VVM—Powering the Convergence of OT and Next Generation IIoT
By Matthew C. King
Visual VEL Maker
Every compelling technology feature has a backstory. Recently, I shared the story of EdgeML, FogHorn’s new edge machine learning application to derive new models and insights. Today, I want to share another key innovation: VVM.
VVM stands for Visual VEL Maker, aka VEL Authoring Tool. To recap, VEL is FogHorn’s streaming analytics language. Without turning this into a philosophical lecture on programming languages, VEL dramatically simplifies the expression of analytic intent. It can be used for something as simple as the processing and cleansing of data in flight to detecting complex patterns on multiple streams of voluminous data in a matter of milliseconds. Think less code and more resource efficiency—one of the secret sauces of FogHorn’s ultra small footprint.
And what’s more, VEL has been designed to be an English-like language that maps to the Input-Process-Output mental model—a dominant theme in the industrial world.
When we first introduced VEL to the lead operator at a manufacturing site, he immediately grasped the value and potential on how it could help solve the problems in his assembly lines. Problems where he needed to tap into the tribal knowledge of his senior technicians without having to depend on any specific IT skill. So how could FogHorn enable democratizing edge analytics for the OT side of the house?
Given that we started seeing these patterns across verticals in the industrial world, we decided to further simplify this experience by creating a very easy-to-use, graphical tool that can mirror the real world. Using this tool, all that OT personnel need to know are three things:
- What are my input sources?
- What computations do I need to perform on them?
- Where should I define the output results?
So VVM lets one easily map sensors to streams, define calculations and automatically generate VEL Code. This code is then executed in the right context to help make real-time decisions.
Now, let’s be fully transparent—FogHorn did not invent the concept of a graphical analytics tool. But the truly unique insight here is the marriage between OT and their control-based worldview with next-generation IIoT technology. Operators can now program their own alarms or introduce new sensor types without disrupting the control system or even correlating between separate machines and processes.
The shop floor is the edge, and VVM is the interface by which OT can now directly improve its own performance—reducing scrap and increasing uptime.
VVM is new in FogHorn Lightning. Let’s talk about how VVM can empower you to become an analytics programmer.