Efficient CPS Tool Chain Integration
Challenges and Solutions
The development of Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) includes multiple experts from different disciplines and is characterized by fragmented descriptions that need to be considered. These fragments are stored in and managed through a multitude of tools and databases. Since the corresponding descriptions are interrelated, it is important to be able to relate them, to keep them consistent and to efficiently be able understand how a change in one item impacts other. There is an immense need for European CPS industry to be efficient in product development to maintain a competitive advantage on a global market. Especially speed in product development is of great importance, as the market windows are getting smaller and smaller. Before it was acceptable with release cycles of typically 6 to 18 months to introduce new features in industries such as telecom and automotive, but now it can be a matter of weeks. This challenge can be addressed by better use of information throughout the product development lifecycle. Reducing manual efforts for duplicating and reproducing data and making more information available for decision makers decreases development time and effort. A key success factor to achieve this is to manage data and tool integration among the wide range of engineering tools used in the CPS domain. The Digital Innovation Hub Sweden (KTH) has addressed this opportunity with an aim to lower the threshold of integrating and managing data among software tools, thereby improving end-user processes. This is accomplished by providing support tools – for creating tailored “tool-chains” and integrations of data for the engineering of CPS. The approach targets data integration based on open standards (such as OASIS OSLC) and open source software. The specific objective for FindOut Technologies in this experiment was to further develop and exploit the increased use of OSLC in the CPS industry, focusing on demonstrating how visualization of OSLC resources can support better understanding and better decision-making during the development of complex CPS products. The main outcome of the experiment is a software application called LDVis, Linked Data Visualizer, now contributed to open source. Through the experiment, the application has shown to be a powerful component for visualization of OSLC/LinkedData resources and hence a means for improved CPS product development.
The DIH skills in OSLC and Linked-data have been crucial for the project; skills and technology insight were transferred during the experiment to FindOut. The combination of skills by the DIH and the skills of FindOut provided for a synergetic collaboration and the technological means for success. The DIH played an important role of providing not only technical expertise but also contacts with other industrial players, in particular exposure to CPS industry and domain particulars. For the visualization demo case, the data was obtained from a research project between
the CPSE Labs partners KTH and OFFIS. As an SME with limited resources and networks, FindOut would not have been able to establish this kind of partnership and project relations without a programme such as the SAE initiative.
With LDVis FindOut Technologies has obtained a unique selling point by improving on their already existing knowledge in this field. It is estimated that the commercial outcome of the experiment will lead to an increase of revenue in the order of 1MEUR over a five-year period of time. FindOut Technologies is an SME with approx. 30 employees and an ambition to grow to 50 employees until year 2020. A significant part of that growth will be related to the increased revenues in the field of tool chain integration services and visualization solutions. Already because of this experiment, a commercial relation with the automotive company Scania has emerged within this field.