The FITMAN Specific Enabler for Manufacturing Asset Management provides VAaaS to customers with basic features for handling both, domain specific ontologies as well as virtualized in-/tangible assets. According to the FITMAN objectives to address also less-experienced ICT users, a more intuitive interface with graphical highlights and e. g. drag-and-drop-features is envisaged in this proposal. Building on top of the FITMAN-CAM SE, it will allow manufacturing Ecosystem participants to dynamically discover and compose services on the fly. All virtualized in-/tangible assets will be characterised by multiple semantic description data, attributes with multiple value sets will be supported. Lots of helpful attribute types are available, that help ICT users to get familiar with the asset descriptions. A hierarchical organisation of the assets will make use of inheritance mechanisms and therefore facilitate the easy maintenance of the semantic descriptions. Data import (USDL-files) from FITMAN repositories and generation of relevant information structures will be done in a semi-automatic way via dedicated APIs.
Dynamic discovery will be supported in several ways, e. g. by navigation and retrieval:
- Navigation (browsing) allows the user to use hyperlinks, representing hierarchical and semantic relationships between virtualized in-/tangible assets as well as manually added descriptions.
- Retrieval will allow the definition of data type specific search criteria, including e. g. ranges for numeric values or date and time comparisons. Thereby exact as well as fuzzy search will be possible. Retrieval can be done on the basis of all recorded data that have been indexed including full-text search on any textual description. Both, must and can criteria will be supported for user specific priorities. Search criteria can be stored and published to build an open search repository.
- Additional features covered will be: wish list, favourites list, VAaaS rating and commenting, as well as negotiation histories. In addition to the graphical user interface a web service interface providing retrieval functionalities will be available.
The tool draws on USDL components for capturing virtualized manufacturing assets: In the IT domain, virtualisation is a common approach to transfer tangible assets like hardware components (e. g. hard-drives, servers, …) into virtual representations in order to overcome their physical limitations and to manage and use them as a Service (e. g. online storage, virtual computation capacity, …). The offering of respective services can be described by means of the Unified Service Description Language (USDL and linked-USDL), which has originally been designed by SAP in order to harmonize arbitrary service offers on Future Internet and market level. USDL consists of three main segments, the Service Offering core, Service Pricing, and Service Level Agreement. In the course of the FP7 MSEE project, the process of transferring real-world in-/tangible assets into well-structured and standardized Virtualized Assets as a Service (VAaaS) was adapted to the manufacturing domain by means of USDL. Consequently, FITMAN uses USDL in order to offer virtualized “service components” – namely in-/tangible assets as a Service – on Ecosystem level. This very ambitious approach however was limited by the fact that IT assets are very different from manufacturing assets, as the latter not only transform virtual objects (information) but also physical objects (materials). An adaptation of USDL is required to fully exploit the huge potential presented. Consequently, the contribution of this proposal will be to provide a comprehensive extension of USDL by means of an additional Manufacturing Service segment capturing physical notions of services in the manufacturing domain.