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4 Things Industry 4.0 -- Nov. 20th, 2023

4 things industry 4.0 Nov 20, 2023

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Good morning, Trailblazer!

 Even if you're not American, we recommend taking some time this week to sit down, reflect on this year, and give thanks to what you're thankful for. If you are American, enjoy the time with your family, and make sure to give thanks.


Litmus Automation recently announced the launch of the private beta version of Litmus MQTT - an enterprise-grade MQTT broker tailored for Industrial IoT. As a special incentive, Litmus is offering a free perpetual license to eligible private beta sign-up users.

Key features of the new broker include:

  • GraphQL Support
  • UNS
  • Clustering
  • Parsing of custom payloads
  • templates
  • native analytics and visualization
  • Kafka and Nifi support

These features could drive major changes in the MQTT Broker market. Litmus is also considering offering the broker at no cost for an enterprise grade broker. This decision has not been made yet, but if they go through with no-cost, it will have a major impact on their new competitors.

Our Thoughts

Our team has had the opportunity to get access to the private beta, and recently did our introductory call with Litmus. Here is what Walker Reynolds, President and Solutions Architect here at 4.0 Solutions, had to say about the broker in a recent LinkedIn post: "Whoa -- I just sat through a demo of the litmus MQTT broker. Our team will be beta testing over the next month, and if Litmus delivers on their promises, the IIoT and Industry 4.0 space is about to witness a significant shift."

Walker also went on to say "Litmus Automation's entrance to to the MQTT Broker market is going to be insane. The feature set alone is impressive, and if you can get in the beta, you should. I'm looking forward to testing it and seeing what it takes to break it"

We will keep you updated as we test the Litmus MQTT Broker. If you are interested in signing up for the private beta, you can REGISTER HERE

Exxon Mobil's Lithium Leap: Powering the Future of Energy and Tech

In a strategic shift that underscores the evolving landscape of the energy sector, Exxon Mobil has announced plans to start lithium production by 2027. This move marks a significant move for the oil giant into the realm of battery materials, a growing sector that is pivotal to the future of electric vehicles (EVs) and renewable energy storage.

Exxon Mobil's move into lithium production represents a strategic diversification, acknowledging the shifting dynamics of global energy demands. Lithium, crucial for high-capacity batteries in electric vehicles (EVs) and renewable energy storage, is central to the transition towards sustainable and technologically advanced energy solutions. By entering the lithium market, Exxon is not only diversifying its portfolio, but is the first of the big 6 oil companies to announce this level of commitment to renewable energy technologies. This move highlights the importance of lithium in the future of energy, with Exxon hoping this positions them ahead of their competition in a world that is slowly shifting away from oil-based energy.

As Exxon prepares to start lithium production, this strategic pivot is set to have significant implications for the energy sector. This move could accelerate the production of renewable energy sources, and bolster the supply chain for critical battery materials. The venture into lithium production not only reflects Exxon's adaptation to a changing world but a first of tangible moves by 1 of the "super-major" oil companies. There is no doubt we will hear announcements in the near future from the likes of BP, Shell, Chevron, and others investing into resource production on the side of renewable energy and advanced battery production.

NVIDIA Upgrades AI Chips

NVIDIA has unveiled its latest flagship AI chip, the H200. This next-generation chip marks a significant evolution from its predecessor, the H100, boasting an impressive 141 gigabytes of high-bandwidth memory. This enhancement promises to increase the speed and efficiency of AI services, including popular platforms like OpanAI's ChatGPT. NVIDIA's dominance in the AI chip market is reflected in this innovation, which will be accessible through leading cloud service providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure.

Will NVIDIA Be King for Long?

This announcement arrives just 3 months after AMD announced they would be releasing their own AI Chip, the MI300, by the end of this year. AMD's chip is expected to compete with NVIDIA's now legacy chip, the H100, but has sparked interest among several major cloud providers and AI companies. If AMD's quick advancements in the CPU market over the last few years with their battle against Intel has anything to say, AMD could quickly become a fierce competitor against NVIDIA.

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Microsoft Announces AI Computing and New Azure IoT

Microsoft's recent announcements at the Ignite 2023 event, have sparked interest in the Industry 4.0 community. While these developments showcase Microsoft's strides in AI and cloud computing, our agnostic stance prompts a cautious analysis of their implications.

  • Azure IoT Operations: The introduction of Azure IoT Operations represents a significant advancement in IoT management and operations. This platform aims to simplify the complexities of IoT environments, offering features like centralized management, real-time monitoring, and streamlined device connectivity. However, as we analyzed in Microsoft's documentation, while Azure IoT Operations shows potential for enhanced efficiency and scalability, its degree of openness for integration with non-Microsoft products and services is a major consideration. We will closely watch how this platform supports or limits interoperability with a diverse range of technologies and vendors.
  • Azure Arc Enhancements: With the recent updates to Azure Arc, Microsoft is signaling a push towards more flexible hybrid cloud services. Azure Arc's Hybrid Data Services extend Azure management and services to any infrastructure, including on-premises, multi-cloud, and edge environments. This move suggests a potential shift towards more open, offering a unified approach to managing diverse IT landscapes. However, it's crucial to assess whether these services genuinely encourage the use of non-Microsoft solutions or subtly nudge users towards a Microsoft-centric ecosystem.

While Microsoft's recent announcements are groundbreaking, their alignment with open architecture principles and interoperability is a critical factor for our ongoing assessment. The true value of these technologies for the community will be measured by their ability to operate within a diverse and inclusive technological ecosystem, and we remain committed to maintaining a diverse and open technological landscape. We remain cautiously optimistic about these announcements, and hope that this is an indicator that Microsoft is committed to truly being a leader as an Industry 4.0 solutions provider.

Industry 4.0 Highlights

Leadership Shift at OpenAI: Sam Altman Removed: Sam Altman was removed from his role as CEO of OpenAI, with Emmet Shear, former CEO of Twitch, taking over as interim CEO, after supposed disagreements over Altman's aggressive growth plans. The board, in their announcement on their decision, said "[after] a deliberative review process by the board, which concluded that he was not consistently candid in his communications with the board, hindering [the board's] ability to exercise its responsibilities." This change at the helm of one of the leading AI research organizations marks a significant transition in its leadership and future direction. Microsoft, angered by the fallout of Altman and OpenAI, has hired him to lead an advanced research lab.

Hyundai Accelerates EV Ambitions with New Mega Plant in South Korea: Hyundai is making a bold move in the electric vehicle (EV) market with plans to construct a massive EV manufacturing plant in South Korea. This strategic expansion aims to boost Hyundai's EV production capabilities significantly, to over 200,000 EVs per year, positioning the company as a key player in the global EV landscape.

 UK's EG Group Fuels Tesla's Charging Network Expansion: In a strategic move, one of the UK's largest petrol companies, EG Group, is purchasing Tesla charging units, blending traditional fueling services with the burgeoning electric vehicle market. This initiative signifies a notable expansion of Tesla's charging infrastructure, aligning with the increasing demand for EV charging solutions.Xiaomi's Electric Leap: The New EV SU7: Chinese smartphone manufacturer, Xiaomi is entering the electric vehicle market with its EV SU7, a bold move that marks the tech giant's expansion into automotive sector. We will see what comes of this announcement, as other previous tech companies have made similar announcements with nothing to show for it (we're looking at you, Apple Car).

Learning Lens

What To Expect During Digital Transformation

This week, we're bringing you a resource recommendation to help further your education journey. Whenever we come across a resource we think would be valuable to the community, we'll share it here.

Recently on our YouTube channel, we published a video What to EXPECT | Digital Transformation, where we covered the process you go through in digital transformation so you can go into the process with your eyes wide open. 

Tech Talk: Your Say

Last week we asked you, the community, What technology you thought would have the most significant impact on manufacturing in 2024, and to no one's surprise, Artificial intelligence to the top spot. It's undoubtedly had a major impact in 2023 and will carry over into next year.

This posits the question: how can I use AI now? Outside of the host of many useful (and even more not so useful) AI tools entering the market, the first step to successfully implementing AI in your business is to not start with AI at all. Machine Learning (ML) requires data to be trained on for AI to be able to make predictions, so if you're not effectively connected to all data creators in your enterprise, collecting said data, and storing it, you will have nothing to implement AI on.

Byte-Sized Brilliance

From Greek Gadgetry to Modern RoboticsDid you know that the concept of robotics dates back to ancient times? The idea of creating mechanical beings or automata has fascinated humans for centuries. One of the earliest examples is the ancient Greek engineer Hero of Alexandria, who creaeted automated devices like mechanical birds and a steeam-powered engine, as early as the first century AD!


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