I just want to share an observation and a prediction I have about Ignition.
Here is a pattern that I see: Some great companies with a great product in the past have focused their product on a niche market. And their product happened to be a kind of product that could be used to spring them into many more markets after being successful in their niche market. One example of this is Facebook which started off as a social website only for Harvard, and then it became a social website for a number of colleges. And then it was opened up to everyone. Another example is Google which at first focused only on search and has since expanded into so many more products. I see Ignition following the same kind of pattern.
I’ve known for a long time that Ignition could do more than SCADA but it was really interesting to see this brought up at least a couple times at the Ignition User Conference this week. Someone asked Steve Hechtman why Ignition was promoted as a SCADA system when it could do so much more. Steve said that it was a way of communicating to someone new to Ignition what it could do. People can understand SCADA but how can people understand the vast amount of things that Ignition can do and could be used for?
From my view and in my opinion Ignition is a general purpose rapid application development platform for building all kinds of applications. My prediction for Ignition’s future is that it will continue to expand and be successful in the SCADA space but that it will also be used more and more for other kinds of applications and invade many areas of business.
I also think that SCADA is part of the heart and soul of Inductive Automation and Ignition will always be a great product for SCADA systems.
One person at the conference brought up the idea that it might not be a good idea to implement every application that is needed using Ignition if an off-the-shelf commercial product that solves a problem well already exists. I don’t think anyone would dispute that, but it triggered an interesting point that I thought of: off-the-shelf commercial products can (and will) be built on top of Ignition using the Ignition SDK.
There’s no reason an off-the-shelf commercial MES product couldn’t be built on top of Ignition. Wait, that is already being done by Tom and his team at Inductive Automation. There’s no reason an off-the-shelf commercial ERP system couldn’t be built on top of Ignition. Many different commercial products could be built on top of Ignition and I predict this will happen. I think one of the main purposes of Module Marketplace is to help people and companies do this.
I noticed that the Ignition SDK session at the conference was full. I don’t know if I am just perceiving my own excitement and interest, but it seems to me that the Ignition community is very interested in the Ignition SDK. I myself have written a pretty substantial module using the Ignition SDK and I see its potential. In my opinion the main barrier to using the Ignition SDK is a lack of documentation, but that can be overcome. The Ignition Programmers Guide is good but I expect much more documentation and examples will be added.
I am curious what predictions other people might have about Ignition.