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Advantech Builds a Global Water Treatment Ecosystem around WISE-PaaS 4.0

15.04.2022

Advantech Builds a Global Water Treatment Ecosystem around WISE-PaaS 4.0

Advantech utilizes the WISE-PaaS 4.0 and WISE-Marketplace to work closely with domain-focused solution integrators (DFSIs), having gradually built up an intelligent services ecosystem for water treatment. Advantech collaborates with DFSIs to cocreate Industrial App (I.App) products and solutions that will accelerate the implementation of intelligent water treatment services in markets including Taiwan, Southeast Asia, and India.

Introduction

In 2020, Advantech has been connecting with DFSIs to build an ecosystem with the open cloud-native platform WISE-PaaS 4.0. At the core of this initiative has been the adoption of a new strategy: “one focus, two directions, and three market entry strategies.” The strategy is aimed at accelerating the implementation of smart applications in global vertical industries. In quantifying this strategy, Li-Fu Chang, Product Manager of Advantech’s Energy and Environment Department, stated that “one focus” means focusing on sectors with high-growth applications. The idea of “two directions” in this sense is aimed at helping industries promote both digital optimization and digital transformation. Finally, the “three market entry strategies” refers to the implementation of three market entry strategies of 1) utilizing the WISE-PaaS platform, 2) connecting global DFSIs and software developers, and 3) developing smart applications in at least two markets to prove that solutions are transferrable.

Energy and environment, for example, covers a wide range of fields and applications with immense differences between each industry’s domain know-how. Therein lies the significant challenges of fragmentation when it comes to promoting smart applications. Because of the dissimilarity and complexity that fragmentation brings, Advantech is focused on markets in high-growth sectors, including water resources and treatment, energy storage, and solar power generation. Among these, Advantech has adopted three market entry strategies in the water resources and water treatment sector to help water treatment plants implement digital optimization, encourage DFSIs to promote digital transformation, and realize Advantech’s goal of transferring smart applications in more than two markets.

Accelerating the development of water treatment I.App products and solutions

In terms of the promotion of smart applications in water treatment, Mr. Chang used wastewater treatment as an example. He pointed out that wastewater treatment includes three major processes: biological treatment, coagulation sedimentation, and membrane filtration. In the past, when building an intelligent wastewater treatment system, system integrators (SIs) would develop solutions specifically for these three processes. However, because the equipment used and environments of the wastewater treatment plants differ from site to site, solutions for one wastewater treatment plant might not be applicable to other plants. This significantly hinders the ability to transfer and promote intelligent wastewater treatment solutions.

To overcome this, Advantech uses the WISE-PaaS platform as a basis to promote the strategies of decoupling, refactoring, and cocreation. Mr. Chang further elaborated that Advantech initially used Cloud Foundry as the framework for its WISE-PaaS 3.0, to provide DFSIs with Platform as a Service (PaaS). Later on, the company changed to Kubernetes (K8s) to develop the WISE-PaaS 4.0 cloud-native platform, which provides three critical application framework services based on flexible container technology, namely visualization (WISE-PaaS/Dashboard and WISE-PaaS/SaaS Composer), asset performance management (WISE-PaaS/InsightAPM), and artificial intelligence framework service (WISE-PaaS/AIFS). This way, DFSIs can use these three critical framework services directly to combine with Advantech’s Industrial IoT real-time management cloud platform WISE-DeviceOn/BI to develop Common I.App products (for fast deployment or direct device access) or Domain I.App products (for optimized operation management).

Mr. Chang further used the biological treatment process in the wastewater treatment as an example to elaborate that biological treatment mainly takes place in an anaerobic tank, anoxic tank, and aerobic tank. This treatment process is primarily intended to remove nitrogen and phosphorus content in order to improve water quality. This comprises various detailed operations, such as aeration, sludge recirculation, and nitrified liquid recirculation during; as such, it is difficult to develop a solution for these complicated processes in such a way that it can be transferred and applied elsewhere because of the immense structures and levels involved. Currently, by utilizing the WISE-PaaS 4.0 platform, Advantech can decouple biological treatment solutions previously developed for water treatment plants and focus on the three aforementioned processes to refactor I.App products and then launch them on the WISE-Marketplace for others to use. As a result, DFSIs with development capabilities can purchase multiple I.App products directly from the WISE-Marketplace to develop biological treatment solutions for individual fields according to the domain-specific needs of water treatment plants. Moreover, DFSIs who lack this development capability can still collaborate with Advantech to cocreate solutions.

Connecting local SIs to expand the global market

While using WISE-PaaS 4.0 to connect DFSI partners in accelerating the development of I.App products and solutions, the K8s-based WISE-PaaS 4.0 can also be used to provide services with different IaaS solutions, such as Global Azure, Chinese Alibaba Cloud, Inspur Cloud, and others. This achieves I.App interoperability and mobility. Mr. Chang emphasized that the mainstream cloud platform used in each regional market varies from market to market. Therefore, the fact that WISE-PaaS 4.0 can operate on multiple cloud platforms brings significant convenience for collaboration in different regional markets. This helps promote Advantech’s I.App products in different markets around the world, making it more feasible to drive I.App innovation with SIs.

Additionally, Advantech has further tightened its collaborative relationships with DFSI partners through joint ventures. For example, Advantech and GSD Technologies Co., Ltd. have established GSD Environmental Technology in a joint venture partnership, combining both companies’ resources to develop an intelligent water treatment equipment management system. Advantech also founded a DFSI specialized in the water treatment sector in a co-creation joint venture (CCJV) with the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), combining Advantech’s resources of software, hardware, and the WISE-PaaS 4.0 platform with ITRI’s water treatment technology to accelerate the development of smart water treatment services. Currently, this DFSI has developed various I.App products for wastewater treatment solutions in industrial parks and Taiwan Water Corporation’s water treatment and purification solution through the process of decoupling and refactoring. This has allowed the DFSI to pick suitable I.App products according to various domain-specific needs and pack them into a complete solution for that domain, further accelerating the implementation of smart applications in various sectors.

According to Mr. Chang, with this CCJV DFSI’s successful implementation experience in domestic sectors, Advantech is accelerating the expansion of smart water treatment services in the global market by connecting SI partners in markets across Asia, including Thailand, Malaysia, and India. For example, Advantech signed a Memorandum of Understanding with an SI partner in India in October 2020, while actively searching for collaborative DFSI partners in Thailand and Malaysia to implement smart water treatment applications in more than two regions.

Cocreating mutual benefits for water treatment plants, DFSIs, and Advantech

Mr. Chang concluded that through Advantech’s cocreation model with WISE-PaaS 4.0 as the core, not only can DFSIs quickly replicate applications from one sector to another, but it can also transform service providers from a purely SI role to one of operation and maintenance services. For example, developing I.App products for equipment inspection and dispatching and equipment abnormality assessment allows water treatment plants to more efficiently fulfill their daily operations while assisting with equipment maintenance. While accelerating water treatment plants’ digital optimization, DFSIs can also realize the innovative business model’s digital transformation goal, thus creating opportunities for exponential growth in profit. Advantech will continue promoting the development of smart water resource applications, cocreating with partners to our mutual benefit to achieve low carbon emissions in wastewater treatment plants. This will reinforce the regional services of DFSI, all of Advantech’s regional operations, and ensure a sustainable Earth.