Day 1 - Club KAASM
The major event on Day 1 was "Club KAASM" at the Linq. The crew from KAASM set up a get together at the Yard House, and got a majority of the participants in the same room before anything official started. It was great to see a lot of familiar faces and meet a few new people in the process.
Day 2 - SCADA
Day 2 was the first official day of the conference and we covered quite a lot of SCADA information. It began with breakfast that, like the food all Siemens sponsored events, was amazing.
The content for the day began with a presentation from Russell Barnes, Carl Hoffman and Anna Preta. For us it was a little more of the same having known this crew for a few years, for some it was a good overview of what Siemens SCADA BizDev has to offer.
Next was an overview of the Simatic SCADA platform's roadmap which was interesting. A lot of our Siemens specific work is using WinCC OA, so it was good to see what is going on in the non-OA world.
The pre-break material closed out with a presentation about turning data into information. This is the same thing we talk about all the time, but it can be good to preach to the choir sometimes.
The afternoon started out with a deep dive into Industrial PCs. From our perspective this is old-hat, we love Siemens' IPC line. They need to keep everyone informed so we were happy to hear about the updates to the line.
That was followed by a Q&A session which was helpful, but no one we know seems to save the hard questions for an annual event, so it wasn't the most enlightening experience of our lives. Maybe we'll save a couple zingers for next year.
Post-lunch were customer presentations, led by Dave Ridley from UniEnergy Technologies. They have a sweet WinCC OA application.
Brown and Caldwell followed UET with a data to information presentation, and Siemens followed with a similar presentation. Framed the information in a slightly different way than in the morning, but nothing earth shattering.
Siemens rented out the Mob Museum in Downtown Las Vegas. If you have ever been you know the treat everyone was in for. We were able to walk the museum itself, and the courtroom was roped off for our private event. Great food, great conversation, and we even won a raffle prize! Sadly it wasn't a full-blown Siemens Control System with a WinCC OA dev license and a squeaky clean S7-1500, but maybe next year!
Day 3 - Education
The final official day was all about learning. 8 classes to pick from, and we could only choose 4. Our curriculum consisted of the Network Connectivity in the Cloud class, Object Oriented Programming in WinCC OA, Process Historian in the Cloud, and BIRT Reporting.
Network Connectivity was a great refresher on Siemens networking technology. We have used their SCALANCE routers to great effect in the past, and have gone through all the material related to the SINEMA RC devices, and are waiting for the right opportunity to put on into use. Their case stufy was interesting though, a process connected to the historian through 3 VPN tunnels spanning halfway across the globe. Not something you see every day.
Object Oriented programming in WinCC OA 3.15 was a game changer. The functionality available in the new version will make our lives as integrators so much better. WinCC OA's already sped up development time compared to other platforms just accelerated even more. It will make it even easier for people raised on OOP principles to get their footing in the platform, and will make it even easier to build fully customizable applications. We can't wait to get our hands on the new version.
For lunch we persuaded the GoTek Automation crew that In and Out was in their future. In their defense we didn't need to work very hard to make that happen. After a tasty treat, we decided to walk towards the Atomic Testing Museum, and halfway there saw the beacon of nets surrounding the new Top Golf location on the Strip. We spent a bit of time there before heading back for the wrap-up cocktail hour.
What did we miss in the afternoon classes? From our experience with BIRT, not a ton was missed in that class, even the teacher said "The only reason to use BIRT is if you absolutely have to." (SQL Server Reporting Services paired with Siemens Information Server gets our vote). On the Historian side, we know full well you can host historians in the cloud so not a ton was missed there either. Sometimes at these events you need to get together with your friends and have some fun too!
All in all we had a blast at SCADA Days. Would be great to have some customer/integrator demos to see during the breaks, and maybe some friendly dev competitions to see who can throw together the coolest application in a 2 hour class, but all in all it was a great use of our time.