ICYMI: Automation News Roundup, Week Ending Feb. 27

Come Fly with Me

Last week, a GE Intelligent Platforms blog post used a personal account to detail how airlines are starting to adapt to new technology.

Courtesy Ryan McGuire

Courtesy Ryan McGuire

Specifically, to multi-touch.  A projective-capacitive screen that uses the same”PCAP” technology as most tablets or smartphones was used for viewing movies on board the flight.

This adaptation comes at the perfect time, as most resistive touch screens are being phased out of the commercial market. Because once a customer experiences a capacitive screen, they simply don’t want to go back.

“Surprisingly, the vast majority of industrial touch screens still use analog-resistive touch technology. If an equipment manufacturer wants to outshine the competitors, the most bang for the buck may be to upgrade from the outdated resistive technology to a modern capacitive touchscreen,” according to Tom Craven’s blog post.

Technology in Education: It’s Changing, Too

Technology is significantly changing the way students learn, according to an article published by Forbes.

Gone are the days of a simple notebook and pencil. Today, the average student of higher education carries with them a laptop, smartphone and/or a tablet, and even a gaming system. The article warns, however, that in order to capitalize on these new forms of learning, educational institutions must formulate a plan that complements the learning process.

Photo courtesy startupstockphotos.com

Photo courtesy startupstockphotos.com

The article mentioned that MIT has even adapted cloud-based technology to run their Bits and Atoms Fabrication Laboratories.

“These Fab Labs allow students to design inventions from musical instruments to circuit boards to prosthetic limbs, and since they are equipped with open-sourced software, students from around the globe can work together to test and refine each other’s projects,” according to the article published in Forbes. 

Bionic Eye Changes Man’s Life

Medical News Today (MDT) reported an emotional story of one man who suffered from a degenerative condition known as retinitis pigmentosa and was effectively blind for ten years.

After quitting his professional career, he learned to adjust his lifestyle to the best of his ability.

However, thanks to a retinal prosthesis made possible by Mayo Clinic, he is now able to make out the basic forms of people and objects, including his reflection in a mirror.

In the touching video, he sees his wife for the first time in over a decade.

“The eye implant that he now has works by bypassing the damaged retina and sending light wave signals directly to the optic nerve. A small chip was attached to the back of the eye with multiple electrodes offering 60 points of stimulation,” reported MNT. 

This new technology could impact the way wounded soldiers are treated, and could possibly give sight back to those with advanced forms of diabetes and glaucoma.

 A Social Networking Tee

Social networking has actually reached a new level- wearable social networking technology. 

Photo courtesy freeimages.com

Photo courtesy freeimages.com

A design group composed of MIT’s Tangible Media Group and the Fluid Interface Group have dreamed up a T-shirt that can signal “to other wearers your interests, associations and even if people are compatible organ donors,” reported CNN. 

The MIT students wanted to investigate how the relationship between users and social media could change once you take away  a computer screen.

“While what you wear is very public, social media is able to show who you are to thousands more people and this creates really big social consequences but it often doesn’t feel that way,” said MIT student, Viirj Kan, in the CNN article.

Big Data May Stop Money Laundering

Photo courtesy freeimages.com

Photo courtesy freeimages.com

Criminals have relied heavily upon international trade to safely and inconspicuously hide the illegal goods/funds across borders in recent years. But, CIO suggests a somewhat unlikely hero: Big Data.

Big data analytics might just help track and monitor money laundering and other illicit transactions before they are gone unnoticed.

After all, there are a “sea of documents generated by this activity  — the commercial invoices, bills of lading, insurance certificates, inspection certificates, certificates of origin and more — that make it so difficult to see what’s truly happening may also be the point of vulnerability.”

Media we link to:

“The Sky’s the Limit When it Comes to Multi-Touch” – GE Intelligent Platforms blog 

“How to Leverage Technology to Navigate a Changing Educational Landscape” – Forbes 

“‘Bionic’ eye allows man to see wife for first time in a decade” – Medical News Today 

“Mayo Clinic patient’s first impressions with bionic eye” – Mayo Clinic

“The social network that you can wear” – CNN 

“How Big Data Analytics Can Help Track Money Laundering” – CIO 

ICYMI: Automation News Roundup, Week Ending Feb. 20


Infographics for the Future

Have you ever wondered why viewing infographics can be so satisfying? An infographic on infographics explains


Affinova’s infographic

the increase of gathering info visually in 13 reasons, but to summarize, over half of our brains are involved in visual processing, our eyes contain 70% of all sensory receptors, and we can get the gist of a visual scene in only 1/10th of a second.

And, of course, we all know we are constantly  “suffering” from information overload these days.

With this in mind, an infographic created by marketing technology company Affinova (recently acquired by the consumer/media insights company, Nielson) describes well what consumers want, and don’t want, for that matter, out of the Internet of Things.

By clearly separating the results into what consumers most wanted, somewhat wanted, and least wanted, it is interesting to see what the average consumer gleaned as appropriate for the Internet of Things as a whole.

You’ve Got a Big (Data) Heart

BBC News published a heart-warming story on Valentine’s Day featuring the work of doctors/medical researchers in London.

1,600 beating, human hearts have been stored “in digital form on a computer,” in a big data study in hopes of “develop[ing] new treatments by comparing the detailed information on the hearts and the patients’ genes.”

Photo courtesy http://www.freeimages.com/photo/1099993

Photo courtesy freeimages.com

The scientists involved in the  study are from the Medical Research Council’s Clinical Sciences Centre at Hammersmith Hospital. By scanning 3D videos of the 1,600 patients hearts, they are able to identify genetic information from each patient.

This genetic code is then stored on computers at the  European Bioinfomatics Institute (EBI) in Cambridge. Just how big is the data collected? BBC reports that the collected data “occupies the equivalent of more than 5,000 laptops.”

Vehicle-to-Vehicle Communication

Photo courtesy imcreator.com

Photo courtesy imcreator.com

 MIT Technology Review posted a thought-provoking, new idea for the tech world- cars that can communicate with one another.

The communication would help to prevent crashes or other incidents with vehicles by broadcasting the car’s “position, speed, steering-wheel position, brake status, and other data to other vehicles within a few hundred meters.”

The article explains that this is the time, more than ever,  to introduce a new technology to keep the roads safe, reporting that “more than five million crashes occur on U.S. roads alone every year, and more than 30,000 of those are fatal.”

So who is actually planning on using it? Upon some testing in Europe and Japan, the U.S. Department of Transportation said they would begin to draft regulations that could eventually mandate the use of vehicle-to-vehicle communication.

OJ Power & Wastewater

Scientists from Sao Paulo State University in Brazil have developed a way to generate power by using the orange juice industry, potentially helping to reduce factory carbon emissions, scidev.net reports. 

Photo courtesy freeimages.com

Photo courtesy freeimages.com

“The technology uses waste water produced by orange processing to make hydrogen. Hydrogen has a high energy density and produces no pollution, making it a good source of clean energy.”

The research project completed last month by Sandra Maintinguer, a researcher at the university’s Center for Monitoring and Research of the Quality of Fuels, Biofuels, Crude Oil and Derivatives, said that the process will work best on a smaller scale, and that it is ready to be tested at local juice factories.

“We can combine the treatment of the industrial effluents with energy generation,” Maintinguer says in the scidev.net article, “We propose to install a reactor to capture hydrogen and generate electricity out of the waste water. This energy could be used as a sustainable solution to provide electricity to factories.”

Big Data & Event Planning

Big Data affects more industries than you might think.

On the events & hospitality blog, Social Tables, Big Data is said to actually impact the event planning industry in four major ways:

  •  Creating personalized, attendee-centered experiences
  • Making adjustments in real time
  • Having a better control on crowd flow
  • Revamping travel & safety precautions

“The ability to utilize the information gleaned by crowdsourcing and big data will revamp the industry,” according to the events & hospitality blog,  Social Tables. 

 A Love Letter to Water

 Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District confessed  their love for clean water in the form of a video right in time for Valentine’s Day with the description: “A love like this is often hard to put into words. Water, please allow us to try.  #LoveCleanWater”

The love letter starts with a simple declaration “you and I have ebbs and flows, ups and downs, and waves of affection,” and while it may sound silly at first, the sewer district actually makes some great points.

Without  proper treatment, life would be a lot different. Clean water is a precious gift.

Media we link to:

“13 Reasons Why your Brain Craves Infographics” – NeoMam Studios

“What Consumers Want – and Don’t Want – From the Internet of Things (Infographic)” – Entrepreneur 

“Doctors store 1,600 digital hearts for big data study” – BBC News

“Car-to-Car Communication” – MIT Technology Review 

“Fruit Juice Factories Could be Powered from Wastwater” –scidev.net 

“4 Ways Big Data is Driving the Events Industry” – Social Tables 

“A Love Letter to Water” – Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District 

 Hero Image by Robert S. Donovan

ICYMI: Automation News Roundup

I.C.Y.M.I (acronym, internet slang ) Definition: In case you missed it  A form of Internet vernacular to direct electronic communication users to stories or other forms of media that they may have overlooked.

Media consumption, or even media diet, refers to all the articles, twitter feeds, funny cat videos, and photo galleries we view every day.

Read our weekly round-up of all the top, interesting, or impactful stories from the past week or so and enjoy a balanced media diet.

Google’s Ominous News

In case you weren’t paying attention to your Twitter feed a couple of weeks ago, Google announced this January that it is the end of Google Glass as we know it.  Ominous implications aside, the company is not planning to abandon it, but to actually create a new team of research and development for the technology.

Automation World asked how the end of Google Glass (at least in its current form) will impact the industry, especially due to the increasing interest from the manufacturing world- interest even belonging to us.

Photo Courtesy http://www.freeimages.com/browse.phtml?f=download&id=1418622

Photo Courtesy freeimages.com

We postulated this past November that Google Glass would change the way we store our standard operating procedures after attending the GE Intelligent Platforms User Summit. 

Luckily,  the Automation World article  posits that Google Glass can reemerge- potentially even more succinct for industrialization.

What’s Your Industrial Internet Score?

This one’s for the competitive folks out there. Find out your Industrial Internet score thanks to GE Intelligent Platform’s “Industrial Internet Evaluator.”

Not only will it score you on your knowledge, it can help you gauge your progress in the analytic adoption path of the Industrial Internet You can also compare your results to your peers when you complete the process.

Happy scoring.

Robots vs. The Ebola Virus

Industry Week reported that the U.S. military might be making strides in the fight against the Ebola virus. Its secret weapon? Robots.

Photo courtesy http://www.freeimages.com/photo/65899

Photo courtesy freeimages.com

Describing it as a four-wheeled robot that can disinfect a room in mere minutes with pulses of ultraviolet light and one that resembles a “taller, skinnier version of R2D2 from ‘Star Wars,’” the bot represents the hope of eliminating  the risk of human error.

Who couldn’t get behind a deadly-virus-fighting R2D2?

Everything is Bigger in Texas (Including the Data)

According to a cover story in the Dallas Observer, the future of technology in Texas looks bright. From self-driving cars to robotic medicine, big data plays a large role in this prediction.

A Texas A&M astrophysicist, Dr. Nicholas Suntzeff, reported that through the development of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope by the year 2022, every star in the sky can be identified in just ten years.

Dr. Suntzeff also suggested that within this lifetime, we could access 300-500 billion galaxies on an iPad with Google Universe (or a similar piece of technology, possibly not even created yet).

Greenfield Talks Cloud Computing

On Tuesday,  Automation World’s writer, David Greenfield, said what we were all thinking but are sometimes too embarrassed to ask: can you refresh my memory on that technology term?

His list specifically details common concepts related to the world of Cloud computing.  Concepts that include:

  • Cloudbursting
  • Hybrid Cloud
  • Virtualization
  • Public & Private Cloud Storage

Harry Potter’s  World of Wizardry & Big Data

In a blog post found on CutterBlog, Vince Kellen, Ph.D., uses the unique analogy of the Mirror of Erised from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to relate to describing analytics.

Photo courtesy http://www.freeimages.com/photo/735265

Photo Courtesy freeimages.com

For those of you not familiar with this particular mirror or story, Harry’s headmaster and mentor Dumbledore explains the mystery of an old mirror saying, “the mirror will give us neither knowledge nor truth.” Instead of representing the truth, the mirror reflects only what that person truly desires.

Kellen explains that this fictional phenomenon can actually illustrate why humans might reject “uncomfortable data” provided by their big data solutions.

Give a Warm Welcome to the Age of the Industrial Internet

For Marco Annunziata, the industrial Internet is “the marriage of minds and machines,” as well as the next industrial revolution.

Industries such as energy, aviation, transportation and healthcare will all be majorly impacted in the near future, according to Annunziata.

Healthcare, for example, will experience major revamping:

Today,  nurses spend an average of 21 minutes per shift looking for medical equipment. That seems trivial, but it’s less time spent caring for patients. St. Luke’s Medical Center in Houston, Texas, which has deployed industrial Internet technology to electronically monitor and connect patients, staff and medical equipment, has reduced bed turnaround times by nearly one hour. If you need surgery, one hour matters. It means more patients can be treated, more lives can be saved,” Annuziata said, illustrating that more lives can be saved just by employing the industrial Internet.

Mapping Bacteria with Big Data

Christopher Mason, a researcher for Weill Cornell Medical College, dared to ask the question I suspect few have ever stomached before him- what kind of bacteria lives in the NYC subway station?

Photo courtesy http://www.imcreator.com/?s=subway&cat=20%2C38%2C19%2C118%2C157%2C159%2C160%2C163%2C26%2C75%2C158%2C29%2C31%2C71%2C30%2C27%2C150%2C32%2C37%2C70%2C33%2C36%2C35%2C34%2C114%2C115%2C149%2C125%2C165%2C124%2C166%2C111%2C60%2C63%2C61%2C62%2C84%2C85%2C46%2C49%2C48%2C47%2C53%2C86%2C146%2C87%2C50%2C72%2C54%2C73%2C51%2C52%2C39%2C45%2C40%2C41%2C43%2C42%2C44%2C109%2C2669%2C148%2C164%2C88%2C83%2C128%2C113%2C80%2C162%2C151%2C21%2C154%2C76%2C156%2C126%2C153%2C110%2C77%2C78%2C155%2C22%2C68%2C79%2C74%2C69%2C116%2C117%2C65%2C66%2C67%2C55%2C133%2C168%2C130%2C131%2C58%2C64%2C167%2C56%2C134%2C161%2C132%2C170%2C169%2C57%2C28%2C81%2C2651%2C121%2C59%2C123%2C152%2C122

Photo courtesy imcreator.com

For 18 months, Mason and his research team rubbed nylon swabs along handrails underground, collecting DNA.

The big-data project, dubbed “PathoMap Project,” combines microbiology, genomics and population genetics on a massive scale.

He has found:  “germs that can cause bubonic plague uptown, meningitis in midtown, stomach trouble in the financial district and antibiotic-resistant infections throughout the boroughs,” according to the Wall Street Journal. 

Media we linked to:




The Industrial Internet Hype is Over – Let's Get to Work

In 2014, it was all about the promise of the Industrial Internet. A ton of tweets, blog posts, articles and speeches were crafted to explain how connecting complex physical machinery with networked sensors and software would change everything. And judging by the tone of the conversations swirling around the Industrial Internet in 2015, it still may.

Kristin Lewotsky, Contributing Editor to Motion Control Online, recognized the potential of the Industrial Internet’s “broad industrial connectivity” as long as enterprises implement it correctly.  To Lewotsky, the question isn’t about the availability of the technology to make good on the promise of the Industrial Internet.  It’s the implementation.

“Success lies with having a carefully thought-out plan,” Lewotsky wrote in a Jan. 15 article on Motion Control Online. “Organizations need to develop a strategy for evolving to the connected enterprise. Done properly, it can deliver big benefits.”

And while Stephanie Neil, a senior editor with AutomationWorld, talked about the Industrial Internet of Things currently being in a “hype phase” , she also pointed to the “products and services emerging [that] are as diverse as the [Internet of Things] itself. ”

“Most focus on a specific network issue or application, and that’s OK, as the industry is in the midst of piecing together a big puzzle,” Neil wrote. 

The conversations around the Industrial Internet are shifting from ideas and concepts to realities and deliverables. The hype-phase of the Industrial Internet, as it would seem, is either over or drawing to a close very soon.

News From the ARC Forum: The Industrial Internet Picking Up Steam

Photo courtesy http://www.arcweb.com/events/arc-industry-forum-orlando

Photo courtesy arcweb.com

It’s obvious the industry is becoming clear asking vague, probing questions surrounding the Industrial Internet.  Companies are starting to implement programs.

These days, with respect to the Industrial Internet, we’re no longer asking questions about what this thing is. We’re asking questions about what we can do with it.

The news this week out of the Orlando’s ARC Industry Forum, an annual technology event serving as the stage for all things innovation, is the pace of the Industrial Internet is accelerating. Adoption is picking up.  People are asking more questions about implementing the Industrial Internet instead of simply trying to figure out what it is, which was the case at last year’s show.

In 2014, ARC attendees were interested in what the Industrial Internet had to offer but also held reservations, according to Greg Gorbach, head of ARC’s transformative technologies for industry initiatives.

“One year ago at the ARC Industry Forum in Orlando, ARC introduced the Industrial Internet of Things  to our audience,” Gorbach wrote in a blog post from this year’s forum.  “Though we had a lot of positive feedback, we also got a few blank stares and lots of questions like ‘Is it really going to happen in my industry?’ and ‘Haven’t we already been doing some of this?'”

Jump forward to this week where people are no longer trying to just figure out what the Industrial Internet it – they’re trying to figure out how to use it.  Gorbach said there is a “marked difference” in the industry’s attitude toward the Industrial Internet.

“For one thing, there is a growing realization that this is not a vision of what’s approaching on the horizon,” Gorbach said. “Instead, many of our speakers – and these are high level representatives of industrial companies who are actively engaged in this – are echoing a common theme:  The Industrial Internet of Things can be implemented today.  The technology exists.  Sensors, embeddable intelligence and communications, technology platforms, and analytics packages are all readily available.” 

Gorbach said many companies already have active Industrial Internet of Things programs underway – many that use cases that can be documented.

“As an industry, we still have a long way to go, but things are already moving very fast,” Gorbach wrote. 

AITC 2015 Keynote: Making the Industrial Internet Real


AITC 2015, March 25-27, in Houston, TX. Click to learn more & register.

When Jim Walsh, President & General Manager of Software, GE Intelligent Platforms, talks about the Industrial Internet, he refers to it as a major transformation taking place in the industry.

“We’re on the threshold of a new era of innovation with the Industrial Internet,” Walsh said. “It’s the convergence of the global industrial system with the power of advanced computing, analytics, low-cost sensing and new levels of connectivity permitted by the internet.”

Walsh has a passion for solving problems his customers are facing. For nearly 10 years, he’s been working at GE Intelligent Platforms, whose parent company, GE, actually coined the term “Industrial Internet”.

It’s safe to say that when Walsh talks about the Industrial Internet, he’s versed on the topic.


Jim Walsh, President & GM of Software at GE Intelligent Platforms

“The Industrial Internet changes the game for industrial companies. Pushing machine data to the enterprise level allows businesses to leverage big data to optimize processes and asset performance,” Walsh said. “They can apply predictive analytics to minimize unplanned downtime, increase throughput, improve product quality and drive resource efficiency.”

This March, as part of the Automation Innovation and Technology Conference, Walsh will deliver the event’s keynote address and cover how GE is making the Industrial Internet real for businesses around the world.

Walsh is slated to discuss how the investment GE is making in software is moving this vision of powerful outcomes forward, quickly, and how that can benefit companies.

For more information on the Automation Innovation and Technology Conference, click here. 

Marco Annunziata: Welcome to the Age of the Industrial Internet

In October 2013, Marco Annunziata, chief economist at GE,  took the stage at a TEDTalk in San Francisco and told a room filed with leaders of business, academia, and society that the world they lived in was changing drastically.

What was the  catalyst for the change? The Industrial Internet.

Annunziata, chief economist at GE and financial virtuoso, put things into perspective by placing the Industrial Internet Age directly after the two previous waves of innovation: The Industrial Revolution and Internet Revolution.

Annunziata explained how the Industrial Revolution, with it’s advances in the tools and machines we use, had forever changed the way we work.

Then, the Internet Revolution gave us unprecedented access to information and communication, which changed us.

Now, the Industrial Internet Age is tying it all together.

“[The Industrial Internet] brings together intelligent machines, advanced analytics, and the creativity of people at work,” Annunziata said. “It’s the marriage of minds and machines.

Annunziata said machines are evolving from the intelligent instruments we use today to accomplish a task. These machines are interacting and sharing data.

They are self-aware, they are predictive, reactive and social,” Annunziata said.  “It’s jet engines, locomotives, gas turbines, medical devices, communicating seamlessly with each other and with us. It’s a world where information itself becomes intelligent and comes to us automatically when we need it without having to look for it.”

Annunziata referenced aviation as a major benefactor to the Industrial Internet. For example, 10 percent of flight cancellations and delays are caused by unscheduled maintenance events.

These maintenance mishaps result in $8 billion in costs to airlines annually – not to mention the stress, inconvenience, or anger of delayed passengers.  So how can the Industrial Internet help?

Imagine if the aircraft was equipped with technology that could “communicate” the plane’s “health” to the technicians on ground. Imagine what the terminal side could learn from things a human might have missed.

The aircraft, while in flight, will communicate with technicians on the ground,” Annunziata said. “By the time it lands, they will already know if anything needs to be serviced. Just in the U.S., a system like this can prevent over 60,000 delays and cancellations every year, helping seven million passengers get to their destinations on time.”



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