The research objective for the industrial communication program is seamless communication made easy – for leadership in automation.
Communication is an integral part of most ABB products and systems, and already today makes up a substantial portion of ABBs revenues. The relative portion of communication related functionality in our products and systems will be even higher in the future, driven by the fact that we are embedding more and more intelligence into our automation devices (for distributed control, asset management functionality, local HMI, etc).
At the same time, we need to ensure that the cost of communication engineering and device integration is kept to a minimum. This is what the "easy" part of our research objective refers to. There is a great opportunity for increased profitability in our systems offerings if we can employ communication architectures and systems that are transparent, inherently self configuring and require a minimum level of engineering.
Changing the communication effectively means changing the system infrastructure, which is not accomplished overnight. Many of the existing fieldbus standards took a very long time before they became generally accepted and adopted to any large extent. Therefore, making the transition is a challenge in itself, and the solution must be based on existing/future standards and a sound technology base that has the capability to live and evolve over a long time frame.