The Digital Supply Chain podcast

Standards, standards organizations, and open source in Industry 4.0 - a chat with Erich Clauer

May 21, 2021 Tom Raftery / Erich Clauer Season 1 Episode 132
The Digital Supply Chain podcast
Standards, standards organizations, and open source in Industry 4.0 - a chat with Erich Clauer
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode 3 of the Industry 4 on Fridays series I look into the role of standards, standards organizations, and open source in Industry 4.0.

To dig into his topic I invited Erich Clauer to come on the podcast. Erich is Vice President, Head of Industry Standards & Open Source, so Erich is uniquely qualified to delve into this.

We had an excellent conversation and, as is often the case, I learned loads, I hope you do too...

If you have any comments/suggestions or questions for the podcast - feel free to leave me a voice message over on my SpeakPipe page or just send it to me as a direct message on Twitter/LinkedIn. Audio messages will get played (unless you specifically ask me not to).

To learn more about how Industry 4.0 technologies can help your organisation read the 2020 global research study 'The Power of change from Industry 4.0 in manufacturing' (https://www.sap.com/cmp/dg/industry4-manufacturing/index.html)

And if you want to know more about any of SAP's Digital Supply Chain solutions, head on over to www.sap.com/digitalsupplychain and if you liked this show, please don't forget to rate and/or review it. It makes a big difference to help new people discover it. Thanks.

And remember, stay healthy, stay safe, stay sane!

Erich Clauer:

Everybody knows nuts and bolts, they work together so we can put pieces together easily. So the whole standardization brings the cost down, especially the cost of development and also the cost of implementation, sometimes even the cost of operation.

Tom Raftery:

Good morning, good afternoon or good evening wherever you are in the world. This is the digital supply chain podcast, the number one podcast focusing on the digitization of supply chain. And I'm your host, global vice president of SAP. Tom Raftery. Hi, everyone. Welcome to the digital supply chain podcast. My name is Tom Raftery with SAP and with me today on the show. I have my special guest, Eric. Eric, would you like to introduce yourself?

Erich Clauer:

Okay. Thanks. Thanks, Tom. And thanks for the invitation today. My name is Eric clower. I'm running the industry standards and open source team at SAP

Tom Raftery:

supurb. And today is another episode of the industry for Dotto on Fridays, and we are talking to you because of that you say you head up the standards organizations and open source within SAP. Tell me about that. I mean, why do we care about standards organizations with regard to industry for all what's what do standards organizations have to do with industry? 401 odd ones? What would we be talking about?

Erich Clauer:

Okay. I mean, to talk about this, maybe we have to see the the whole we call it we'll have our ecosystem, because they are more organizations and types that we should think about from governments who startups, application providers, and also others. My focus here is on the industry consortia industry Alliance, the stos how we say which other standard development organizations and some of the startups to fill our wide spaces to fill our gaps, because we are big company SAP, but finally, we cannot do everything. So we have to be open to the outside world. And this is what we are trying to do right now, especially when it comes to industry 4.0. In some areas, we also say IoT, which is industrial Internet of Things, where really the OT world meets the IoT world. And this is really an area where we see different disciplines are meeting each other. And now the question is, how do we bring them to life, how we bring the scenarios that we know from the IT world, as well down to the OT world, down to the shop floor, into the warehouse, and so on. So this is what we are trying to do really to make it plug and play. That is my vision. And this is my goal that I have.

Tom Raftery:

What do you mean by plug and play? Give me an example.

Erich Clauer:

It's everybody knows when we are traveling, we have our power supply with us. In Europe, there is no problem you have your power supply, you plug it into socket, it works. If I'm traveling to the US, I'm always a bit disappointed, I always have to go to Fry's, I have to go to another IT shop to get an A little adapter to put my power supply into the socket, which is not plug and play in the sense I wanted. I want to use my my socket, my black in every socket that I'm going to every country, this is plug and play. And I would like to see this as well, in our applications, that if we are connecting to another company to another supplier that we really can do this black and play.

Tom Raftery:

Okay. And you mentioned that the standards organizations, the stos, as you call them, fill certain white spaces, what kind of white spaces are they filling for us?

Erich Clauer:

I'm I'm sorry, I was a bit unclear there. They are not really filling the white spaces, but I would like to fill our white spaces with partners. But I would like to do it also in that way that we have standardized interfaces going into our applications and also provide them standards so they can enhance our scenarios to the outside world.

Tom Raftery:

Okay, and what other reasons what other benefits do we get from participating in standards organizations and open source?

Erich Clauer:

I mean, specially if to the standards. I mean, everybody knows, nuts and bolts, they work together so we can put pieces together easily. So the whole standardization brings the cost down, especially the cost of development, and also the cost of implementation, sometimes even the cost of operation, if things are fitting together much better. On the other side, what I say, let us not reinvent the wheel again, just let us focus on things that we can really add value. And if there's possible standards, we are using this standard, so we don't have to build this again. So we just use it. And we focus our brains on new functionality on add on functionality. So this also drives in my opinion, the interoperability, this drives also innovation. Because we don't spend our time on commodity, we really can spend our time on value add. And on the other side, it lowers the cost of development overall, because we can just use pieces that already exist. And this is also how now open source gets more and more popular. Even in the open source world. I was just reading an article today, where we see the open source pieces in this even in the proprietary software grew up from about 20% to 53%. And it's still chrome going up. So what we see, especially in modern companies like Google, Facebook, they are using a lot of open source pieces in their software.

Tom Raftery:

Okay, and are we

Erich Clauer:

we are a traditional company. So we are still a little bit behind that. But I mean, especially in the platform, in business technology platform, you see that we already use a lot of open source, open source software, but also standards. In there you see Cloud Foundry, which is a big part of our platform, and also other things like Kubernetes. And, yeah, I think also TensorFlow, which is AI n will, will go into our platforms, which are, in my opinion, our de facto standards, because there's also a downside and the standards world, it has a long history, and it goes really slow. Which means open source software is driving a lot of standards, which is a good thing. Overall, especially for the software industry. On the other side, the combination of both will really make it better because you do it in open source, but then you can also nail it down and really make it to a standard. In German, we say you make it to a norm. And then it's really cast in stone, and everybody can follow it. You can also put it into laws, you can also put it into Request for Proposal papers. So the companies can really ask that you're following that standard, which makes their business much more stable.

Tom Raftery:

Okay. And can you give me an example or give me give me examples of some of the standards organizations are talking about and what kind of benefits they bring?

Erich Clauer:

Yeah, what I did in the past, first of all, I would like to make a kind of a classification, because we have some standard organizations where we are writing more requirements, which are really early stage in the whole lifecycle of a standard. And then we have organizations where we are writing more specifications, we are getting much more into the details later on. Now, nowadays, sometimes before we go to an sto, which is a standards organization, we do it in open source, validated that it really works. And then we go to an STL, which is a standard development organization. Everybody knows that it's I triple E, there is IEC ISO, in Germany, they're seen in the software world, everybody knows about w three C. So this is where we are going to really put it into a standard. And now what we see as well, because everything goes a bit faster. We have no organizations as well that support the go to market piece and also have recipes, how to put different standards together to build specific scenarios. And one of the organizations we even founded which is open industry 4.0 lines, which now gives our customers recipes to really to really see how this scenario could work with standards. Okay, and

Tom Raftery:

what kind of standards are there in industry for Dotto?

Erich Clauer:

Industry 4.0. In order to find various of standards, you find, one of the most prominent one is OPC ua, which is a standard to do the communication to the shop floor. On the other side, you have E Class, which was originally a standard coming out of the procurement department, where you have the possibility to compare to drilling machines, you didn't say, Okay, I want the drilling machine exactly from this company. You said, Okay, these are the parameters, these are the properties of that drilling machine. And then you just bought the same the Drilling Machine with the with similar properties and classification. So it was much more interchangeable. And then now this, we can also see in industry 4.0, because you're not exactly buying exactly this piece from that supplier, you can also then have a classification of that pump. And then you can exchange this pump with another pump. The main part is it has the same properties, it has the same power. It's really exchangeable. And this is right now, in industry point of view 4.0. Very important. And this is why we are using a class. And we as SAP, we also joined the class about two years ago. And now we are on the board and driving this, we are incorporating EClass across our scenarios and different applications. Because you see, it's from Bill crumb procurement to the warehouse to manufacturing all the way through the whole process of our applications.

Tom Raftery:

Okay, and can you talk a little bit about some of the sap products and the standards that they have

Erich Clauer:

what's behind this, it's all the documentation from the manufacturer to the operator. So what kind of documentation Do they have, the manufacturer has to give to the operator, which is the handbook, how to use it, the service orders the bill of material, and everything that is part of that product. On the other side, it's audio ID that we're using really to identify the different pieces of a whole machine, or of the oil rig, you really can identify exactly that piece, which is important. And then also OPC ua isn't included, which is really the part to get data from the shop floor all the way up to the control board, but also from a controlling system to steer the machines which are connected to OPC ua. So it's really a very rich protocol. I know some people don't like to say see this as a protocol because it's it's more than a protocol. On the other side, what we also try to embed and what we are trying trying here is the so called administration shell, which is the digital twin for manufacturing coming out of the platform industry 4.0 which is an initiative driven by the chairman government. And now, there we are also in connection with the French government, the Italian government, which is industry to for two in France. So, we are trying to connect really and build this together, we even opened up now to an organization in the us that we are really trying driving these topics in a joint manner because it's important coming back to my example from the my my power supply that we also understand each other in all the countries I mean we speak no English, I know you also speak Spanish I my native language is German, but English is the language of business. And what we need here is really we need the language of the language of industry 4.0. So the machines they have to understand each other comments, I have to I get down to the machine doesn't matter where we are in the world, they have to understand it. So this is a standardization we are trying right now in the platform industry 4.0 and therefore we we even started a new company, which is the industrial digital twin Association where SAP was one of the founders Together with ABB, Festo cuca, all the big German companies, even Schneider Electric, I mentioned, we are doing real good cooperation with France. Schneider Electric, which is a France company, I was surprised as well. But the beginning, Mr. Schneider even came from the area where I'm coming from. So but he founded the company in, in France. And they are also working together with us on these topics.

Tom Raftery:

Super. And how can we use open source to drive de facto standards or standards in general,

Erich Clauer:

I mean, what I mentioned before, sometimes people have good ideas, and then they are doing something like TensorFlow, and then it became a becomes the de facto standard. What we are trying to do here with the digital twin, or the Asad administration, shell, we are trying to gather with some companies that we are building the software together in an open source environment, the open source environment gives us really the chance that multiple companies in a community built together as software, which then finally, everybody can use. And nobody's is really owning it. I mean, in theory, from the legal perspective, everybody owns the piece that they put into the pot. But we give everybody the right to use it, which then is freeze kind of free software, I mean, nothing is free, or because we have to contribute, put something in there as well. But everybody can use this software. And it's really good for the pieces that are commodity, the pieces that we have in the middle between Company A and Company B. So we can ensure that the interoperability works. And it works, plug and play because everybody can extend and enhance their piece of the software of the open source software. So we can really work together seamlessly. Okay,

Tom Raftery:

super. Eric, we're coming towards the end of the podcast. Now, is there any question that I have not asked you that you wish I had? Or is there any topic we've not addressed, that you think it's important for people to be aware of?

Erich Clauer:

I mean, what I mentioned before, it's important that people are aware of that they know Do not reinvent the wheel that we already have. So use standards wherever possible. And then as well be very specific, what we are talking about, because I was right at the beginning of the platform industry 4.0. And every time we were boiling the ocean, and then we came up with a model called the rommy model, the reference architecture industry 4.0, which is a three dimensional cube. But this helps really to locate where what I would like to discuss with others. So keep this in mind. And you think about it, what you're really talking about, and which area you would like to find a solution. And the romney model really helps. And then it also opens up the way for the digital twin. And again, it's really important that we all come together. And we all work together on this new digital twin for manufacturing. So join as well, the industrial digital twin Association, and then it's a big community, and everybody can provide their pieces. I mean, it's also important to see because everybody has to feed their kids, that not everything should be open source. Not everything should be standardized. But the pieces in between, and the commodities where it makes sense to handover from Company A to Company B. This is really the places where we should standardize and work together to

Tom Raftery:

her super great. Eric, that's when fantastic if people want to know more about yourself, or about the standards organizations or the open source technologies that we've talked about today, or any of the other topics we met, we touched on, where would you help me direct them?

Erich Clauer:

I mean, they can definitely contact me on LinkedIn. There is only one Eric Lauer in the world. So that's unique. Good. On the other side, I will send you some links, and then you can probably also send them around

Tom Raftery:

perfect. I'll include them in the show notes along with a link to your LinkedIn profile. Fantastic, Eric. That's been great. Thanks a million for coming on the podcast. Today,

Erich Clauer:

thank you very much for having me and see you soon again.

Tom Raftery:

Okay, we've come to the end of the show. Thanks everyone for listening. If you'd like to know more about digital supply chains, head on over to sa p.com slash digital supply chain or, or simply drop me an email to Tom Raftery sap.com if you'd like to show, please don't forget to subscribe to it and your podcast application of choice to get new episodes as soon as they're published. Also, please don't forget to rate and review the podcast. It really does help new people to find the show. Thanks. Catch you all next time.