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By Elian Zimmermann
01 March 2024

DLF Takeoff: Launching into 2024 with Innovation, Success, and Community


DLF Takeoff: Launching into 2024 with Innovation, Success, and Community

Kick off your automation journey in 2024 with the first DLF webinar of the year!

This power-packed session includes insights, innovation, and recognition, leaving you equipped to take your operations to the next level.

Hear directly from Dilan Jivanji at Watercare Mining, as they reveal their winning formula for building an exceptional solution with Ignition. Discover how they tapped into the platform’s power to streamline processes, unlock efficiency, and achieve remarkable results.

Get the inside scoop on the latest and upcoming software updates for Ignition, Canary, Flow and Sepasoft, including:
– Ignition: Explore the exciting realm of the New Edge Offering and gain awareness of the groundbreaking 8.3 release.
– Flow: Uncover the enhanced capabilities of Flow’s new Linux functionality, opening doors to even greater flexibility and control.

We raise a toast to our top-selling partners of 2023, recognizing their dedication and invaluable contributions to the community.

And, we announce new LinkedIn Product User Groups, fostering connections, knowledge sharing, and peer-to-peer support within the industry.


Jaco Markwat
Team Lead
Dilan Jivanji
IT Projects Manager
Watercare Innovations
Laura Strydom
Customer Success Team
Gary Lowenstein
Customer Success Lead


Morning. And welcome to our quarterly data Liberation Front webinar. It’s February 2024. It doesn’t feel like it feels like it’s June 2024. But thank you so much, everybody, for joining us this morning. We’re going to start promptly at nine. We, in fact, we’re a couple of seconds late. We have a lot of content to get through this morning. If you haven’t joined us before, the data Liberation Front is a community of like minded men and women. It’s not just element eight. Our purpose is very much focused on delivering intuitive, scalable solutions. I actually have a slide on this. We want to learn from the industry, we want to learn from others and share what we’ve learned. And we believe in the power of community. So my name is Jaco. I look after the team at element eight.


I’m Laura. I’m a customer success engineer that works with Gary.


Yeah, I’m Gary. I look after the customer success team here at element eight. And then we’re really excited to have Dilan Javanji with us from Watercare innovation.


That’s the new name. New name, yeah.


All right. And Dilan is going to talk us through a really intuitive application that you’ve crafted over a number of years serving your operations.




Thank you for joining us, by the.


Way, having me, you have the best headshot.


All right, I’m going to minimize this a little bit, just so I can at least see. Yeah, there we go. Perfect. So, as I said, the DLF data Liberation Front. I know it’s election year. We are not one of the parties electioneering. Are you not standing for president? Not again, no. But as we said, our purpose is to humbly serve our community and the industry, to learn from others, share what we’ve learned, provide intuitive solutions that scale and help ensure data driven and flourishing future for. All right, so our agenda for today, we’re going to go through news, lots of news, lots to unpack. Our last DLF was in July last year, I think, and then we had elevate towards the end of the year. So it’s been a couple of months since our update, so we have a lot of news to share.


Product news, industry news. We will go into a couple more technical details around some of the products and then we will get into the water care story because it definitely is a journey and a story. And then we’ll do some Q A. The Q A at the end is this. If we have time again, if you have any questions. We actually want to change it up a little bit today. You would know if you’ve joined us before that. We do. We like freebies. We have branded versus socks. We have ignition socks and canary socks and flow socks. We have desk mouse pads, nice big ones. We have a lot of things that we want to give away. Instead of us asking the questions we’re going to say.


For the first ten questions that we get, feel free to ask a question relevant to what we’re discussing. For the first ten questions we get, we will ship you a branded element, eight wearables and desk kit. So feel free to ask us questions at any time. These things very often feel like a monologue, so please interact with us at any time. You can just type your questions in. I think Laura is monitoring that for us and we will be happy to answer any questions that you may have. All right, let’s get going with the community. So welcome to some new customers that we’ve had joined us, joined our community over the last few months. We have acceler oil and gas all the way from Nigeria.


Bandini Group, Glenbor just, Malt Group, Komoa Copper, that’s also North Africa, mentors Africa, Pepperdew, Selco State Electric Company and the Seychelles Sun Ace, Takealot, Theresa Minerals, Toyota United, manganese of Kalahari, Unilever and Vivo Energy out of Botswana. Welcome. We look forward to engaging with you and working with all of you over the next couple of years. New partner certifications, always a highlight for us, seeing the enablement and the learning. Quite a few. Ignition certified integrators. New integrators. We have four bytes, automation, concera, Cystico Controltech. Am I pronouncing that right? Sistico Sisterco, the guys from Mombela controltech down in the Western Cape. Process dynamics and steroid integration, all ignition certified. And then a couple of gold certifications, which is great. The team at Satari, Brian and the perfit team, Caltron, also in the Western Cape, and the Lodikon team, all gold certified.


That was recently a lot of the Western Cape. Yeah. Great to see the Western Cape. Really well done. Congratulations. And a lot of hours go into that canary certifications. Four bytes and concera. And then a very recent and new flow certification out of Zimbabwe. PCs Global. Brian and the team over there. So that’s really good. By the way, these QR codes that’s on the screen, they are updated, they are live. We do share all the links afterwards, but feel free if you see something to point your camera and you’ll be able to get to the link. So this is for the partner page. Or if you have any questions about the partner program, feel free to reach out to Clarice, who is our channel partner lead.


If you’re looking to join the program or wanting to connect with any of the partners, Clarice can point you in the right direction. All right. And they’re very exciting. We’ve never done this before. We are this 1 March. We are four years into our community journey. We haven’t done this before and it was actually remorse of us not to do it. We should have done it at least from year one is really sharing who our top selling integrators are. We’ve mentioned it before. Our system integrators are really the heart of our community, the people. That is the gel that holds together the innovation and the value that we get out of these technologies. So we are very excited to share, for the first time ever, our top ten top selling system integrators for last year, for the calendar year January to December 2023.


So I am going to show six to ten. Does that make sense? Yes, it does. We have Eritron, VcPraxis, Dhana Engineering, devco tech, and CSS control software solutions. Well done to you guys that make up position six to ten. And then we have our top five rounded up by control systems integration afrilek next, integration integr system integrators. And advances at number one, congratulations. Very well done. It’s been amazing to see the growth and the adoption, and I think advances were also number twelve on inductive automation’s top 100 global list for the month of January. So it’s one month into the year. The advances team, well done. If you can maintain for the next eleven months, that’ll be great. But congratulations. And again, just our sincere gratitude for contributing so much to our community with you upcoming training.


Obviously, enablement is a big part of what we do. This is just for the month of March. There’s a couple of courses. Ignition canary and ignition perspective and ignition corn canary, all virtual. And then we have flow, corn flow advanced towards the end of the month, which will be hosted here in our office in Johannesburg. Yeah, busy month for you, Laura. Yeah. Lots of training happening. Training is of course available at no charge to our system integrator partners. But you can get all of that information on the link on the screen. We love hearing this. You would know that if you’re active on LinkedIn or you visit the forums or the pages quite often, there is a lot of information out there’s a lot of resources, there’s a lot of webinars, there is really a lot of content to consume.


So why we like this is we really share our kind of our top three, I suppose things that we’re watching that you may find valuable. This is our pick for the last couple of months. The first one is a webinar with inductive automation, how to empower innovation with unlimited licensing. And it really does focus on the pain points around conventional licensing models and cost, and how you can build a business case to overcome that barrier with ignition. Very different to the typical, very technical webinars, but a very good one. And then two real goodies from flow. I think Jeff put together both of these. How to start tracking downtime in less than 30 minutes. So in other words, track your downtime classifying events, perform analytics around your downtime occurrences in less than 30 minutes.


Jeff does a really good video on how to do that. And then the other one is quite simple, I think, but very often asked about how do we build an intuitive and clever daily production report. And Jeff, again in 30 minutes, he literally within 30 minutes, builds this very easy to understand, lovely layout of the real estate, of all the data points and all the graphs on the screen of 50 production KPIs in 30 minutes. That was quite a good one. I enjoyed that. It’s a very good video that. Yeah, we often forget about these KPIs. We’ve got the data, we just don’t know anything with it. Yeah, exactly. Or we don’t know where to start. What should we? Absolutely.


So if you’re going to be spending a couple of hours over the next couple of weeks watching a video or listening to a podcast, please do check out these three. On the event side of things, you may or may not be familiar with the ICC. We refer to it as the ICC. It is ignition’s community conference. It will again be hosted in Falson this year in September 17 to 19 September. Amazing event. It is the global ignition community get together. We were really happy to be there last year. I think thousand, 500 people, I can’t remember from the newbies to the clever people that have been around for a long time. So keep the date and very important as part of the ICC is of course the Discover gallery.


So the discover gallery is the centerpiece or the showcase of some of the most innovative applications and projects that have been submitted to inductive automation over the last year. The entries for the Discover gallery is open. They do only close at the end of April. So if you would like to enter or you’re thinking of entering you do have enough time to do so. And then, of course, if your project is selected, naturally, projects from all over the world are eligible. And if your project is selected, you get a free pass to join the ICC. Your project application will be showcased live during the ICC and you will also be entered for a five grand award. So do keep that in mind. It’s a nice price. Do we have a question?


Yeah, we do have a question, but I’ll be keeping them till the end.


Okay. Yeah, we could keep that one. Miguel, we have that one. We will answer it towards the end, if that’s okay. Thank you very much. But yeah, just for asking a question, Miguel, we can send you some sexy giveaways. There is a link to enter, but again, we will share that with you afterwards. It’s a very simple application form that we complete online for the discover gallery. You may or may not have seen. Not that it’s huge news. We’re really excited about this. So we have been an ignition distributor for select countries, including South Africa, Namibia, Rwanda, Seychelles, and yesterday, we also have the static countries as part of our territory now. So our territory has expanded. So we’ve added another twelve countries to our remittance to our territory. What does that mean?


It’s an additional twelve countries that we provide presale support, training, direct support, and really anything that the ignition community may need. I’m really excited about Mauritius. Mauritius, yes, me too. But, yeah, lovely for the community to grow into some of those countries in Africa. So we look forward to working with you if you’re a new partner, if you’re potentially joining us from one of those countries. Today, we look forward to sharing what we’ve learned with you, current or new, and supporting and enabling the Sadi community. All right, let’s get into some product updates. Let’s kick it off with ignition. Laura.


Snowflake and Snowflake. So there’s not a lot of current exciting updates with 8.1, except for probably the snowflake part. Right?


So, Snowflake, if I understand it correctly, is slang for somebody who. Mrs. Lee day at the.


Audience today. We’re going to keep it simple. Keep it right. So what we’re going to chat about first is servicelink and Snowflake. Right? So there’s a new module created by Sirislink called the IoT bridge for Snowflake. Now, this module takes your standard MQTT spark plug data. It utilizes what is called snowpipe streaming. Right. Brand new concept. And it pushes it into Snowflake where it can then take your data and it can use it across different business enterprises that can run on like Azure, AWS, and Google. So before we jump into the architecture and take a look at what it is, let’s maybe just start with what exactly is.


I’m guessing some people may or may have heard of Snowflake, but majority likely not.


Yeah, exactly. So it’s kind of making waves in our industry. It’s quite new. They’ve mentioned it at ICC, especially when it comes to the MPTT architectures. So Snowflake is a fully managed software as a service that provides single cloud data platform for quite a lot of things, data warehousing, data lakes, data engineering, data science, data application development, and then secure sharing and consumption of real time and shared data. So Snowflake just features an out of the box features like the separation of storage and compute on the fly, scalable compute, data sharing, data cloning, and third party tools that they support in order to handle the demanding needs of a growing enterprise.


So that’s quite nice. So NQTT, if you’re not familiar, we often use these three letter acronyms in QTT. If you’re brand new message queue. Telemetry transfer is a protocol where spark plug is the namespace definition for MQTT. And maybe we should explain that.


Yeah, so here is a nice example of just, it’s not a full architecture of like on a network, but take into consideration that MQTT is needed for this kind of usage. Right. So if we take the IoT bridge for Snowflake module, and we want to take a look at where you would implement that into an existing ignition architecture, let’s start on the left hand side where we have ignition that is installed at the enterprise level, right. It talks to all of the devices and where all of the data models and utts get created.


So that’s either ignition edge, which has IoT, or it could be a standard ignition with the MQTT transmission model module.


So there it can get initiated into a digital twin, which is then technically the asset of NDT. And this can get published via the MQTT Spark plug V protocol to the.




Yeah, so there it runs as a service for your IoT breach for Snowflake module. And this module then automatically discovers and injects your data into Snowflake where it then provides it as a cloud based SQL platform for companies to share the data via business enterprise platform.


Very cool. So that’s the auto birthing of whichever devices you bring online and tags directly to Snowflake. Yeah, very nice.


So in a one sentence what it is, it takes your OT data at the factory level, it standardizes it configures it into models, and it provides a seamless auto discovery instance of that information into Snowflake. Then where you can utilize that data.


As data ingestion, standardization, modeling, all from source. Very nice. Very cool.


So that is just the overview of.


I need to learn more about Snowflake. Awesome.


Okay, and then we are jumping into the highly anticipated ignition 8.3.


It’s art.


No? Well, everyone should be excited. All right, so at ICC, they have obviously announced the new LTS version of ignition 8.2.


LTS is just simply long term supported version. So we’re currently on 8.1, which is the current LTS, and 8.3 will be the next long term supported version.


If you ask where’s 8.2? In the questions, we will not be giving you socks.


Yeah, I think the official response is to what happened to 8.2? I think Kevin and Travis decided they’re.


Going to skip it.


Skip it?


Yeah, if Apple skipped versions, they’re going to do it as well.


So there’s no 8.2. We’re going to go straight to eight point.


So the 8.3 release candidate is scheduled for late 2024 and around ICC again this year. And we’re very excited about all of the features that it’s going to offer. And you can expect official release in.


Early 2025 to release candidate this year in time for ICC official release next year.


Nice. So some of the cool things that they have mentioned, one of the things that makes ignition so unique is how it blends ot capabilities in a package with it sensibilities.




So in this case, it’s not just referencing IT technologies, but rather behaving like a good citizen within a well managed it environment. So this is something that ignition is already really good at. But in 8.3, inductive automation, Isuri is, they’re making a lot of important updates under the umbrella when it comes to deployment management that will solidify this position significantly. All right, so then the second one is ignition’s new time series historian model. Okay, so ignition’s current tag historian system allows us to turn any type of SQL database into industrial historians. Now, that ability to store your data in an open system that is built around IT technology and infrastructure has a very good impact on, how can we say, collaboration.


The ability to play well with others. Yeah.


So they’re taking that feature, they’re expanding it, and this change will allow the implementation of brand new, high performance time series historian, which will then just be a blend between simply working like they would like to say, and it pretty much being based on an open, non proprietary data.


Very interesting.


Very excited about that one. So the next one, it’s event streams. Now, event streams is a brand new concept that they’re introducing into ignition. And technically, what event streams will do is it will make the consuming and processing of data, the subscription and the streaming of this data much easier. So this is the biggest change regarding how ignition will connect to and integrate with many different data sources. And customers will be able to subscribe to multiple streams of event data at once and then have a convenient way to process that data within ignition, both in and out.


The contextualization of real time historical data with the event context overlaid.




Very nice. It took me a while to figure that out.


Very hush about it.


Event streams, very cool.


Okay, so the next part is for our hardcore technician lovers, best news ever. You’ll be getting your highly requested native drawing tools in perspective. All right, so inductive automation has committed to providing an absolute first car vector illustration suite perspective, and that also includes intuitive controls for nearly all of the entire range of capabilities that comes with building svgs.


That’s a redesign, essentially.


Yeah, technically. So that’s amazing. And then also, the gateway will be getting a completely new look right now. This rewrite will offer more dramatic, how can we say, functional, snappier, visually appealing type of user interface. And it’s designed for scaling and efficiency. Very excited. And then lastly, of course, as always, there’s an important security update coming with 8.3. Now, inductive automation, they’re going to replace like a handful of mechanisms with more secure technology. So security is of utmost importance when considering the environments that ignition is usually used in. And there’s a lot of standards that needs to be met. So this is why the technology that is being used in supporting web interfaces for the gateway will be updated and it will be compatible with external secret management that will be added. So what is external secrets management?


That is just where your secrets, like passwords, SSL certificates, encryption keys, all of those things that currently live in the gateway that will move to be live like it will live outside of the gateway. So that is something that’s very exciting.


Nice. Looking forward to that. I’m sure we will receive a lot more information about 8.3 over the coming months. Do we want to pause and just check if there’s.


Yeah, so I see Marcus has a question. Does it only work with Spark plug. What about systems that do not have spark plug? So that is, I assume, for the snowflake.




So currently they do specify you need to use Spark plug. So is Spark plug b systems that do not have Spark plug? I’m not exactly sure. They didn’t mention. If it’s possible.


You’Ve got to use.


Spark plug because that authentically drives the auto birth.


You have to use spot plug.


And then miguel has more questions. All right, so does Snowflake work with standard hardware, which supports MQTT communication?


I think that’s the same question, yeah. So in other words, to use the IoT bridge for Snowflake, it is on the infrastructure of MQTT with Spark plug B. Correct. It ties in with the previous question. And the IoT bridge is actually in the cloud. Correct.


So it gets installed on either the gateway or the cloud, whatever dishman ignition you are using. Right. And then it’s also asking, how does the new time series historian compare with the Canary historian in terms of performance?


Very good question. I’m guessing we don’t know right now, miguel. We haven’t seen any kind of performance testing or anything with regard to retrieval and storage speeds or we haven’t seen any of those. It will be good to understand that once it is released and once it is available.


So we want to. When the release candidate gets released, we are very keen on getting our hands on it, doing a lot of tests, seeing the actual performance in real time. All right. Okay. I’ve got a few more questions, like, quite a lot.


Tian’s question we can do.


Tian. Hi, Laura. Hi, Tian. Will existing licenses be able to upgrade free of charge, or will a fee be required to upgrade any ignition license to eight point?


Great question.


Great question.


Yes. If you have an active basic care agreement, you will be upgraded to 8.3 free of charge.


Free of charge.


Yeah. Basic care provides a free upgrade to any minor or major version. If you do not have an active or current basic care support agreement, it will be available. The upgrade will be available to purchase.


Okay, so paul is asking for more info on time series historian, like we mentioned. Unfortunately, we do not have a lot of information. They also just gave us, like, little teasers for what to expect in Equinox. But we will definitely be sharing with our community anything that we find when we get more information. Inductive automation also releases everything publicly on LinkedIn if there’s anything new. So we will keep everyone updated.


Yeah, and I’m guessing we’ll get a timeline around release candidate a little bit more concrete timeline around it over the next two months or so.


Okay, two more questions.


Let’s do that.


Right. Is there a convertible program that will take normal MQTT data and arrange it into Spark Plug B to convertible program. Convertible program.


No, Spark plug B is a protocol.


It’s very much like evolved. Yeah.


So you can get Sparklike B enabled devices and so on.


Yeah, there are Sparkle B enabled devices on here.


And then last one, Hanu, do we know if the new historian is SQL or NoSQL based? It will be NoSQL based on non proprietary data.


All right, good questions. Cool. All right, ignition edge. I’m trying to think of this also the version, it’s actually on the screen. Version 8.1.3 636 that was released a couple of months ago. There was quite a significant change around ignition edge functionality. So we want to make sure that edge is really where the action is. We find that there is a lot of, because there is so much value to get not only control at the edge and get the data from the edge, but the ability to already get contextualized data from the edge. The edge is starting to play a far more significant part in architecture. So we wanted to make sure that everybody’s aware of this significant change. So there’s really two things. If you’re familiar with ignition edge, you would know that there were a couple of modules.


Historically, I think there were about four or five. There were sync services. There was EAM, which is the enterprise administration module, which allows you to manage all of your edge devices from your central ignition gateway. There was panel, there was Iot. So the simplification is really around the product offering where all of that is combined as two products. You have ignition Edge IoT, which is obviously MQTT spark webb enabled with unlimited tags and now unlimited device connections as well. So there is no more the need to purchase or buy additional device connections. With ignition edge IoT, it includes sync services, edge EAM and edge compute, which really allows you to do scripting at the edge. That is now all included with ignition edge Iot. And then very importantly with edge panel. Edge panel. Those are the two products.


Product number two, edge panel includes edge IoT. And it adds the local visualization as either a two client perspective. It’s actually a two client perspective, two session perspective, one local to the HMI and one remote, or a single vision client. So those are the two edge offerings. I enjoy that. It’s far more simple to understand, easier to just add all the functionality and actually both of those, there was actually a fairly significant change as well around the tag historian, the internal tag historian. That used to be a one week buffer that has been extended to 32 days. So over and above the store forward capability, that extension to 32 days, that’s a significant and actually event. Logging is included, remote synchronization is included, and of course, alarm notification is also included with both edge IoT and edge panel. The bulk pricing still applies.


I know that previously they were bulk pricing that the bulk pricing still apply, but it’s worthwhile checking out their new edge. No questions on that.


No, let me check. Oh, I’ve got from Gary.


How will the new historian differ from the current historian?


Meaning would it be backwards compatible? Okay, so that is for the ignition historian.


Yeah. So it will be two separate modules. We will have the tag historian module, which is the SQL based enabler, and then we will have the time series module. It will actually be two separate modules.


Because they’re based on two different technologies. And then also will the new tag historian provided in the full ignition be provided to the edge?


I’m not sure. Actually, we don’t know, Miguel. I’m guessing that the edge will remain as the 32 days will remain as the story, because that is really a long term historian. Yeah. Edge of network node, which is really about making sure that you don’t lose any data at the edge, but you want to get it across to a central storage or database as quickly as possible. So I’m guessing the edge will remain at 232 days.


Yeah. So the information that we got is, we also just got teasers.


That’s good questions, and it’s worthwhile keeping those questions and letting everyone know if there’s a change. All right, Canary version 23.


Yeah. So in addition to the current version of Canary, which is 23 in 23.2, a new feature has been released called linked tags. So linked tags are where two or more tags that may exist in the same or different data sets that you might want to link to create one single data stream of the stream. So that is what the feature does. Right. So how is this useful now? It’s useful if you want to link tags together when you’re, for example, busy migrating historical data into a separate data set while the current data is being logged into another. Or if, let’s say, for example, one of the tag paths or names changes in the source, and then you need to go ahead and link that to a new name. Right. With an old name as well.


So without linking the tags together, the historian has no knowledge that the two are related and they see them as completely separate tags. So how does this differ from. Well how does this make an impact? So why did they implement this? Right, so prior to the linked tag.


Just rename the tags.


Exactly. If the user wanted to actually go ahead and merge historical data with the current data, all of the tags would have had to reside firstly in the same data set, which can be very tedious to achieve. And then they also had to be renamed like you mentioned. So similarly if they wanted to sync a new tag, well, a tag with a new name and its old name, the old name had to be renamed to match the new one in the historical files provided that are residing in the data set.


Very nice feature.


So the thing is, if they didn’t even reside in the same data set, they couldn’t be synced, right. So they just made this so much more easier to achieve. So there is a difference between linking tags and just renaming tags. When you link tags together it is expected that there’s a progression from the one tag into the next tag, right. In regards to that historical data, there might at times be an overlap of data. If there is, then you will have the option to decide which tags data takes your students. And again, just renaming tags, that’s exactly what it is, right? You just take one tag, you change the old name to the new tame, and that then just allows you, and gives you the option to start asserting these tags. It doesn’t automatically do it.


And then there’s also a new version of Canary coming. It’s always so exciting announcing new versions.


This would be the Canary team. I mean there’s been probably, we’ve been focused for the last year, probably the last year, significant amount of resources and effort that they’re putting into version 24. And I think probably primarily because of our little friend that you see in the bottom right hand corner, which requires pretty much an entire rewrite if you think about it. Anyway, it’s been going since 1985. The technical dating to Microsoft tissue. Yeah, it’s Linux support. They put all of that out is not trivial.


And it’s also because they’re switching over the 24 to use net eight. So they do a complete rewrite of that as well.


So 24 is big release. Yeah.


So it can be expected to be released a little bit later this year. We don’t have a set date currently, but there’s a few new features. So first one is the licensing. This is like super exciting. Clients will have the ability to push their licenses back into the canary license server and you can use it on any other installment, as you wish. So no more contacting us. We’re having to reset licenses. You guys can start doing this yourselves. And then in axiom automated reports will be able to include multiple screens in a single report. And these screens can also come from different applications. Different axiom applications.




So that’s awesome. Then the third one, some of you might be very excited, some of you will have absolutely no idea what difference this is going to make. But the calculations sender sessions will be combined into a single sender session instead of one for every single calculation. So big improvement. Then there will be a brand new storm forward service that will run alongside the current sender and receiver service. Right? And these collectors on version 24 will automatically use this new storm and forward service. Yeah. Then there’s a new identity service that’s being added as well that will consolidate all of the other Canary services, login and security settings. Right. So this will also allow for easy SSO implementations when you use Axiom, the Canary admin, the ODBC driver, and XML add ins by providing support for other identity providers outside of Microsoft Active directory.


Cool, right?


And of course the Linux.


Yeah, lastly we have the Linux support. So Canary is also working towards the ability to run canary services in the Linux environment.


Cool. The Canary team have been quite proactive with updating bits and pieces on their forum on the canary site. So if you want to keep track of if there’s any news or any following, please ask us or do check out the Canary forum page on their website. All right. On the flow side, we did cover a lot of this during our elevate events. Flows had a couple of significant releases as well since the last year. Probably most notably was version seven in October last year, which includes multiplatform support also. Likewise, Linux and Docker support, which now leverages net, .6 which naturally includes both 86 and ARM process as well that are supported. That’s also a huge release, and there was also a rewrite for. Net. So that really just extends the capability for flow to run in various platforms.


Kafka screams you can use data from Kafka to further contextualize and reach your flow calcs, and obviously also output back to Kafka, which is quite a cool feature. And that actually makes landing kind of operational data into something like Snowflake even easier. Just thought about that. Then there’s neuro regression functions for machine learning fundamentals. There’s quite a few of them. One of them is, for example, the line fit predicted, which is a linear regression function designed to foresee outcomes by analyzing a direct relationship between factors and several others. Yeah, the clever people will know what that means. But several new regression functions included thin manager support. If you’re familiar with thin manager, that is Rockwell’s thin manager infrastructure, you can now bring that capability.


So in other words, software, the hardware, the thin manager instance, information, configuration statuses, all of that information gets pulled back into vertical. And then there’s style refresh, several UI improvements, performance enhancements as always, as well as a Viva historian. Store forward. Well, store forward detection. Detection, yeah, all with version seven. And then since then, the flow team, they’ve been really busy. We have 7.2. That was December last year, 7.2. Probably the highlight there is the command line interface installs. It works really nicely. That really makes the administrating multiple flow instances a lot easier. The ability to use the rest API, data source in flow tags. That was quite a highly requested feature. And then also another data source. That list is growing is Amazon timestream being added.


And then version 7.3, which is a fairly recent release, event period integration for SQL based data consumers, improved handling of JSON payloads. That really increases the flexibility and the usability. That was also a nice recent feature. And then naturally, performance improvements. Always nice to see performance improvements added to all releases for all products. That’s what we want. And then a very quick highlight is you may or may not have seen the Dell Edge certified partner. Flow is now officially a Dell edge certified partner, which is really cool given Dell’s network and the install base that they have. So Flow is now fully compatible and optimized to run on Dell’s cutting edge infrastructure. Good work there, Flow team. All right, on with the fun stuff. The stuff that we’re really looking forward to.


Dilan, I’ve got a couple of logos on here just to give you an idea. This is. Which site is this?


One of our water treatment facilities. I can’t tell you off the top of my head which one it is. It’s a typical plant.


So water care innovations, we’ll do an introduction to water care innovations. Now the application ignition MQTT application. And I know the team from Vennic, they’ve been involved as. Yes.


Yeah, they helped us with the build of the plcs and the on site control area.


Fantastic. All right, maybe give us an introduction that’s a good.


So, yeah, so you might have heard of water care mining. We’re now switching to water care innovations, part of our bigger expansion. We started in 1980 as just a chemical supply company, just for water treatment chemicals. And then it started developing and we started introducing services where we actually started managing the chemical dosing and helping the clients on site with their operations in terms of water treatment. In 2010, we started producing our own equipment. So as we saw the gaps, we started helping our customers.


It was the next natural step.


Yeah, next natural step to start producing our own equipment, to do the dosing, to manage the chemicals, because we saw the gaps. And then in 2013, we started with our water plant operations, where instead of just treating water, we’re now producing pure drinking water and adding extra services to that. And then in 2018, we’ve started our big expansion, which is the switch towards autokay innovations, towards Africa. So we’re going into multiple countries and also on the american side, where we’re beginning to expand and offer services in different regions.


Your first projects are online?


Yes, very shortly. In North America, the team are busy with the first customers.




It’s very interesting. So this is just a key diagram to show you the different divisions within us. We have our chemical side, which is providing chemicals and custom chemicals for treatment. Your boiler systems, your cooling systems, sickness, disinfection. We are ISO certified. And then on the services side, that’s where we go more specific. We look at custom solutions, especially on the drinking water side. We have to tailor the solution to the particular type of water that’s coming out. So we do that. And then the OEM, they’re busy expanding as well, producing all different kinds of solutions, like degriters and correction plants. Yeah, it’s getting big.


And the industry you serve, I think it was probably from Amit, was very mining oriented.


And now we’re beginning to expand into just all sorts of industries. So wherever water is needed, we’re there now. So getting big, I think we can move on. And then this just shows where we are at the moment. So you can see in southern Africa, we cover quite a lot, got our northern american side and Australia on the other. So very exciting time to be at the company.


Do you have a view to include kind of regional views into your current application? Yes, we do.


And then this gives you an idea of how much water we treat. So we get the mine impacted water and then we produce.


That’s not milliliters.


Megalitres. And then. Yeah, so from the 110 we get, we produce 58 environmental discharge, so it can be safely discharged into the environment. 42 megalitres of drinking water. And then you have the little that you have to produce into the wind streams.


So, yeah, 15 plants currently.


15 plants currently. One went online yesterday. There’s another.


And you’re with us this morning.


That’s right, yeah. And another one going on in the next month or two. So, yeah, getting busy. Fantastic.


All right, so there’s a lot of very important points on this slide, but I think maybe as a departure point, your journey with this specific application started in 2018. Maybe that’s a good start. So you took your engineering and your it qualifications?


No, not at all. No. So my background is I studied economics, and it. But business, it, Watercam saw what it needed to do, and there was a nice vision to start with. Watercare knew what we wanted to do in terms of, we had these plants and they’re all separate, and they all have plcs and they have data going on, and we’re like, okay, the idea was, let’s first be able to monitor our plants remotely, and then after that, we’ll build the whole vision through. And that’s where we started. So we started with the ability of wanting to monitor the plants remotely, and we looked at our plants. I think back then, there were probably about seven and all different plcs on site, and all different stuff happening on.


Site, as it typically is. Yes.


And we started the journey with Fennick back then in 2018 to try and spit and understand how we’re going to get this data from the site into a central location where we can monitor and manage it. When were looking at it, were looking at how we wanted it. So first thing, we want to be open source compatible. And we saw that there were a lot of solutions in the market back then, but a lot of them were priced per tag restrictions. And that’s where obviously, went to look at cost. And then also we wanted it to be community driven. So when I joined Watercare, my first job was to say, how are we going to do this? So I had a look and looked at all the solutions out there, and that’s when ignition came into the radar.


It looked like something that could work. I did spend a bit of time seeing what would happen and how we could do it. And then once I decided, okay, ignition looks like the way we’re going. That’s when we approached Venik as our partner and say, how do we do this? So then we started looking at it, and Vennik were very helpful at that time. And JP, who’s no longer with Venik but still keep in touch, he was really good in helping us understand how the PLC works, because from my background, I came without an understanding of a PLC. Now, I know quite a lot a couple of years later.




So we know PlCs well. And then that’s when we said, okay, we’re going to use Phoenix contacts profit cloud network to initially transmit the data to.


Should we maybe show that? Yeah, here. This was the initial architecture.


We had the Phoenix contact plc. We had the local HMI, and then went through the profit cloud network, and then the profit cloud network, took the data, sent it to Germany, came back down to Ranfontin, where we had a profit cloud. Back then.


It worked.


Now we’ll go to the new structure later on. But this is how we started. And then there was a profit cloud coupler at Ranfontin, which gave the data, and you could then see the data locally at Ranfontein. And then from Ranfontein, we connected to our ignition cloud instance, where then it made it available to pc and mobile at the control room. And then you could be wherever you wanted. You didn’t need to be at the office, you could be at home, the engineer could be at home, and they could see the system.


So a couple of interesting things. Sorry to interrupt you. So it was a cloud instance immediately, from the start, could be various things. It could be a private hosted cloud virtual environment. It could be a desk under your machine, under your desk in the office. But you decided to opt for that.


From the get go. Yeah, from the get go. We wanted our data to start sitting in the cloud, so it just makes it more accessible, less management on our side, less dependent. Well, back then, there was still the big dependency on the Ranfante fiber being up and running, but we did have caching and all of that enabled, so when the connection went down, it would backfall the data.


It was vision based as well. It wasn’t perspective.


Yes, it was all vision based. Yeah. So, yeah, a lot of security in that to look after as well, especially once you made it available for the cloud side. So there wasn’t too much going on then.


But it worked.


I mean, it did run from the get go. And I mean, I remember that very first day when I was sitting waiting for, when JP was on site from Venn, and he’s like, okay, we’re ready to start streaming. And then we connected everything up and heard all our systems ready to go, and he pushed the first tag, and straight away you could see the feed water coming into the site and like, long time ago now, and a lot more tags coming through. So we’ve gone from, yeah, we’ve probably got about 28,000 tags in the system now.


Yeah, I think we’ve got 28,000 tags over 1500 manual data captures.


That’s amazing.


Yeah. So aside from just ignition, when we spec the whole system, we wanted to improve autocare’s entire data management system. Now we do a lot of treatment for a lot of different customers. So we probably have about 70 plus sites within South Africa alone where we’ve got 70 sites that we’re looking after systems for. And when you look at those systems after 70 sites, you’ve probably got about close to 1600 different systems on those sites. So it expands out quite huge. And all of this data is sitting on excel sheets on individual laptops. So that’s how it all started.


So then what we did is, and that’s one of the reasons we chose ignition to start with as the base, because we saw it had the ability to do other things besides only talk to scalable systems, PLCs, there’s a lot of ability to build your own stuff within ignition. So that’s when we started building in all our manual data capture systems.


And are those forms?


They are form based? Form generally based at the moment. We did have some systems which we built manual FTP stuff to get the data walk and all of that. So we’ve done a. So we’ve got a lot going on in terms of data coming into the system.


This looks a lot more sexy.


Simplified, much more simplified. So we still have your PLC on the side there. Now we’ve got ignition edge. So you guys talked about ignition edge and the different versions. We are very happy with ignition edge on our sites standardized. We’ve taken away most of the custom hmis and we’re using the ignition hmis now. This is the default we go to now, and then it goes straight from ignition edge to the ignition cloud. No more infantine fiber, none of that happening.


That’s why.




So if I look at the Internet, you’ve got the mobile satellite. So MQTT would aid a lot in keeping those costs down. Yes, because it was low overhead.


Yeah, low overhead. So when we started, obviously, we started with the profit cloud network, and then the latency became a bit of an issue, especially with the sites that are far spread out and all over. So I mean, our sites, they stretch from, you know, to the northwest, they’re all over South Africa. So all different requirements in terms of what you need to get the data to run from site. Yeah. So over MQTT now, the cloud ignition instance does the historian, it does our alarm and it does our reporting. We’ve now switched, well, we’re in the process of switching all of them from vision to perspective, we did actually start with the ignition mobile module. So when it was offered, we did have the mobile module and we had that going.


So that’s the mobile four vision.


Four vision, yeah, mobile four vision. So we had that. And now obviously using perspective, which is.


And in terms of the. I know we’ve got a screenshot of scatter screen, but in terms of the design considerations for control room, for mobile, you went through that process.


Yes, that was a learning process on its own because we obviously had our control room and we had.


Let’s look at the control room, actually.


Yeah, sure, no problem. That’s current setup. So quite a few screens, a lot of real estate there, 42 inch screen, so it does expand out quite thick. So it is quite large. And we have our control room there. Generally what happens is for the control room, just to give you a description of how we manage our customers systems, is we’ll have a technician on site in the morning, and then from 02:00 the control room starts till 06:00 the next morning and then manage multiple sites at the same time. One control room operator in there. But in our control room, our water plants engineers sit. Those are the guys who manage their plants individually and they can see what’s happening on their sites when they’re in the control room. And it’s good for feedback because previously we didn’t have the water plants engineers sitting there.


Now they sit there. They can see straight away when something’s not right and they can call site or they can tell the guy, let’s get out to site.


The most important people you need to keep the operation running. Sit together.


Yeah, they sit together and they can see all the sites at the same time.


And any of these apps can be accessed from anywhere?


Yes. So they have their laptops, they have their phones. Well, not all of the sites are on the phones yet, but we will get there. Lots of catch up to do. The new sites are straight away mobile and thing because they’re in perspective. It’s the older sites that are on vision now that we’ve switched off the vision mobile that we need to update and catch up.


So you would have by now, just based on the architecture that you have, you would have streamlined the onboarding of new sites. In other words, that should be a lot faster and a lot faster time to value.


Yes, exactly. If you look at our first site, it probably took us more than three months by the time all the tags were reporting and you could see all the different systems and it was only read only so you could only see what’s happening on site. Now you have all your tags that are available from the get go, the moment they’re commissioning the plant. So yesterday, even before commissioning, and we’ve worked very hard with Fennick, so it’s very important to have a good partner on that side so that they know that look from the day the plant switches on, before the day the plant switches on, we want our tags to start recording history, to start seeing what’s happening.


So when you’re in the commissioning phase and you have in your teething problem, you have all that data to go back to be able to investigate and see what went wrong when plant started up.


Yeah. You can start doing that fault finding and troubleshooting immediately because you have the historical data. Yeah.


So yesterday, backfill, before backfill was on, our views were already done, the tags were already storing their history.




It’s good to go. This is what the new looks like.


Some situational awareness design there.


Yes. So when we started, it was very colorful and our control room looked very colorful. It looked very attractive to the eye for the control room.


For an operator.


Yeah, not good for the operator. So as went on, we started learning, and now we’ve gone to this very plain look. So you have a lot of sites. I mean, the control room operator is looking at twelve sites at the same time.


So those would. Sorry, be then twelve projects, because Kyle is actually asking if it’s one project that you have multiple.




So the way we split it is we split the projects according to our department. So we’ve customized the projects to the separate databases.




So if you remember, when we started, we said we had the four main divisions. So, like, the water plants have the water plants projects, the chemicals and services team, they actually have four different projects within them because each district operates a little bit differently and they need to see slightly different things. So from our side, we could integrate all the projects into one, but it’s easier and you don’t want them getting, because we do a lot of development work. You don’t want, for example, the chemicals and services northwest department getting an update when we haven’t worked on their data or their system.


I can never say the word sovereignty. Yes, absolutely. Segregation and that.


So, yeah, we have all of that. And at the same time, you still also want to be able to compare stuff across sites. But the water plant is our main focus in terms of the control room has their own project, and that’s where the different water plant sits, but each client’s security is separate there. So a site engineer for site a can’t see site b, but the senior engineer can see both sites. So, yeah, there’s quite a lot of structure that we’ve put. When we started, we didn’t even understand how projects, how we could structure all of that. But now we’ve got a good understanding and perspective is very nice in that regard, because you can also do further security down the line. So you have your project level split, and then you have, within the project.


You still have extra security there, the new ignition cloud. So, in other words, this, the hyperscaler AWS.




That includes multitenant. This isn’t multitenant because you’re providing for your customers, but that provides out of the box capability to do what you’ve essentially built manually. Yes, the separation and the segregation and making sure the integrity between those databases is all, but also the ability to get an overall view of all of them. So that’s pretty cool. Nice design.


Less in your face. But things do go red when things go wrong. Straight away, you will see red on red screen. When you have to use red, I.


Can go to the extreme where you don’t see anything. It’s a blank screen unless there’s something to. So we spoke about the ro normalization. Love that logic that you’ve built with it. Maybe explain that.


Yeah, so that was quite a project on its own. But so, obviously, we’re in the water treatment, so it’s specific to water treatment, and we have our reverse osmosis side to it. And what’s important is to manage our ro membranes. And there’s a whole lot of factors that go into that, and there’s a whole lot of variables that we’re monitoring. So we’re monitoring conductivity, ph, temperature, pressures, flows. And what ro normalization does is if temperature is fluctuating, it has an impact on conductivity.




So what normalization does is it takes the temperature variance, and it adjusts conductivity value according to that variance in temperature.


And how did you design that logic, all that?


So we worked out the people who help, who provide us with our membranes, and they have their calculations around that.


And then we script it in ignition.


And then we take that and we put it into ignition.


It’s probably one or three pages.


24 pages. Probably 24 pages of code to get it going. But that shows the value of the platform in that you can build your own extra solutions within it. And that’s one of the things we.


Like, your own expert system essentially, yes.


Exactly. So even though you’re using off the shelf product, we’re still giving our customers a very customized solution at the end of the day.


Well, the fact that you can do it is one thing, but well done for doing that. That’s phenomenal.


Thank you. We’re going to continue to evolve that part as well. There’s ro. So we do ultra filtration as well. The idea is to do ultra filtration normalization. So there’s a lot you can do in the system. And part of what helped build the normalization is the ignition historian. So the fact that you can take your tags, you can manipulate them, you can slice them into time intervals, that’s also very important to that whole process. So the historian provided a lot of value at that point.


Then from a future point of view, future plans, I think we spoke about it this morning. It’s never done because if it’s done, it’s, and there’s always additions and things to improve, but from a future point of view, you’ve got a couple of big ambitions there as well. Yeah.


So we almost finished with it. We’re building a management system for our laboratory. So in house testing. So they have machines which do chemical analysis. We want the data to come into our system there.


Is that currently a manual data?


Yes, it’s a manual. Well, Microsoft access based at the. Yeah, and there are limb systems out there, but we’re going to build it within ignition because you can do it within ignition and it’s going to then integrate everything. And that’s from the. Gary looks impressed.


I’m scared.


From the start. We always had that vision that what we want to do is we want to help our clients at the end of the day. And key to that is making sure that all of our data points are correct, whether it’s the sensors, whether it’s the laboratory information, and whether it’s the onsite testing. So the big vision is to be able to take all of that data, draw it together and make sure that there is live referencing, live validation. And that will help us help our clients better at the end, most importantly.


You’Ve got the collection and the modeling and the standardization. But the trust.


Yes, because it will build trust, because now all of those different data sources are going to be compared and you’ll be able to trust your data better. And we can trust our data better. Our clients can trust us better and better service at the end of the day.


Absolutely. That’s what we are.


Half days to help our clients.


Well done.


Amazing thank you.


Thank you for sharing. Are there any other questions?


We’ve got two more questions, but not specifically for this.


All right.


One is. That was from Miguel, like when we started.


Oh, we had the question about one big project for multiple systems.


So Miguel also asked, where do you see AI playing part in the industry?


That’s not a three second answer.


And then we have polls asking, will edge version support users from a database?


Yeah. So machine learning as a subset of AI, that’s going to take a little bit of building out and discussion more than anything else. On the admission exchange. As an example, right now there is a machine modeling template, essentially that allows you to do some of the templating for your modeling that you eventually push out. That’s available at no charge for free. On the ignition exchange, there is a trend with something like snowflake utilizing their machine learning capabilities and offering as part of their platform to make sure that you get the auto birthing and contextualized tag data straight to a platform like that. There is the addition of Laura did a very integration with Chattbt as an example. Yeah, there’s a lot to AI in general.


In broad, I think machine learning is probably the area where, ironically, most people want to start without having the underlying infrastructure data to get the most out of their machine learning. And flow is a critical component of that. Absolutely. And flow would be the bridge between those two worlds. In most instances, flow is going to take your historical data, give the context to it, and pass it on to your ML. But that’s just. Absolutely AI is huge, exciting conversation, and I think whatever it is that you want to use or look at using, make sure that you have a platform that will allow you to interface with whatever it is that you want to do. So, good question. Not an easy one.


So Paul is asking about the edge if it will support users from a database source. So ignition edge does not connect to external databases.




So your user source cannot be built on, you cannot be a database based user source. It will still just be internal. It’s just your standard ignition that allows.


That type of and more information on the time series historian.


Yeah, but he was asking also specifically, he wants to start a greenfield project and he would love to integrate influxDB as his.


A. So obviously influx, it’s part of your Ming stack that’s become quite popular if you’re brave enough. But influx, I do recall that influx was specifically mentioned as having the ability to, and we can’t confirm it, but I do recall some discussion around influx.


I think one of your partners has a module on influxdb. Now, one of the partners has a module for influxdb.


Correct. But it’s part of the time series module. It will not only be an internal, inherent time series module, but it will have the ability to incorporate other. Good questions. Dilan, any closing thoughts from you? No. You share some of this?


Yes, and one of the other things that I didn’t mention is the community around ignition, which we really enjoy. The forum is. Yeah, absolutely.


Yeah, we enjoy the forum.


We get a lot of ideas and then we go check it out. If someone’s directed, save us some time.


We love about the forums is that you’ll post a question. You’ll likely get a response from any number of people before someone like inductive automation or somebody at inductive automation would reply. It really is a very sharing community.


It’s usually poll.


But well done. Amazing. Thank you so much for sharing. I think it is nice for people to understand what they are able to do. You’ve done it over a couple of years, but amazing. Well done.


Thank you for having me.


Yeah. All right, two final thoughts. We are way over time, but the discussion was good. We will share the recording, all the links. Two final thoughts. LinkedIn groups LinkedIn, love it or hate it, we’ve been searching for a platform where we can have, I don’t want to say sensitive conversations, but more specific technical or community or commercial type of discussions. So we have created a couple of user groups on LinkedIn. We’ve created one specifically for ignition and Sepersoft. We haven’t even spoken about the latest Separsoft release candidates and the updates there. We’re not going to get to it, but there is a user group for ignition and Separsoft, as well as for canary and flow specific to our community in southern Africa. The forums is always a good place to go have a conversation.


Direct is always good, but we feel that there may be an opportunity to get more authentic conversation in these groups. They will be private. We just want to make sure that we get the right people in these groups. But if you would like to join, you’re more than welcome to join. We’ll send links to those groups as well. And yeah, looking forward to good conversation outside of the usual marketing type stuff that you find everywhere. So feel free to join those groups and then finally elevate. We elevate. Last year we did Miss Durban. We had some folks from Durban flying up to Joburg, so we will include Durban as part of the roadshow at the end of this year. We don’t have the exact dates, but it will be in October. So we’re looking forward to also visiting the community in KZN. Cool.


What are we missing?


Well, I had seven people. I’ve got a lot of questions, but seven people.


Ask them. That’s perfect. If we have no other questions, we can close it. And Carl, thank you very much for the coming. Thanks for joining again. We’ll share the links, share the presentation and the recording. Again, thank you very much.


Thank you.


And we will see you in two months time. I can’t remember the date, but we’ll see you for the next DLF in about two months time. And two months time. Thank you very much for joining us and have a good weekend.


Thanks, everyone.


Thanks, everyone. Cheers.

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