ICYMI: Automated Vehicles, Google’s New Feature, and the Industrial Internet

Wearable Technology Market Could Reach New Heights

Business Insider reported that the large number of 385 million people could soon be affected by the wearable technology market trend.

ICYMI Automation, IoT, Wireless Applications

Photo courtesy Royal Opera House

Piper Jaffray’s Erinn Murphy and Christof Fischer even said that “wearable technology will be the next generation of devices to transform how individuals consume and use information.”

It’s estimated that the wearable niche will grow from 21 million units in 2014, to 150 million in 2019– a 48% compound annual growth rate (CAGR).

The target market is believed to be those above the age of 15, and the fitness sector as the main push for growth.

In fact, the three “mega secular trends” that Business Insider reported are:

  • Health & Fitness
  • “Quantified Self” –Or, incorporating technology into our lives
  • Convergence between brands and technology

With all this predicted growth in the next 5 years, is it not likely to also reflect in the industrial sector?

I’ve Been Everywhere, Manmap

It seems like every other week there’s a new story out detailing Google’s next plan to keep track of us or our “private” information.

This week it was its new Google Maps feature, according to Rex Santus of Forbes.

Thanks to “Your Timeline” on Google Maps, you will now be able to fully visualize everywhere you’ve been in the past day, week, even year. Google Photos users will even have images to help jog your memory of your whereabouts.

Google claims it’s a useful way to remember where that “museum you visited on vacation was, or where that fun bar you stumbled upon is at.”

Of course, the feature only works if the user enables the setting themselves– but, it may still make some a little uncomfortable. After all, it is one more way Google knows your every move.

Welcome to Mcitycar

Laura Putre of Industry Week welcomed us to Mcity, an “outdoor lab” for automated vehicles in Ann Arbor Michigan.

Putre describes the place like something out of a Hollywood movie set– at least at first glance.

“But study the view more closely, and suddenly it becomes more complex. The streetscape’s terrain is constantly shifting, from “meandering gravel road” to “brick paver road,” to “straight gravel roadway.” High-tech instruments collect data on traffic activity via wireless, fiber optics, ethernet and a “real-time kinematic positioning system.”

A public-private partnership of Michigan University, automakers, insurance companies, and Michigan Department of Transportation make up the U-M Mobility Transportation Center (MTC), who is responsible for Mcity.

Automotive researchers can bring connected and automated vehicles to Mcity and test them safely, “long before they hit the real road.”

Making the Industrial IoT Greatlaptop

David White of IndustrialIoT.com wrote this week, “Oh puh-leeze, let’s make the Industrial IoT better than this.”

While the consumer IoT trend is on fire lately, with a large chunk of it in wearable technology, White argues that we can do more, and do it better.

“I’ll tell you right now, if our first efforts at Industrial IoT are so inept, we’ll kill the opportunity to drive a new wave of efficiency, introduce new business models and revenue streams, stone dead.  For at least 5 years, maybe 10.  Fortunately, it looks like Industrial IoT is fairing better than consumer IoT,” said White.  

White even suggests six tips to tackle an Industrial IoT project, from starting small, to thinking about what data you can leverage right away.

Media We Link To:

“The wearable tech market could reach 385 million people and change how we ‘consume and use information'” – Business Insider

“New Google Maps Feature Shows You Everywhere You’ve Been” – Forbes

“Welcome to Mcity, an ‘Outdoor Lab’ for Automated Vehicles” – Industry Week 

“Oh puleeze, let’s make the Industrial IoT better than this…” – Industrial IoT 

Digital Energy Solutions on a Massive Scale

Photo courtesy Raimond Spekking

There’s something shocking to us, as humans, about seeing something that’s double, triple, even quadruple our size.

Have you ever seen a bucket-wheel excavator (BWE)?

Photo courtesy Stefan Kuhn

Photo courtesy Stefan Kuhn

The massive excavator is a piece of heavy machinery used in surface mining, and they actually boast the title of being among the largest vehicles ever constructed. Not to mention, they look like something from your nightmares as a kid, with their enormous, rotating bucket-wheel leading the charge in the front of the vehicle.

Since the 90s, these monster-sized excavators have reached heights as tall as 314 feet tall, 738 feet long, and as heavy as 31.3 million pounds. For scale, the Statue of Liberty is 305 feet tall.

The German-made Bagger 293, the largest land vehicle and BWE in human history, was actually featured in the Guinness Book of World Records.

While it’s not featured in any world records, the scale of the GE Digital Energy ecosystem is equally as immense, and just as important.

The portfolio of solutions includes over 400 interactive tools, which means we can help solve some of the biggest challenges in energy intensive industries such as utilities, oil and gas, water, and telecommunication companies.

In fact, it’s modernizing the grid.

For the past 20 years, the Gray Matter team has invited professionals interested in solving today’s biggest, data-driven challenges to join us at Put-in-Bay, Ohio for our user group meeting. It’s designed to inspire conversation, spotlight challenges, offer solutions, and showcase innovative technologies.

This year, you can experience the immensity of it yourself, in a session presented by GE Digital Energy.

PIB 2015 Highlight: Mobility and Field-Force Automation: Strengthening Your Field Service Performance

From deregulation and mergers to changing technologies, utility companies around the world are struggling to maintain operational efficiencies. You need to handle both complex, multi-day work orders and high-volume service requirements to maintain continuity and predict restoration of critical services.

Learn how you can balance contradicting business objectives, manage exceptions, and respond to changing business needs – all while leveraging the GIS you already have.

In this session, you’ll learn how to:

  • Plan for the moment and for the future with a complete set of resource planning tools to help you manage the entire planning spectrum.
  • Get the tools to manage the strategic workforce buildup process and optimally decide “when to do what”.
  • Support a multi-device environment with a solution that focuses on the mobile user experience to optimize the dynamics between the office and the field.
  • Establish or expand a performance management practice to improve on your business goals, implement change, enable differentiation, and provide for continuous improvement.

Smallworld™ 5: Architected for the Future

The release of Smallworld™ 5 brings a refresh of  all applications based on Smallworld Core Spatial Technology, and even the adoption of Java Virtual machine & improvements to the Smallworld user interface.

Smallworld 5 extends the reach of geospatial data across the organization and its user communities through solutions enabling users to utilize and work with data anytime, anywhere.

Smallworld has provided solutions to utilities and telecommunication operators for 25 years, continuously delivering new benefits and cost savings while scaling to support the needs of the world’s largest organizations.

Realworld Diagnostics

Are you interested in reducing the total cost of ownership of your Smallworld™ GIS installation?

Realworld Diagnostics can help with that.

Every Smallworld™ installation is different — just like every project, customer, or application. The only way to correctly measure your performance is to analyze your system.

Check out our webinar that shows how Realworld Diagnostics combines live data obtained from your users, waiting times and system events to provide a clear overview of your Smallworld™ core application, its performance and its bottlenecks. Watch the webinar here.

Interested in learning more about Realworld? Visit them at our trade show at PIB 2015.

To learn more about PIB 2015, click here:



Challenges, Quandaries, and our Annual Trip to Put-in-Bay

As an engineer at heart, I love solving problems.

I’ve been working at Gray Matter Systems ever since it got that name and I can tell you that one of the coolest feelings comes from solving the toughest problems. We’re talking about implementing cutting-edge solutions to overcome the big challenges — helping a customer doing important work, do so more efficiently with innovative technology.

Take Cincinnati’s Metropolitan Sewer District. The people working there are serious about technology, and serious about improving not only their process, but also the city’s public health and sustainable water reclamation.

Back in September, Cincinnati MSD formally announced how Gray Matter Systems would be helping to address the city’s wet-weather challenges and optimize wet-weather facilities, equipment and operations, and reduce overflow with the Proficy Software platform. There’s a press release you can read – check it out here.

“If we are to use the traditional approach – just build infrastructure – that’s a significant cost,” said James Parrott, executive director of Cincinnati MSD. “Not only would we incur the cost of constructing bigger pipes and storage tanks, but those assets have associated maintenance costs as well.  Wet weather operational optimization will complement our capital program, allowing us to accelerate water quality improvements and reduce costs with technology.”

The best part about this? Cincinnati MSD will be presenting at PIB 2015, our annual automation event, to share their insight about optimizing operations and reducing costs—which means you can learn even more from them, live, in-person. You’ll hear from our friend Melissa Gatterdam, Superintendent of Watershed Operations at Cincinnati and how the city is solving some pretty big challenges with technology.

And it’s so hard to believe that August is already days away and PIB 2015 is fast approaching. The solution-focused, three-day event is happening August 4-6 in Put-in-Bay, OH. It’s designed to inspire conversation, spotlight challenges, offer solutions, and showcase innovative technologies. If you haven’t signed up already, you should hurry, space is limited and going fast.

Our annual event includes success stories and presentations from a wide array of industries, not just water/wastewater, including manufacturing, food and beverage, and many more. It’s a chance for us to see each other after a long year of hard work. We share stories and get reacquainted. We meet new friends and swap stories.

But above all, we learn innovative and interesting ways to solve problems, both old and new.

Have I piqued your interest yet? The following are just some of the highlights at this year’s automation meeting.

Keynote: The Journey to One Common Unified Platform Under Proficy Enterpriseproficycircle2

For nearly 20 years, almost as long as we’ve been around, Gray Matter Systems has implemented solutions from the Proficy Suite to solve data-driven solutions.

And while it’s true that each facet independently works to solve some of the toughest challenges today’s industry – what if you could leverage the power of the entire Proficy suite on one unified platform with a single, consistent user experience?

Well, that’s Proficy Enterprise. The seamless experience will be detailed during the keynote presentation by Jeremiah Stone at PIB this year.

Jeremiah, Energy Management’s Chief Technology Officer for Software at GE, will deliver a can’t-miss keynote — a roadmap for what’s next in Proficy.

Plant Floor to SAP Integration: The JMC Steel Group ExperienceJMClogo

Have you ever gone looking for a product your computer said you had, only to find it was actually never there to begin with?

Since manufacturing companies today have enterprise systems that track critical, operational information, it’s so important that the systems in place communicate seamlessly and in real-time.

If they don’t— how do you know which system’s data is accurate? Enter Junot Systems, dedicated to enabling companies to run their business on one set of data, one version of the truth.

And this session is really more a two-for-the-price-of-one: You’ll also hear from Bill Kempert, the Director of Manufacturing at JMC Steel Group, discuss challenges they faced and the plan put into action to accomplish their SAP integration project.

Introducing the Brilliant FactoryGE-IP-PIB

Ward Bowman, Principal Software Architect for GE’s Brilliant Factory, will take you through the brand-new endeavor by GE.

By using the latest technologies to consistently, and in real-time optimize operations, the Brilliant Factory provides a toolkit of solutions.

Whether it’s a sensor that collects a certain data or a control system to change the machine to adapt in real-time, the Predix platform-powered Brilliant Factory can accomplish it and Bowman will outline how it will change the industry.

What’s New in Proficy Historian 6.0 and Proficy Historian Analysis

Built specifically for process data acquisition, Proficy Historian delivers meaningful context to large amounts of raw data—across all operations.

This session details valuable information about what’s new in Historian 6.0, such as high availability through distributed computing, interactive configuration management, and much more.

If you want to stay up-to-date on Proficy Historian 6.0, or learn more about Proficy Historian Analysis, you definitely don’t want to miss this session with Scott Duhaime, Product Managemet of GE Intelligent Platforms.

And as I previously mentioned, these are just a couple of the sessions we’re covering at PIB 2015. There are 28 total, covering all kinds of topics from process control to big data and analytics to the changing face of the factory.

Join us for a great learning experience and a good time. Learn more.

A Window Into Some of the Most Important Work Being Done Today

As the director of water/wastewater solutions for Gray Matter Systems, I spend a ton of time on the road.

You know that Johnny Cash track, “I’ve Been Everywhere Man”? That’s my theme song, accompanying me on my travels throughout Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and more.

And what keeps me going, aside from a great cup of coffee and good tunes on the radio, is the constant reminder that I’m doing some of the most important work you can imagine.

The road ahead leads me to the next opportunity to help keep our nation’s utilities safe from cyber attack, their systems moving and online, and the water flowing to customers’ homes clean and clear.

Every year, we highlight a portion of this great work in the form of
presentations at PIB 2015 — Gray Matter’s annual automation event in Put-in-Bay, OH. This year’s event is held August 4-6 – it’s coming up soon. Learn more here.

PIB 2015 is a solution-focused, three-day event for professionals interested in solving today’s biggest data-driven challenges.

PIB2015Logo-200 2

The event, held annually in Put-in-Bay, is designed to inspire conversation, spotlight challenges, offer solutions, and showcase innovative technologies.

Our annual event includes success stories and presentations from a wide array of industries including water/wastewater, manufacturing, food and beverage, and many more.

This year – like nearly every year – the Ohio Environment Protection Agency (EPA) has approved each of the sessions in the water/wastewater track for continuing education credits for water operators in Ohio.

Just think about that. The Ohio EPA thought enough of the presentations our customers in place like the City of Cincinnati, North Ridgeville, OH, or Orlando, FL, are doing that it allows us to offer credit toward operators’ licenses.

That’s something I’m proud of, without a doubt. So what are some of the highlights from this year’s automation meeting?

Flexible Design Concepts for Water/Wastewater Automation Systems at the French Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant

SMALLNORTHRIDGEI’ll be helping out on this presentation about how North Ridgeville addressed the concept of employing a flexible design approach to automation, monitoring, and data acquisition systems in the French Creek WWTP in Sheffield Village, OH.

Corey Timko, superintendent at French Creek WWTP, will present how, through the application of flexible design concepts, this utility will be able to accommodate changes in computing and control standards as they arise, essentially future-proofing the system and enabling scalable solutions that will endure.

It’s an example of how Gray Matter is helping utilities realize the benefits of technology.

Maximizing the Conveyance and Treatment Capacity of Wastewater Collection Systems and Reducing Wet Weather Overflows at the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati


By now, nearly everyone knows The Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati, Ohio (MSDGC) is under two federal consent decrees to reduce wet weather overflows.

As one of the top five Combined Sewer Overflow communities in the U.S. in terms of overflow volume, MSDGC, with the help of Gray Matter Systems, has introduced innovative approaches to reduce the massive cost of these improvements.

This session, hosted by MSDGC’s Melissa Gatterdamn, will show one of the district’s key strategies — to incorporate sophisticated operational controls during wet weather that maximize the conveyance and treatment capacity of its existing wastewater system. Operators will learn how MSDGS partnered with Gray Matter and GE Intelligent Platforms to provide the technology platform for a comprehensive watershed-based Wet Weather SCADA System.

The really cool thing we’ll be showing off is how this system has improved MSDGC’s decision-making capabilities, which has resulted in efficient reduction of overflow, and is being developed to incorporate automated coordinated control of wet weather assets.

Automating Work Order Management at Orlando Utilities CommissionOUC

This is a really cool presentation. We have a couple of our best friends and most veteran water professionals, Lee Marshall and Jerry Farina, coming all the way from Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC). Marshall and Farina have more than 50 years of combined experience in water treatment. They’ll present how OUC is using technology to automate standard operating procedures and avoid dangerous situations from things like chlorine leaks.

It’s worth repeating — chlorine leaks are a pretty serious, pretty dangerous thing for utilities. It’s far, far worse than getting a whiff of the chemical at your local pool – a chlorine leak at your local water plant can incapacitate a person in a matter of seconds.

That’s not to mention the tons of necessary paperwork required for regulatory compliance that comes from this kind of event.

Marshall and Farina will show how OUC used technology to automate response and ensure accuracy in reporting. It’s a fascinating session.

Cloaking and Securing Your Critical Infrastructure and Devices

Malicious cyber attacks that devastate critical infrastructure are the thing of blockbuster movies. Most recently – and realistically — high-profile cyber attacks have been leveled on Target, Home Depot, or even the Federal government.

But the threat of attack is a very real thing for the country’s public utilities.

For over 10 years, Rob Goss has been addressing the security challenges facing critical infrastructure environments across a variety of segments.

At PIB 2015, he’ll highlight examples of common network architectures that have high-risk exposure and offer solutions to these occurrences. These examples are often driven by needs common to public utilities like remote connectivity; employee, vendor, and contractor access; and integration with untrusted networks such as cellular, ISP, and shared infrastructure.

This timely presentation is meant to arm water/wastewater operators with cyber-security strategies by referencing various standards, architecture documents, and best-practice recommendations that, together, align to provide a powerful model for advanced network security for industrial environments.

Ohio operators can get up to seven credits for the water/wastewater track at PIB 2015. (Michigan credits are pending).

These are just a couple of the sessions we’re covering at PIB 2015. There are 28 total, covering all kinds of topics from process control to big data and analytics to the changing face of the factory.

Join us for the show. Check out more here:


Contact GrayMatter

Get in touch with us!