Vantiq: Powering Real-Time Digital Business Operations
Marty Sprinzen, CEO
Marty Sprinzen founded and became CEO of VANTIQ Corporation. Sprinzen is a visionary leader and successful software entrepreneur. The organizations he created and led have introduced some of the most innovative software solutions in the areas of systems management, relational databases, internet application development and, currently, real-time, event-driven applications.
VANTIQ is an application development platform that enables companies to rapidly build and deploy the next generation of software applications. These so-called ‘event-driven’ applications ingest the constantly flowing data about the important events happening in and around your oil and gas operations. As the data streams in it is analyzed in real time. Based on this analysis, complex actions are orchestrated–often involving true collaboration between people and systems or machines. Because VANTIQ abstracts away the vast majority of the complexity in building such applications, solutions are deployed, and value can be realized in weeks or months instead of the years it would normally take with legacy application development methodologies and platforms. Such applications can take advantage of the latest advances in IoT, AI, machine learning, and edge computing both now and in the future–and they can evolve organically over time as simple use-cases expand to more complex and combined ones. In this way, oil and gas operators have a future-proof system that will deliver increasingly powerful results and integrate new technologies as new systems come online. Marty Sprinzen, CEO of VANTIQ and CTO Paul Butterworth had already enjoyed successful careers by the time they became early leaders at database pioneer, Ingres, in the 1980s. Along with Oracle, Ingres effectively created the market for relational database technology. From there, Marty and Paul co-founded Forté Software–the industry’s first 4GL rapid application development platform for building the new generation of web-based applications that were gaining prominence in the 1990s. At the time, Forté was the fastest growing software company in history, and Marty eventually took the company public in 1996. Forté was used by over 3000 enterprises around the world for mission-critical, internet-based applications – and it is still in use today. After further successful stints founding platform companies in the mobile application and web services spaces, in 2015 Marty and Paul both realized that the next generation of applications involving technologies like IoT and AI would require an entirely new type of platform–one based on an event-driven architecture operating in real time–not a database-centric architecture running operations in batch mode. VANTIQ was initially marketed as a horizontal platform that could be applied to a very wide range of use cases across numerous industries. This is still true – as most examples of effective digital transformation fundamentally involve converting processes and systems from batch mode into real-time mode–no matter what the industry. But, in 2018, VANTIQ began to discover that a few key industries had a particular propensity to be attracted to the VANTIQ solution, oil and gas being one of them. The reason for this is that the majority of the most common use cases for real-time applications – real-time field service, predictive maintenance, safety and security, environmental and system monitoring, and supply chain control – apply to the oil and gas industry. VANTIQ not only enables the next generation of digital applications to be built, but it ensures they can be built, deployed, managed, and updated with speed and great agility. This is because VANTIQ has embraced a low-code, visual development paradigm that abstracts much of the complexity of building event-driven applications away from the developer.
Industry trends are clearly driving the need to build systems that incorporate AI/machine learning, IoT, and edge computing. But the challenge is that none of these technologies actually does anything on its own. They are all simply pieces of a larger solution. VANTIQ is the application platform that takes these pieces and puts them together into applications that can sense, analyze, and take intelligent actions in real time. Recently, VANTIQ developed an application with a client that uses machine learning to interpret video feeds from drones in real time to detect pipeline vegetation overgrowth conditions, and then dispatch technicians to address the situation as appropriate. This application was created by two developers in approximately two weeks and integrates with the OSIsoft PI System. In the first step, event data (flow rates, temperatures, security alerts from stationary cameras, etc.) regarding the state of the pipeline flows in from sensors in the field. In this example, the event data is processed by a VANTIQ application running on the edge, close to where it is generated, which reduces latency and the amount of data that needs to be sent to the master application In step 2, only the most important event data is sent to the master application which may be running in the VANTIQ cloud or on premises in a private cloud. This is where the processing of complex events takes place. At this point, additional information from supplementary sources, such as local weather conditions or historical data pulled from a database, may be added. In our specific application, a 3rd step involves adding information on the field service employee shift schedule from an ERP system and data about the local weather forecast. Finally, in the 4th step, the application orchestrates the real-time service of the pipeline: the closest available field service team (determined via real-time GPS) is dispatched to the precise location of the issue; it is addressed; and a new drone is dispatched to verify the work and record it for historical purposes. VANTIQ recognizes that using people at the right time and place is necessary because oil and gas systems are so complex. Humans have intuition, experience and creativity to figure out solutions that fully automated systems are not even close to deducing today In many applications, security and scalability are an afterthought. POCs are built and then thrown away when production-quality systems need to be architected. VANTIQ is entirely different in that applications built in the platform–even POCs–are inherently secure and scalable right from the start. The company now has approximately 100 employees with offices in Japan, China, Singapore, Latin America, Europe, and headquarters in Walnut Creek in the San Francisco Bay Area of California. VANTIQ has over 30 system integrator partners around the world building applications with the platform. Today, VANTIQ continues to push the boundaries of technology for real-time application platforms involving IoT, AI, edge computing, and other key technologies. A key aspect about VANTIQ is that it is future-proof.