Predictions for Ignition's Future

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.

Nick Mudge

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Outstanding and excellent! I’m sorry I didn’t get an opportunity to meet you, Nick. (at least, not that I remember)

yeah I really disagree with the point he made. why not use ignition if you have the capability of programming it? most customer service sucks, so if the product needs additional coding it could take years/never to add in features that you would like. not only that, but you can tailor the application, using ignition, to fit your needs. This also gives you full access to being able to make any changes that you want or optimize it. regardless, thats just my opinion.

I agree with your remarks also. One day about two months ago, it also dawned on me that Ignition is not just a good SCADA application development environment, but can be used for a variety of other things as well. When the light went on, I realized that Ignition can be used for virtually any needed application, whether database-related or not. All it takes is the time to design and build it. Look at what IA has done already, using Ignition to build their CRM app, which has nothing to do with SCADA. I can envision many uses for it in our company. A customized document viewer, with indexing to suit any need. A message logging application that the pipeline control group uses to email information to only those to which it pertains. And much more.

I will soon have to give an Ignition presentation to the president of the division I work for. I am going to show him how Ignition can do so much more than just SCADA, and can replace some of the crappy SharePoint stuff we are using right now, with much more functionality. We may be sending more people to training before long, and maybe buying another Ignition suite to boot. If we do, I expect my sales commission on the deal. :wink:

Yes ! Ignition is certainly more than a simple SCADA (Database, module, software platform…)
Everyday we discover new possibilities (with Core igntion features, new modules, with python script, module SDK, with Database, …)

The roadmap for 2013…2014 is awesome ! in the MES scope and the platform scope.
I’m really impatient to discover 7.7 news.

As far as I am concerned, to be totally perfect, and relevant for most of field of industrial software and automation activity, I feel a lack for 2 core features (If you can think it, you ask for it ?) :

  • a BPM (Business process management) module :
    interact SqlTag, windows, and a flexible BPM engine. (integration of java BPM engine would be perfect : an opensource engine, powerfull but not cumbersome
    Design workflow rules with a tools like Alarm pipeline configuration, …
    bind the data to the windows, store user action to the DB, …
    BPM is very usefull for manual process step, fill the form, check list, and has lots of appliance.

I’m sure SFC module will meet to lots of need, but a BPM module will enable to meet all other needs.
Perhaps a same core with 2 rules : SFC or BPM ?

  • fully distributed architecture for hypervision scope : a vision client with data (sqltag, alarms, …) comming from 2 or more Gateway without need to copy or define multiple time tags between Gateway,
    external database provider was a partial solution, but with the lack of UDT support, it’s too restricted.

With features roadmapped for 2013, 2014 and these 2 previous features, for me Ignition will be essential and suitable for quite every needs !

IA team work is awesone, thanks a lot !

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Hi Lionel,
some of your predictions/ideas have been realized. we have more and more requests for BPMN and we can do almost what we want with SFC or the Business Connector. But it is certain that a real BPMN solution would be useful.
We are evaluating the possibility of using the upcoming batch & procedure module. We are getting very close to useful functionalities.