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    Business Process Management with a Business Rules Approach: Implementing The Service Oriented Architecture
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Entries in Internet of Things (5)

Tuesday
May212013

Big Data Analytics for Predictive Maintenance in an IoT world

Big data analytics is a bigger topic today and use cases are arising in many areas of business. These range from the traditional CEP areas of financial trading to new customer engagement models such as geo-located coupons. In an Internet of Things (IoT) world, machine to machine (M2M) solutions can produce big data requirements.  These, ‘edge devices’ can post vast volumes of data into the cloud applications that service them. Manufacturing is an area, under-served by BPM and there certainly are numerous industrial M2M and big data use cases. At Bosch, we believe one of the most important and fruitful areas are predictive maintenance (PrM).

Factory floors frequently have expensive and complicated machinery that is critical to their manufacturing competitiveness. The unplanned loss of even a few Hours can result in a great financial loss. . Many companies are turning to the big data, analytics topic of predictive maintenance to optimize these resources. These methods analyze the condition of in-service equipment to project optimal maintenance measures. Analytics for this fields encompasses a broad range of mathematical disciplines, for instance vibrational analysis can use the occurrence of even a small 'out of round' sensor reading to predict the failure of a machine. When we start to aggregate a number of machines, one can apply data heuristics discover even more predictive factors. Even minor irregularities and latent failure patterns are uncovered and aligned across the resource pool.

It is not enough to have the mathematical, material science and engineering capability to create a predictive maintenance solution—— there needs digital infrastructure to support this. That infrastructure must also be capable of hosting M2M solutions. Bosch software already has an example of this in the Service Portal.

The service portal uses A combination of BPM+ and the output of predictive analytics to generate the appropriate response.

On June 6, 2013 Bosch Software will hold a webinar on their approach to PrM.

 http://www.bosch-si.com/company/news-events/events/events-16896.html .

I will be speaking along with my colleagues Karsten Koenigstein and Christina Gruen.

Friday
May182012

On Bosch’s Connected World and the Internet of Things and Services

On Tuesday, May 22, at 13:30(est) I gave an interview on the Peggy Smedley Show. Peggy’s show is the leading radio voice on the topic of the connected world and she has conducted interviews with many notable industry leaders.

The interview is available here.

By way of introduction, I want to describe Bosch’s relationship with the Connected World or what we call the Internet of Things and Services (IoTS).

Whatever label you choose to describe this, there are certainly many amazing new products and services arising from this architecture built on our pervasive wireless network - especially Verizon’s LTE. These IoTS ‘things’ include edge and hub products that are designed, built and offered by Bosch. The pervasive, sensor-driven, networked environment has arisen from the phenomena I call ‘Moore’s law everywhere’. This includes:

  • Ubiquitous, low cost (<$3) microprocessors and radios often found in innocuous products and devices, (some, such as light fixtures and ordinary appliances are unexpected)
  • Accelerating deployment of wireless bandwidth especially LTE
  • Big Data

Again, this environment is spawning new products and new business models, many led by Bosch business units in the areas of security technology, telemedicine, renewable energy, and consumer products. Some business sectors, such as manufacturing and security, are leveraging the situational awareness potential. Other business sectors, including telemedicine, are using the efficiency and asset savings characteristics.

Since 2008, when Bosch acquired Innovations Software, we have been methodically creating IoTS solutions through a framework called the Internet Application Platform (IAP). At the core of the IAP is the robust, industry leading BPM platform inubit and the Visual Rules BRMS.  Bosch has great depth and experience in developing solutions for the IoTS and our IAP has already solved complex IoTS challenges. Now with these developments, we are moving into the era of what Forrester calls the Big Process and activities, information and decisions will be pushed to the “edge” - as close as possible to the customer and trading partner.

Yet, the IoTS is more than an interesting technological development or architecture. At the core, it is a set of solutions that are driven by global political, economic and social forces. A core value for Bosch is supporting the long-term viability of the communities we serve and we see the IoTS as a critical, global development for creating a more sustainable world. In many ways, IoTS solutions, via the Bosch Connected World, support the sustainability movement within business and government. The Bosch Connected World solutions span the important vertical domains of security, energy, environment, risk and finance. Briefly, here are the critical market drivers for these solutions:

  • Financial Strains: business and government investments in new infrastructure is limited and often there is inadequate maintenance and poor operations
  • Eroding Infrastructure: especially in the US there is an over-stressed electrical grid
  • Increasing security needs: in the US there is zero tolerance for acts of terror, this yields more complexity, more need for autonomous intelligent decisions, more situational awareness
  • Risk Management: there is an accelerated need to measure and control financial risk
  • Consumer Expectations: there is an emphasis on comfort, safety and security
  • Aging Demographics: this is not only true in the US but also Europe,  increasing health care needs within declining budgets

The bottom-line: the mandate is not only ‘do more with less’ it is ‘do much more with even less’. Surprisingly, despite being internet-based, the autonomous local controls are critical.

The Bosch Connected World IoTS solutions support the sustainability objectives of business and government. Connected World solutions span these domains:

  • Security, physical and information
  • Energy Solutions, including new building energy systems, grid solutions and renewable energy
  • Environment, water and air
  • Risk Management
  • Finance Controls and Integration

Conclusion

We have learned many unexpected lessons in developing solutions for the IoTS and we are constantly adding new depth and experience. We will be providing details on this in the coming weeks.

Wednesday
Jan252012

My predictions for 2012 for Process Modeling and BPM in General

On our Bosch Software Innovations blog, I have posted some observations concerning BPM/Business Rules Management or IBPM (intelligent BPM) and continued predictive conditions for 2012.

As we enter the 5th year following the real-estate crisis of 2008, we still face hard efficiencies and economic realities both in the EU and the US. Process and Rules Methods and technologies will play a role but probably not the way you think.

The post is here:

http://blog.bosch-si.com/10-predictions-for-information-and-operational-technology/

Wednesday
Oct052011

Part Two Use Cases for the Internet of Things: Definitions 

In the things world, there are patterns of events, decisions and process responses.  Simplistically, there are 3 classes of ‘things’:

  • Appliances, including machinery such as electric vehicle charging stations
  • Energy Sources and Sinks, such as solar photovoltaic 
  • Sensors

These things respond to commands and generally act as a participant on a local basis, such as in a DC Microgrid and on a more global basis as in the smart grid Reg.-on or Reg.-off and spin reserve commands. The objective of this modeling, if not the internet of things, is to achieve combinatorial interoperability. I will save the definition of this for the end.

(Business) Event:  In information technology, a business event is an event that is meaningful for conducting commercial, industrial, and governmental or trade activities. In the context of the use case, the events we want to detail are those that start, end or modify the thing in our use case. In other words, what happened to stimulate your use case? Sensors and groups of sensors could affect or signal local and global processes.

Business Event Factors:

  • Event Description: Events should be described by what takes place and where. For instance a cloud passing over a solar panel might be an event that affects solar technology. A brownout might signal the start of a smart grid scenario.
  • Detection: How can we tell that the event has occurred? What sensors, user request  and information provide this? Normally this is a decision or a group of business rules.
  • Control: Does the event stop, start or interrupt the process? What process is affected by the event?
  • Process Controlled: What product-related functionality or processes are controlled by this event?
    Related or Connected Process:  Our ‘things’ use case should start with an appliance’s functions or process, as it responds to events (or sensors). In IT a process is an event-controlled flow of coordinated activities that accomplishes a goal. What are the core processes that accomplish the use case for the ‘thing’? In technology, there may be many sub-processes needed to complete the core business process.

Process Factors:

  • Appliance, Business Model or Business Area: Processes support a product’s business model. A process accomplishes a goal in one or more business areas. What capability or features of the system are utilized in the use case?
  • Activities: What are activities that comprise the process? For things, appliances or energy sources, what components within the product will carry out the directives of the use case?  Only components or the types of components affected by use case analysis should be gathered. Since this is a high-level use case, there should be relatively few.
  • Participants: Who participated in the activities in part of the process (sub-process)? This can include products such as solar panels and boilers. It can also include sensors.

Business Process Technical Factors
Process Data: What are the data attributes within the message flow process? What documents and artifacts should be included?

  • Flow Control: What are the decision points of the process?
  • Related systems. What systems must provide data to the system?

Decisions and Business Rules:  A decision is a judgment about a business or operational concept. There are two major decisions in most use cases: How is the event recognized? Next, for the end-user or other stakeholder, how should the appliance, energy source or local process decide  to respond to the events?
Decisions can be controlled by users as in an automated sensor control. A business rules is a constraint or policy that guides the behavior of the business. Business rules mediate the information in the process flows.
Decision Factors:

  • Decision: What are the decisions that guide the use case? The decision is a lead-in for the formal statement of the rule.
  • Business Terms: What are the terms or vocabulary of the business rules? (In this study, business terms are left for Business Rules Approach problems)
  • Stakeholder: Who are the stewards for the business rules? Who controls the policy, constraint or guideline?
  • Control: What is the control motivation for this business rule? What is the consequence for the reversal?
  • Measure: How do we measure the outcome of the rule, both (if needed)?

Decision Technical Factors:

  • Formal Rule: the decision or rule statement in an If- Then-Else form.
  • Classify: the type, the division, the sort. A concise business rule will start (or end) by filtering what it is deciding upon.
  • Calculate: compute formulas, look up data and statistics, and transform and assign values. The rule transforms input values into useful data.
  • Compare: the comparison to the redline. The redline is a key value that must be reached, or not exceeded, or within a specified range.
  • Control: what is true or valid, correct or mistaken, and the data and messages that go with them. Control can include a transformation of data.

Combinatorial Interoperability

Interoperability is the capability of diverse systems and organizations to work together (inter-operate). The term is often used in a technical systems engineering sense, or alternatively in a broad sense, taking into account social, political, and organizational factors that impact system to system performance.

In the ‘things’ world, interoperable appliances, systems and energy sources can recognize each other and cooperate to meet the needs of the owner. For instance a temperature sensor on one device might control another. The network should sense when the sensor is available and the other devices should interoperate with these.

Certainly, the Event, Process, Decision metaphors apply to developing use cases for the internet of things. 

Friday
Sep022011

Use Cases for the Internet of Things

A use case is a description of steps or actions between users, (participants, products) and core software systems which leads the user towards something useful.  In our practice of business process modeling, particularly at Bosch, I have been encountering many ‘Internet of things’ use cases. These ‘things’ or products are process participants, as opposed to simple data feeds or event sources. They are responsible for activities. They send and respond to signals.

Use Cases for the Internet of Things

In the new world of process modeling for the “things world”, product features respond (process) to their environment (events) according to the needs and desires of their owners (decisions and rules). In addition, process activities are continuously updated and communicate in a globally connected environment. This is the nature of the internet of things or the ‘things world’. Some, aspects of the process, events and decisions will be controlled by the end-user. Other aspects are controlled by the things, outside agents, products or by others, such as weather or an electrical utility (smart grids).
The goal of BPMN and other visual environments, such as Visual Rules is to empower the stake-holders, such as product experts, to control their area of concern, without writing computer code. End-users can configure the actions in the use case, according to their needs.  This is referred to as the ‘user creating the application’. In the ‘things world’, a wide range of products that will interact in unanticipated ways. Cameras, household appliances, security sensors and many other things will interact. The end user will probably not use BPMN for this; however, they will want to change the sequence of tasks and the nature of responses to events.

BPMN in the Things World

The visual approach, including BPMN, is a common way to model process and rules, and now even events.  What can be difficult to relate is how to build a use case that matches ‘things’ requirements with a list of objectives for events, processes and decisions. What is needed is a context for arranging the vision into a form that can be incorporated into products.
The outcome should be to define services that support product features, events and decisions that carry out the use case objectives. This is the beginning of an iterative process, a starting point for building a core set of services that support a more integrated portfolio of capabilities.
There are many native benefits to the combined Process/Event/Rules approach that enhance competitiveness. The result should be a portfolio of agile products and process features that increase agile responses to customer requirements, economic or competitive challenges. Over time companies, by adopting the strategy, will build an agile core for managing a collection of common events/process/decisions and information structures that support the objectives of the business. This is the clearest path to the ‘internet’ of things.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, the ‘things world’ is not just sensors, appliances and cameras connected to the internet. This connectivity will spawn new business models and new opportunities.  To wit, there are underpinnings, including vocabulary, product/services, organizations, and personnel and training data structures that are critical to every process, and therefore every ‘internet of things’ initiative.

Tom Debevoise