hololens demonstration! The solution space addressed by apps accessing information from the FITS architecture continues to be fertile ground for creative concepts. The business value of many of these apps will far outlive the “cool factor” of the demonstrations. We are certainly living in an exciting and fast paced time for industrial automation.

Last year we released our first FDT annex for OPC UA. This milestone connected two leading automation information standards in the industry. As we said at the time, we could envision further integration in this area to allow our vendor community to more easily adopt the annex and our end user community to more fully leverage its benefits. I am pleased to announce that we have kicked off that next phase of activity. A panel of FDT and OPC UA experts are driving this deeper integration through enhanced development tools, support of publish/subscribe, and other sought after features. We anticipate that a portion of this work will be integrated into our tradeshow display at the SPS/IPC/Drive in Nuremberg later this year.

The FDT Group members are in the midst of reviewing a proposed FDT 2.1 specification. This minor update to the specification takes care of providing additional clarification and specificity to our current FDT 2.0 specification. We anticipate a smooth review process and should be releasing the specification to the public by October of this year. Watch our website for further information.  If you have already downloaded the FDT 2.0 specification from our website, you will automatically receive notification when the new version is available.

Our Architecture and Specification working group has undertaken the task of examining the applicability of using .NET Core as a step to providing server side operating system independence. Since the FITS architecture removes the platform dependence of the client, this activity has the potential to remove the last vestige of OS dependency from the architecture. If this is an area of interest to your company, please contact our FDT Office so that we can incorporate your requirements or expertise into this investigation.

For those of you that attended Hannover Fair this year, I hope you had a chance to meet our new administrative assistant, Katie Jones. Katie comes to us with a degree and a wealth of experience in event management. You may have already had the pleasure of corresponding with her as she has already taken over responsibility for a number of member and user facing activities. Welcome, Katie to the FDT family.

Lee Lane

Chairman of the FDT Group Board of Directors