Our Top Ten Greatest Hits from 2016

1. Your Front Door is Bolted, but the Back Window is Wide Open: OT Cyber Security Webinar

You’ve set up a firewall. Hired a CISO. Bought Palo Alto.

Maybe you’ve even added an assessment from a large consulting group. Those action items and checked boxes are giving you a sense of security, a plan. But the problem is, it’s a false sense of security. You still haven’t protected your operational technology and that’s a huge problem.

According to the HIS technology report, “Industrial IoT 2014,” less than half of Internet-connected devices are above the firewall. More than half are actually below it– in the operational technology (OT) underbelly.

Imagine a house with a bolted front door and a state-of-the-art home security system out front. It may seem secure, but the back window is wide open, curtains billowing in the wind– leaving it vulnerable to outside threats.

Your cyber security plan is no different. Ignoring operational technology cyber security is like leaving the back window or door wide open.

Watch this on-demand webinar to hear two operational technology experts from the Gray Matter team address the major vulnerabilities and how to overcome them.

Watch the Webinar

2. Taming the Complexity of a Digital Era

There are now more computing devices in the world than there are people.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the world’s population is made up of 7.3 billion people, and growing steadily. In fact, their online population clock tracks each new addition like a live, ticking scoreboard. But the bureau isn’t the only organization counting new life.

The mobile analysis firm GSMA Intelligence has a similar, real-time dashboard that tracks new mobile connections.

With close to 7.8 billion SIM cards operating in the world right now, mobile devices are coming online faster than people are being born.

But what actually pushes this figure past the world population is the growing number of active machine-to-machine connections– M2M connections like cars, medical appliances and industrial infrastructure.

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3. The Road Map You Need Before a SCADA Update

Imagine agreeing to a road trip with a driver who refuses to use directions.

No GPS, no folded-up paper map, and certainly no stops to ask for directions, just an open road stretching out into a giant question mark.

“I’ll wing it,” the driver might say. “We can figure it out as we go along.” 

Chances are, you’re not going on this one.

You wouldn’t agree to an aimless road trip, and you wouldn’t trust your surgeon to improvise an operation. You wouldn’t want your operators on the plant floor to just wing it.

So why risk a SCADA upgrade by skipping the system assessment?

Read More

4. What’s Your Industrial Cyber Security Score?

A client in operational technology recently told us their rate of cyber incidents was 200 attacks per month three years ago – now it’s 2,000 attacks in four hours. To get ahead in cyber security, the first step is finding out what you don’t know.

This cyber challenge is designed to pose important, valuable questions to your cyber strategy. You’ll find out just how much you currently know and don’t know about your own system.

Nobody has all the answers, but you can gain valuable insight into your own operations and strategies. Take our cyber challenge and you’ll receive your own knowledge level based on your score.

Are you up to the challenge?

Take the Challenge

5. The Cyber Security Guide for Operational Technology

The expansion of the Industrial Internet is leading to the need for specialized cyber security tools to protect operational technology.

Securing your information technology (IT) is a good and important step in business, but don’t forget about locking up the systems we rely on most in manufacturing, energy and water – the operational technology.

Billions of sensors are being rolled out rapidly as the Industrial Internet expands. The devices for operational technology are very different than those found on information technology networks and they need specialized technology to protect them. 

Download the guide for 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

6. Gray Matter Systems Talks Technology on TechVibe Radio

Gray Matter Systems CEO, Jim Gillespie, appeared on the TechVibe podcast on Sept. 9, 2016 to talk about Gray Matter’s role in the emerging technology scene in Pittsburgh.

7. What Pokemon Go Taught Me About Augmented Reality For Industrial Environments

Gone are the days of playing a Game Boy by streetlight on family car trips. Today’s budding gamers will never know the struggle of frantically searching for new AA batteries to play the newest game, just bought with carefully saved allowances and chore money.

In fact, with Nintendo’s newest advancement in gaming technology, mothers everywhere will soon be pushing their kids to “go outside and play video games.” I am, of course, referring to the gaming company’s newest fad, Pokémon Go, which has taken seasoned and new gamers alike by storm.

The game relies on augmented reality, or AR, a sect of technology that employs the physical world as a base for overlaid, digital images. Pokémon Go, however, represents more than just a technological advance applicable to those who “gotta catch ‘em all!”

In a recent article from GE Reports, Marco Annunziata, Chief Economist and Executive Director of Global Market Insight at GE, surmises the gaming application’s role concerning how we think about big data and the industry.

Read More

8. Digitizing Standard Operating Procedures to Ensure Safety, Security & Compliance at Orlando Utilities Commission 

Whether you’re a seasoned veteran of the water/wastewater industry or not, imagine the intense smell from an overly chlorinated pool on a hot summer day. The kind of smell that burns your nose and turns your eyes red.

Now multiply that reaction by 5,000 and that only begins to illustrate the potential danger water operators can face when dealing with chlorine leaks or spills in a utility.

For municipalities across the country that deal with potentially hazardous chemicals on such a frequent basis, like Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC), keeping operators safe is the top priority. 

Today’s forward-thinking utilities like OUC are using technology to keep their operators safe in these kind of situations. That technology, in the form of sophisticated software, is also helping utilities improve operations.

Download the White Paper

9. Trout Fishing and Automation: They Have More in Common Than You Think

The first thing one notices about trout fishing in western Pennsylvania on a clear April morning is the stunning, unnerving calm.

It’s a serenity that commands respect. It forces grown men to creep along its pathways like children sneaking downstairs on Christmas morning. If they talk, they only do so in a whisper.

There’s a lot of art in fishing—especially fly-fishing—but there’s a fair amount of science involved too. 

Knowing the best time of day and what bait to use can mean the difference between winning and losing.

While it might sound simplistic, that’s pretty much the way applying automation and technology to oil and gas operations works. The more data an operator collects on its surroundings and the better it knows the environment, the better chance it has of being successful.

Read More

10. Oil Insider Top Three Issues in the Boardroom 

Pricing in the oil and gas industry is extremely volatile.

It’s leaving industry decision makers with little time to lose. They need the right technology, in the right place, immediately. Their people have to be better at their jobs today than they were yesterday. Every decision counts and if one move is a few days late, it could cost millions.

Gray Matter Systems CEO, Jim Gillespie is familiar with helping oil and gas executives to solve the biggest problems facing their companies. He says the first issue circulating in oil and gas boardrooms everywhere is getting data from many different sources all on one display. It’s commonly referred to as the “single pane of glass.”

Read More

The Picture of Who We Are

It’s been a busy, gratifying couple of months for Gray Matter Systems and as the Director of HR and Operations, I couldn’t be more proud.

We were named one of the Best Places to Work by Pittsburgh Business Times at the end of October. I still get excited every time I walk into work and see our plaque.

Before this honor, we were named one of Pittsburgh’s Fastest Growing Companies. As if we weren’t thrilled enough to represent our hometown, the momentum grew.

We were also recognized by Inc. Magazine as part of the prestigious Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing companies in our nation. This list has featured companies such as Microsoft, Vizio, Oracle and Intuit in the past. It’s truly an honor to join such an elite group.

As I accepted the Best Places to Work award for Gray Matter Systems, I couldn’t help but think of when I first walked in the door on my first day of work.

A Growing Gray Matter Family

The company had been steadily growing when I arrived on my first day but I still remember the team, admittedly smaller than it is now.

As any new job begins, I felt unsure about how I would fit in. Boy, were my fears unwarranted. The team welcomed me and I felt at ease almost instantly.

Whether I was learning how to talk shop with one of our long-time veteran employees, the processes in place, or even that a Starbucks run can be considered an emergency, I quickly felt like a part of the team.

Suddenly, I wasn’t a newbie any more.

As I look back now, I realize that’s the Gray Matter way. You join; you’re a part of the family. As we onboard and train new employees – it seems as though we’re welcoming new faces every week these days – it’s my priority to see to it that it’s similar to my first weeks here.

I think evidence of this accomplishment can be seen within the bond of the team and the vibe of our workplace.

The Team Bond

Gray Matter Team Bond

For the past 20 years, we’ve hosted our annual user group conference in Put-in-Bay, Ohio. Not only do we connect some of the newest technology and thought leadership to our long-time customers and new clients, but we also come together as a team every year.

It’s one of the busiest months at Gray Matter Systems and this year it produced one of my favorite pictures captured of our team. Of course, we have many photos of us hard at work at the conference. But this one actually came as we were leaving the event.

It was an exhausting (and rewarding) three days and the vans were packed and ready to make the trek back to the Pittsburgh area.

We had our ferry tickets in hand as we waited to cross Lake Erie back to our cars, back to reality. We soon found out there would be a significant delay and I watched several people from our team make the best of it and walk down to a small beach.

They didn’t realize that as they climbed down to the beach, I stood back, by the line of cars to capture the moment. I had the biggest smile on my face.

They were doing nothing more than skipping rocks, hanging out and laughing. I had to take a picture because this is my favorite part of our conference and why I love what I do.

This is the Gray Matter vibe I try to describe to candidates and new employees, friends and family. This is why we are a “Best Place to Work” and a “Fastest Growing Company.”

This is how we operate. It’s how we serve our customers to ensure we’re truly transforming their operations and empowering people.

The Next Five Years: Looking Ahead

As a part of our leadership team, one of the hats I wear ensures that we’re not just thinking about the day-to-day work, but how the future Gray Matter Systems can be bigger and better.

Simply put, the answer is people.

Our careers page is gaining additions all the time—great, new departments and innovative opportunities. The team of both new and veteran employees will take us where we want to go.

So what’s my vision for the next five years? We want to be a top technology provider, but mostly we aim to be the top trusted advisor.

Maybe it includes moving to a bigger office to accommodate the whole team, or maybe it’s the opportunity to take another great photo like the one at PIB 2016.

Either way, I know the “How Can I Help” vibe will be as strong as ever—no matter if it’s internal or for our customers and vendors.

I could go on and on, but I have to go help prepare for our annual Office Thanksgiving. It’s a tradition that can’t be missed, complete with a turkey and all the dressings.

I can’t wait to go around the table and hear what everyone’s thankful for this year. For me, it will be the faces looking back at me.

Can you see yourself on our team? We’re hiring.

Check Out the Careers Page

Looking Back on 2015: A Year in Review

It’s going to be 2016 soon. Can you believe it?

It feels like we were just unpacking boxes in our new office, or catching the ferry for PIB 2015.

Soon we’ll have to get used to writing “2016” everywhere — or if you’re like some people, crossing out the previous year and scrawling in the correct one for the first few months.

Either way, it’s the time of year when we take a moment to pause and reflect on 2015.

So before we turn the page to 2016, here’s a recap of just some of the most important things that happened this past year.

2015 Year in Review

2015 Year in Review

Year in Pictures
Check out our photo gallery featuring moments from 2015

Our New Home

Quite possibly one of the biggest changes in 2015, or at least the most palpable, was our move to Warrendale, PA.

Gray Matter Systems New HQ

Our new headquarters in Warrendale, PA.

Back in July, we relocated our Pittsburgh headquarters to a state-of-the-art, Class-G green-certified office building about 18 miles north of the city.

Our consistent growth as a company led to the need for a bigger space—complete with conference rooms, a center of excellence, and a brainstorming area that’s home to the office foosball table.

The 223-acre Innovation Ridge Advanced Technology and Office Park also has some great views of a wooded area full of Western PA wildlife. In fact, it’s not extremely uncommon to pass a pack of turkeys or a couple of deer on the way to work in the morning.

Of course, this move meant leaving Sewickley—the walkable, suburban community we’ve been a part of since 1991. Whether you worked in the 2,000-square-foot house on Thorn Street or in the office space just across the street, Gray Matter employees loved to walk to the local Starbucks or grab a quick lunch at the Sharp Edge. The truth is, we had a great time in Sewickley, but it was time to begin our next chapter.

Office Thanksgiving 2015: The first in our new home in Warrendale.

Office Thanksgiving 2015: The first in our new home in Warrendale.

The move to the Warrendale office marks the first time in the company’s recent history that Gray Matter’s corporate staff is housed in the same space. This is perhaps the biggest benefit we have seen so far as a result of the move.

Evidence of this can be seen as we gathered into the center for Office Thanksgiving for the first time—taking a beloved tradition and celebrating it in our new home.

As Gray Matter Systems President and CEO James Gillespie said, the move “signifies an important next step in the progression of Gray Matter’s story.”

“The expansion was a big step for Gray Matter Systems,” Gillespie said in a July press release at the time of the move. “We’ve expanded our operations significantly in the United States and Canada in the past decade, but Pittsburgh has been our home since 1991.”

Sewickley was an important part of our history, but we’re excited to see where the next chapter leads.

The Gray Matter Family Grows

Of course, a new headquarters means new additions to the Gray Matter team.

Alan Hinchman and Coleman Easterly

Alan Hinchman and Coleman Easterly

We welcomed Alan Hinchman and Coleman Easterly, two veteran automation professionals with a combined 50 years of experience, as each heads up the water/wastewater and manufacturing execution (MES) divisions, respectively.

Hinchman and Easterly previously held executive leadership roles at GE, managing global strategic sales and marketing initiatives for the company’s Intelligent Platforms division. As thought leaders in their respective industry, both have authored dozens of white papers and case studies, published articles in industry magazines, and are frequent speakers at local, regional, and national conferences around the country.

VP Carson Drake and Andrew Drake of professional services team, working together & solving problems  as father and son.

VP Carson Drake and Andrew Drake of professional services team, working together & solving problems as father and son.

We also expanded the marketing team, added numerous members to the professional services team, and welcomed more sales professionals.

And we’re not done. See who we are on our new and improved careers and core values pages on our website. At the end of 2015, we worked hard to better illustrate who we are, what we do, and the values we uphold.

We also made it clear what it’s like to work at Gray Matter– that is, what it’s like to be doing some of the most important work out there while having fun doing it. Check out the new core values page and our working at Gray Matter page.

Put-in-Bay 2015: Our Annual User Group Meeting

For over 20 years, we’ve had the benefit of seeing so many different sides to our biggest event of the year, the annual user group meeting at Put-in-Bay, OH.

There’s the hard work the entire Gray Matter Systems team puts into preparation, which actually starts the week after the event ends for the next year. The type of hard work that brings the team together as it gets closer to August, closer to the event.

Gray Matter Systems Director of HR and Operations Mandy Urey wrote a lot about her experiences on the island. She’s no stranger to Gray Matter’s annual meeting – she joined the team in 2011 – and wrote that her favorite part of the event is the relationships our attendees form when they get together.

“I see people from different backgrounds catch the early ferry in a rush to get to the island and back in touch with the people they met last year,” Mandy said. “I see an operator from a Houston-based steel company walking through the tabletop trade show, talking excitedly about a new solution with the guy he met last year that works in a water plant just east of Cincinnati. In any other situation, these two people probably would pass each other on the street without thinking twice about each other’s situation but here at our event, they find common ground.”

Trade Show night at our annual user group meeting, PIB 2015

Trade Show night at our annual user group meeting, PIB 2015

Even with numerous industries and varied skill levels, it’s amazing how these professionals with such different backgrounds connect and interact with great enthusiasm.

These one-of-kind interactions may be some of Mandy’s favorite memories from PIB, but there’s even more value to be had.

We kick off PIB at the trade show where many of our vendors set up booths and demos to showcase new products and solutions that would be the most beneficial for the attendees. And sure, there are other trade shows and conferences people can attend, but what makes ours unique is the ability to talk to the people that are literally behind the products.

Then there’s the keynote address. This year, our Vice President, Carson Drake and Jeremiah Stone, GE Intelligent Platforms General Manager of Industrial Data Intelligence, gave us a glimpse into the future of automation and technology.

PIB 2015 keynote speaker, Jeremiah Stone of GE Intelligent Platforms

PIB 2015 keynote speaker, Jeremiah Stone of GE Intelligent Platforms


Of course, it’s not PIB without our many breakout sessions—from best practices to better alarm management with our own senior engineer, Bill Weed, to JMC Steel Group’s story of plant floor to SAP integration. It’s important to us to share success stories while learning from our peers.

And these peers hailed from places as far as Alberta, Dallas, TX and Orlando, FL or as close as Cincinnati, OH. There were old friends and brand-new faces alike—all with a great story to share.

We’re already looking forward to next year, and we hope you are too. Mark your calendars and tune your guitars – we’re heading back to the island August 9-11, 2016 for PIB 2016.

We Did Some Cool Things, Went Cool Places, and Met Some Interesting People Along the Way

This October, our CEO and president, James Gillespie, and vice president, Carson Drake traveled to San Francisco to attend GE’s fourth annual Minds + Machines event. It was host to about 1,000 developers, thought leaders, partners, media, and specifically focused on the state of the Industrial Internet.

Our friends Bill Fritz, Director of Public Works at Waterford Township, Todd Williams, VP of Leidos Engineering, Benoit Lapensee of Cascades Tissue Group, Peter McCabe of GE Transportation, and Mark Tudor of Eaton Corporation were even featured speakers at the event.

In addition, GE Intelligent Platforms VP and GM Jim Walsh sat down with Jim Fortner, VP of global business services for Procter & Gamble to talk revolutionizing 21st century infrastructure—specifically, how the Industrial Internet is transforming the manufacturing space. You can watch the entire discussion here.

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Bronze statue of Scottish philospher David Hume

In May, Gray Matter’s Mike Manzi and Dan Misener traveled to Livingston, Scotland to work with some key customers. While there Mike and Dan did some sight-seeing.

While on their tour, they encountered the massive statue of 18th-century Scottish philosopher David Hume. Time had tarnished nearly all of the statue a dull green with the exception of Hume’s big toe, which shines brightly as if it had been polished diligently with every passing day.

“[It’s] because Hume’s admirers, proud of their skepticism, come from around the world to pay tribute and—get this—rub his toe for luck,” Mike explained. “Luck which, according to their own philosophy, doesn’t exist.”

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Gray Matter VP Kemell Kassim formalizes a partnership with RealWorld Systems in Frankfurt this June.

Gray Matter Systems VP Kemell Kassim did a bit of international traveling as well this year. Most notably, Kemell traveled to the GE Digital Energy Software Summit in Frankfurt, Germany this June.

While there, Kemell signed a formal partnership with Realworld Systems.

It was one partnership among many we made in 2015, which includes GE Oil and Gas (Bently Nevada), GE Grid Solutions (formerly GE Digital Energy), BitStew, and Predixion.

We also attended plenty of trade shows and conferences this year. From the industries of water/wastewater to oil and gas, Gray Matter Systems was represented in Florida, Ohio, Texas, and provinces of Canada.

Branko Radulovic of our Quebec team met his doppelgänger and former Penguin, Mario Lemieux, in Pittsburgh airport

Branko Radulovic of our Quebec team met his doppelgänger and former Penguin, Mario Lemieux, in Pittsburgh airport

Our director of professional services, John Benitz, had the exciting opportunity of contributing in the development of the ANSI/ISA-101.01-2015 standard, Human Machine Interfaces for Process Automation Systems.

The standard serves as an exhaustive set of guidelines created to help organizations design, build, and operate effective HMIs. According to the authors, the primary purpose of the standard (and its accompanying technical reports) is to “help users understand the basic concepts” of an HMI and “more readily accept the style of human-machine interface that the standard recommends.”

If you’re interested in learning more about the standard, read Benitz’s blog post, “4 Things You Need to Know About ISA 101 HMI Standard.

2014 Gray Matter Systems Year in Review

As we busy ourselves making the plans that will shape our 2015, we constantly look back and reflect on the amazing year that is quickly coming to a close.

In describing 2014, we use words like  “growth,” “opportunity” and “progress.” And while those words are applicable for sure, the most appropriate way to describe 2014 is “Fast”.

Anyway you look at it, this year flew by.

It seems like just yesterday it was January and we were planning to head to Texas for the first Automation Innovation and Technology Conference. Then we blinked and it was time for PIB 2014. Blink again and Christmas music is on the radio.

Here’s a recap of just a few of the most important things that happened in 2014.

PIB 2014: Our Family Grows

I often get asked what sets our automation event apart from the rest.
An easy answer is the breakout sessions, because it’s true. Every year we showcase the latest automation solutions and show how people are solving data-driven challenges across various industries.

[su_list icon=”icon: chevron-circle-right” icon_color=”#990000″]PIB 2014 Highlights

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GE Intelligent Platforms OpEx Digitization Coach Coleman Easterly did a great session on Best Practices With Plant Applications this year.  Our friend Benoit Lapensee, MES coordinating engineer at Cascades Tissue Group in Canada, gave a great presentation on his company’s efficiency improvement initiatives.

APIB2014WebHeadernd then there’s the keynote speakers we have year to year. This year we had a great presentation from GE Intelligent Platforms General Manager Bernie Anger. Last year it was Mark Bernardo, General Manager, Global Services and Support at GE Intelligent Platforms. Both were ridiculously inspiring.

But this year, when people asked me what made PIB 2014 different from all the other show this year, I started adding a new one to the mix: networking with enthusiasm.

Ok, that may be a bit much to start with. Let me back up.

First off, in case you didn’t know, Gray Matter Systems holds an annual automation event in Put-in-Bay, OH. The event is conference style and solution focused, with breakout sessions, a tabletop trade show, and lots of networking opportunities.

Though it has been going for about 20 years now, recently the event started getting its name by combining the initials of the location (PIB) and with the current year (2014).

emersonHence the name PIB 2014 – the label for this year’s event. Next year it’ll be PIB 2015. If you’re in automation and solving data-driven problems, you should be there.

In every way you could measure it, PIB 2014 was huge. Like always, attendees came from as far as Ontario and Edmonton and as near as Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. Newer members of the Gray Matter Systems family made the trip from the Gulf region in places like Houston, TX and Pryor, OK.

There were quite a few brandnew faces too. And just like our attendees that come year after year, the new attendees hailed from varied backgrounds and were at all different stages in their professional careers.

And they all had a great story to tell.

But even with the varied industries and skill levels, the thing that always amazes me is how these professionals from such different backgrounds connect and interact with great enthusiasm.

This year I watched a veteran PIB participant with 30 years of manufacturing experience take great interest in learning about water treatment operations from a first-time attendee from Canada. I watched oil & gas and pulp & paper guys from different states swap stories over dinner about what was keeping them up at night in their operations.

timkenI saw people who didn’t have much at all in common come together in a comfortable, professional environment and have a great time getting to know each other.

 

I like to think we foster that kind environment because we’re genuinely interested in solving our customers problems and creating long-term relationships with the people with which we work. I think that comes through in how our customers interact with each other and in the overall tone of the event.

Our enthusiasm and dedication to the relentless pursuit of ROI for our customers is the common thread that holds us all together.

It was awesome to see folks excited to connect regardless of backgrounds.  I’m already looking forward to next year, which will certainly be different but no less amazing.

Cincinnati MSD and Gray Matter Systems Tackle Tough Wet Weather Problems with Technology

In a September 9, 2014, press release, Cincinnati MSD announced its intentions to use new technology to address the city’s wet-weather challenges.  With the help of Gray Matter Systems, Cincinnati MSD will use technology from GE Intelligent Platforms to optimize its wet-weather facilities, equipment and operations, and reduce overflows.

Cincinnati MSD Deputy Director Biju George speaking at the GE Intelligent Platforms User Summit in Orlando in October.

Cincinnati MSD Deputy Director Biju George speaking at the GE Intelligent Platforms User Summit in Orlando in October.

Cincinnati will be able to capture data on excess water produced during periods of heavy rainfall or snowmelt, which can exceed the capacity of the sewer system or treatment plant and result in the discharge of pollutants into nearby streams, rivers or other bodies of water.

Solving wet-weather challenges stemming from combined sewer overflow issues at home is just the first step, said Cincinnati Director of Water and Sewers Tony Parrott.

“Not only does this enable us to meet our own needs, there’s something to be said about developing new capabilities and solutions to improve water quality that can be leveraged by other CSO communities across the country,” Parrott said. “That’s powerful stuff — we’re not only solving problems here with technology, but nationally as well as others implement similar platforms.”

Read more here. 

AITC 2014: Kicking Things Off in Texas

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Keynote speaker Brian Courtney dives into Big Data and Analytics during the Automation Innovation and Technology Conference 2014 in Lake Conroe, TX.

In 2014, Gray Matter Systems held the first of what will become an annual tradition in the Gulf Region: The Automation Innovation and Technology Conference.

The event, held at La Torretta Lake Resort in Lake Conroe, TX., was designed for automation professionals interested in solving complex data-driven problems with the latest solutions.

The Automation Innovation and Technology Conference (AITC for short) was designed to inspire conversation, spotlight challenges, propose solutions, and showcase innovative technologies.

Featuring the same kind of high-quality content attendees of our annual meeting in AITCheaderPut-in-Bay have become accustomed, attendees experienced in-depth breakout sessions, success stories, and hands-on demo in our table-top trade show.

Attendees from all across the country came to Lake Conroe to attend breakout sessions dedicated to solving data-driven challenges in oil & gas, water/wastwater, and manufacturing. While the event highlighted sessions from Gray Matter Systems and its family of vendor partners, the main theme resounding through the conference was how GE is Investing $1.5 Billion in Big Data and Analytics over the next three years.

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The event’s keynote speaker, Brian Courtney, General Manager of Industrial Data Intelligence at GE Intelligent Platforms, carried on that theme. Courtney explained to packed meeting hall at La Torretta how GE is working to manage, visualize, and analyze the worlds industrial data.

Gray Matter Systems is bringing the event back to Texas in 2015 – this year at Northwest Forest Conference Center, March 25-27.  As always, this solution-focused, three-day event, is for all automation professionals interested in solving today’s biggest challenges.

Early registration is open – sign up now!

Gray Matter Systems Unveils ConvertIT, iFIX Super Historical Trending Chart

This year, Gray Matter Systems unveiled ConvertIT, a fully automated engineering service for converting  Wonderware® InTouch®HMI software to GE Intelligent Platforms® Proficy® HMI/ SCADA iFIX®.

The service automatically converts convertITInTouch tag database and WIN file graphic screens into Proficy HMI/SCADA iFIX file formats, reducing Reduce conversion and commissioning labor costs by 50% or more compared to manual conversion.

To learn more and get pricing, click here.

Gray Matter Systems also announced the iFIX Super Historical Trending Chart, a pre-configured Proficy HMI/SCADA iFIX screen built to help users take more control of their SCADA system.

The iFIX Super Trending Chart lets you create or adjust historical trending charts by clicking directly on an asset, all in run-time mode without any coding required.

Operators can create reports on the fly directly from an asset. Existing reports can be adjusted to fit changing needs.

The iFIX Super Trending Chart also allows users highlight critical data points by making annotations to trending reports without leaving the trending tool. Annotations are recorded and stored directly to the Historian for analysis without leaving the trending tool.

  • Create or edit historial trending charts on the fly from assets instead of tag names
  • Annotations recorded to historian available at all SCADA stations and reports
  • Work in run-time mode – no development license required
  • No programming required. Just copy the pre-configured screen into the iFIX installation

To learn more, click here. 

Top 5 Webinars of 2014

1. Show Me the Data: Why You Should Love iFIX Trending and the Super Historical Trending Chart

showmedDataGray Matter Systems senior engineer Bill Weed dives into iFIX trending.

Learn how about the different types of graphs and built-in capabilities in Proficy HMI/SCADA iFIX that make the software’s trend charts flexible and powerful. Watch on-demand. 

2. The Industrial Internet and Industrial Big Data: Connected Machines, Data, Insights, and People

IndustrialInterntThis webinar will explain in simple terms what GE’s vision for the Industrial Internet and Industrial Big Data means to you.

Learn how Industrial Big Data — the lifeblood of the Industrial Internet — is being harnessed to enhance assets and process performance in ways previously thought impossible. Watch on-demand. 

3. ICS Security 101: Modern Strategies for Securing Your Network

icsThumbMalicious cyber-attacks that devastate critical infrastructure are often enacted within the latest Hollywood blockbuster movies.

All too often these incidents seem to be fictional entertainment and highly unlikely to ever occur, and once the movie ends you’re left wondering, “Could that really happen?” Unfortunately, not only could this happen – it is happening – and widely publicized cyber-security attacks like Stuxnet and Flame have proven this so. Watch on-demand. 

4.  How to Track Any Change in Your iFIX System

trackAnyChangeCheck out this on-demand webinar to learn how to track and trace changes in your Proficy HMI/SCADA – iFIX configuration using versiondog software.

Learn how simple, quick, and easy it is to instantly see detailed information on modifications made to your iFIX configuration.  Watch on-demand.

5.  How Mobile Computing and ACP ThinManager are Transforming Automation

ACPheaderThis webinar shows how ACP ThinManager simplifies the delivery of centralized productivity applications (HMI, MES, ERP, etc.) to virtually any device.

ACP ThinManager’s Jamie Blanchard will show you how to properly manage complex, mixed-use computer environments, while optimizing resources with a context-sensitive “needs-based” delivery system that can provide user specific data in and beyond your automation platform.  Watch on-demand. 

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