Technology

Our technology approach is refreshingly simple

Introduction

It’s not just about the platform. It’s about creating customer value.

ABB Ability™ Platform

ABB Ability™ Platform

How we think about our technology and the platform

There are hundreds of IoT platform providers on the planet. We don’t expect you to choose just one. Instead of trying to establish our platform as a control point, we believe that the real value of IoT lies in solutions and in the insights derived from data.

Our approach delivers a platform that leverages best-in-class capabilities, assures end-to-end integration, provides efficiency and scale, and accelerates development and delivery of solutions that work together and provide superior outcomes.

  • «…The platform is important, but we see it as a means to an end. We focus on applications, our domain expertise in the industrial sector which has built up over a century - on creating as much value as we can for our customers…»

    -Sean Parham
    VP Product Management, ABB
Key Support Areas

Key Support Areas

Four ways our technology approach supports your business

  • Deployment flexibility

    Software components for the device, edge and cloud

  • Interoperability

    Cloud-to-cloud connectivity for inter-cloud operability

  • Automation & control

    Closing the loop with connected devices - systems to master process control

  • Security + data & IP ownership

    Secure systems and applications - you own your data and IP

Increasingly, it is important to be able to deliver insights where the action is, at the edge of enterprise operations. This may include remote, disconnected or harsh real world operating environments. Deployment flexibility is achieved by providing a set of common software technologies & services for the device, edge, cloud and cloud on-premises.

The flexibility and adaptability of our platform allows engineers to program it according to their specific needs and freely utilize available Application Program Interfaces (APIs) to extend the platform the way they want.

We know our customers are wary of vendor lock-in or making a choice that will inhibit their ability to realize benefits across their value chain. While over 450 IoT platforms exist today, we expect business-to-business markets won’t converge towards a single cloud environment because industrial customers have highly specific needs (regulatory, safety, and others requiring domain-specific features) that can’t be provided by common, horizontal systems.

We believe that we need to “connect the clouds” to create an “intercloud” which is easier to accomplish at the cloud-to-cloud level where computing, storage and connectivity resources are plentiful and affordable.

So how do we use digital technology to deliver our expertise to customers? We start with solutions that sense and analyze, producing valuable information that lets our customers “know more.”

To deliver more value, we need to “close the loop” by going from sense to analyze to act. This means we are translating digital information into physical action via our automation systems, and ultimately, boosting productivity. This lets customers “do more.”

However if we want to continuously improve and make things even more efficient, we need to learn. We Actions are connected in a cycle of sense + analyze + act – in a continuous loop for decades now.

Not the cycle in general has to be renewed but the scope of the cycle has to be enlarged from a control loop spanning a machine towards an entire manufacturing line or even an entire factory. Only by doing that it lets us further optimize our existing process to “do better.”

Perhaps nothing matters more than trust, yet securing industrial systems is more challenging than protecting laptops or mobile phones. In addition to securing the communications and data, we need to make sure that programs can’t be tampered with. We need to protect devices at the start-up (boot), confirm that software updates come from reputable, unaltered sources, and detect and diffuse threats in real time.

You might hear similar stories about security, but our competitors are often silent when it comes to data ownership and intellectual property. We believe that customers own their data and that they should be in control over who gets to access it. We also believe that companies shouldn’t have to forfeit their intellectual property (IP) just because they decide to use a cloud-based service.

Explore Solutions

Find Your Solution

We’ve created hundreds of ABB Ability™ solutions to meet your business needs. See what’s possible.

Platform 101

Platform 101

Learn how we solve your business problems through interconnectivity

The ABB Ability™ platform enables the rapid creation, extension, deployment and operation of secure digital industrial applications. We utilize a set of common software technologies that exist at the device, gateway and cloud level, and our reusable IT ‘building blocks‘ empower business units to develop digital solutions more quickly, reliably and efficiently.

We’ve built our platform from industry-standard technologies, making it easier for you to integrate our solutions into others you might already have deployed. Microsoft Azure provides an end-to-end IT fabric that spans from device to edge-of-network to cloud. It is designed for hyperscale and high availability and built on industry leading IT experience and billions of dollars of ongoing investment. Our platform leverages and extends these foundational capabilities.

Key components of the ABB Ability™ platform include:

Ensures data flows from the device or edge to the cloud and is managed and secured in transit with encryption capabilities. Data is collected in a standardized format so that any IoT device, regardless of origin, can be monitored, managed, and analyzed. This service is provided by Microsoft Azure.

Handle storing and managing the massive volume, velocity, and variety (structured and unstructured) of data coming from IoT devices while assuring veracity of data and safeguarding security & privacy. These services are provided by Microsoft Azure.

Assure end to end security in three key areas: device security (provisioning and authentication), connection security (encryption of data both in motion and at rest), and cloud security (multi-level authentication and context specific access control). These services are provided by Microsoft Azure.

Ensures the connected devices & systems are working properly. This includes provisioning, remote configuration, management of firmware/ software updates, error reporting and troubleshooting. These services are delivered by ABB, inheriting some capabilities of Microsoft Azure.

Enables modeling devices, systems and factories. A governance model around the construct of the information model is being developed and harmonized with leading industry standards. Initially only for ABB business units, this may evolve to be an external industry initiative. The business units will play a crucial role in developing robust, common information models for devices and systems.

Provides a rules engine to enable actions to be taken and alerts to be routed in response to triggers and data from IoT devices. This provides the foundation for automation. This service is delivered by the platform with interfaces provided to enable business units to implement their own actions.

Range from basic algorithms to deep machine learning to move beyond automation to a continuous cycle of sense – analyze – act. These services may leverage external datasets (i.e. weather) to derive additional insights. IBM Watson analytic services are accessible to provide differentiated capability.

Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0

Connecting the unconnected

Connecting the unconnected

Bringing global industry into the autonomous age.

Read More
Collaboration

Collaboration

Partnerships for enhanced capabilities

Our strategy leverages best-of-breed technologies from industry leaders combined with the real-world industrial domain expertise, broad process knowledge, and deep industry insights of our business units.

Our partnership with Microsoft harnesses their massive investment in Azure, and the vibrant ecosystem they have established around it, to provide common technologies for device, edge of network, and cloud. Together we create an ability to convert exponential amounts of data into fuel for every business to gain its insights and drive faster decision-making.

Huawei Cloud provides our customers in China with additional deployment options for ABB Ability™ solutions. ABB has partnered with Huawei because of its technology expertise, strong enterprise customer base within the public sector and its high compliance and cybersecurity standards.

ABB and HPE deliver joint industry solutions that merge operational technologies (OT) and information technologies (IT) to turn industrial data into insights and automated action – from device to edge to cloud. Our joint customers can rely on two industry leaders to enable the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and to increase their value add.

Industrial companies can integrate Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE platform to create a digital twin that captures insights from across their entire value chain, to measure, assess and predict the performance of an industrial asset and help optimize its operation in an intelligent way.

IBM brings together deep customer and industry experience, leading solutions (asset management, building management) and enabling digital technologies (AI, blockchain, analytics) with industrial strength security. The integration of this into ABB’s digital offering, ABB Ability™, can help organizations innovate to succeed with their biggest challenges.

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