Virtualization Counters Impact of COVID-19 and Facilitates Expansion of Process Analytics Offering
Control Station announced the expansion of its virtualized software, training and optimization services in anticipation of the continued increase in market demand. The company successfully transitioned from traditional in-person to virtual delivery in February 2020. Demand for remote and virtualized services are expected to increase as cases of the novel coronavirus-2019 continue to swell and as manufacturers increasingly embrace alternative delivery methods.
The rapid rise of the novel coronavirus-2019 (COVID-19) has significantly disrupted global manufacturing since being identified on a broad scale in early 2020. The virus has forced many manufacturers to reimagine established processes and procedures. According to a survey of Chief Financial Officers published by PwC in June, over 80% of the executives surveyed planned changes to their workplace safety measures and requirements while another 54% intended to make remote work a permanent option. Similarly, the need for altered operational procedures has forced automation vendors and system integrators to pivot in kind to some form of virtualized delivery model.
“Having experienced a similar upheaval during the Great Recession, our leadership team assessed options quickly and pivoted to an alternative delivery framework,” shared Bob Rice, the company’s Vice President of Engineering. “Nearly overnight we embraced new web-based technologies and we adapted our internal delivery procedures, assuring the company’s ability to fulfill customer needs seamlessly and securely via virtual means.”
During the first nine months of 2020 Control Station recorded a 24.1% increase in sales of its service-based offerings. The uptick reflects industry’s appetite for data analytics solutions as well as the need for capabilities that can be delivered via remote means. For the nine-month period sales of the company’s PlantESP data analytics solution were up 46.1% with a corresponding increase of 36.6% in application-related services. Open enrollments in both theory- and application-based training services were up 30.0% through the end of the Third Quarter. The only category that decreased during the period was the company’s dedicated onsite training services. The reduction in sales bookings is directly linked to COVID-related travel and safety restrictions.
Control Station recently shifted its focus from traditional process modeling and PID controller tuning tools to process analytics and optimization solutions. With rapid growth of PlantESP particularly among multi-site and multinational process manufacturers, the company is uniquely positioned to uncover value that is hidden in a production facility’s existing process data. Growth in global deployments of PlantESP has been facilitated through the company’s partnerships with leading data historian suppliers such as OSIsoft and Canary Labs. The transition to virtualized delivery and support services had enabled Control Station to sustain that growth in spite of the pandemic.
In preparation for 2021 Control Station is expanding its application engineering team, investing in additional virtual delivery solutions, scheduling a broader range of service offerings, among other product- and service-related initiatives. Through these measures the company anticipates further growth in its share of the global market for process automation solutions.
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