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ISO 15926 Benefits for Software Vendors and Service Providers

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  1. Abstract
  2. A Single Standard to Support
  3. ISO 15926 Already Exists
    1. ISO 15926 is a Robust Data Model
    2. ISO 15926 Can be Extended
  4. Market for Niche Applications


[This page is was entirely fabricated in my vivid imagination. If you are a software vendor, please comment. GPR]

For software vendors, the benefits of ISO 15926 come from three factors:

  • ISO 15926 is a single standard to support.
  • ISO 15926 data models and templates already exist and are open source.
  • ISO 15926 is extensible.

In addition, when ISO 15926 is mature, it will be easier for niche software to find a market because acquiring plant data will be easier.

A Single Standard to Support

Currently, plant design software has no industry-wide standard for interoperation. This means that when information needs to be transferred between applications, some means must be developed from scratch, taking care to preserve the meaning of all the data values.

This is true even for applications within one vendor's portfolio. Applications may have been developed over different time periods, or acquired from other vendors. With no industry-wide standard for exchanging information, point-to-point data exchanges are often the only alternative, leading to a Confederation of Applications joined by custom maps. But a network of point-to-point data maps are just as difficult to maintain for a software vendor as for any other organization.

But if the software developer instead adopts ISO 15926 as the protocol for transferring information, the individual applications are encapsulated, or decoupled from the System Landscape. Each application can be updated on its own schedule without impacting any other application.

ISO 15926 Already Exists

Developing a data model for plant applications is not a trivial matter. If improperly designed, the data model can constrain the utility of the eventual software. But the data model and templates for ISO 15926 are already developed, and since they are open source can be used without incurring royalties and without legal risk.

By using the data model and templates for ISO 15926, software vendors save themselves a great deal of work. Instead of having to develop a data model, developers can work on other, more value-added, parts of the software.

ISO 15926 is a Robust Data Model

Developing an object information model for modern plant equipment requires a strong knowledge of the equipment domain as well as a high level of data modeling expertise. The ISO 15926 data model has been developed by professionals from many industries worldwide. By using the ISO 15926 data model, a software vendor can leverage this work without having to duplicate it at its own expense.

Traditional methodology tends to optimize the cost of the initial development, at the expense of greater cost to implement future enhancements, and greater cost of maintenance. This translates to a shorter application lifetime. But by using the ISO 15926 data models, the software will be more robust and have a longer lifetime serving a larger clientele.

ISO 15926 Can be Extended

The ISO 15926 data model is written to be extensible. Anyone with proper training can add new reference data that can be simply made public, or can be contributed back to the standard. Changes and additions that are simply made public do not require a lengthy review period, but are available almost immediately. This means that ISO 15926 can be adapted quickly for a particular integration project, without compromising the standard, or the portability of the data.

Market for Niche Applications

When ISO 15926 becomes mainstream, it will be easier to implement software that requires a large amount of plant data. Currently, developers of this kind of software would have to spend considerable effort to import the plant data. With no industry standard, the software developer will have to deal with every unique plant.

All this means that the threshold for this kind of software is quite high.

But if an Owner/Operator exposed its plant configuration with an ISO 15926 façade, pulling information into the software would be trivial.


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