Travivas Associate Member

Latest news as we enter 2Q19 is that I have just joined the Travivas consulting network as an Associate Member. Wherever additional services are identified that I am unable to deliver, we will be able to introduce you to another trusted expert who maybe can.

My thanks to Adrian Fenton, co-founder of Travivas, for the introduction to Karen Cherrill of Kingsfield Consulting and the engagement with the Czech refinery boiler upgrade mentioned in the previous post. A great way to do business.

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Update 1Q19

Through 2016/17 I had the good fortune to take on a piece of real engineering – both process and mechanical design – for some specialist equipment on a Chinese aerospace research facility.

Like the above, I also mentioned in passing in the two previous posts, that I was focussed for most of 2017/18 on a possible generic business app opportunity as an unfunded collaborative development, and on keeping my hand in with developments in the reference-data architecture space. That gave me pause to reflect that this was the first-time I’ve been without paid employment in over 40 years, and that in that time I’ve been fortunate only to leave any employment for a new opportunity.

So, it’s been over a year, but just last week I took-on a real hands-on engineering assignment again for a refinery upgrade project in the EU and am again available for consulting opportunities – engineering integrity primarily and/or information management as necessary. [See “About” and “Services.]

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AIMS, PIMS, BIMS and now SIMS, HIMS & even GIMS?

Whatever “Digital Twin” is used to model your particular industry assets and manage the operation they embody, it seems the jargon converges and the generic information modelling aspects really do turn out to be highly generic. When we started with Plant Assets, Transport and Defence assets they became Assets more generally, and the Plant manufacturing and laboratory facilities became Buildings more generally, I was awaiting the day that Hospital and Healthcare assets would become the topic. Seems they happened whilst I wasn’t looking.

I was pleasantly surprised by the Aerospace research facility subject of the last assignment (below) and now find myself engaged in SIMS for Schools and educational establishments. I may say a little more about that if I can shortly. Each sector, for understandable legacy reasons, tends to be dominated by one or other comprehensive Business Resource or Asset Management “Solution” – usually one no-one ever got fired for buying, but one which becomes an expensive and inflexible millstone to be managed in its own right.

Especially gratifying is the continuing generic convergence, because we also seemed to have stumbled upon an opportunity for a Generic information model management system. I say system, but it’s so generic it’s really a meta-system, a system for developing and integrating systems for modeling and managing information. One that can integrate with and evolve away from any legacy system(s).

I used to joke that we’d end up with this model, but now I’m not so sure we’re joking.

Say what?

Say whatever it is you want to say,
and we can store and retrieve it
intelligently-connected to any future context.
I wonder.

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BlockChain, IIoT or Industry4.0 ? Semantic Web or Big Data?

I realise I’m mixing categories here, that’s my point. There is so much hype (ie confusion and mis-expectations) over advancing web technology architecture “silver-bullets”, and which terms are really about technology, business or content – in fact there is a lot of entanglement of issues and lots of lessons learned in one domain not even considered in another.

Since I last posted an update, I’ve spent over a year working with a Chinese Aerospace R&D contractor – doing some actual engineering rather than information science, bleeding edge engineering too. Perhaps unsurprisingly, even in a completely left-field domain all roads seem to lead back to web reference data.

So, for a bit of fun I’ve been doing a bit of a survey of all the initiatives in “Reference Data Based Interoperability” space, in order to understand how they all fit together, which could learn from each other and where common valuable gaps exist in tools and services. I’ve put the draft “State of the Nation” paper up publicly in order to share with potential interested parties, but it is very much incomplete / work-in-progress. I will be updating without posting notification. Any suggestions. you know where to find me.

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The Fog of “Containerized Algorithmic Services”?

The latest IBM jargon here made me chuckle. It disguises a very old story.

Let’s unpick it a little.
Fog is one of the buzzwords for low-hanging / near-at-hand / in-your-face “Cloud”
Cloud being the metaphorical buzzword for all things distributed and linked via the internet.
IoT is simply a reminder that those connected things can (and will be) anything and everything.

The internet is simply the ubiquitous communications network technology connecting pretty much anything and everything these days. Within that, as specific technologies advance, possibilities for physical distribution of those things change and grow, and the optimum arrangement in terms of traffic, volume, speed, reliability, security etc for different kinds of use, continually change too. That’s the technology, the IT (or ICT).

But, communication is much older than the internet.

What matters is meaning and know-how. As Einstein famously said “The communication problem is the illusion that it has happened.” – true on so many levels here – and “Communication is like a cat, you pull it’s tail at one end, it miaows at the other.”

Transferring the bits of information is one thing, but what it means, what’s meant to happen on arrival is a whole ‘nother thing. Without the latter – semantics – it’s Einstein’s illusion to call it communication.

Sure, most people believe Sir TBL gave us the Semantic Web – thereby giving our generation the focus that use of the internet is primarily about connecting information with meaning. In fact the Semantic Web was coined long before internet technology – by Foucualt in 1966 – and, not in so many words, has existed as long as philosophy and epistemology.

The population of the world being very large, the number of ways different people and organisations are working on that is enormous. Old ideas are repackaged – in both knowledge and ignorance – with new metaphors and names, and that’s fine with billions clamouring for attention. That’s marketing.

The problem is if the re-packaging is too fast – an arms race of new jargon – the communication is all Einstein’s illusion. That’s a problem for (at least) two reasons.

  • One, is that rolling the whole topic under a single new set of buzzwords also hides the fact that problem does still have distinct technology and content, functional and semantic aspects to be addressed. Sure they may all be well understood in their distinct parts, but the packaging doesn’t change the fact that these distinct “workfronts” need to be addressed using different knowledge and resources in any particular application or solution. One size fits all may be true at some conceptual level but different solutions do have different parts.
  • Two, is that the value of parts of the solution that have already been perfectly well understood by previous work – using previous metaphors and terminology – is easy to overlook and forget, and will need to be reinvented again later anyway. Baby is thrown out with the bathwater.

I was prompted to write by David Hodgson’s comment on the original thread. The phrase that tickled me particularly in the piece itself was the one quoted in my title here: “Containerized Algorithmic Services”. Frankly, for reasons Dave states, I’ve not tried to decipher the jargon of the whole article in detail, but this one concept below jumps out as one that has been well worked already, but simply trampled under the endless stream of new jargon as each new technology cycle evolves.

  • Containerised Algorithmic Services at smart endpoints – is the original vision of our Shorthand or “Signature” Templates. (ask Hans, Magne or Onno). Having characterised your “packet” of data semantically – let’s face it packets have been fundamental to the internet and mark-up languages since day one – and having expressed it algorithmically in its signature, any number of behaviours, services and functions can be driven by such algorithms – anywhere in your extended network.

I’ve managed to resist writing on the irony of “Fog” before. I’d guess whoever first coined it knew what they were doing to cloud reality 😉


Opportunities Arising

With my current London project on hold whilst the customer sorts out his financial commitment, and between my own ongoing commitment to charity board projects, I am currently looking for new information and systems management project(s). Preferences would be opportunities to be part-time North-East England and/or London based, with travel no obstacle.

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New Venture

Having finished with JORD and other iRING projects back in July 2013 I am returning to the sharp-end of capital projects full time for the foreseeable year or more from 4th November. If and when I return to enabling developments of the shared-RDS-based approach to flexible high-quality enterprise integration, it will be with fresh drivers from the facilities business operation.

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A Lesson on Solutions Pricing

From a dead squirrel. (by Neil Baron, with hat tip to Ed Anderson on LinkedIn).


JORD Phase 2

Having fixed a number of systematic technical and procedural issues in Phase 1, the JORD Project now moves into scalable technical implementation and sustainable business development in 2013. For more information, the JORD Project page is maintained here.

GlencoIS continues 60% to 80% commitment to that one project in 2013. As well as providing additional consulting services in exploitation of RDBI-based interoperability, GlencoIS is interested in prototyping with those looking to develop tools in this area.

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Outage Apologies

Due to some test installs and reconfigurations of our server, I lost visibility of all my normal WordPress and other static content for a few days. But after a reset it looks like everything is up and back to normal. No damage done.

Apologies for any inconvenience.

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