ICONICS President and CEO Mr. Ted Hill introduces the Connect 2021 event and provides an overview of the session. He then explains his reasons for joining the ICONICS team. Being a company of Mitsubishi, he gives arguments for why ICONICS and Mitsubishi are such a good fit. He provides some background to the ICONICS teams around the world and explains the ICONICS software and architecture discussing the software’s capabilities. He ends by thanking the company’s founder Mr. Russ Agrusa.

Video Transcript

[0:00] Ted Hill, ICONICS President and CEO

Good morning. Mark, thank you. It's really great to be here at Connect 2021. This is my first ICONICS customer event. And I'm really excited about what we'll be sharing with you this morning. I would love that we could be doing this with everybody in person. But with the current situation and our new normal, we thought the hybrid event was the right choice for this year. You know, the last 18 months has been fascinating. If I went back to January 2020, I don't think I could have even made up what we've all been through. I know that the impact caused by COVID has been different for all of us. For many industries, I think COVID just accelerated the inevitable what likely would have happened over the next decade or two anyways, but at an astounding pace: more remote work, more collaboration with people not based at headquarters. Instantly, it became an equal playing field, regardless of where you worked, more work flexibility. Imagine if the pandemic had happened 10 or 15 years earlier before we all had access to broadband internet, before video, before Microsoft Teams, before Zoom, before WebEx, before we could do this. The impact on many businesses from COVID has been profound. I'm proud of how well ICONICS and our partners have adapted to continue helping our customers in this new normal.

I've had a few people ask me, “why did I join ICONICS? What was the attraction?” As Mark shared, I've had the opportunity to work in different parts of our industry, from systems integration to product management to business management. Well, for me, ICONICS was an easy decision. It was about our products; it was about the team. And it's the impact that I believe we'll have globally as part of Mitsubishi Electric. I'll be sharing more about all three; we have a full day planned. For our first session today on digitizing your future. I'll be sharing a little bit about Mitsubishi Electric, where we're headed at ICONICS with their product portfolio, you'll learn about sustainable development and some of the work that we're doing with the R&D team in Japan on the SUSTIE project, a zero emission building. We'll be joined by Microsoft; we'll be joined by one of our customers Spirax Sarco. We also have several parts of Mitsubishi presenting with us this morning: the US research lab which is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. They'll be sharing some of the research that they're doing in the area of data analytics. The power products business will be showing a new product called Power I. It really brings a new concept to SCADA and edge analytics. If you've seen the Boston Dynamics robot dog spot, you have an idea of what I'm talking about. It's really a fascinating example of integrating different technologies. It's a little like Terminator mixed with SCADA.

ICONICS was founded in 1986. This is our 35th year, so quite an accomplishment. It couldn't have happened without our founder, Russ Agrusa, and a few other ambitious entrepreneurs sitting in his basement all those years ago, wondering what they could create. I'll share a few photos later this morning just to remind you how much time has gone by. We're incredibly proud of ICONICS, of what our customers have been able to create using our software. And we wouldn't still be going strong 35 years later without you. Thank you and keep pushing us. 


ICONICS has received recognition continually throughout our history from industry. Our software is deployed in more than 100 countries and is used in hundreds of 1000s of applications across virtually every industry. The ICONICS automation suite integrates information and operational technology to enable people in any business to achieve operational excellence. It's helped customers create solutions across virtually every industry, from automotive, to food and beverage, to utilities and energy, ICONICS is there. Our development and testing happen at four locations globally. Our original location was here in Foxborough, Massachusetts, and that Development Center began work in 1986. In 1994, we opened a development center in Pilsen, in the Czech Republic. That's already more than 25 years ago. Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to spend some time with the team in Pilsen. It was fun to hear them describe how they worked in their early days as part of ICONICS. They would sit in Pilsen and type code into their computer for about six months, copy it to a floppy disk, fly over to Foxborough, and spend a few months doing testing and integration, and go home and repeat. Today all of our development teams work globally together in real time on a common code base.


We have a development center in Genoa, Italy. I think subjectively they win the geography contest. They're based on the Mediterranean coast. A few years ago, I remember asking Russ innocently, “Why did you open a development center in Italy?” He looked at me and asked if I'd ever seen an Italian car. He said he didn't know why, but Italians are just good at design, and he wanted to bring that possess to ICONICS. I think it worked. Since joining Mitsubishi Electric, the ICONICS team has been working very closely with the engineering team in Nagoya, and we've also added resources there. Our software portfolio is comprehensive, it's integrated, it's open, and it's built on industry standards like OPC UA. Our mission is to design easy to use automation software that allows you to visualize, historize, analyze real time and historical data from any application on any device, enabling you to drive improvements in energy efficiency, productivity, product quality. Our IoT capabilities allow you to integrate data from 1000s of devices and exchange that data with the cloud of your choice. Everything can be visualized on the screen of your choice. We live in a mobile world: might be your portable, might be your phone, might be your watch. It's your data; it's your choice. It's essential that the platform you choose has the capabilities to support what you need to do. What you need to do now, and what you might need to do in the future. Our customers have proven over the years that if you can imagine it, you can build it with ICONICS. Creating solutions never ends; you'll start your journey to solve a specific problem. Maybe you need to make data available from disparate systems, or you want the ability to do analytics, help improve your product quality, add reporting. What happens when you solve that highest problem, your highest priority, your number one? Well, great for you. Your number two priority just became your number one; your work will continue. Who said your work as an engineer would ever be done? When you move to your next challenge, focusing on quality or energy consumption or fault diagnostics, you don't want to start again, you want to leverage that work that you've already done to solve that first problem. That's why an integrated suite of applications is so important to your long term success. And that's where we really stand out as ICONICS. When I look at the ICONICS portfolio and team, when I look at what has made ICONICS so successful over the last 35 years, to me it comes down to five key things. 


It starts with our software architecture, our commitment to industry standards, our proven continuous innovation, the extensibility of our platform, and of course, our people, and our partners. The ICONICS architecture is scalable supporting applications that run on the edge to the cloud. It starts with universal connectivity, the ability to acquire data from a wide range of data sources. If it's out there, you can get the data into ICONICS. The ability to manipulate and aggregate that data with our platform services, and add security, language, aliasing, and things like workflow. Application servers in our architecture turn that data into meaningful information and provide capabilities like scheduling, data storage, alarming fault diagnostics, etc. Client technologies allow you to work with that data on any platform you choose whether it be a desktop computer, a phone, or your watch. integration across the architecture is what drives engineering efficiency with consistency and reusability. Industry standards protect your investment and make things easier for all of us in the long term. We've been involved and contributed to the OPC foundation since its founding and participated at the board level longer than any other company. We support HTML5 and MQTT. We're adding support for Sparkplug B. We support BACnet SC. I could go on, but I won't; suffice to say if there's an important industry standard, it's part of ICONICS. We're proven innovators. We were a charter member of the OPC Foundation. We were the first 64 bits SCADA application. The first to introduce multi-touch support back in 2009, before the iPad. We developed the natural user interface based on Microsoft Kinect.


We've added support for voice Machine Interface We were the first automation company to adopt Azure digital twins. Our innovation has been constant, and it continues. Common wisdom says that the last 10% takes 90% of the time. It's true for a lot of things. It was true for the contractor renovating my house. It holds true for product development. A core capability of the ICONICS platform is that it's extensible. And that extensibility applies on many levels. If you need to do it, you can. It might be custom connectivity to an obscure data source, a custom calculation that you want to be able to historize or uses as an alarm condition. We support both. Almost anything can be accomplished with our standard products in simple expressions. If your project involves something more a little off the beaten path, our extensibility toolkit allows you to extend each layer of the architecture. Few of you will ever use this capability. But it's good to know that it's there. I expect that many of you who have joined us today have already worked with someone from the ICONICS team. Over our history, they proven to be a very capable and creative group. I consider myself lucky to be one of them. Our team, though, is much more than ICONICS. It's our network of distributors, system integrators, technical partners, and fellow Mitsubishi Electric employees. You'll be hearing from many of them throughout today. ICONICS is frequently recognized in the industry for our product innovation. We've been a Microsoft Partner of the Year 10 times. We've been awarded engineers choice for many of our products by Control Engineering Magazine. We've won awards from Start, from Control Magazine from plant engineering from the environmental Business Journal. It's a lot and it's frequent. If you've ever attended an ICONICS event, I know you know Russ. We're all here today because of Russ' vision back in 1986 when he founded the company. He successfully led it for its first 35 years. The talented team of people who are ICONICS. Today is really a tribute to Russ and what he accomplished. At the end of 2020, Russ decided to retire. He continues to be engaged with ICONICS as an advisor and represents Mitsubishi Electric on the OPC Foundation Board. Having ICONICS next phase be as part of Mitsubishi Electric, I think was Russ' crowning achievement. I don't think any other company could have been a better fit to leverage our capabilities. Russ on behalf of our customers, our partners, and all of us that ICONICS, thank you and congratulations.