According to AIMS , Incuity Software, a leading developer of real-time business intelligence software for manufacturing enterprises, today announced it has begun deliveries of its flagship Incuity EMI software - which allows companies to connect to virtually any business applications, databases, process historians and control systems to provide web-based access, manipulation, viewing and sharing of information throughout an enterprise.
"In essence, Incuity EMI is the 'Swiss Army knife' of business intelligence systems for manufacturing companies - truly linking the database world of enterprise business systems and the object-oriented world of automation and control systems in a single, coherent environment against which users can program," said Doug Lawson, chief executive officer of Incuity.
The technical differentiator for Incuity EMI is its common data model, he noted, because it blurs the boundaries between products that other vendors provide as standalone solutions.
It provides a single toolset to:
• Connect to control systems
• Historise process data
• Build portals
• Create human-machine interfaces (HMIs)
• Program against the system
• Bring data into Microsoft Office for user manipulation, viewing and reporting
"Incuity EMI allows people, for the first time, to build a representation of their businesses using real-world terminology instead of talking about protocols and SQL statements," Lawson said. "It lets them create portable content that they can look at, visualize and report on independently of the underlying data infrastructure. In addition, it provides the openness and programmability needed to easily get data into and out of the system, to extend the system to add new functionality and to administer it far more easily.
This openness eliminates the problems caused by existing software products that use custom languages to create code that executes inside custom platforms that require complicated deployments."
The key to this tremendous versatility is Incuity's common data model, which gives users all the tools they need, in a single solution, to accomplish tasks that previously required the use of several different applications. "Users in small, mid-sized and large companies can begin productive use of the EMI system as soon as it's installed," Lawson said. "As a zero touch deployment it virtually sets itself up during installation, enabling users to more quickly collect and organize data on the back-end and to more easily build web-based, browser-accessible front-ends that give workers anywhere in a company all the information they need to do their jobs better."
The result is that Incuity EMI allows users to interact with the model definitions of plants, production lines and equipment that are contained in an enterprise database and use data mapping to manifest that information in the Incuity model. Users can develop applications against a database without ever actually having to connect directly to it.
It also provides multi-level support for dashboards, including pre-configured dashboards that offer the most common tools people work with - such as gauges, sliders, switches and other elements - and a dashboard editor with which users can easily build their own complex, interactive dashboards.
"The editor has about 100 dashboard 'widgets' that let people create sophisticated interactive displays so individual users can customize their own portals using information from any database or data source in the company," Lawson said. "They can organize it and easily make it work together in rich, browser-based graphics displays that animate off the dashboard model.
This allows individuals to create their own dashboards and populate them with exactly the information they want, rather than dealing with dashboards designed by other people that 'push' data they may not need."
Incuity EMI offers a powerful set of tools for content creation within dashboards and portals, including an add-in for Microsoft Excel, a trending tool, an X-Y plotter and the dashboard builder. It lets people use familiar Microsoft Office applications to create and publish content. In addition, it incorporates an internal history engine for storage of small numbers of tags and/or items that have been calculated inside Incuity EMI, so it can enhance and complement a user's existing process historian.
"Extensive 'under-the-hood' security features are built into Incuity EMI," Lawson noted, "because bullet-proof security is mandatory when you can connect to so many different data sources. We allow users to impose security on any item in the model and to specify exactly who is allowed to read, write, access or change any of the data coming in from those different data sources - which is a huge step forward in the security of corporate information."
The powerful features and performance provided by Microsoft's .NET 2.0 framework provide the ability to quickly build, deploy, manage and use connected, security-enhanced solutions with Web Services. The new features of SQL Server 2005 which is embedded as an integral part of the Incuity EMI - provide users with much faster processing, better data analysis and report preparation, and tighter integration with other corporate software applications.
Incuity EMI leverages industry standards for both interoperability and connectivity as well, including the ISA S95 standard for modeling, XML for data interchange and a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) for openness using major protocol standards such as OPC, ODBC and OLE DB.
The new software provides standards-based connectivity to just about any database system, to eight of the most popular process historians and to as many as 70 different families of real-time control data sources. It includes native connectors for tapping the power of popular databases such as Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server and to interface easily with leading process historians such as Wonderware's Industrial SQL Server and OSIsoft's PI System.
"The bottom line is that Incuity EMI enables users to get up and running immediately," Lawson said. "As soon as it's been installed, users can connect to data sources and create live animations within a browser - accessible to anyone in the organization - in under two minutes. All they have to do is point it at the data source; bring in the data; select the dashboard object they want in the portal; associate it with the data point; and it's done. That's very difficult to do with competitive solutions that require the installation of multiple application programs and may require hours or days to accomplish the same task."
AIMS Pty Ltd is the Australian, Malaysian, Hong Kong and China representatives for Incuity Software.