Saturday, October 26, 2013

Dave Edstrom Announces Resignation as President and Chairman of the Board MTConnect Institutute

Below is what I sent out tonight to MTConnect community:

Yesterday, I notified the MTConnect Institute's Board of Directors that my last day as President and Chairman of the Board of the MTConnect Institute will be January 2, 2014.  
I have greatly enjoyed my tenure and could not have asked or dreamed of having a better experience.  I would like to offer my sincere thanks to the MTConnect Technical Advisory Group members, the MTConnect Board of Directors, the many supporters of MTConnect and most importantly working with those manufacturers who have embraced MTConnect. I am very proud of what we all accomplished during my term by the entire MTConnect team.

It is very important for the MTConnect Institute that the President and Chairman of the Board have the time to take MTConnect to even greater heights.  My hope is that the next President and Chairman of the Board will have the support needed to work full time as this is what is absolutely needed to take MTConnect to the next level. 

Post January 2014, my company, Virtual Photons Electrons, will be very busy with other commitments, but will continue to track MTConnect.

Best Regards,


Dave Edstrom
President and Chairman of the Board  

 Below are a few highlights of my term as:

       [MC]2 2011
       This was our first MTConnect: Connecting Manufacturing Conference and it was a big success.
       [MC]2 2013
       Our second [MC]2 was another great success.  The foundation for doing successful MTConnect Conferences was validated and verified so the roadmap exists going forward.
       I put in over $52,000 of my own time that was “in kind” contribution so Virtual Photons Electrons (my company) became an MTConnect Institute Partner.
       I also gave away $6,000 worth of my book, MTConnect: To Measure Is To Know, to attendees and MTConnect members.
       Getting Started With MTConnect White Papers
       Connectivity Guide
       Shop Floor Monitoring, What’s In It For Me?
       Writing Client Applications
       MTConnect Challenge
       I had no involvement with this very cool effort, but it was certainly fun to watch all hard and creative work that went into this effort.
       MTConnect-OPC UA MoU and Companion Specification
       Tom Burke and I signed the agreement at IMTS 2010.
       MTConnect the Standard
       Thanks to Paul Warndorf, Will Sobel, John Turner and many others for driving new versions of our standard.
       I was very pleased to give away 200 copies of my book at the MTCTAG and [MC]2 2013 events.  I purposely priced the book at $9.99 for the electronic versions on Kindle, iTunes and Android to help get the word out on MTConnect.  The paperback version naturally would cost more, but I think it is fairly priced as well.  I do know that in a small way, the book has helped the MTConnect effort.  I thank the board again for allowing the use of the MTConnect logo in the title of my book.  

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

World's Fanciest Digital Toilet

When I saw this at the Red Rock in Las Vegas, I just had to make a video of it :)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

MTConnect Comes Full Circle in Las Vegas - Keynote at Aerospace and Defense Manufacturing Summit

I am out here in Las Vegas with my beautiful wife attending the Aerospace and Defense Manufacturing Summit at the Red Rock Casino and Resort.  I gave the opening keynote this morning, "MTConnect: Driving Innovation Through An Open and Royalty Free Standard".

This is almost seven years to the day that Dave Patterson and I gave our back to back keynotes defining the foundation of MTConnect at Lake Las Vegas in 2006.  MTConnect really has come full circle in the sense that what was a very clear vision is now a very clear reality.

I was really pleased that the manufacturing thought leaders on the panel "Factory of the Future" had all three mention the importance of MTConnect in their remarks.

Below is my beautiful bride of over 30 years in front of the Red Rock Resort.

Not a bad view (below) from our Signature Suite that we were put up in for giving the keynote.

Above is astronaut Mike Mullane and me.  I gave the first opening keynote and Mike gave the ending keynote for the first day.  His resume was slightly more impressive than mine :)  Seriously, Mike gave an AMAZING talk and was incredibly interesting to speak with.

Me and Julie at Red Rock.

Above and below are images of Las Vegas from Red Rock Casino

MTConnect Panel at Mazak Discover 2013

I had the privilege of hosting an MTConnect Panel at Mazak Discover 2013 the second and third weeks of October this year.  We had the panel in Mazak's Learning Center.  It was a FANTASTIC event!

Above is a partial crowd shot of the over 230 attendees we had for the Tuesday October 15th session.  At the lower part of the photo, you can see from right to left the panelists:

  • David McPhail, CEO and President of Memex Automation
  • Neil Desrosiers of Mazak - Software Engineer
  • Will Sobel, CEO and President of System Insights
  • Ben Schawe of Mazak - Executive VP of Mazak Operations

Above is me at the podium.

Above is the MTConnect logo on all of the Mazak machine tools!

Above is a huge gear - that is a 55" monitor inside the gear.

Below are a number of photos I took at Mazak Discover 2013.  Very cool stuff!

Below is the booth by Memex Automation - real thought leaders in manufacturing and MTConnect.  You see John Rattray in the photo as well.

Below is a photo by Neil Desrosiers of the MTConnect panelists and other MTConnect members.  From right to left, John Rattray of Memex Automation, Randy McDonald of Memex Automation, Will Sobel, John of System Insights, David McPhail of Memex Automation and me.  Brian Papke, President of Mazak USA, mentoned MTConnect in each of his keynotes.  Over 3,000 attendees were at Mazak Discover 2013!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

IOT - Internet Of Things

By: Dave Edstrom
The Internet Of Things, or IOT as it is better known, is a very hot buzzword these days.   IOT is not a new concept by any stretch, but it has become very powerful and popular because of the perfect storm of Moore’s Law and IPV6. This intersection of technologies is allowing IOT to become an up-and-coming technology worth your attention.  IOT becomes especially important to manufacturing; MTConnect can play a huge role with IOT as well.
Moore’s Law is something the pundits on cable news pull out during the technology segments of a broadcast.  Intel co-founder Dr. Gordon E. Moore wrote an article titled “Cramming More Components onto Integrated Circuits,” which was published in Electronics magazine on April 19, 1965.  This article has turned into the metaphorical equivalent of Moses coming down from the mountaintop carrying the Ten Commandments of Electronics. In 1965 Dr. Moore was given the tough task at Intel of predicting what would happen in silicon design over the next decade.  In this1965 article, Dr. Moore basically stated the number of circuits on a chip would double every two years. This turned out to be incredibly prescient and accurate.  Computer legend Carver Mead, also a friend of Dr. Moore, is credited with coining the term “Moore’s Law”. 
What this means is that everything kept getting smaller, faster and cheaper over time.  Thanks to Moore’s Law we all carry around smartphones in our pockets with amazing computing power and a very fast Internet connection, running countless apps. This scaling applies to other devices as well.  For example, today you can buy a fully functioning computer, Raspberry Pi for example, that is the size of a credit card and sells for $25.  Hitachi announced a tiny sensor that is sometimes referred to as RFID powder or dust — the RFID chip is 0.15 x 0.15 millimeters in size and 7.5 micrometers thick. If you search for images of this RFID dust, you will see that it is so small that it is barely visible by the human eye when it is placed on a fingertip. 
Another example is the Arduino board, an inexpensive, open-source microcontroller that is truly changing how we think about talking to lots of devices. One example I saw at is a student whose mother was complaining that she always forgot to water the plants. The student used an Arduino with a sensor to measure the moisture in the soil of the plants and send a tweet to his mother reminding her to water the appropriate plant. Another example describes someone who wanted a device that would automatically mute a certain celebrity’s voice whenever it came on TV.  When you drive down the cost and make it easy to program, innovation will occur.
When the Internet was first created, one of the initial discussion points was to answer the question, “if we are connecting computers to speak to each other, how many unique addresses are we going to need?”  An address is pretty much exactly what you think of an address.  I can send a physical letter to my godfather Luverne Edstrom in Northfield, MN, if I mark the envelope with his correct address.  It might sound obvious, but if there are two Luverne Edstroms in Minnesota, then the address for each must be unique.  The same logic applies to the Internet.  Instead of a physical address, the Internet uses logical addresses. For example, if you have ever set up a home router, you know that is a typical address. Each of the four numbers separated by a period can have a value of 0 to 255, or 8 bits (known as a byte) for a total of 32 bits. This means that there are roughly four billion addresses available. When the Internet was created that was deemed to be much more than could ever be needed.  Keep in mind that there were not desktop computers, notebooks, iPhones, Androids, or Wi-Fi enabled scales in people’s homes in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The idea of four billion computers hooked up to the Internet was considered unimaginable!
Fast-forward to 2013 and we all know how this movie played out. Just in my home alone, I have 19 different devices that all have their own IP address. Yes, I might be a little more on the geeky side than most, but having 6 devices in the average home is a reasonable estimate when you realize how many things have to be connected to the Internet to be useful.
With a forward-thinking mindset, the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) decided almost 20 years ago that the Internet was going to eventually run out of IP addresses. To address this concern, they started working on a new version called IPv6.  The difference between IPv4 and IPv6 is tremendous in terms of the number of available addresses.  Instead of 32 bits,the IPv6 address size is 128 bits. The preferred IPv6 address representation is in 8 groups of 16 bits separated by the colon.  For example, an IPv6 address might look like fe80:0000:69b8:c945:1031:3baf:fe0e:c843
What 128 bits means is that there are roughly 340 undecillion addresses available. The two most popular versions of IP are IPv4 an IPv6.  Below are some address specifics of both.
Total Number of Internet Protocol (IP)
  • IPv4 is 4,294,967,296
    • That's 4 billion
    • That's 32 bits
  • IPv6 is 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456
    • That's roughly 340 undecillion
    • That's 128 bits
Let’s put IPv6 into proper perspective because I am sure that someone is thinking, “But Dave, 340 undecillion does not sound like a lot. Will we run out of IPv6 addresses?”  In the context of “never say never” when it comes to technology, I will give you one data point that should help you sleep at night. An infographic from Cisco stated if we were to count up every single atom on planet Earth and start assigning IPv6 addresses to them, we would be able to give each and every atom 100 IPv6 addresses.  You read that correctly.  Every atom would have 100 IPv6 addresses.  What if we find life on another planet and they want to speak to us using the Internet? What about Interplanetary networking, aka InterPlaNet?  Well, Vint Cerf and other brilliant individuals have already been working on that for some time as well.
Now that we have established both Moore’s Law and IPv6, the perfect storm of smaller, faster and cheaper technology combined with essentially unlimited IP addresses makes for the obvious prediction of IOT.  You don’t have to be Vint Cerf or Bob Kahn, the two people that are appropriately credited with being the fathers of the Internet, to make the bold statement that every device will be connected to the Internet.  The first person I heard lay out the business case for IOT was John Gage of Sun Microsystems.  John came up with the phrase, “The Network Is the Computer”, but it was also John and Bill Joy of Sun Microsystems who I first heard say, with the technical specifics to back it up, “everything will be connected to the Internet.” That was back in the mid-1980s. 
IOT plays very strong with MTConnect.  The challenge with IOT is the countless number of protocols that all these devices speak.  It is really the United Nations of devices out there today.  This is where MTConnect can play a huge role. MTConnect is an abbreviation for Manufacturing Technology Connect.  In 2013, I think that MTConnect really should stand for Making ThingsConnect. MTConnect is the open and royalty-free standard that is becoming the de facto standard on the shop and plant floor where discrete manufacturing is occurring.  
MTConnect is ideal for IOT because of the extensive interest in MTConnect for a wide variety of devices in manufacturing.  When plants or shops become MTConnect enabled, the first priority is typically shop floor monitoring. After that, the natural next step is to integrate everything from wireless sensors, the electrical grid, ERP systems, maintenance and diagnostic systems, inventory control, supply chain, RFID systems, analytics in the cloud and everything else in between.  MTConnect outputs XML over http, which means it’s easy to get and read MTConnect data. With all of these devices spitting out lots of data, then next logical step is to send all the data to the cloud to run massive analytics on it, looking for patterns that only racks of computers can find.
The Internet Of Things will be both fascinating and perhaps, as with any technology sea change, give us reason to pause at the same time. Think of the privacy and security concerns when everything is connected to the Internet.  A good example is the testing that is happening with wireless car security.  Computer scientists at Rutgers University and the University of South Carolina detailed how the tire pressure monitor sensors in some cars are not encrypted and can be spoofed into thinking all four tires have low air pressure.  Dr. Eric Topol wrote a groundbreaking book titled, “The Creative Destruction of Medicine: How the Digital Revolution Will Create Better Health Care” that discusses how remote sensors are going to cut down on visits to your doctor.  I was listening to a podcast where Dr. Topol was discussing the use of sensors in the body that would speak to your smartphone and that data would then go to to your doctor.  These types of sensors might be able to predict a heart attack or stroke before they occur. That is fantastic and great example of IOT, but how secure are these devices? 
I was talking to an employee at an RFID company a couple of years ago and asked what the smallest thing was they had ever monitored.  It turns out they had placed RFID tags on ants to track their movement.  My father took was given a “pill” that had a camera in it for gastrointestinal examination that was taking pictures and transmitting them.  When I joked that I was going to come over to his house to hack into his large intestine, he told my mother to “lock the door if David comes over, I have enough problems.”  We have seen these technology security issues before and they have been addressed over time.  Do you remember when garage door openers did not use rolling security codes and it was easy to capture the signal being sent from a car to the garage door opener?  
With IOT, we will continue to ride the wave of Moore’s Law and thanks to IPv6 we will have enough addresses to take care of every device we will want to connect, at least on this planet.  When Moore’s Law and IPv6 are combined with easy to program devices, then we will find ourselves making the transition from suggesting to someone, “you know what would be cool ….” to “let me show you this.”  IOT is the hot buzzword today; tomorrow it will just be part of our daily lives.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Seagull Century 2013 With Jeff, Gork and Steve

This year's Seagull Century was the 25th anniversary of the Salisbury University sponsored bike rides that vary from a metric century (63 miles) to an english century (100 miles).  This was my 13th Seagull Century and Jeff and my 12th together.  One of those was a total washout and one was a partial washout.  The others we finished the full 100 miles.

Above (from right to left) is Dr. Glen "Gork" Gawarkiewicz, Jeff Stone, Steve Fritzinger and me enjoying some beers at Ocean City's Harborside Bar and Grill.
Jeff and I got in about 2pm and Gork and Steve got in about 3.  We went to the university to get our Seagull Century 2013 long sleeve t-shirts.

Above the four of us our at the starting line at 7:15am on October 5th.

Gork, Jeff and I are at the bridge to Assateague Island with Ocean City skyline in the distant background.  It was 91 degrees and almost no wind.  Normally the wind is the killer factor from the 63 mile mark at lunch to the finish line.  This year we got incredibly lucky.

Gork is a world class photographer who can ride a bike and shoot photos (me) as he rides.  You can see from the clear blue sky that it was a picture perfect day. Gork once road across the United States where he averaged well over 100 miles per day, so even at age 54, this was nothing for Gork

Above is me, Gork, and Jeff at the final rest stop before the 17 mile final push to the beer garden.

Jeff, me and Gork at the finish line at about 4pm.  Jeff did fantastic, especially considered he just had a major knee replacement just three months ago.

Above is Steve who came in about an hour after us.  That Steve finished is impressive since his longest ride was 41 miles prior to the century.  Steve has done tons of triathalons and centuries in years past.

Above is my speedometer after we got back to the van. It was probably 2% high, but we clearly went past 100 miles on the ride.

Above is the four of us in front of the Fat Tire area at the end.  Unfortunately the knuckleheads who run the Seagull Century closed the beer, drinks and food at 5pm.  There were a number of people still finishing after 5 and to close things down is to cater to those who ride $5,000 carbon fiber bikes and average 20+ mph for the ride.  I am going to send an email to the president that he is not taking care of a big chunk of the riders, he is losing money and it makes no sense.  It was a great Friday and Saturday on the eastern shore!