CIO Survey Reveals Challenges, Opportunities and Potential of Industrial Big Data

Guest post by Jeremiah Stone, GM of Asset Performance Management at GE Digital. 

Bit Stew Systems recently commissioned a survey by IDG Research of senior IT executives to better understand how organizations are being impacted by the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) – the steps being taken to prepare for it, the potential benefits the IIoT offers, and the challenges encountered along the way.

Jeremiah Stone, General Manager of Asset Performance Management, at GE Digital, shares his insights on how the research findings match up with his experience at GE.

Industrial companies are in the midst of an exciting and transformational digital journey. At the heart of this transformation is the power of real-time and predictive data analytics to unlock new sources of value. However, challenges of big data, unique to the Industrial world, and the threat of digital disruption and changing workforce dynamics are real.

In order to maximize the fast-moving technology wave of the Industrial Internet, companies need to think strategically about the foundational elements of their data architecture, starting with industrial data management.

Abundant Data by Itself Solves Nothing
Despite the promise of big data, industrial enterprises are struggling to maximize its value. Why? Abundant data by itself solves nothing. Its unstructured nature, sheer volume, and variety exceed human capacity and traditional tools to organize it efficiently and at a cost which supports return on investment requirements. Inherent challenges tied to evolution and integration of industrial information and operational technology, make it difficult to glean intelligence from operational data, compromising projects underway and promise for further investment and value.

Research Confirms Data Integration is Slowing IIoT Adoption
We have seen first-hand, how data integration has challenged IT and OT teams for decades. The advent of IIoT adoption is compounding the problem. The insights from the IDG survey match up well with our experience. Senior IT executives are echoing the sentiment that data integration is the #1 barrier inhibiting IIoT adoption in their organizations. 64% of senior IT executives surveyed said that integrating data from disparate sources/formats and extracting business value from that data is the single biggest challenge of big data. As we go forward, driving technology advances and best practices to integrate disparate data sets is critical.

Lack of Preparedness will Cost your Business
According to the survey, senior IT executives are saying the biggest risk of not having an IIoT strategy in place is losing valuable data insights which can significantly cost their business. 87% state the most concerning risks of not have a data management strategy is they will be overwhelmed by the volume and veracity of data being generated, and they will lose valuable business insights as a result. In addition, 33% say they are afraid that businesses that don’t adopt a data management strategy will become marginalized, obsolete or disappear.

Finding a Better Way: Maximizing Value from Machines and Enterprise Data
At GE, we are experiencing first-hand a better way—a better way to manage industrial big data that triggers insights. We are in the early stages of a long journey
of discovery and invention, taking a longer-term view to strategic data management and its technologies that translate to business advantage. Our businesses, customers, and partners are committing their business success by transforming to become data-driven businesses. At GE Digital, we are investing in our capabilities and the ecosystem to deliver the right solution to help them get there.

To extract meaning and value from industrial data, new systems are required to handle the challenges posed by the volume, velocity and variety of these data sets. Many industrial companies have already started their digital journeys towards Industrial Internet maturity. Technologies including automated integration and empirical data model management, machine learning and physics-based analytics, that we have been deploying for our customers, are
now seeing double-digit performance gains across the following sectors: power generation, oil and gas, transportation and mining.

Learn More About This Topic

IDG Research White Paper | Download the in-depth report here.

This blog post originally appeared on Bit Stew Systems’ blog page, Bit View. 

Solving the Data Integration Problem with Bit Stew Systems

This guest blog post by Mike Varney originally appeared on Bit Stew Systems’ blog page, Bit View. 

Data integration is proving to be the Achilles heel of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and is blocking progress on
the transformations and ROI that industrial enterprises had originally envisioned.

Typical Big Data analytics projects that employ traditional ETL or Business Intelligence tools often falter under the complexity and scale of industrial environments. The rigid architecture and manual process associated with these solutions make them less than ideal for an industrial customer.

So why are so many industrial customers still using these clunky, brittle, and slow solutions?

ETL: Compounding Your Data Problem?
ETL or Extract, Transform, and Load is a traditional IT methodology whereby data systems architects tasked with Machine Intelligenceproviding data intelligence from multiple systems will first extract the data and place it all into a common location, then apply transformations to normalize or cleanse the data and then place it back in this common container for analysis. It may not seem laborious to the untrained eye but ask any data wrangler, enterprise architect, or IT manager and they will tell you that ETL can take several professionals months.

So why do it? ETL is attractive to IT departments because it usually leverages existing software investments and does not require teams to come up to speed on any new technology. In fact, it has been a tried and true method for decades.

IIoT Amplifies the Data Integration Challenge
Those who opt for traditional ETL are forgetting that the Industrial IoT is set to connect billions of more devices to the Internet by 2020. That explosion of data will most certainly be too rapid, and too large of a change for traditional systems to handle.

The risk for those who lag behind the curve on Industrial IoT is that they will cease to be competitive in the global industrial markets. Almost all industries will be affected by this change, from oil and gas to manufacturing and all those in between.

The technologies behind IIoT have brought significant advancements to industries such as Manufacturing, Transportation, Oil & Gas, Aviation, Energy, Automotive and others.  These technologies have allowed industry to remotely monitor and control assets to optimize production and improve yields.

However, these same technologies have exacerbated a long standing data integration problem by massively increasing the volume, velocity and diversity of data required by the business.

A New Way of ThinkingMachine Intelligence
Solving the data integration challenge requires a new way of thinking and traditional data architectures must be reimagined to support the rapid proliferation of data from an exponentially expanding set of data types. So what’s the solution? The key to solving the data integration challenge is semantics.

Bit Stew’s integration technology is designed to rapidly ingest and integrate data to provide a semantic understanding of information across disparate systems. Deeper analytics can then be applied intelligently through analysis methods and workbenches.

Download the infographic to get a deeper understanding of the steps required to create a semantic model.

Download the White Paper

Unlocking the Potential of the Industrial Internet

The Industrial Internet, or Industry 4.0, connects traditional, complex machinery with networked software and is creating quite the buzz these days in industries of all sizes.

Most veterans and leaders of industry agree the most valued companies in the next decade will be the ones that find a balance between digital competency and industrial assets.

But don’t just take their word for it. Finding this balance and unlocking the full potential of the Industrial Internet will be worth a substantial amount more than what it was only a few years ago. According to an Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) Market report, the market size is expected to reach $319 billion by 2020, an increase of 8%.

This means the merger between digital and industrial worlds will be vital for industrial enterprises who want to remain competitive as product lifecycles get shorter and markets begin to demand a more responsive enterprise.

The IIoT offers businesses an enormous opportunity. Whether it’s in the manufacturing, water/wastewater, power  or oil & gas space, the IIoT provides the infrastructure required for enterprises to marry their digital and industrial assets.

Reducing Time to Value for the IIoT

Enormous opportunity aside, the IIoT can seem intimidating. The infrastructure of an IIoT solution is often the heaviest lift for both IT and OT teams. Many leaders say data integration is one of the largest challenges they deal with today. How can enterprises begin to provide functionality for managing connected devices?

Gaining a more comprehensive picture of the operational environment such as data from sensors and data from database systems generally requires a robust team of data scientists, architects, operators and several months.

Helping PG&E Better Anticipate and Prepare for Outages

Bit Stew Systems has built the MIx product portfolio, the premier platform for handling complex data integration, data analysis, and predictive automation for connected devices on the Industrial Internet.

The platform addresses common data challenges such as managing multiple infrastructures and complex technologies, integrating costly solutions from various vendors, and accessing actionable data from daily operations.

Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E), a natural gas electricity provider in California, U.S., was able to leverage data to better operate and visualize the convergence of the electric grid and the data network by implementing a data integration solution from Bit Stew Systems, a global leader in providing software defined operations for the Industrial Internet. The result? The PG&E team was able to visualize construction work up to seven weeks out, anticipate outages and prepare mitigation plans.

After installing the Bit Stew’s MIx solution in 2011, BC Hydro, a primary electric provider in British Columbia, Canada, significantly improved deployment management, energy visualization, and advanced network communications management.

Bit Stew recently announced the general availability of the MIx Developer Network (MDN), a fully functional development environment that provides Bit Stew’s customers and partners with access to tools and technologies that extend the value of MIx to quickly build MIx Apps for the IIoT.

Solving the Data Integration Challenge: Gray Matter Systems Partners with Bit Stew

Gray Matter Systems, a technology, consulting and integration company dedicated to solving industrial data and control problems, announced its partnership with Bit Stew Systems, a global leader in providing Software Defined Operations for the Industrial Internet.

The partnership allows Gray Matter Systems to offer Bit Stew’s MIx platform to solve data integration challenges for the IIoT.

Bit Stew’s MIx platform addresses common data challenges such as managing multiple infrastructures and complex technologies, integrating costly solutions from various vendors, and accessing actionable data from daily operations.

Read More.

ICYMI: Automation News Roundup, Week Ending March 20

An Alliance for the Internet of Things

Dave Greenfield of Automation World discussed the alliance made by the Open Interconnect Consortium (OIC) and the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) last week in an article. 

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

Specifically, Greenfield points out that standardization for devices and systems is imperative in a time where the Internet of Things is such a popular topic- a buzzword, at times.

Basically, the IIC will begin to share its use cases and more requirements, while the OIC  vows to deliver necessary functions in an “IoT communications framework” for their project, IoTivity.

“This liaison was developed as a result of both consortiums’ desire for interoperability in the industrial IoT,” said Richard Soley, executive director, Industrial Internet Consortium to Automation World, “By sharing use cases with the OIC, we will identify new scenarios that will ultimately result in systematic interoperability between devices.”

A Eulogy for Internet Explorer

Microsoft’s marketing chief announced on Monday that the company will be “laying our longtime pal to rest upon the forthcoming release of Windows 10, which will feature a browser with another name,” according to an article published in Newsweek. 

Paul Meija pokes a little harmless fun at the browser and writes from the point of view of an old friend politely saying some last words at IE’s funeral.

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

It’s successor, Project Spartan, will be included with the official release of Windows 10. It is said to include page annotation, extension support, and the integration of Microsoft’s Cortana.

Still, Meija reminds us to remember our tired, old friend, Internet Explorer:

“Yes, the future is uncertain. But let’s raise a virtual lighter for our beloved Internet Explorer, a blue beacon of discovery, forever available in the unnatural midnight light of a computer screen. Farewell, old friend,” wrote Meija.

Cyber Security in Your Company

Some employees are guilty of more than just not replacing the water jug.

CIO reported that some employees accidentally compromise their company’s cyber security without even knowing it.

“Don’t think this is an uncommon occurrence. It is so common that, in a recent survey commissioned by Sungard Availability Services*, leaving laptops and mobile phones in vulnerable places was the #1 problem area noted by respondents,” reported CIO. 

Photo courtesy of

Photo courtesy of

What you can do:

  • Encrypt the laptop’s hard drive
  • Enforce strong passwords
  • Freeze the employee’s account (this would be the “reactive” option)
  • Place tracking software on laptops/devices
  • Forbid employees to store data on laptops – instead, store on the server
  • Regularly educate employees on cyber security

How Food Waste can be Valuable- A Video

GE  Water and Technologies hosted a video of Bill Griffiths, National Recycling Manager, Viridor explaining  how anaerobic digestion can turn food waste into two separate products and thus, reduces landfill waste.

Watch the video here:

Big Data, I’ll be Brief

Gil Press for Forbes published a “very short” history of Big Data two years ago that is still relevant today while looking at the roots of the trend.

The first entry in the timeline reaches all the way back to 1944.  A Wesleyan University librarian, Fremont Rider, predicts the future when he estimated that American libraries will double in size.

Rider wrote in The Scholar and the Future of the Research Library, that the Yale Library in 2040 will have “approximately 200,000,000 volumes, which will occupy over 6,000 miles of shelves… [requiring] a cataloging staff of over six thousand persons,” according to Press.

Press catalogs 1996 as the year that digital storage becomes the most cost-effective solution for storing data as opposed to just paper.

He leads the reader through decades of information detailing how big data will become the norm all the way up to recent years.

GE “Jumps Into the Fray” of the IIoT

CNBC highlighted GE’s dedication to the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) in both a recent article and video.

“The concept is simple: making industrial machines smarter, through the adoption of sensors, software and big data analytics. As consumers become increasingly reliant on the information provided by mobile devices and smart technology, IIoT seeks to do the same for business by streamlining operations and making them more efficient,” said CNBC‘s report.

CNBC also said that Accenture reports an economical impact- that IIoT expenditures could reach $500 billion by 2020, and could even add $15 trillion to global growth by 2030.

“We started with this idea that the world of software and machines was really coming together, and we felt that software was going to transform industrial machines,” said Bill Ruh, vice president of the GE Software Center in the CNBC story.

The video on CNBC: 



Media we link to:

“Alliance to Foster Internet of Things Interoperability” – Automation World

“A Eulogy for Internet Explorer” – Newsweek 

“How Employees Accidentally Compromise Their Company’s Cyber Security” – CIO 

“Anaerobic Digestion Turns Food Waste into Valuable Products” – GE 

“A Very Short History of Big Data” – Forbes

“GE jumps into the fray of industrial Internet” – CNBC 


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