Bill Hoffman with Object Management Group

Industrial Talk is onsite at OMG, Q1 Meeting and talking to Bill Hoffman, Chairman and CEO of Object Management Group about “delivering 35-years of trustworthy standards to the market”.  Here are some of the key takeaways from our conversation:

  • Industrial innovation and professionals. 0:04
    • Scott Mackenzie welcomes industrial professionals on his podcast, praising their innovation and problem-solving.
  • 35 years of OMG, standards, and AI evolution. 1:22
    • Bill reflects on 35 years of experience in the industry, sharing stories of growth and change.
    • Bill discusses the importance of maintaining a trade association structure to ensure independence and control over standards development.
    • Bill shares their experience in the field of computer science, mentioning their involvement in four different Lisp companies and the evolution of object-oriented languages.
    • Bill and Scott MacKenzie discuss the shift towards generative AI and the impact of inexpensive computing power and storage on the field.
  • Standards development and interoperability in the tech industry. 6:07
    • Bill discusses the importance of setting standards in the software industry, particularly in the context of interoperability and security.
    • OMG, a standards development organization, works on creating and maintaining standards for software development, with a focus on future-proofing and relevance.
    • Bill highlights the importance of IPR protection and anti-trust protection for members, allowing competitors to collaborate openly without fear of legal issues.
    • The organization prioritizes top-notch work products, but has considered patenting their process, recognizing the value in building standards that are transparent and altruistic in nature.
    • OMG's standards are thoroughly vetted and fast-tracked through ISO's publicly available specification process, ensuring future proofing and relevance in the rapidly changing market.
    • OMG responds to market realities by continuously evolving standards through revision Task Forces, allowing companies to invest in new technologies and stay ahead of the curve.
  • Technology standards and their impact on society. 12:57
    • Bill discusses the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), mentioning their role in setting up the organization and solving problems within the field.
    • Bill highlights the importance of knowledge graphs in the world of AI, citing their involvement in standards development for the Enterprise Knowledge Graph foundation.
    • Bill discusses the convergence of technologies and how it's leading to a worldwide effect, with examples in cell phones and hospitals.
    • Bill and their partner have been committed to their work for 35 years, despite job offers and challenges, due to their passion for changing society through technology.
  • Industry Standards and Innovation. 18:05
    • MacKenzie and Bill discuss innovation, efficiency, and resilience in business.
    • OMG Object Management Group provides trustworthy standards and education for the industrial market.

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standards, omg, people, work, talk, ipr, change, world, object oriented languages, ability, happen, years, industrial, professionals, scott, part, competitors, twin, companies, augmented reality


Welcome to the Industrial Talk Podcast with Scott Mackenzie. Scott is a passionate industry professional dedicated to transferring cutting edge industry focused innovations and trends while highlighting the men and women who keep the world moving. So put on your hard hat, grab your work boots, and let's


Alright, once again, welcome to Industrial Talk. Thank you very much for joining the number one industrial related podcast in the universe that celebrates industry professionals all around the world. You are bold, brave, you dare greatly you innovate, you collaborate, you solve problems, and you are making the world a better place. That's why we celebrate you and we are broadcasting on site OMG Q1 meeting and it is a collection of incredible professionals all focused on solving today's challenges and making the world a better place. Check out Go out to Find out more get engaged be a part of this ever expanding ecosystem of incredible professionals. He's a legend. He's been on the podcast before. He never disappoints Bill Hopkins in the house. Let's get cracking.


Hello, Scott. Hey, man.


is excited. Bill’s on my calendar. My life is small Bill.


To be excited about ace God, we always appreciate your coming here. You know you you energize our members and they enjoy the opportunity to to to work with you.


It's an honor, it really is. And to your point, when we were talking offline, I always learned something new, every every conversation and I've done over 20 Just FYI. And every time just something new. Something has changed in this rapidly just evolving world that we live in. Well,


you know, that leads us into our topic of 35 years of OMG. Talk to us about so you see change. Oh, have I seen change? I joined OMG within the first three months after it was formed. So there I was employee number four. Yeah, yep, yep. And there was no resumes because I had known everybody in advance. So we'd worked together at different companies. And they called me up and they had a trade show that they were running with the international data group IDG, the people that were doing Macworld and comnet shows back then. And they wanted to launch a conference with them. But unfortunately, they had nobody that knew how to launch a trade show. And neither had I. But I had been on the other side of it as a vendor for many years. And I understood the dynamics. So I came in, originally as president of object Oil Corporation, which was a partnership between the two. And we built object world up to seven events in five countries over 25,000 people a year. Okay, yeah. And we sold it off to SoftBank. And that's, we got out of that what what happened was, this is interesting, but we got larger than the not for profit. Parents, no kidding. Yeah. And the accountants and the lawyers said, this isn't a good position for you to be in. You need to get rid of this trade show business, or you're going to lose, potentially lose your not for profit status. And we're organized as a trade association. And the reason for that is that so don't nobody can buy us. For example, no vendor could come in and swoop us up in a co op our work, right? We are a trade association, and the best you can do is be a member, but you there's no way to buy the organization. And that's important when you're building standards. Because imagine if you if you predicated your future product plans based on our standards and your biggest competitor, but the standards, yeah,


no, that is, see, every time I have this conversation about standards, outside of the fact that there's not a greater appreciation for standards, we just sort of take it for granted, which is just an interesting for you and the rest of OMG to be on where you if if you go through life, and nobody really knows that you're doing something that's a success, right. Bizarre


got the funny thing is, is that we didn't start off doing standards. No kidding. No, we was 12 companies and Hewlett Packard had a graphic user interface called New Wave at the time. And we were trying to figure out how to use it. So we actually thought it was it was a user group to to work on new wave type issues, how to implement this type of GUI. And then we found out that they were bigger issues coming along. And that was the advent of object oriented languages. That's when they first started to really regain prominence. Now I say regain prominence. But frankly, you know, we've been working with object oriented languages since the 50s. And I'm probably one of the only people you'll ever meet that was involved with four different four different Lisp companies. Lisp of course, is the was the programming language to choose choice for artificial intelligence back in the mid late 80s. So yep, yep. Sage. Yep. So we've been around the block and that's why it's really interesting to see what's going on today with generative AI and Well, people are just so enthralled on it. And, you know, we could all see this coming, but we never had the compute power. Yeah.


Like a switch? Well, yeah, well, it's


the compute power for a lot of it's got, you know, early days as symbolics. You know, we had, you know, rooms full of DEC VAX machines. Those are mainframes. And that's what we were doing a speech processing on. Right. Now, you could do that you have more power on your cell phone than that whole room of axes. Isn't that something? So that's what's fuels. A lot of this is the the ability to have inexpensive computing power, but also inexpensive disk for storage. Right? Yes. Because the memory Yeah, backdoors. You know, back back in the old days, you know, if you had a 10 megabyte hard disk, that was something else. Yeah, that's true. And that was probably $15,000. Yeah. And had no great reliability. either. I can tell you that first. Yeah. So those are the dynamics that kind of set the stage for, for the stuff that start taking off. But yeah, we started as a user group, and then we figured out pretty quickly that it's going to be issues here, if we start bringing object oriented databases and programming languages out. I mean, how are we going to manage this? What's what's going to be the standards? I mean, how how we did not want to end up with the database business. Right? Because the database business started off with networking databases. It ended up being primarily relational. It took how many years before there was an SQL standard? It took like 20, something years, it was about Yeah. And that was an IBM standard. Yeah, that came from IBM. Yeah. So we were looking at it differently, saying, This is the time to set the standards, this is the time if we're gonna use object oriented programming languages, now's the time where well, it's still easy to do, we don't want to try to have to move a mountain like the database guys had to do. Right. Interesting. So that's, that's that was the original stuff. And the first major piece of work we did was CORBA, which is the common object data cap, Common Object request broker. And that basically allowed programmers to just write to the interface and other programmer would write to the interface, and we did the middleware work. So they didn't have to deal with that level of complexity. And at the time, that was revolutionary, right? Because you needed a way to have the disparate systems actually be able to communicate, indicate, you know, at least at a at, you know, above a physical level, you know, you can plug the cable in, but nothing's going to happen. Right, exactly, exactly. So you have to figure out the stack. And we provided that layer of connectivity. And interoperability is still a major part of what OMG, the SDL standards development organization works on. And frankly, if you interview people who are building large systems, the two things that always come up are security, and interoperability. Yeah, those are the those are the two areas that tend people tend to have the biggest concerns about security, obviously.


That's just becoming more and more of a topic. I just Yeah, it's crazy. It's


crazy. It really is. And then there's, we could talk about that for an hour, but we won't do that today.


The OMG this, this was always fascinates me that is the structure of EMG. And, and the ability to be able to create these standards, and and to manage the standards and to update the standards and to keep them keep them relevant. Right over and over and over again. And so I know from a trustworthy perspective, I can say, yep, that's the standard. I know it's going to be around for a long time. I can definitely deploy it or reference it great. We


future we future barriers standard. That's it. Yeah, that's that's what we do we future proof future proof our standards. The other thing we do is that we provide IPR protection, anti trust protection for our members, right, because we allow competitors due to our IPR policy to sit next to each other and openly discuss common problems, without fear of without fear of an antitrust issue. The other thing is, I like to tell people, it's a you may have one of the best security people in the world, but we got them all.


See, but that's, that's true yet. Because, you know, you can't help but know that there's a bunch of competitors here, right. And they're a big competitor, right? They're not little right. They're not like Mom and Pop competitors. They're, they're big competitors. And they're, they're very collegial in the way they approach these conversations, but very professional to write. And they know that to me is a as is just an amazing, that's


the power. That is that's the power, the ability to have, like you say, to have these guys who compete tooth and tooth and nail in the market can have developers sit next to each other and discuss common ways that we can solve common problems together more efficiently, and you compete behind the standards. That's where you that's where you compete, you're not going to compete at the standard, you're going to compete behind it. So and we give them the IPR protection and like companies like IBM, that's huge. They would never be involved here if they thought there was any trust issues. And rightly so rightly so like anybody.


But but the the work product that comes out of this organization is top notch. It is because of


that absolutely. In our process. Now we've used that At that stage in this process, we thought about patenting. And we probably should have put a patent out on it. But I don't know how many people care about how many people are building standards. Most people don't want to see standards built, they say it's like, like sausage, you don't want to necessarily have to see you made what you want to know what the finished product looks like, it does.


Help me understand See, this is what's it's sort of a altruistic type of approach to developing these standards. And in the teams that are doing it are passionate, they want to get it right. There's no compromise. There's no pencil whipping in any of these standards. And so when you get one of these standards, whatever it might be, you know, that has been thoroughly vetted. How it's just an interesting business model. And then I could go out to And there, you


can download it. Yeah, you can absolutely everything. And when we finished it, it's it's yeah, it's downloadable. We also have an arrangement with ISO, the international standards organization where we have what's called a publicly available specification process. And we're able to fast track our specs through ISO, ISO has actually taken I think, 16 of our specs, they take them verbatim, they changed the cover sheet, and they charge you $325. Yeah, you can download it off our website for free, the same spec. But the how we get the future proofing Scott and why these standards stick around is that the minute we Okay, a new standard, which is done by the Board of Directors, we start immediately a revision Task Force. Alright, why three basic reasons. First, we probably didn't get everything in the release. Right? Something's probably just didn't make it due to time. Secondly, there may be stuff that's broken. And three, the requirements may have changed. Yeah, so all those three are good reasons. And what that does, that's the future proof, right? As long as you know, there's a revision Taskforce. And as a submitter, you can continue to monitor monitor and an impact and influence where the specs go. That's why people stick with us.


It's so with, with the it's changing, you know, you've seen it 35 years changed a lot. There's going to be every bit as change that's taking place right now you've got generative AI, you've got the digital twin, you've got all of these really innovative solutions that are out there that are they're going to be done. How does how does OMG begin to sort of respond to the realities of the market today, and in the future, this


got things will never get completely finished? You know, it just keeps evolving. Right? There's isn't it? I used to have a friend who was in quality support, and he said, the less bug isn't fixed until the last customer is dead. Okay. Yeah. Basically, you know, this stuff has to evolve, it's going to continue to evolve, companies and organizations have to continue to invest. They can't afford not to invest in these types of new technologies. And that's why they work with us. You know, it's precompetitive r&d For a lot of these folks. I just said, you know, you may have one of the best security people, we got them all. Yeah. 12 the other world class security people, guess what, you're getting leveraged dollars for your r&d.


I just think it's a no brainer, if I was if I was in the business, and I think it was, it would be incumbent upon me to be engaged with OMG just because of that. Just the ability to collaborate with leaders.


Absolutely. And then especially if it's in like the advanced areas, like you were talking about, like digital twin. Yeah. I mean, you know, we started that actually in the middle of COVID. Yeah, because it's that recent. Yeah, yeah. It'd be four years in May. But yeah, we started right in the middle of COVID, which probably wasn't the best timing. But, you know, the opportunity was there. And that's, that's, that's been an amazing journey. That market is still very early. Yeah, we were early to it. And it's still very early. I was the one that set up the industrial Internet Consortium. Yeah, I literally broke all the governance documents. Oh, you're the legend. And I was while I was the president up until we just folded it into DTC.


So the whole time I try that change has happened. Yes, right. Yep. Yep.


Yep, yep. 10 years, I see would be 10 years old next week. So you had a tenure, you couldn't wait. Tribes got the problem we had with the with the IIC, at the end was that we'd solve a lot of the problems that we set up to solve. You know, I mean, 10 years, we did a ton of good work. And we you know, we solved a lot of the issues, we built the ecosystem. And it was time to move move it into digital twin, because to your point, a lot of this stuff overlaps. It's overlap, right everywhere, right. And we have augmented reality. Yeah, you know, we brought in the augmented reality group back in 2021. Yes, because basically, it was a perfect complement to what we were doing. We also just brought in on the standards development side, the enterprise Knowledge Graph foundation. Right now people say you know why, why is that so important? Well, you probably may not understand where knowledge graphs In the world of AI, yeah, but when you're dealing with large language models, multiple large language models, knowledge, graphs are a very key component to understanding how this stuff all works together. So that's another advanced area where, you know, once again, came to us and they said, hey, you know, we got issues we want to solve. So they have a standard they're working on. And we'll probably have that submitted over the next six months, the standard will come out of that. See what's


interesting, to your point about the the overlap, how it, they're just, there's a convergence centers is that I see happening, and eventually, as you'll see how the technology I think I had this conversation with somebody and I just said, don't you just come here and you say, that's applicable? that's applicable? That's a possibility. I see how that can work, and be able to sort of pull it all together with a real comprehensive solution. Yep. And it's all being done here. Yeah. Yep. By a handful of people, by a handful


of people that are going to have a worldwide effect. I mean, you know, we talked about CORBA being our first standard, but how ubiquitous is CORBA? It's in every cell phone. I know, worldwide, by the way. I know. We got more copies of Corbett and McDonald's. So cheeseburgers. No kidding. Absolutely.


Did you ever think that? No,


good lord? No. The reason why my partner in crime routes and solely recently passed away. But the reason why Richard and I stayed here for so many years, wasn't about the money. It was about the jazz, it was about the ability to change the way people use technology. It's having an influence on societal issues. It's making a difference. And that's, you know, that's what kept us I mean, we had over the years, we both had multiple, huge job offers, because people either wanted us for our expertise, or they wanted to cut the head off the snake at OMG. Yeah, right. But we both were completely committed. Because we liked it for the jazz of what we're able to do. You get a ragtag group of people. I mean, we have maybe 30 people, you know, in our organization, and we've affected change. Yeah. Significant, serious affected. Yeah. Yeah, you know, that our standards are running all over the place that other space shuttle, you know, hospitals, central office, phone systems all over the world rely on our stuff. It's, it's truly amazing where it's ended up. And we're just kind of sit back and go, Holy cow, you know, 35 years.


You see a tough,


I mean, just sort of, it's always the new ones got there is there's always new stuff. Right now. Right? Right now for us. It's integrating. It's trying to take advantage of the of the augmented reality group working with the digital twin folks dealing with the soft standards development folks, because it turns out the system l our systems modeling language, it has an integral part in the in some of the DTC stuff. And augmented reality, of course, is tied into digital twin. And all this kind of fits into the industrial metaverse. So we got all the pieces. Yeah. And now our goal is to integrate these pieces fully. See, here's


the deal and go, here's the deal. I'm Scott Mackenzie, I have access to the World Wide Web. And I and I, I'm looking around and I see all of this great innovation, there is no way that Scott Mackenzie manufacturer of this widget can't even begin to comprehend how all of this stuff is converging, and how it will impact me. I know that it's important because I read it. But I don't even know where to go or what to do. Or it's that step. It's almost, I'm stuck, right? I can't make a decision. But I know what's happening. And I want to be I want to have I want to be a business that's resilient.


So you don't want to get left behind either. You don't I mean, your competitors will eat your lunch. I mean, we're talking about ways that are massive efficiencies here. You know, you can't afford to miss that boat. That's


exactly correct.


You'll be you'll be that you'll be the guy holding the door.


Speaking of a side note, did you chance, I spoke to Chris he I put on his glasses. Oh, augmented? Did you do that?


I've worn those types of glasses before.


It's stupid. It's just, it's just stupid. Fascinating. I just enamored


did they talk about some of the applications for this? I mean, this is yeah, and some of them, you know, like, some of them don't sound like they're all that great. But when you think about it, inspection is one of the one of my favorites. Right? When you got to have that second individual to sign off on a weld or you know, an operation instead of having to bring them down the contour of the submarine. Right. They just put the glasses on and they get signed off right then and there is done. You know, I mean, talk about efficiencies and like I could be 3000 miles away. Yes. Right. So that's an easy one.


Right and the ability to have that mad tech. Yeah. In those in the glass door. Oh, it's all there. Hey, that's amazing.


How about doctors? Yes. But operations specialists that's in another country? Yes. Look it over your doctor shoulder to make sure that he's doing the right procedures. All happen. It's got


all right. How do people get involved in OMG? Go


to the website. Check us out on G dot o m


You're out on LinkedIn too. So


we're on LinkedIn. Yeah.


chirpy care about there, too. It's all there.


We're hard to miss. Hey, Scott. been fun. Awesome. This


is so awesome. All right, listen, we're gonna have all the contact information for OMG out on Industrial Talk. Again, we are broadcasting from their quarterly meeting q1 here in Reston, Virginia. Excellent. You can see how it's too exciting. You got to be engaged. You got to be a part of this whole organization you were it's gonna leave you behind. You don't want that. We want you to succeed. Be a part of OMG go out to All right, we're gonna wrap it up on the other side. Stay tuned, we will be right back.


You're listening to the Industrial Talk Podcast Network.


Yep, that's Bill Hoffman never ever disappoints. You need a pointing you in the camera, you need to be a part of OMG, Object Management Group go out to Be a part of that community, developing trustworthy standards, helping the market and market participants succeed. That's what they're about. You need to be a part of it. Excellent organization. Every time I go, every time I have the opportunity to talk to many of the members. I always learned something. They are they have their finger on the pulse of what's taking place. All right. Industrial Talk is here for you. You industrial professionals, be a part of this growing community. We want to make sure that you get the information that we always talk about education, collaboration, and innovation. Of course, OMG does all of that educate, collaborate. They definitely innovate. Be a part of it does with talk reach out to Bill Be bold, be brave. You're greatly hanging out with Bill change the world we're gonna have another great conversation short

Industrial Talk is onsite at OMG, Q1 Meeting and talking to Bill Hoffman, Chairman and CEO of Object Management Group about "delivering 35-years of trustworthy standards to the market".
Scott MacKenzie

About the author, Scott

I am Scott MacKenzie, husband, father, and passionate industry educator. From humble beginnings as a lathing contractor and certified journeyman/lineman to an Undergraduate and Master’s Degree in Business Administration, I have applied every aspect of my education and training to lead and influence. I believe in serving and adding value wherever I am called.

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