Managing power grids (such as Florida Light and Power's) and mass transit systems (such as the new light rail system to the airport in Hong Kong) each require sophisticated control systems. The sale of these large scale complex systems often requires an international marketing and engineering effort that demands the input of many different people, many of whom live in different countries and speak different languages. Such a sales process is fraught with an engineering challenge of its own that demands accurate price estimates, bills of material, forecast manufacturing orders and communication across sales, engineering and manufacturing teams in multiple time-zones.
This talk focuses on a development effort currently underway to create an automated configuration tool for such systems; one which will allow a number of distributed participants to collaborate on the description of a complex system of distributed parts. Output are various stages of quotation, requests for approval, and an automatically generated bill of materials (BOM).
In order to facilitate the geographical separation of people using the tool, the creators will be using P2P technologies to locate and access distributed services based on the needs of both configuration and user, at each stage of the configuration cycle. Streaming data will be used to dynamically generate the user interface, based on work in progress by one or more active participants and each engineer's locale.