Why software plays a major role at ABB

Prith Banerjee

Rather than being a newcomer to the software scene, ABB’s software activities go back many decades

I recently joined ABB as Chief Technology Officer and in the past several months I have interacted with hundreds of technologists at ABB, and learned about the broad portfolio of products and solutions in power and automation. I have experienced ABB as a true engineering company with innovation at its core. Our researchers are working on both evolutionary innovation of our products and services, and disruptive innovation into brand new areas.

Software is among the youngest of the engineering disciplines, and one that has in its short history undergone remarkable developments. Software developers today can build upon a vast armory of tools and libraries as well as theories and frameworks, freeing them of many mundane and repetitive tasks and permitting them to apply their minds and creativity more fully to their core challenges. But it is not just the theory or the tools that have advanced. Breakthroughs in computing and communications are opening new opportunities for software. Who would have thought only some years ago that a power transformer would have a software component?

Rather than being a newcomer to the software scene, ABB’s software activities go back many decades. The company now employs some 3,000 software engineers. Because much of the software was, until recently, embedded in other products, ABB was not recognized as being an obvious software company. This changed with the acquisition of enterprise software companies such as Ventyx and Mincom, rendering ABB much more visible on the software scene.

ABB also pursues general software-related activities, acting horizontally across these three columns. One of these is its SDIP program to assure a uniform and high quality in all software development work. Another aspect that is of increasing importance as more and more devices are connected to public networks is that of cyber security.

The scope of software activities within ABB is wide indeed and you can read more on why ABB is a software company in the software issue of ABB Review

Enjoy your reading!

About the author

Prith Banerjee

I'm Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of ABB.  Previously, I was the Senior Vice President of Research and Director of HP Labs at Hewlett Packard for 5 years. I spent about 22 years in academia at three universities (Dean of College of Engineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  Walter Murphy Professor and Chairman of Electrical and Computer Engineering  at Northwestern University, and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana).  I've founded two companies (AccelChip in 2000, and BINACHIP in 2004).  I'm also a Fellow of IEEE, ACM, and AAAS, and have received both the ASEE Terman Award and the IEEE Booth Award. I am the author of 350 papers, and have supervised 37 Ph.D. students. I have a B.Tech degree in Electronics from IIT Kharagpur, and a MS and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana.
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  • Roydasilvaiit

    I worked at Asea Ltd in the early 80s ( the A in ABB) and realized then that ASEA was a great engineering company .. The critical applications necessitated that the software be bugfree and embedded.