TechHub: Industrial cybersecurity, $1 billion fund for advanced manufacturing & mobilizing the plant floor

Market Analysis Report Evaluates Industrial Cyber Security

Cyber security has become a globally recognized issue of national security for industrial companies in light of increased attacks on water and power utilities.

Complex ransomware attacks are becoming more common among industrial companies, resulting in one of the top annual cyber conferences promoting it as a focus.

The RSA 2017 Conference started off with a group of researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a planned water utility hack, demonstrating how much damage a hacker can do by shutting down valves, adjust chlorine levels and falsify readings.

industrial hacks RSA

The RSA 2017 Conference, which featured a live industrial utility hack demonstration.

ARC Advisory Group released a market analysis report that evaluates the current market, as well as a five year market and technology forecast, for industrial cyber security.

Even after a heavy push for protection in recent years, many industrial companies are still struggling to maintain plant security despite having implemented cyber security technologies for protection.

The report cites a lack of resources and lack of cyber security expertise as the key reasons for the insecurity, and that the IT companies the plants use lack a deep understanding of control systems for plant operation.

Industrial companies need to implement the expertise of operational technology professionals that can lock down exposed parts of the network.

Download the GrayMatter Cyber Security Guide for Operational Technology to get a comprehensive understanding of security in the OT world including top vulnerabilities.

The guide walks you through the first steps in knowing what’s on your network and has specific advice about the assessment process from our top cyber security consultants.

Download the Guide

Mobilizing the Plant Floor: Industry 4.0

As we get deeper into the fourth industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0, plants are becoming digitized and integrated with the Internet of Things (IoT) for faster, better results.

Junot Systems, a specialist provider of integration solutions for industrial companies, released a case study detailing a real customer success story of mobilizing their plant floor for one of the world’s largest producers of printing inks and pigments.

The plant was facing problems such as lacking an audit trail to identify changes to material batches, loose user procedures for necessary validations, lack of mobility on the plant floor and unnecessary manual aspects of order processing.

By implementing NLINK®, Junot Systems’ quick install product suite and SAP certified interfaces, plant floor technicians were given the ability to process orders away from the HMI stations using mobile tablets with each step validated and logged for full traceability.

For a more in-depth look into the validation process in SAP that NLINK® provides, download the case study:

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$1 Billion Fund to Create Advanced U.S. Manufacturing Jobs

80-percent of U.S. manufacturers are facing a shortage of qualified applicants for skilled production jobs, with a decline in employment within computer and electronic manufacturing since 2007.

Apple CEO Tim Cook. Source: TechCrunch (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

There is an extreme need to close the skills gap within the manufacturing industry, which makes up nine-percent of the U.S. workforce.

Apple CEO Tim Cook announced this week that the company has formed a $1 billion fund to promote advanced manufacturing jobs in the U.S., according to TechCrunch.

The first investments will be announced later this month, according to Cook, leaving the specific use for the funds a mystery for now.


TechHub: Cyber in oil and gas, over 1,000 tech jobs created & more

ISA Director to oil & gas: “The time to act is now.”

Patrick Gouhin, Executive Director and CEO of the International Society of Automation (ISA) spoke at a Bloomberg Live conference in Texas on the future of cyber security in the oil and gas sector.

Patrick Gouhin cyber tech hub

Patrick Gouhin, ISA Executive Director and CEO. Image: LinkedIn

ISA is a nonprofit professional association that sets the standard for applying engineering and technology to improve management, safety and cyber security of automation and control systems.

Check out GrayMatter’s cyber services for operational technology.

The focus of his presence, according to Automation, an online industrial news website, was to urge industry executives to protect their facilities from cyber attacks.

He noted the increasing number of cyber attacks on industrial facilities, which are crucial to the economy and national security, and that there are effective standards available today.

“The time to act is now — not years in the future,” said Gouhin.

Supervisory control and data acquisition systems (SCADA) are used to monitor and control industrial networks, and are not designed to be resilient against cyber attacks.

The result? An attack can disable safe operations of these facilities, resulting in sometimes fatal consequences. Plant shutdowns, widespread blackouts, explosions, chemical leaks and more can result, according to Automation.

How much do you know, or not know, about your operational system? Take the industrial cyber security challenge to find out your knowledge level based on your score:

Take the Challenge

New deal to add over 1,000 autonomous tech jobs within five years

General Motors announced plans to invest in autonomous vehicle technology startup Cruise Automation, with plans to double their current research and development facility and add 1,100 jobs over five years.

Currently Cruise is listed on as having under 200 employees, the deal increasing the company by 550 percent.

“As autonomous car technology matures, our company’s talent needs will continue to increase,” said Kyle Vogt, CEO of Cruise Automation.


GM CEO Mary Barra with autonomous Chevy Bolt in 2016. Image: General Motors

Cruise and GM engineers are testing more than 50 Chevrolet Bolt EVs, which are built at the GM plant in Metro Detroit, Mich., with self-driving technology in San Francisco, Scottsdale and Metro Detroit, according to Industry Week.

Let’s talk ROI: Business and the Industrial Internet of Things

The momentum of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is undeniable. The benefits are among real-time connectivity and sensors, allowing for access to the data you want when you want it.

Yet many executives are still hesitant when implementing IIoT technology. The cautious attitude is due to the complexity of data architectures and massive enterprise-wide investments that require extensive engineering with long-term commitment, according to Industry Week.

This leaves them lost on measuring the value they’re receiving from their investment, and second-guessing whether they’re investing in the right approach for their company.

The answer? Finding a company that will work with customers to help find finite and scaled options to lower the risk of adopting to the new technology, yet still reap the benefits of the IIoT.

By integrating to IIoT platforms, it empowers plant operators to leverage their data and technologies to improve reliability, safety, energy management and overall operation performance for a price and level that works on an individual as-need basis.


Learn more about starting your journey to becoming a digital, industrial operation and download our free ebook:

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Gray Matter Systems Talks Technology on TechVibe Radio


Gray Matter Systems CEO, Jim Gillespie, appeared on the TechVibe podcast on Friday, Sept. 9 to talk about Gray Matter’s role in the emerging technology scene in Pittsburgh.

“We help some of the biggest manufacturing companies and water treatment plants to innovate, make better data-driven decisions. We connect critical assets to people,”

Jim Gillespie, CEO

Listen Here:

Q & A: Intelligently Automating the Data Integration Process for the IIoT

This guest blog post by Karen Dosanjh originally appeared on Bit Stew Systems’s blog page. 

Last week marked World IoT Day, where industry leaders and influencers gathered to discuss developments at the Industrial Internet of Things Summit in Chicago.

The Bit Stew Systems team sat down with Alex Clark, Chief Software Architect at Bit Stew, to talk about the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and the resulting data integration challenge that is leaving many industrial enterprises feeling like they are drowning in data.

In our interview, Alex talks about the heavy-lift involved in supporting data management strategies that can handle the data that is being generated by information systems, operational systems and the extensive networks of sensors. Alex shares his insights on the technology that is key to solving the impending integration problem at scale.

Bit View: How do you define the Industrial Internet of Things at Bit Stew?
AC: The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network connection of physical objects, or “things” across existing communication infrastructures. The IIoT is the same thing but on an industrial level where the value, volume, variety, velocity and veracity of data is more critical. The challenges are compounded by the complexity and scale of data being ingested in industrial environments. Although the challenges are greater, the opportunities the IIoT presents are more prevalent. The technologies behind the IIoT have brought significant advancements to industries such as manufacturing, oil & gas, aviation, energy, and others.

Bit View: Describe the challenge that industrial enterprises are dealing with?
AC: Gartner forecasts that 6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2016, and the number of connected devices will reach 20.8 billion by 2020. Newly connected devices are coming online within networks at an alarming rate, and most of the effort has been focused exclusively on data generation. Developments have been hindered by challenges in handling the data as well as in the disparity of data characteristics such as quality, completeness and timeliness.

Another issue is that industrial organizations often have multiple, silo-ed legacy systems producing data in different formats and protocols, which do not communicate with each other. Integrating this vast amount of dissimilar data into a unified data strategy is proving to be overwhelming for even the largest organizations and we are seeing this first-hand.

Bit View: How is data integration blocking progress on the transformations and ROI that companies originally envisioned?
AC: Data integration has become the Achilles’ Heel of the IIoT and is blocking progress on the transformations and ROI that companies had hoped for. Data integration can account for more than 80% of project costs and are the primary factor in lengthy delays, and cancelled or failed projects. In fact, Garter reports that 50% of projects will exceed budget, or fail to deliver expected benefits due to inadequate data integration tools and architecture. Our industrial customers are concerned about these major challenges, complexities, costs and delays in integrating the diverse technologies, devices and proprietary solutions.

Bit View: What are some common mistakes organizations make with their data integration strategies?
AC:  Implementing an IIoT architecture can be a daunting task. Industrial enterprises often prematurely make investments in open source architecture, business intelligence tools, analytics products, or ETL processes for their data. These traditional tools are not necessarily designed for the IIoT.

Solving the data integration challenge requires a new way of thinking and approach. The only way for an industrial organization to come around the curve and efficiently capitalize on the exponentially growing data in industrial environments is through a software solution that is purpose-built for the Industrial Internet. Buying a product that comes with a robust partner ecosystem of integrators, OEMs, and resellers is also an integral step in planning the IoT roadmap.

Bit View: What is the key to Bit Stew’s ability to solve the data integration challenge for the IIoT?
Bit Stew offers a comprehensive and end-to-end approach to data integration — an approach that is purpose-built for the IIoT. The key to Bit Stew’s data integration capability is our MIx Core™ technology — a data integration kernel that supports Machine Intelligence, an area of Artificial Intelligence (AI) that uses machine learning algorithms, reasoning algorithms and methods for automated detection and integration of data sources from any device and system.

Bit Stew’s Mlx Core platform applies a schema first approach that allows industrial enterprises to integrate data rapidly by removing the heavy lift of data wrangling. Another key to Bit Stew’s data integration capability is that Mlx Core automates the data modeling and mapping of data from billions of endpoints enabling you to intelligently manage your data in wristwatch time.

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