Process and Power has learned to embrace standards.
The Process and Power industry is driven by–and is a driver of–standards. It must. because regulation is an inescapable fact of life for the process and power industry. The industry was a major driver for ISO 9000 and it is also enabling ISO 15926. ISO 15926 is a set of standards and practices to enable cross platform data exchange and use. And, since nothing is simple when you dive down into the world world of industry standards, regulations, and cross-system interoperability, several industry organizations have grown up to help move the effort forward including FIATECH (fiatech.org) and the POSC Caesar Association (www.posccaesar.org.)
FIATECH is an industry consortium founded to develop, demonstrate, and deploy integrated and automated technologies for efficiency throughout the life cycle of capital projects. The POSC Caesar Association (PCA) is a global, nonprofit member organization, for the development and promotion of open specifications enabling interoperability across systems. And finally, the Camelot group was formed as a working group to to create a set of open source software tools that implemented the full specification of ISO 15926. They developed iRING.
The iRING software is available for download at http://irking.ids-aid.org and it includes, software, documentation, source code, and SDK documentation. The members of the Camelot group which has developed the software pledge to maintain iRING software and documentation through the open software process.
The Camelot group includes: Bechtel, Bentley Systems, Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC), Det Norske Veritas (DNV), The Dow Chemical Company, DuPont, Emerson Process Management, Fluor, Hatch, Intergraph, NRX Global, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), and Zachry – and together donated approximately $880,000 of in-kind software development and information modeling hours since January 13 of this year.
The Camelot project was formed by owner-operators and software providers to provide ISO 15926 interoperability between disparate systems. The participants are confident the standard and the tools developed will be widely adopted because of the open software development and distribution agreements. The group was able to come together and create usable tools in a six-month time period.
What do we think?
There was a time when standards bodies were the source of jokes in the computer industry. Now they represent salvation for some industries. There are two primary motivators for companies to come together, share expertise, and define best practices and standards: pain and demand. For instance, pain is a powerful motivator in the mobile device industry where there are so many different form factors and usage models, that building hardware platforms is impossible without some kinds of standards. The Khronos standards body is an example. Likewise, the pain level is pretty high in the home networking market where the DLNA working group has spent a decade trying to make devices communicate. Unfortunately, companies have demonstrated a very high tolerance for pain when they see their market shares threatened by the prospect of cooperation. In that case, demand might do the trick. Customers are demanding that they be able to buy the best tools for the design job and that they work together. Software suppliers who don’t cooperate, are going to see demand disappear.