TechHub: World’s largest battery built from a bet, the future landscape of innovation & bitcoin news

Tesla builds world’s largest battery, thanks to a bet

Elon Musk bet the people of Australia he could build a 100MW battery in 100 days or it would be free, according to CNET. Tesla not only accomplished it, but had about 40 days to spare. The South Australian government announced last week the completion of the world’s largest lithium-ion battery just outside of Jamestown, with plans to be energized within days.

The battery was a result of a bet via Twitter in March between Tesla CEO Elon Musk and fellow billionaire Mike Cannon-Brookes after a series of major power outages across South Australia, including a state-wide blackout that affected an area the size of France at the end of 2016.

Musk made good on his promise, flying to Australia and signing a contract at the end of September 2017.

The 100MW lithium-ion battery is made up of Tesla Powerpacks, connected to a nearby wind farm.

The battery will undergo a testing phase within the next couple weeks to ensure it meets regulations, but things are looking good for Australians.

The future landscape of innovation

The 20th century brought us a continuous stream of co-innovation — a culture of robust research and development that resulted in a cornucopia of products with real longevity. From vacuum cleaners and ballpoint pens to jet engines and nuclear power reactors, it was topped off with the powerful computing technology that culminated from the creation of the internet, according to the Manufacturer.

Now looking at present time in the 21st century, the pace of change is arguably faster than at any time in history, ultimately because of digitization.

It’s no longer the norm to develop a product behind a locked door in secrecy, but rather in a diverse ecosystem including many parties in order to master product development. Now more than ever the need to collaborate and join forces for survival is clear — and here’s why.

Disparate data

A per-requisite for innovation in the digital age is the availability of data, and the ability to transform it into insight. It’s dependent on being able to reliably collect and analyze data on a continual basis, growing more important every day. Many companies can’t maintain this on their own, so the necessity to co-innovate solutions by working together is pertinent.

Ideate to accumulate

Encouraging employees to act more like entrepreneurs can establish a culture of innovation and co-creation within a company itself. By bringing together employees from across functions and engaging with them, it creates an internal innovation program, helping unleash the full potential and talent of employees.

Disruption waits for no-one

The digital age has already caused several market disruptions, causing manufacturers to start seeking to disrupt themselves before somebody does it for them. A desire to create game-changing solutions rather than incremental improvements has been ignited in many boardrooms rather than conversations of cost-cutting. Yet, driving digitization into supply chains is nearly impossible to achieve without collaboration.

The journey

The path towards successful co-innovation isn’t always a straightforward one. Oftentimes, it’s more about the journey than the final destination. It involves a combination of trust, contractual agreements, information security policing and common sense to make it work. Rapid prototyping cycles are reliant on constant and near-immediate feedback, with all parties integral to the process.

Co-innovation, when done right, has rewards that are worth the effort. With the rise of consumer expectations and macro-environmental factors continuing to challenge manufacturers, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that safety and inspiration comes in numbers. Interested in co-innovating with GrayMatter? Let’s talk.

One bitcoin is now worth over $11,000

The value of cryptocurrencies has skyrocketed 2,174% throughout 2017, with bitcoin representing over half of the total market cap. A new milestone was hit as the value of bitcoin has shot up from $8k to $10k in just eight days, taking the internet by storm.

Just 24 hours after this was announced, its value has shot up to over $11k, said the Coin Telegraph. No asset has ever risen in such a short amount of time, according to TechCrunch. This is leading to speculations of the beginning of a trillion dollar industry, and the biggest thing to happen in technology since the internet was invented.

Source: Coin Telegraph

Yet, despite not being able to open Twitter or turn on the news without hearing about bitcoin, it has a low number of adopters. Many are still clueless about what a bitcoin is, what it does or how to purchase one, including those on Wall Street. The future for bitcoin is still uncertain, being apart of a new and unexplored aspect of digital cryptocurrency.

It could eventually replace gold and all other monetary means, or it’ll crash to zero tomorrow; who knows?

TechHub: The Year of Cyber Disasters, Manufacturing Technology Orders Back on Track & More

Ending 2017 Strong: Manufacturing Technology Orders Back on Track

Manufacturing technology orders in September continued their upward trend, ending the third quarter on a strong note, according to Industry Week.

The rise in orders in September surprised some analysts, who had expected orders to remain weak until December.

“Manufacturers are concerned about Washington’s impact on economic growth and pace of technological change, as well as the general evolution in technology. It is necessary for companies to invest in current technologies to stay competitive, but they’re doing so at a moderate pace,” said Doug Woods, President of the Association for Manufacturing Technology.

Regionally, the North Central West, Southeast and Northeast regions as reported by USMTO benefited from strong activity in contract machining shops, forging and stamping, automotive, and consumer electronics. Notably, orders from the consumer electronics and computers sector were up 132% nationally.

The key leading indicators for manufacturing technology are positive, leading analysts to believe there will be an acceleration in orders at the close of 2017.

The Year of Cyber Security Disasters

2017 was the year of industrial cyber attacks.

Ransomware crippled hospitals in the U.K., hit U.S. pharmaceutical company Merck, infiltrated Russian oil giant Rosnoft, shut down Ukrainian power grids and more.

Special Agent Keith Mularski, Unit Chief of the FBI Cyber Initiative & Resource Fusion Unit, spoke at GrayMatter’s annual conference on industrial cyber security.

Operational technology is at a risk in the digital age now more than ever before.

According to Gartner, “the number one issue in vulnerability management is that organizations are not prioritizing their patching and mitigating controls, nor are they mitigating the exploitation of commonly targeted vulnerabilities.”

Companies are struggling to find the common ground between “what can I fix” and “what will make the biggest difference in the time and resources I have.”

The answer: a risk-based approach.

CyberX’s ICS Attack Vector Prediction technology combines a deep understanding of industrial protocols, devices and applications with:

  • ICS-specific asset discovery
  • Continuous real-time monitoring and incident forensics
  • Risk and vulnerability management
  • Threat intelligence

“It helps business leaders and OT personnel quickly understand the top threats to their most critical industrial assets, and how to most efficiently reduce their top risks.”

This unique approach reduces complexity by addressing all four requirements of Gartner’s Adaptive Security architecture — Prediction, Prevention, Detection and Response — in a single, holistic platform.

“Our customers are often concerned about what they don’t know. CyberX’s Attack Vector Prediction technology allows them to predict and visualize scenarios for real-time planning of operational cyber strategy,” said Jim Gillespie, CEO of GrayMatter.

Learn more about implementing a predictive cyber approach

About CyberX

CyberX provides the most widely-deployed industrial cybersecurity platform for continuously reducing ICS risk. Supporting all OT vendors and seamlessly integrating with existing IT security tools, CyberX’s platform combines a deep understanding of industrial protocols, devices, and applications with ICS-specific asset discovery, continuous real-time monitoring and incident forensics, risk and vulnerability management, and threat intelligence.

GrayMatter VP on OT Cyber Security at 2017 ARC Industry Forum

GrayMatter VP Kemell Kassim speaks to Sid Snitkin, VP of Enterprise Advisory Services of ARC Advisory Group, during the 2017 ARC Industry Forum in Orlando, FL.


TechHub: $5 Billion Investment in U.S. Manufacturing, IoT in Water & More

Goldman Sachs, China Team Up to Invest $5 Billion in U.S.Manufacturing

Goldman Sachs and China Investment Corporation (CIC) have announced the formation of a new partnership that will create a $5 billion fund named the China-US Industrial Cooperation Partnership, aimed at investing in U.S. manufacturing, according to the Business Review USA.

Tu Guangshao, Vice Chairman and President of CIC.

The fund will invest into businesses that have or can develop a connection with China, designed to promote market access for U.S. firms in China, in addition to improving the trade balance between the two countries.

“CIC has invested in the US for ten years and is committed to be both an investor and facilitator to develop a stronger China-US investment relationship,” said Tu Guangshao, Vice Chairman and President of CIC.

The fund will create a number of opportunities for American companies to export their products to the expansive Chinese market, with Goldman Sachs acting as the sponsor and investment manager of the fund.

Lloyd Blankfein, Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs said, “The Cooperation Fund will increase Chinese investment in the United States, creating more opportunities for American workers and contributing to China’s economic transition and growth.”

Testing the IoT Waters

Originally Published in CRN

Solution provider GrayMatter is navigating the turbulent IoT waters, using its technical expertise and operational technology background to successfully deploy connected drinking fountains in public places like schools.

“We did a connected smart water fountain [with DC Water] – people think of that as a [classic] IoT application,” GrayMatter CEO James Gillespie told CRN. “That’s a good example because it combines a whole bunch of innovation.”

The Pittsburgh-based GE partner worked with the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority to create drinking fountains that monitor water quality and flow in real-time, which gives users more confidence in the water they are drinking while saving money spent on maintenance and testing.

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The smart drinking fountains, which will initially be installed in hospitals, daycare centers and schools, are equipped with sensors that use real-time data and analytics to monitor water quality and flow levels. The sensors then send that data to the cloud and back with alerts if water quality measurements begin to deteriorate.

Gillespie said the flow and water quality sensors give an accurate indicator of when the lead filter should be changed compared to traditional filters — like refrigerator filters — that measure flow only.

If water quality begins to deteriorate, alerts are sent by text or email to water managers, while… (Read More).

Data Management Tool Saves Big

A control system that’s responsible for servicing over 150,000 people has multiple applications, each with its own data source, and requires a tedious, time-consuming process of manually sifting through paper logbooks and binder after binder of printed reports when gaps exist in data sets.

This wastes time, money and causes a major headache for plant employees.

The City of Barrie was determined to fix this, saving 60 to 70-percent of the time previously used as a result of digital transformation.

By implementing a new data management tool, e.RIS, it allowed for:

  • Data commenting
  • Workflow for report approvals
  • Tag merge
  • Lab data integration and electronic logbooks

Learn more about e.RIS and catch up on other success stories:

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TechHub: Putting the Industrial Internet Hype to Work, Smart Service Energy & More

Putting the Industrial Internet Hype to Work

The Industrial Internet of Things dominates manufacturing hype. Beyond this, certain manufacturers are putting powerful technologies to work – General Electric employees, for example, with their brilliant factories.

GE’s remanufacturing plant in Grove City, Pa., is a shining example of one of those brilliant factories, according to Industry Week.

Once a food packaging plant decades ago, the factory has transformed into a high-tech home for the remanufacture of diesel engines for locomotives.

“We’re taking digital technologies that people are really comfortable with outside of work and bringing them into work — whether that’s iPads, or phones, or just visual data,” said Jamie Miller, the former GE senior vice president and CEO of GE Transportation who was just promoted to CFO. “It was something that people could readily see because they use it outside of work.”

By doing so, it created a condition-based manufacturing system that allowed the workers to tailor what they do to rebuild engines in a faster, more productive manner, according to Miller.

Its brilliant factories  —  Grove City is one of less than a dozen around the world  —  revolve around lean manufacturing principles, additive manufacturing, advanced manufacturing technologies and digital manufacturing. Its industrial cloud platform, Predix, allows customers to replicate that on a smaller level, extending industrial automation to the cloud.

John Deere Investing in AI for Autonomous Farming

John Deere is buying a California artificial intelligence startup that makes machine learning tools for agriculture as part of their quest to automate farming, according to the Verge.

The cutting-edge machine vision tools help farmers scan fields, assess crops and get rid of weeds — all at the same time.

Source: Blue River Technology

A set of cameras fixed onto crop sprayers use deep learning to identify plants, hitting weeds with pesticide and crops with fertilizer, all of which can be customized by the farmer.

This can save up to 90% of the volume of chemicals being sprayed, while also reducing labor costs.

John Deere has been working on autonomous tractors before Tesla and Google even existed, according to the Verge, but its current most advanced vehicles only assist navigation.

The new technology creates a more efficient crop spraying system, allowing farmers to do more with less.

Smart Service Strategy: GE Oil  & Gas Case Study

In 2014, GE Oil & Gas management wanted to improve the revenue capacity of its field service operation, which they were confident could be accomplished by streamlining operations and increasing the billable utilization of their 575+ field service engineers (FSEs).

They knew visibility could be created with a smart service platform, switching over from most engagements being handled using paper forms or whichever process was customary within a particular geographical region.

“No one likes to change,” said GE Oil & Gas Information Management Subsea Services Project Manager Lydie Victoire. “But to increase profitability, we needed our people to adopt this new way of doing field service.”

smart service strategy

The solution was going digital, but in a completely customized way that allowed a set of field service functions for the initial project rollout to look a lot like the old paper-based process.

Going digital allowed them to:

“To optimize field efficiency, GE Oil & Gas needed more real-time visibility into its field service operation,” says GE Oil & Gas Executive Service Director Leigh Martin.

“We needed better data on the work activities of our field service engineers. And for that, we needed a field service platform.”

Download the case study to learn more about how GrayMatter innovates with partners on smart service strategies.

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