Mr. Paul Carter ICONICS Mid-Atlantic Business Development Manager and Mr. Mark Fountain ICONICS Business Development Manager host this News Desk and go over the highlights of the session.

Video Transcript

[0:00] Paul Carter ICONICS Mid-Atlantic Business Development Manager

Well, welcome back everybody to the newsroom. We just had an opportunity to sit through a couple of interesting breakout sessions. I attended the Safeguarding Against Cyber Threats with Secure Data Connectivity. And Mark. 

[0:20] Mark Fountain ICONICS Business Development Manager

I attended the CFS works. Some wonderful, wonderful; it's quite good. One thing we should bring up real quickly is that we do have a couple more breakout sessions coming up soon. And if anyone has any questions on that, we can go back through some of that in a few minutes and make sure they can join it. 

[0:44] Paul Carter

While we're here, kind of rambling along, everybody's welcome to take a break and take a bio break and get ready for the last half of the day because we will have the sessions that that Mark mentioned. Then we'll also have a panel discussion. So please feel free to submit questions for the panel discussion if you’d like, but that's coming up as well as afternoon.

[1:01] Mark Fountain

So, tell us, what did you learn in the session you attended?

[1:07] Paul Carter 

So, one of the things that, obviously, we talked about some of the new enhancements in communications that are going on, but probably the more interesting thing was that one of the things that everybody thought was the way to secure networks using VPNs. Kind of got blown up. And they and they introduced a new concept called moving target detection. And it's a whole new concept in the way that they establish secure connection for remote workers and remote connectivity and are our sponsor company Dispel has a really nice solution for that. And they've been very, very successful with many large critical infrastructure type industries such as oil and gas, water and wastewater, and a lot of the technology comes out of the Department of Defense. So really, a very interesting presentation and in what they're doing to allow the new normal remote workers to connect into the systems. And then just for things that were introduced there's a little conversation about Sparkplug B. Tom Burke shared with us some information about Sparkplug B which is becoming an adopted standard for a lot of industrial automation using IoT. And Oliver Gruner introduced to us the new secure connection, BacNet which I thought was very interesting. Some really interesting things going on there as well.

[2:24] Mark Fountain

Excellent, excellent. Well, I had the opportunity to join the Connected Field Service Worker session, and it was a quite good as well. One of the things that came out to me was the whole concept is the point might be the fact that they want to extend the reach of an existing system. And along that line also be able to provide real time feedback. So in other words, this whole concept of having somebody remote and be able to get the job done now, rather than have to wait because if you think at some of the constraints that typically we have. You have somebody in an office; they're waiting to hear something about what’s going on and prior to the pandemic, you had these people that might be sitting in an office, “Oops, I got an alarm, or I've got an issue. I going to go out to the field. Oh, I see something. Now I got to go back to the office to get something fixed”. So, you're wasting a ton of time on there. So, the concept behind here is to be able to extend that network and take a field worker who's already out there who might have a particular job that he's doing now. Let's not overburden him. But if we have the right person at the right place at the right time. Let's put them on the job.

[3:38] Paul Carter

Absolutely. Yeah. Makes perfect sense. 

[3:41] Mark Fountain

And included in that session was also a reference to Lake City's Municipality, which is just north of Dallas. And it was it was done by Impact Automation with Shane Stevens out there. And what they have, which I thought was kind of unique, was they have a smaller municipal system. It's freshwater wastewater, and it basically serves three cities. The interesting point of that, though, is the fact that they had a pretty small workforce. So, because of that, they needed to already have some kind of a mobile thing. So, they connect in North Texas. If you're familiar with that area of the country, it's pretty wide-open country. There's a lot of land out there. So to have remote workers is probably pretty common. 

[4:31] Mark Fountain

Yeah, exactly. And where there isn't wide open space down there, there's a lot of traffic. Okay so the gist of this is to take the GENESIS64 application and add this using a mobile HMI app, connect and have a secure connection using something like HTTPS, things of that nature. And then if you'd like, you could use third party apps like WhatsApp, Twilio, and things like that. The key point is there should be VoIP which is the tenure we want to use.

[5:11] Paul Carter

Sure. Interesting. I think What’s App is has end to end encrypted. I think that's correct. Well, I'm not claiming to be a WhatsApp expert, but I believe it's encrypted. So, it's kind of interesting; all of these new things and new stuff going on, all lead back to Ted’s comments this morning about the new normal. All of a sudden, the the new normal is not what it used to be. If you describe the worker who's probably in an office, who goes out and figures out what's going on, and has to come back to get parts of something, and all that type of stuff. That's not the new normal anymore. There's a different normal, and we're all living it. We're all dealing with it; we're all working with it. So, it's just part of part of what's happening in life.

[5:55] Mark Fountain

Right. And I think it may, in some ways it may have kick started some of the motivation to move this type of technology forward.

[6:02] Paul Carter

Oh, absolutely. Sure. What's the what's the purpose for having a truly connected Field Service Worker if there's no motivation for it, right. So, it'll be interesting to see how these technologies get adopted as they go forward. Really, really powerful stuff. And obviously the more dispersed we get, the more challenging security becomes and so leads back to all the other secure communications and this moving target defense is supposed to help protect from intruders getting into the network and finding weak points in the networks and finding ways to get around.

[6:34] Mark Fountain 

I liked his analogy of the submarine moving. 

[6:38] Paul Carter

Yeah, He actually used to two analogies. One was the kind of the static VPN being a sandcastle. Sooner or later waves going to come in and overwhelm the sandcastle because it's static. It just stays there. We keep building stuff on top of it. While if we use a submarine, we're totally sealed up, isolated away, and it keeps moving around. So, you never know where it's going to be or where it's going to show up. So, it really is kind of interesting. Very, very interesting. Especially if you understand submarines. 

[7:18] Mark Fountain

And one of the other things that I talked about in the connected Field Service Worker is the idea of integrating maps. So, think of the example one of the examples of geo-fencing. So, the concept there is being able to create a virtual fence, if you will, and set up a perimeter on that. And to be able to tell if ‘A” if someone's crossed the line, or “B” if there's an issue in that particular one. And essentially, what we're talking about is looking at alarms and events. When we talked about an alarm, in our jargon, what we're looking at is an OPC UA, A and E, is really what we're looking at. So, I just wanted to point that out to make sure we clarified when we talk about alarming, that's where ICONICS is coming from.

[8:08] Paul Carter

Interesting. I think the geo-fence probably has some other functionality as well. Again, when you have a dispersed workforce, you want to know where they are when they under certain areas and stuff. It'll be interesting to see how the creativity and imagination of people use that functionality.

[8:27] Mark Fountain

Well, and I think that's going back to some of the earlier things we talked about our partners and the tool sets that ICONICS provides. I think we depend on these partners to provide this creativity them. And I would point out that a lot of some of the better aspects of our products have come from partner requests. And the key to that is to make sure it's not a one-off. It's something across the board. So, it's not something that's hard to support. But we can grow on it. And that's part of us working with our partners.

[9:03] Paul Carter

So, for those of you not familiar with ICONICS, ICONICS does things called voice of the customer. And they take a look at all the technical support cases that come in every quarter. And they sit down, and they have a review meeting, and they look at all these different types of things. And there's a lot of information that comes out of those types of sessions that allows a new feature to be added to the product. And the building of the new feature is important because it's not a custom feature. It's a new feature. And when it's a new feature, it's supported in future revs, in future evolutions of the product. And it prevents our customers from getting stranded in an application and getting orphaned in an application. And those things can be very important for companies trying to maintain synergies of their systems, especially as they upgrade over time. Because as we all know, a lot of these systems once they're installed, they're there for many years, sometimes that decade. They're there a long time. 

[10:16] Mark Fountain 

So, we're going to show a couple more videos, but I did want to point out again that around 2:45 we're going to be moving to the next two breakout sessions. 


So, we got two more breakouts this afternoon that everybody's going to have an opportunity enjoy. And if you've heard something that one of us has said about one of the sessions that we went to and want to learn more about that, remember that everything is being recorded. And all of the attendees are going to have access to the recording after the session. So, you can go back in and if there's a product related feature something that's discussed, and you'd like to learn more about it, contact your local ICONICS person and they'd be more than happy to get the right resources involved, to have whatever conversation you need to fully understand to do with the new resource.