05.02.2020 [Mark Davison]

WITS-IoT Survey.

In the spring of 2018 users were asked some questions about WITS-IoT in an email survey. Nine user companies responded to the survey. The aim of the survey was to get a feel for IoT and IIoT adoption within the industry and how WITS-IoT would play into that.
This quick post presents some of the results of that survey:
• Around 90% of respondents said that their organisation planned to adopt IoT/IIoT technologies for OT.
• Around 80% of respondents said that their organisation had a strategy for deployment and management of IoT devices.
• Many different primary reasons were given for planning to deploy IoT devices, including:
o Cost savings.
o Wider coverage of asset base, especially underground.
o Extended battery life.
o Reduced cost of communications and lower bandwidth.
o Trials of systems with specific business functions such as predictive condition monitoring or leakage management.
• Over AMPS 6/7/8 nearly 30% of users expected to deploy tens of thousands of devices, whilst others had no estimate at that point in time.
• Around 60% of users had already started limited trials or expected to engage in the next few years.
• Barring one user, however, users has deployed/trialled either none or low tens of units as of the date of the survey.
• Around 80% of respondents indicated that IoT devices are being deployed outside of the traditional Telemetry/SCADA systems.
• However, around 90% of respondents were expecting some IoT data to be captured by their top end.
• Only around 20% of respondents were expecting any OT control functions to be performed on the IoT devices.
• There was an almost 50-50 split between respondents managing the devices or 3rd parties managing the devices.
• Around 90% of respondents indicated that they saw the need for a standard data model to manage the data from the IoT devices.
• 100% of respondents were aware of WITS-IoT.
• Just over 50% of respondents indicated that WITS-IoT formed a part of their organisations strategic plans.
• Around 90% indicated that they would be willing to participate in strategic discussions regarding WITS-IoT.

15.01.2019 [Stuart Combellack]

WITS-IoT team expands.

Today, the WITS-IoT protocol development team met at Technolog.  Joining engineers from Schneider Electric, Servelec and Terzo Digital were representatives from Metasphere, Hydro International, Churchill Controls and Radio Data Networks Limited.  The WITS-IoT protocol was introduced to the new attendees and they each took away new development boards, tools and information to allow them to work on the protocol.  The upcoming May WITS plugfest will be the first combined WITS DNP3+IoT plugfest with attendees planning to produce test and development products in 4 months.

We had open and productive discussions about protocol and security issues, with some important decisions taken.

If you are reading this blog and would like to start your WITS-IoT development, then please contact  enquiries@witsprotocol.org and ask for your WITS-IoT pack.

26.10.2018 [Stuart Combellack]

Quick update: WITS-IoT has been released! If you come to the December WITS face-to-face you can walk away with a development board, courtesy of the WITS-PSA. We have a growing development community using web collaboration tools to support each other and share our developments. If you get involved you can join in, get a development board and get your feet wet with WITS-IoT. To join us, ask for access to the development tools by contacting the secretary at: enquiries@witsprotocol.org. Alternatively you can directly contact the core team members: Steve Beadle, Stuart Combellack, Gavin Rawson or Mark Davison.

15.08.2018 [Stuart Combellack]

The WITS Plugfest is fast approaching.  We are planning to demo WITS-IoT at the event with a GPS location tracker demo.  Schneider, Servelec, Technolog and Terzo have been working together to build a demonstration of WITS-IoT.  The most recent WITS-IoT team meeting saw the team receive a set of demo boards and start work on the Arduino code to use the GPS receiver and then transmit using MQTT over 2G GSM to the Servelec MQTT Broker and Schneider WITS-IoT Demo Master Station.  The basic system was almost working by the end of the day session..  The whole team had development kits ready to continue work before the next team session.  Provisional date for the next team meeting is 27th September.

29.06.2018 [Stuart Combellack]

WITS PlugfestThames Water are welcoming the Telemetry Brains of Britain (and elsewhere) to come in October and ‘plug it in’ and see if we can break stuff.  For the first time we will be welcoming WITS-IoT devices to test their mettle.  There will be a WITS-IoT demonstration and if the demand is there, classes on how to work with WITS-IoT.  The protocol is ready for you to build/test/demo Field Devices and Master Stations.  Apply to enquiries@witsprotocol.org for your copy of the protocol documents today!  The WITS Plugfest will take place on October 9th 2018 at the Green Park Conferencing Centre, 100 Longwater Avenue, Green Park, Reading, Berkshire RG2 6GP.

10.04.2018 [Stuart Combellack]

WITS-IoT Initial Release available on request!  We have prepared a draft release of the WITS-IoT application notes (v 0.20) that we can make available to members who are interested in being part of the initial development releases of WITS-IoT devices and services.  Apply to enquiries@witsprotocol.org.

There are known issues and clarifications needed in the document, so it is an initial draft release, but it will give a potential protocol user a thorough understanding of the protocol principles and design.

17.01.2018 [Stuart Combellack]

WITS PlugfestNorthumbrian Water asked the best and brightest brains in WITS protocol development to gather and test and talk about WITS.  We have responded! 🙂

Today a significant proportion of the WITS development community descended on Durham to plug our devices and systems into each other and run a load of tests.  A very successful day was enhanced by a quality presentation and demonstration of WITS-IoT by Steve Beadle.

Steve covered a lot of ground, describing the business case, use cases and practical considerations of WITS-IoT.  Steve then went on to demonstrate, live, a simple WITS-IoT client announcing, sending configuration and sending data to a development WITS-IoT driver running in Schneider-Electric’s ClearSCADA.

It’s a remarkable demonstration of what can be done in a modest amount of time with the no-nonsense approach of WITS-IoT.  We look forward to seeing expanded demos with multiple Master Stations and a proliferation of WITS-IoT devices in the near future!

07.11.2017 [Stuart Combellack] (this is a big one!)

Another WITS-IoT team face-to-face was held today at Schneider Electric.  It was a long but very productive session.  Several work streams are ongoing:

The protocol document is near completion; we have decided to simplify some aspects of it for an initial first draft release at the end of November.  We are going to mandate a basic level of security along with making recommendations about how devices should be developed with security features and principles considered from the outset.  We are going to complete a JSON Schema to define the structure of the JSON Device Profile which is used to describe the capabilities of a WITS-IoT field device.  We are choosing to just use basic JSON within MQTT for this initial draft of the protocol to keep things simple.  The whole protocol document was reviewed and all outstanding actions either closed-off or planned for completion within two weeks.

We have decided to then present the protocol document at the next WITS Strategy Meeting in early December as a first draft to get WITS committee agreement for dissemination to WITS members who have expressed an interest and agreed to the updated WITS-IoT confidentiality agreement.

The second work area will be to prepare a full demonstration of the draft WITS-IoT protocol for the upcoming WITS User group meeting and Plug-fest in January 2018.  This will involve a number of devices and hopefully will demonstrate the flexibility of the new protocol to seamlessly handle new data types along with traditional telemetry data.

A third work area is putting together a PowerPoint presentation detailing the WITS-IoT protocol.  The presentation will cover everything about WITS-IoT: the need for it, how it fits in to the current Telemetry landscape, what it can do and then all of the places within a typical Industrial user’s data acquisition estate where WITS-IoT can bring big benefits.  The presentation can then be used as a basis for the user and vendor engagement process that we’ll start in January, but continue throughout 2018.

Lastly we are kicking-off a Gitlab project and will be inviting members of the WITS community to become involved in the WITS-IoT Testing Project.  We want to build a free, open-source testing framework to allow vendors to test their WITS-IoT Masters and Field Devices.  This will give vendors early insight into how the protocol works, lets them get their hands dirty with the new protocol and also results in a tool that will allow all WITS-IoT users to quickly and easily test their creations.  We will be kicking off the project but hope that other vendors get stuck-in to a project that will benefit everybody.

A lot was done, decided and we’re so close to letting everyone get their hands on the protocol!

Decisive meetings deserve a nice pic:

Left to right:  Steve Beadle, Mark Davison, Gavin Rawson, Stuart Combellack.

17.08.2017 [Stuart Combellack]

WITS-IoT face-to-face meeting at Schneider Electric. WITS-IoT documentation currently at 0.13. The team focused on the business impact of WITS-IoT. The technical phase of the protocol development is nearing its completion. The next phase in the protocol’s life will be building water-industry user interest and demand for the protocol. Vendors need to be able to build business cases for implementing the protocol; this will in a large part be in response to user demand.

21.06.2017 [Jim Baker]

WITS-IoT was presented at SCADA Australia 2017 in late May.  I have posted my slide deck and written a brief show report (link).  The talk was very well received and there was a lot of interest in WITS and WITS-IoT.

24.05.2017 [Stuart Combellack]

WITS-IoT team face-to-face meeting at Schneider Electric.  We had a detailed review of the WITS-IoT state model; this is an important aspect of the protocol development because it brings clarity to both client and server, ensuring that all parties know what to expect and what actions to take as a result of any given set of circumstances.  The state model is typically simple but all possible circumstances need to be catered for.  We had further discussions about the security aspects of WITS-IoT with help from security experts from Severn Trent Water and Anglian Water.

Documentation is continuing and actions were taken by attendees to continue the effort to re-format the documentation.

27.04.2017 [Stuart Combellack]

WITS-IoT presented at the IET Water event: Operational Technology and Data; Real Time Systems for the Water Industry.  This special event organised by the IET attracted a large number of UK an international visitors from throughout the water industry read about the event here.  A paper on Cyber Security and its application with WITS-IoT was presented.  A copy of the presentation can be read here.

07.04.2017 [Stuart Combellack]

WITS-IoT face-to-face meeting at Technolog.  A draft WITS-IoT state model was tabled and discussed.  We examined the security of the protocol.  Steve Beadle (Schneider Electric) presented a new, clearer, format for the protocol documentation.  It was agreed that this was an improvement.

02.02.2017 [Stuart Combellack]

WITS-PSA committee face to face meeting.  WITS-IoT was discussed, bringing the full committee up to date with the progress of the subgroup.  We discussed the engagement programme and opportunities for bringing more outside organisations into the development of WITS-IoT both within and outside the water industry.

01.02.2017 [Stuart Combellack]

Full WITS-IoT face-to-face team meeting held at Technolog.  We ran through the latest draft of the protocol and identified a few areas for improvements.  We also kicked-off an ambitious plan for providing full plug-and-play between Outstation and Master.  In theory any new Outstation feature can be auto-magically supported by the Master-station.  We identified the fact that we would only support limited operational scenarios initially and will go through the task of mapping WITS-IoT to a real-life small outstation to identify areas for development.  Lastly we will work through the original WITS user requirements specification and check which ones WITS-IoT satisfies and which it doesn’t (gap analysis).

10.11.2016 [Stuart Combellack]

WITS-IoT strategy was discussed at the WITS-PSA face-to-face meeting in Northampton today. We’re planning the next stages of development and have agreed a strategy for the next few months including inviting user and vendor involvement in protocol design and development.

Servelec Technologies, Technolog, Schneider Electric and Terzo Digital will continue the fast-paced process of extracting the WITS Data Model from the WITS-DNP3 application notes and interpreting the communications in JSON objects. This work will form the basis of the wider task of sculpting a protocol for the current and future needs of the Water Industry.

Sit by your inboxes for the official launch of the engagement programme!

03.11.2016 [Stuart Combellack]

WITS-IoT revealed at WWEM 2016 / IWA Conference, Telford.
I gave a speech about the WITS direction entitled “WITS – The Next Generation”. It was well attended and well received. We talked to a number of vendors after the presentation who all thought that WITS was going in the right direction and who wanted to join us to help to bring this protocol standard to market. You can see the presentation here.

There was an accompanying video, too:

18.10.2016 [Stuart Combellack]

WITS Expo: WITS-IoT Project launched!
We came out of hiding and announced our vision for the future of WITS. We talked about the technologies that we’re using and presented a live demo of a WITS-IoT Field Device (outstation) talking to a WITS-IoT Master Station over Wi-Fi. Reception from the room was fantastic with lots of companies pledging their support for the development and direction. It was a very, very positive start! Thanks to everyone for attending the event and to the organisers for making it a really special day – best conference I can remember for a long time. Check out the event report here.

WITS Expo welcome video: