Thanks to You
I want to take a minute to say thank you.
It was an amazing 2016 at Gray Matter and that’s because of you. When I look back on everything that’s happened in the past twelve months, I see a lot of faces. I see the faces of operations leaders becoming digital innovators. I see the faces of security chiefs, confronting growing cyber threats. I see the faces of our own Gray Matter employees excited about new innovations within our company.
Change is good. It pushes you forward. Makes you grow. Forces you to lean on different strengths and develop new ones. But when you’re in the middle of change it can feel disruptive, uncomfortable, exposing vulnerabilities you were hoping to keep out of view.
Right now our industry is in a period of major change. The power of the Industrial Internet is about using data to drive outcomes for customers. But sometimes that power can feel overwhelming. So I’d like to propose a new mission for 2017 – let’s do this together. As partners we can be strategic about how to confront the change in order to move forward.
Trend to Follow in 2017 – The Digital Twin
Industries like music, shopping and media have already experienced massive transformations in connectivity. Now it’s time for manufacturing, energy and water.
GE predicts that 20 billion machines will be connected by 2020. 20 billion machines. Take that in for a second.
Everyday objects like your thermostat, lights and refrigerator all talk to each other through an internet connection. Now that connection is extending to factory machinery as operations are becoming digitized. It’s a revolutionary way to run more efficiently and save money.
You hear the term digital twin so often, but what does it really mean?
Simply put, creating a digital twin is the process of merging physical and digital worlds.
The process takes a physical machine and uses technology to get all the information about past states, present states and predictions. That information creates a digital model that’s alive – taking in a stream of data – using that to adjust so the model is personalized to be a precise representation of the asset.
The software version is used for what used to be a physical inspection – requiring people to be right next to the machine. The virtual version can be done from anywhere and at any time, expanding the value of those inspections and allowing them to have more of a real-time impact. It creates a constant inspection that allows the operators to predict failures sooner.
The digital model of a machine, built and run in a virtual environment used to be available only to the biggest companies with the largest budgets. But the Industrial Internet and an explosion in sensor technology have lowered the cost and broadened the access beyond the elite. People are not only connected to people, they’re connected to every kind of device at home and now work. Manufacturers stand to win big from this. Factory floors are outfitted with a tremendous amount of sensors to collect data, but because that data has been locked up it hasn’t provided value.
The digital twin allows us to unlock that data and not just for one asset at a time. We can now model machines in groups – for example, a machine builder with thousands of machines installed across hundreds of customers – will now be able to operate best in class using digital twins.
There’s potential to unleash productivity and efficiencies like we’ve never seen before.
How Do We Get There
This is going to be the year where concepts like creating a digital twin become less of an idea and more of a reality. So how do we get it done?
I believe one of the keys will be to link information technology and operational technology in a real way. The teams need to become one so there’s a full understanding on both sides. It can no longer be someone else’s problem – we’re all on the same team.
Our mission at Gray Matter is to transform operations and empower people.
Success in the Industrial Internet requires both parts equally. You create the digital twin and transform your operation by getting the information that allows you to be more productive and get the most out of your assets. But you also need the innovation and insight of people. Cultural and mentality changes will be just as important as the digital ones. Your people need to feel empowered by what they’re doing so they can make the best decisions and find new ways to take that increased productivity to new levels.
Let’s do this together and truly seek feedback from each other on how the next steps should look.
Happy New Year. Here’s to working together in 2017– I look forward to it.