Podcast

All About Inductive Automation's ICC X, Virtual ICC, & Ignition Cloud

The 4IR Solutions team discusses what it was like at Inductive Automation's ICC X, what to expect for Virtual ICC, and Inductive's latest release, Ignition Cloud.

GI Griffin:

Welcome to another episode of Heads in the Cloud here with James Burnand and Joe Dolivo. And this time, we've got some juicy news in terms of what we experienced at ICC X, some things coming in terms of virtual ICC X, as well as the products and experiences that we had. So we're going to dive a bit into it. And James, I know that you have plenty to say in terms of ICC X and how that went.

James Burnand:

Yeah. Thanks, GI. First, it was just so nice to be in-person again with the community. I think there was around 600 or so people that were a part of this event and it was amazing to enter the Harris Center again, to have so many folks stop by the booth and such great content in the different presentations. I was so happy to be a part of that again. And so nice to finally shake hands and break bread with some of the folks who I've only ever met online, including one of our employees which was a neat little treat. Joe, what'd you think?

Joseph Dolivo:

Oh, I'll echo that. I think it was incredible and I mean even I remember doing early registration on Mondays in the past, for example, and this time the room was just full. So I felt the energy, I felt people wanting to get back together and to be a part of something special, which ICC always is and definitely was kicked up a notch for this year. I did mention to a couple of folks too how I thought given the circumstances, Inductive did a really good job with the virtual conference the past two years. It's no replacement for the in-person session, but I think there's a really good foundation for us to build ongoing into next week's virtual conference. So excited for that as well.

James Burnand:

A little bit of the calm before the storm it feels like because it was such a busy and exciting week last week and then a little bit more prep time and follow ups this week, and then back at it next week. But yeah, there were so many good sessions and user stories and engaged folks that were a part of the conversations. I was really, really amazed. Probably for me, I'm going to say my biggest announcement was really the cloud edition of Ignition that's going to be released next year. I'm thinking about that and the journey that we've been on and how important this is for our model and how this fits so well in with what we've been trying to accomplish. I'm so incredibly thrilled that it's going to become a reality and excited that it's a part of the future roadmap as soon as it is.

Joseph Dolivo:

It's nice that the cat's out of the bag with that one as well because I know we've known that Inductive's been having conversations around this. We've seen a lot of interest from folks. It's really nice for that to be coming together and even the attention that we had at the booth both before and after the announcement has been really invigorating. So we've got a lot of discussions around how we can architect some opportunities that are going to incorporate cloud edition, how we can prepare for cloud edition so that we'll be able to support it soon after release, and it's just been great.

James Burnand:

And I think there was even some questions at the show is how does this affect 4IR? Does this hurt 4IR's business model in any way? And I guess to respond to that directly is no, this is actually something we've in function been asking about for a long period of time, which is really the ability to have licensing operate in a very different way than a fixed model the way it's been forever for Inductive. Looking at that with the focus and some of the standardization and activities and attention of the vendors that were there from the cloud companies, so Microsoft and AWS in particular, we think it's just a super, super exciting thing and a great fit for us in terms of bringing the knowledge into the space, highlighting what some of the opportunities are and then for us is really helping to solve some of those problems for end customers.

Joseph Dolivo:

It's also a step on the journey towards Ignition 8.3 coming out, which was also the big announcement that I'm probably the most excited about. But there were talk of changes of-

James Burnand:

We were different. You thought Ignition 8.3, I thought Ignition Cloud Edition. Who knew?

Joseph Dolivo:

Yeah. Well one comes before the other and you look at some of the changes that are coming with regards to how gateway scope is going to be treated. A lot of the changes that Inductive's making really require fundamental shifts to the platform, which is hard to do in an LTS release. So those are all coming a little bit after Cloud Edition, but also is going to make the things that we're doing a lot more capable and it really is going to just make the cloud native ecosystem a lot better supported by Edition and other software in that space.

James Burnand:

Well I find it interesting because if you look at even the content in your presentation with JP, a lot of what you shared was best practices for how things work today. And some of those things might feel a little bit heavy in the manual process side just because not everything can be fully automated today, but the Ignition 8.3 features and functions really make a lot of that even smoother in the future as things move forward. So yeah, really exciting time for us. We were certainly happy to get a lot of the attention we did and certainly the recognition that was a part of some of the hard work that we've been putting in over the last year and a half or so.

Joseph Dolivo:

Absolutely.

James Burnand:

And I guess probably the biggest question I got though when we walked in is I had a lot of people say, "What's with the giraffe?"

GI Griffin:

Oh, yeah.

James Burnand:

And maybe it's worth for folks that are just tuning in for the first time and they see hey, there's a giraffe in frame in Joe's picture, maybe it's worth, Joe, going back a couple of episodes ago and explaining where Geralt the Giraffe has come from.

Joseph Dolivo:

Yeah. So Geralt is my oldest son's, not really a toy, but he's a prop. I've got some pictures going back from about a year when my wife bought him supposedly for my son, but I think it was really for her. And so we've got lots of pictures together. And when I'm working during the day, my office is basically where my son sleeps at night. So happened to have him in the background. Then I was like, "Why don't I just pull him up and have him be in frame?" And it's been this thing that took off and we had a lot of back and forth discussions when we were planning ICC to say, "Oh my gosh, do we want to drive him up? Do we not want to drive him up?"

So I have some nice pictures maybe I'll share online about stuffing him in the passenger seat and getting him to join us up in Folsom, which is a lot of fun. And he's been a regular. He's wearing his ignition spectacles right now, he's got some nice nerdy T-shirts on and he's been a part of the crew. So really happy to have found a place for him. And he was stuffed up top as well on the booth which I think was a nice place because he got a lot of visibility.

GI Griffin:

Plenty of visibility. Do you know how much of my conversation was about the giraffe? I'm going to say about half.

Joseph Dolivo:

People have their priorities straight. That's great.

GI Griffin:

No, I love him. I would say don't call him a prop, he's right next to you. He can hear that even though he has the headphones on. He's our mascot.

Joseph Dolivo:

I love it.

GI Griffin:

He's the one who leads the charge. I like it.

Joseph Dolivo:

Awesome. So here he is.

James Burnand:

And I'm assuming that when you use the HOV lanes and the nice officer pulled you over, you said, "No, no, this is my mascot. He's not just a stuffed animal and it's okay for me to drive in the HOV lane because I have a passenger."

Joseph Dolivo:

I'd be lying if I said I didn't think about that. So it's definitely on my mind.

GI Griffin:

And let you guys know I was so happy to be there because it was quite an experience. One, the thing that caught me, aside from everyone's interest in the giraffe, was how interested they are in the product. It wasn't just about what do I get out of this? They really want to know how does this work? How does that incorporate with that? We haven't seen something like that. And even with the cloud announcement from Inductive Automation, I think that that paves the way in terms of more acceptance of the actual platforms themselves, I think that that was a real leg up in getting people moving in that direction. And I'm excited to see what comes forward from that. But definitely in terms of ICC, I was just amazed at how many people were really interested in their own industry. Kudos to everybody.

Joseph Dolivo:

It's really interesting because I've been to a number of conferences over the years and a lot of times you have vendors that are sitting at opposite sides of the aisle just staring you down as you're walking between them. And a lot of folks would walk through trying to not make eye contact, they don't want to get pulled into a conversation. It's totally a different experience. Every year we've been to ICC where people are much more engaged with each other, with their competition even in some cases, SIs talking with SIs, sharing best practices, meeting with the exhibitors, it's a totally different vibe. And so it's always very exciting to be a part of that.

And this is our first time being a part of that on the exhibitor side now instead of just going to enjoy and speak and attend. So again, exciting. And to your point, GI, I think the energy that we had from folks and them verbalizing their interest in this space and not being something that we were pushing on them but that people were pulling us into was really exciting and a big change from, let's say, pre-2020.

GI Griffin:

Absolutely.

James Burnand:

Yeah. And I think if you look at the theme of a lot of the presentations, especially the technical keynote and there was a cloud session as well with Kevin and Travis, I mean there was a lot of focus in on this area as being the future of how manufacturing systems are deployed. And the amazing part was with Kevin and Travis's presentation when they started talking about cloud formation templates and tools to make it easier and more seamless for folks to deploy these either in cloud or hybrid architectures, they're awesome tools and a lot of them in a lot of ways are very similar to the things we've been doing and certainly working together on. But the cloud formation templates in particular is something that we see as a great way for folks to put a more standardized deployment of something like Ignition in the cloud.

But I was so happy when Travis stopped near the end and said, "But you understand this is not a platform as a service. That's something totally different, that's where someone doesn't just deploy this for you but also manages it and ties in other things that are a part of this architecture." If you have those skills to do that yourself, great. If you don't, there's companies out there like 4IR, and I think Kevin gave us a nice little plug there, that we've been working with for a long time to do this stuff with you. And to be able, number one, to see some of the advancements that they've done to make the process of adoption easier has been fantastic. And to really be able to have a service that fits in so well with how the direction of the product appears to be going, yeah, we're very fortunate we think.

Joseph Dolivo:

Yeah. I mean I even remember with some of the early demos when we were putting FactoryStack together where we had a tagline of, "Zero to Ignition in 60 seconds." And so being able to just spin something up really quickly is really cool. But of course, getting it up, that's only the beginning and that's only, I'll say, the easy part if you will. It's the ongoing managing and maintenance and upgrades and rollbacks and all of those things which is where the value of a platform comes in and that's where I think there's a really great synergy with what Inductive's doing to make that deployment easier, and then we're able to provide the guidance and assistance and guardrails and all of that around the managed platform piece of that and all the monitoring and everything else. So super excited to continue working together around the platform as it develops.

James Burnand:

Yeah, and also the complimentary tools. Sorry, I was just going to say and also the complimentary tools. So I know there's a bunch of different vendors out there that have offerings that are very complimentary to Ignition that fit in as a part of that ecosphere. We're having lots of conversations right now doing some testing and some verifications. So hopefully, you guys can expect to hear some announcements of options and availability of new features and new software as a part of FactoryStack. Again, very complimentary and functional around what you would typically install for a company that's using Ignition as the center of that architecture.

GI Griffin:

And speaking of announcements, Virtual ICC. Oh yes, it's coming up. Did you guys want to go and break in, let them know a bit about what we'll be talking about, what's going on? I know there's some excitement in terms of who's presenting what. I'm excited myself to dive into that.

Joseph Dolivo:

Yeah, for sure. I'll start with this one. I think for folks who haven't seen it before, Inductive does a really nice job of putting together a virtual presentation that tries to emulate how it can the in-person piece. It's free, it's nice. It was great for even in the past years when folks didn't have the ability to travel because we've got a lot of folks internationally, for example, who I know a few folks who had to take three flights, for example, even to get over to the ICC in-person. So it's great for having these same sessions. All the sessions that were recorded in-person are going to be broadcast virtually and made available for folks to watch.

And then there's typically a chat that's going on, like a discord, but at the same time as the session's playing. So as you have questions in real time, the moderators of those sessions will typically be there to answer any questions that come up and it's a nice way of emulating that live experience. So that's something that we're particularly excited for. And then also all the exhibitors are going to be providing essentially demos where they can go through a part of their solution. And so we're going to be providing a demo as well, which I know we're very excited about, alongside all the speaking sessions and networking opportunities that are also going to be there.

James Burnand:

For a lot of folks, myself included, I tried to get into your presentation, the Get Serious with JP where we talk about implementation and the use of hybrid in a practical real world scenario. I was stopped at the door because apparently it filled up about 10 minutes before the presentation was about to start so I haven't actually seen it yet. So I'm pretty excited actually to see how you guys did. From what I heard, it was really well received.

Joseph Dolivo:

The feedback was incredibly positive. Lots of folks were standing around asking questions which was great and some folks met us at the booth. So yeah, I think the interest is there and the feedback was great. And yeah, we're looking forward to doing it again virtually next week.

GI Griffin:

Yeah. So if you guys want to actually come in and register for it, all you need to do is pop by any of our platforms. So you can stop by LinkedIn, which you'll see announcements for that, as well as our website and our email. If you haven't signed up for our email newsletter, make sure you go to do that. All you have to do is go to 4ir.cloud and you can pop right on, sign on up and then we get you some of the content that we have going out there. But make sure that you do register. I believe that it's going to be Tuesday 4th I believe at 10:30. So make sure you guys log in before then, that way we can get everything all set for that.

James Burnand:

Yeah. I'm excited, I think it's going to be really cool to have two ICCs in a row like this. And yeah, I'm looking forward to interacting with more folks as a part of it.

GI Griffin:

Yay. All right, guys. So you know that you're tuning in here to the Heads in the Cloud podcast here with James Burnand and Joe Dolivo. Make sure you guys check us out, 4ir.cloud, for more content on all things digital transformation, IIoT as well as Industry 4.0. See you. Heads in the Cloud, your source for future proofing your business.

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4IR Marketing Team
4IR Solutions
4IR Solutions offers a fully managed hybrid cloud infrastructure that enables manufacturers to simplify their operational technology, increase efficiency and scalability, and reduce needed resources and costs. Connect with one of our experts: https://info.4ir.cloud/connect-with-our-experts