Digital Transformation of Critical Operations Focus of OSIsoft PI World 2019

By Janice Abel



OSIsoft recently held its 30th annual user conference, “PI World 2019” in San Francisco, California.  The event, the largest to date, attracted 2,100 attendees, plus an additional 1,000 users who streamed the event remotely. Under the recurring theme, Transform Your World (with data), this year’s event focused on the importance of critical operations and information, digital transformation of critical operations, IoT data, transformation of critical operations PI%20World%202019.JPGmanageable systems, seamless information, and increasing scope and value (from data). 

The event highlighted the product enhancements made over the past year – including the continuing evolution of PI Vision, PI Cloud Connect Services, OSIsoft Edge Data Store, and new PI Integrators enabling streaming data with Amazon Web Services (AWS) in addition to Microsoft Azure.  Customers also heard about how others are using the PI System and OSIsoft Cloud Services.  In addition to the abundance of presentations by process industry end users, we also saw presentations by discrete manufacturers as well as presentations on smart cities, renewables, microgrids, battery storage, transportation, and logistics.

The PI System can be found inside many different applications and industries.  These range from wind farms, rail networks, data centers, smart cities, utilities, pharmaceutical manufacturing, food & beverages, chemical manufacturing, oil & gas, metals & mining, forest & paper products, microgrids and power generating stations, electric transmission & generation, water & wastewater, and facility management.  Worldwide, more than two billion sensor-based data streams are managed by the PI System.  

All in all, there were more than 100 presentations in ten industry-specific, multiple product tracks, crash courses on the PI System, best practices, and development tracks.

Key findings from the event include:

  • Both technology and culture are important for critical operations and the digital transformation
  • Small changes can have a big impact on industry.  IoT, for example, will transform businesses
  • Systems need to be manageable. OSIsoft is focused on making its software easier to deploy and more predictable with automated maintenance features in the cloud
  • Seamless infrastructure is important, so users can connect and transition between operations and expand their reach to more devices easily, particularly the new IoT-connected smart devices
  • Increased scope and value are important - the more data you add to the system and the more people who consume the data, the more valuable it will become
  • The PI system can store all types of data – operational, business, and IoT data
  • PI System tools enable team collaboration
  • Advanced analytics continue to provide value to OSIsoft system data

Small Changes Can Have a Big Impact

Patrick Kennedy, OSIsoft CEO and Founder, kicked off the event with a discussion on IoT and its impact on the world.   He said, “small changes have dramatic effects that are sometimes expected and sometimes unexpected.   Small changes, like IoT can have a big impact and be very important.”  In the future, there will be more data in IIoT systems than in control systems, but the PI system makes it possible to store everything. 

Dr. Kennedy went on to describe several examples of where users are getting value from their data.   He told the audience that data will continue to increase a lot because of IoT.   People will need to learn to use all their data. “OSIsoft is seeing a lot of IoT projects today because everything is smart.”  Robots, for example, are cranking out as much data as work.  Some of the data will go to the cloud, some to the onsite PI System, and other data will never be brought in.  IoT has improved wireless so that you can add low-cost sensors.  Wireless costs will continue to decrease, increasing the volume of IoT sensors.  Not all data is brought into operations.  According to Dr. Kennedy, right now, similar amounts of data reside in control systems and in IoT, but this will change.  IoT is just the beginning; the data will continue to increase as we add new smart analyzers, robots and vehicles, machines and other smart devices (IoT-connected or otherwise).  All will generate data that can be stored in the PI System.  He stressed that data is unique and that “the more people that consume the same data, the more valuable it becomes.” 

The OSIsoft System is designed so that users can save all their data – both contextualized operations data and other data from new transformative IoT technologies.  Because a lot of data resides outside the control network, OSIsoft is designing new systems and platforms that account for the evolution and revolution of data, including the critical data in plants.

Partners and Products Expo

OSIsoft supports (and is supported by) its partners and application providers through its Partner EcoSphere, which includes systems integrators, automation suppliers, and other technology solution providers.  At the conference, the partner EcoSphere topics included advanced analytics, machine learning, unique data solutions, and other data applications.

New partner announcements included partnerships with Maya HTT and Petuum.  Maya HTT is modifying its DataCenter Clarity platform for managing energy and equipment utilization and bringing it to healthcare (to optimize room allocations in hospitals) and to airports (to allocate WiFi and power). The PI System is integrated into Clarity on an OEM basis.

Petuum announced that its Industrial AI Autopilot product is integrated with OSIsoft's products at the edge, on premises, and in the cloud for bi-directional connectivity with operational data from the PI System. Delivered as a service, the combination of Petuum Industrial AI and OSIsoft Cloud Services integrated with various OSIsoft products, connectors, and interfaces enables real-time intelligence and learning on streaming data.  Petuum demonstrated its AI Autopilot product integrated with OSIsoft Cloud Services (OCS) with CEMEX in the Metals & Mining industry track. The Petuum Industrial AI Autopilot product for cement plant operations is being deployed at select CEMEX plants in Mexico and the US.

Cat Asset Intelligence platform is a suite of subscription-based AI services for analyzing fuel consumption, equipment, and other critical operations in real time.  The services are used to optimize the performance of diesel generators and other equipment – not just for CAT equipment.  The company is also integrating OSIsoft’s Connected Services into CAT Asset Intelligence services for land-based equipment.  

New Products and Enhancements

The company continues to invest in infrastructure technology enhancements and new products.  These PI System investments focus on:

  • Dimension. “Lighting up the data” with manageable systems with deployment and upgrade practices and capabilities to store and deliver data to those who need it in critical operations networks. 
  • Scale.  Seamless infrastructure that enables expansion to more users. The company is making the software easier to deploy and becoming an IaaS provider. 
  • Scope.  By increasing scope, it is possible to increase value.  The more data you bring in, the more reach you have and the greater the return.  The company is focusing on making the PI Server more secure and up to date.


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Keywords: OSIsoft PI World, Digital Transformation, IoT, Time-Series Data, OSIsoft PI System, ARC Advisory Group.

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