TechHub: The Internet of Energy, Digital Solutions in Water & Brilliant Manufacturing

The Internet of Energy: Big Data & Electrons

The Internet of Things (IoT) is an industry-wide term for connected and smart devices within a network of connectivity that allows them to collect and exchange data.

A new and not-so-understood concept, being dubbed the “internet of power” by Forbes, is applying the use of big data, machine learning and IoT technology to replace the one-way, current model of energy delivery.

GE Power, that supplies 30-percent of the world’s electricity, has been developing this opportunity in an effort to revolutionize the electricity industry.

“The electricity industry is still following a one-hundred-year-old model which our founder, Edison, helped to proliferate,” said Chief Digital Officer at GE Power Ganesh Bell in Forbes.

Bell believes that can change, and that the answer is to take advantage of the current grid-based generation and delivery mechanism, increasing it with the flow of data.

This will take that linear model and move it to a networked model; taking every electron, associating it with a data bit, and optimizing it.

Creating this new system of “smart” energy distribution will pave the way for innovative structures in the future such as a reliable network of energy for charging stations, aiding society in the move away from fossil fuels.

This adoption of IoT technology will transform the power industry to a $1.3 trillion field within the next 10 years, according to Forbes.

Join us in Chicago on April 10th for Digital Day to learn more about the digital, industrial transformation and connect with top thought leaders from companies like Johnson & Johnson, Gray Matter, GE and more.

Register for Digital Day

Brilliant Factory in Grove City Puts New Life in Old Engines



The engine remanufacturing plant in Grove City, PA, has been operating for 5 years, occupies 440,000-square feet and employs more than 400 people.

The facility has made a huge transformation from being a food packaging plant into being one of GE’s first seven high-tech “brilliant” factories.

Gray Matter, through a partnership with GE, has helped implement advanced technology such as sensors that allow workers to measure and see real-time data at a glance. This improves reliability, has reduced downtime by 10 to 20-percent and boosts productivity.

The Grove City plant refurbishes diesel engines, taking old engines and give them life again.

This used to require works to manually tighten bolts in a repetitive motion by hand, using machines weighing in at 40-pounds on 41,000-pound engines, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 

This new technology allowed them to have an automated way to uniformly tighten the bolts in a sequence, preventing possible injury to the workers and creating a standard for all of the bolts.

It also gives plant managers the ability to call up data on a tablet or smart phone rather than touring plant operations on foot, allowing them to address problems sooner and supervise workers remotely.

Join Gray Matter on April 18th for our Toronto Seminar and learn more about digital innovations in manufacturing, water and energy.

Connect with leaders from companies such as GE Digital, CyberX, Eramosa and more for a full day of discussion, followed by an optional Blue Jays v. Red Sox game.

Register Now

Partnering Digital Solutions & IIoT Technology to Benefit Water


The ultimate goal for water and wastewater utilities is to always be safer in order to protect the communities they serve.

GE Water put out on social this week a piece written by Steve Davis, a business development leader at GE Power, Water & Process Technologies.

It discusses the problems of the world of water and how the solutions lie within industry partnerships.

According to Davis, there is no single company in the water industry that can provide connectivity, platform, software and analytics all in one.

A quote from Gray Matter VP of Water in Water Innovations: Creating a Better Living.

The solutions to these problems are exist, however are still in their infancy and fragmented.

By uniting experts within the industry, a combined commercial effort is created through a mutually beneficial relationship.

By connecting top industry thought leaders, the partnerships cultivate into innovative ideas that can excel the industry and pace of the digital revolution. It simplifies data integration, and takes away the once overwhelming feeling for customers by interconnecting platforms.

New technologies are giving people hope that they can achieve better standards of living, and Gray Matter is helping to lead the way in the water evolution.

Download our white paper Water Innovations Create Better Living to read real customer success stories of increased efficiency and profits through innovative technology.

Download the White Paper

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

How’s the Weather: A Test-Bed for Technology

Let’s talk weather. It might be one of the most basic exchanges of small talk, but recently it’s become even more.

According to Jamie Carter of TechRadar, it’s becoming a test-bed for modern technology such as big data, the Internet of Things (IoT), and even cloud storage.

The data mostly comes from “weather stations, observation systems at airports, meteorological satellites, ocean buoys, ships, aircraft and – most recently – personal weather stations in people’s homes that are connected to the internet.”

Carter said  that if crowd-sourcing weather data is on the rise, (as are sensor-packed smartphones) this can help meet the demand for hyper-local weather data.

With mobile devices and other IoT devices, even the average smartphone owner might be able to give the weather industry more real-time data that can be used to create more sophisticated weather prediction models.Weather-Data

Who doesn’t want a more accurate look into the weather? You can’t predict the nastiest of extreme weather patterns, but we might be getting closer.

The IoT even offers different, cheaper ways to collect weather observations.

“Existing observation networks are limited in number but highly calibrated, because they’re expensive to run and operate,” said Charles Ewen, chief information officer at the Met Office in the TechRadar article. “However, the IoT offers a high density of observations of an unknown quality.”

And analyzing weather data isn’t just convenient for knowing when to wear raincoat. Per Nyberg of InformationWeek said that “early, granular, and accurate” weather reports could benefit everyone from healthcare providers to retailers.

“Granular and early forecasts can create business opportunities — for example, alerting a brewery to supply distributors and points-of-sale greater inventory in anticipation of an unusually warm spring weekend in the Northeast,” said Nyberg. “Or suppose a blizzard is due to hit Atlanta on Black Friday — with enough notice, retailers could adjust their plans.” 

Per Nyberg, InformationWeek

Of course, Carter notes that while predicting weather has always been about clouds, it’s now also about the cloud. He said the cable TV company, The Weather Channel, used about 13 data centers and generated a whopping four terabytes of data an hour. But by using the cloud, The Weather Channel is now processing a predictions “in milliseconds, and every 15 minutes rather than once per hour.”

Here’s a few other stories from this week worth noting. 

Should Banks Prepare for the IoT?

A recent report from Deloitte has shown some major potential for the IoT in both the retail banking and capital markets. According to Christopher O. Hernaes of TechCrunch, because banks rely on data for risk management and credit analysis.

“In addition to adding new data sources to credit scores, sensor technology could revolutionize loan collateral tracking and balance sheet reporting for both SMEs and corporate clients,” said Hernaes. “Imagine the possibilities for real-time monitoring of inventory or livestock for manufacturing and agriculture segments. This would potentially enable banks to perform automated and near real-time balance sheet reporting.” 

In addition to banking, we’re already seeing “smart” payments like with Apple Pay. MasterCard is apparently even allowing payments through the fitness wearable, Jawbone.

Continue reading this post from TechCrunch.

4 Network Requirements for the IoT

According to Ben Rossi of Information Age, the hype over the Internet of Things is full-speed and not going to slow down any time soon.

Rossi said there are four important network requirements for enabling the IoT before taking advantage of the transformations it has to offer:

  • Broadening the horizons of the network’s visibility
  • Determining your IoT fit
  • Smarter feedback for smarter decisions
  • Defending “dumb devices”

Read more about these here.

Know Thy Enemy

A recent article by Edward Jones of Entrepreneur suggested a new kind of cyber security strategy– hire a hacker.

If this sounds unconventional, you’re not alone. If hackers cause so much damage, why would anyone want to hire them?

Jones said there are multiple reasons, however, to consider hiring ethical hackers:

  • Everyone’s under cyber-attack
  • Ethical hackers spot vulnerabilities
  • Can be worth the money in the end

Read more about ethical hackers.

Media We Link To:

“Cloud on Clouds: How Weather Data is a Test-Bed For New Tech” – TechRadar

“3 Ways Big Data Supercomputing Change Weather Forecasting” – InformationWeek

“Banks Should Prepare For the Internet of Things” – TechCrunch 

“4 network requirements to enable the Internet of Things” – Information Age

“Know Thy Enemy, Hire a Hacker” – Entrepreneur

The Human-Centric Internet of Things

The Internet of Things.

Bloggers write about it, Gartner analysts research its future impact, and others discuss it over coffee with colleagues.

Whether it seems likely now or not, Gartner said that by 2020 there will be 25 billion connected things. Still, many industry leaders have their concerns.

We’re living in a time where security incidents like Stuxnet happen and a number of other breaches are the norm. Being wary about a time where every “thing” is Internet-facing is certainly warranted.

In fact, at the IQPC Cyber Security Forum in Calgary this October, security consultant  Nicolas McKerrall set out to show just how vulnerable the Internet of Things can be, according to a recent article by IT World Canada.

With his own personal investment of a couple hundred dollars, McKerrall illustrated “just how easily one could issue commands to the myriad of devices in an industrial control network.” He even walks the attendees through step by step how easy it is, and there’s even a video of him doing so:

According to McKerrall, gaining access can be as easy as making a fake account on LinkedIn. And in some cases, that’s not even necessary–like when the devices are connected  to a network.

Once you reach any of these devices, said McKerrall, “they will happily spit out all the information that you need to allow you to take control of them. They’ll tell you what device they are and what versions of software they are running.”

What McKerrall has illustrated is some pretty unnerving stuff around the Internet of Things. But the author of the article, Jim Love, makes a good point.

“Should we be afraid of the Internet of Things?  No. We should be afraid of proceeding into it with our eyes closed,” said Love. “Admitting and acknowledging the weaknesses we know about can allow us to find ways to architect a much more secure ecosystem.” 

Jim Love

But apprehension isn’t the only emotion tied to the Internet of Things (IoT). In fact, H. James WilsonBaiju Shah, and Brian Whipple of Harvard Business Review said in a recent article that a more human-centric side of the IoT is beginning to gain popularity.

“It’s less about automation and more about personal augmentation; less about individual devices and more about ‘living services’ that let people program and connect smart devices however they want,” said the authors.

For example, IoT living services might look like connecting your car to a smart garage door opener, which is connected to a smart lock, and even activates your smart thermostat and smart lighting system. You pull into the driveway and they simultaneously interact– creating a better, “smarter” experience of coming home. This is human-centric IoT.

After completing an open-source analysis of IoT behavior, the authors found that of the 1,000 technology platforms and services, customers generally want an IoT that provides personalized services. In fact, the top responses include IoT services that provide feelings of safety at home, quantifying data around oneself, and optimizing what we would have to do otherwise manually.

“The data show that the most heavily used IoT programs are ones that make home life easier, more distinctive, and more pleasant,” said Wilson, Shah, and Brian. “Respondents also show a big preference for services that don’t require them to go out of their way to make something work.” 

Here’s some other notable stories from this past week:

Medical Students Crunch Big Datasteth

This week, KUNC Radio began their multimedia story with a simple phrase: Medicine, meet Big Data.

And what an interesting introduction, indeed. Interpreting data isn’t exactly a skill most physicians were required to learn in medical school.

But New York University’s medical students Brian Chao, Michael Lui, Hye Min Choi, and Varun Vijay are using data to analyze health trends– specifically learning about the anatomy of cells, and how disease may disrupt them. It’s even a big part of their studies.

“That’s how we make decisions; we make them based on the truth and the evidence that are present in those data,” said Marc Triola, an associate dean for educational informatics at NYU’s medical school.

Read more about these NYU med students analyzing health data.

Cyber Attacks on the Rise Since Sony Hack

Marianne Zumberge of Variety said yesterday that cyber attacks are on the rise in the media industry about one year after the Sony Hack, according to a new survey.

“Of the 319 execs in the media business surveyed worldwide in May and June, 46% reported having been subject to cyberattacks over the past year from third parties such as hackers that targeted digital media in advance of a major launch such as theatrical or DVD releases,” said Zumberge. “When asked the same question last year, only 29% reported such incursions.”

Continue reading here.

Five Biggest Things in Tech Right Now

Summarizing  some of the biggest pieces of news into a nice, bite-size article, Gene Marks of Forbes points out five trends in the technology space:

  • The connected home appliance market in the U.S. is expected to grow at a rate of more than 98% over the next five years.
  • Despite regulatory issues, funding for drones continues to fly high.
  • Verizon’s new Android phone has a shatter-proof screen…and 48 hours of battery life.
  • NASA is offering patents to start-ups with no money down.
  • Facebook at Work signs up its biggest business yet.

Read more from Marks.

Contact GrayMatter

Get in touch with us!