Introducing RTI Connext and The Next Era in Operational Technology Reply

Today is one of the most significant days in RTI’s history. Today, we are unveiling a new product line, a new corporate strategy, and our vision of a new industry direction.

Our new products target the challenging problem of building connected systems that will work together as never before.  The RTI Connext product line spans the gap from deeply-embedded devices, through high-performance real-time systems, all the way to enterprise IT integration.  It really is the first edge-to-enterprise “real-time SOA” platform.  We’ve been working on the base technology for decades; it’s truly exciting to bring the vision together—and the capability to market—for the first time.

Our new strategy is to leverage our “operational” technology into a unified system-wide infrastructure.  Our software is the key nervous system for over 500 major mission-critical projects in several industries including defense, industrial automation, automotive, and healthcare.  Our new products expand upon this footprint, both down into smaller devices, and up into system-of-systems integration.  We can now assemble large networks of mixed devices and applications into working systems, and hook those (and other) systems together into a connected whole.

Critically, we can also now connect operational systems to the enterprise IT infrastructure. Why is that valuable?  Because it enables a new way to run and control systems.  This is an important trend across many industries.  As networks become more powerful, and as technologies like ours make interconnection more possible, the worlds of IT and OT (operational technology) can, for the first time, interact. RTI Connext builds operational systems, but with our new Integrator product, it can also connect those systems with enterprise technologies in real time.  Since business intelligence and resource management are so well developed for the enterprise, this makes it possible to feed back smart directions to the operational system.  And that makes everything more efficient.

Thus, we let you use, control, and optimize all your systems as a holistic entity.  Our new tag line sums it up nicely: Your Systems. Working as One.

This is a big, complex vision.  Implementing it fully will take years.  But today’s launch represents a culmination of what we’ve learned addressing the needs of mission-critical applications for so many years. Our base technology has the performance, 24×7 reliability, and scale to succeed as the core transport for demanding real-time systems.  We are now adding IT-like technologies: central console administration, multiple messaging patterns, and a true service bus.  The result is a unique approach that enables a new level of system function.  We’re excited both by the current breakthrough and its implications for the future.

It’s great to kick off 2012 with such big news! Today’s announcement is the first step towards our goal of making all your systems work together as one. I’d like to offer my congratulations to the RTI family, as well as the customers and partners who made this day possible.

NASA HRS Program and RTI Reply

Yesterday’s press release on RTI’s success with the NASA Human Robotics Program is a great occasion for my first blog entry.  (http://www.rti.com/company/news/NASA-space-robots.html)

NASA was RTI’s first customer.  In fact, NASA funded the research at the Stanford Aerospace Robotics Laboratory that spawned the technology that became RTI and the DDS standard.

The progress in the NASA program during that time is stunning.  In the 1990’s, robot controllers were clunky boxes with primitive sensors and no real connection off board.  It was a huge accomplishment just to wander around dragging a huge umbilical cord for power and control.  Today’s program connects impressive vision systems, planners, and controllers.  They can be controlled live or run nearly autonomously.  The computing system networks dozens of processors in ground stations and vehicles.  The stovepipe systems (and rivalries!) at the different research centers years ago gave way to common system architectures that allow efficient sharing of code, data, and research progress.  The robots can work independently for long periods in realistic environments.  The researchers can work together in shorter periods on realistic progress.  That’s the Way Things Should Be…

Of course, the networking technology has also made great progress.  The middleware grew from a specialized data server to a general-purpose international standard.  From our research beginnings, RTI now claims hundreds of designs in a dozen industries, including many real-world mission-critical, 24×7 applications.  We are not alone; the DDS standard is backed by multiple vendors in a growing, competitive market.  That’s also the Way Things Should Be.

Anyway, I’m glad we could be some small part of this program.  I want to congratulate NASA on its decades of progress towards the vision of enabling capable, cost effective exploration of our universe.  The sky may be the limit.  It’s refreshing to see and work with those who know it’s the lower one.