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In a market where the online condition monitoring trend is gaining prominence, and diagnostics and predictive maintenance strategies are becoming more important in understanding the causes for machine failure, Frost & Sullivan has awarded Setpoint with the 2014 Global Frost & Sullivan Award for Customer Value Leadership. Companies that are able to effectively deliver and communicate the value and cost benefits of such hardware and software condition monitoring solutions are expected to be highly successful in this market.
The Setpoint story began in 2010 when Metrix Instrument Company embarked on efforts to expand into the API 670 monitoring market. Initially, Metrix had focused primarily on device-level offerings such as sensors, vibration transmitters, and vibration switches. Faced with the challenge of further growth, a strategic decision was made to develop an offering that would allow the business to enter the systems market.
Universal monitoring module
A team of experienced individuals were assembled to build and lead the new Setpoint product line. Within18 months, the Setpoint platform was developed and the first units were shipped. Dozens of innovations were embedded in this new system, including a self-contained “universal” monitoring module (UMM) that could be configured do any required measurements in a single module type – making the addition of new measurements no more difficult than loading a new app on your smartphone.
In 2011, the Setpoint team added condition monitoring software to its portfolio and entered into a partnership with OSIsoft, - maker of the PI System software. Together, they showed that high-bandwidth, sub-millisecond vibration waveform data could be streamed directly into a PI database – something that had been routinely dismissed by the vibration industry as “impractical” or even “impossible.” In less than 12 months, the performance capabilities of the PI System continued along its Moore’s Law trajectory, doubling in speed and making high-speed, online vibration data collection completely practical.
The Setpoint team’s decision to harness the power and installed base of the PI System, rather than developing a stand-alone condition monitoring infrastructure, has been recognized as insightful and strategic. The PI System is a real time data infrastructure that captures, manages, analyzes, and visualizes, real-time data.
Strategically, the Setpoint team was able to reduce time to market by not re-inventing a real time data infrastructure and simply using the PI System instead. It was also able to tap directly into the huge installed base of PI System users globally, eliminating the need for the customer to invest in a separate condition monitoring software system. This results in significant cost savings by utilizing an already existing software platform in the PI System, instead of making additional investments into IT and operations infrastructure and maintaining two separate ecosystems.
A primary reason behind Setpoint’s strategic partnership with OSIsoft is the elimination of redundant computing, network, and software infrastructure, using the existing PI System to do more for its customers. Another reason is OSIsoft’s ability to envision future market dynamics and Mega Trends that could affect the businesses, economies, and societies of tomorrow. A third reason is that making quick and informed decisions on the condition of an asset requires real-time analysis of large volumes of data, also known as Big Data.
OSIsoft is said to be a leader in Big Data, with the PI System being an integral part of the Big Data ecosystem, converting real-time data into actionable information in critical applications such as oil and gas, power generation, and process industries. Customers use this data as part of their overall plant maintenance and reliability strategies to maximize machinery uptime and productivity.
The open infrastructure of the PI System enables cross collaboration and knowledge sharing among its partners through a common platform by using a vast amount of historical and real-time data. Capabilities such as expert system anomaly detection, thermodynamic performance monitoring, statistical data mining, reporting tools, Microsoft Office integration, and many others are available through this network of partners and their shared use of the PI System as the data infrastructure. Also, it is more likely that the required application already exists within OSIsoft’s Partner ecosystem.
Setpoint’s smartphone-like approach to hardware and its use of the customer’s existing PI System data infrastructure demonstrates that it is possible to be innovative in this industry by tapping into unmet and unarticulated needs. The company has recognized the pervasiveness and widespread use of the PI System and offered a solution that replaces a separate condition monitoring silo with the PI System the customer is already using.
In a market characterized by limited technology progress and development, Setpoint’s innovative approach to product development has produced several unique solutions, resolving the most critical challenges of its customers. Users have also responded positively, despite the presence of market incumbents. With its strong overall performance, Setpoint has earned Frost & Sullivan’s 2014 Customer Value Leadership Award.
Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award to the company that has demonstrated excellence in implementing strategies that proactively create value for its customers. The primary focus should however be on improving the return on the investment that customers make in its services or products.