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.

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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

TechHub: Leading a Digital, Industrial Era and Cyber Security as a National Priority

GE’s 2016 Report and the industry potential for 2017 and onward

This week GE Digital released its 2016 Annual Report, highlighting details such as an 83-percent increase in GE cash from operating activities, amounting to $30 Billion, as well as an increase by 4-percent in Industrial Segment Revenues, amounting to over $113 Billion.

Other components to the report are a look into building jet engines, a letter to shareholders, testing a giant gas turbine and more.

The report featured a 3D interactive video, explaining additive manufacturing and the new technologies that help design 3D-printed products.

It allows you to explore pictures of the assembly of the largest jet engine designed for commercial use, as well as the most fuel-efficient one produced by GE.

3D-printed fuel nozzles and fan blades, electron beam melting and more are explored through this interactive demonstration of innovative and futuristic manufacturing in the “Factory of Tomorrow.”

Playing by the (cyber) rules

This week a new set of rules went into effect in New York requiring companies to put cyber defenses in place. It’s just the start of what will be a new era of rules and regulations about cyber security for industries. While this week’s rules are just for New York, they will have a big impact on companies outside of the state.

What are the rules?

Companies in the finance industry are now required to have a cyber-security plan in place.  According to Fortune, this includes network penetration testing, cyber audit trails and restricting access to customer data.  Firms will also need a senior security officer whose job is to submit an annual compliance certificate.

“The days of saying,’I have a great IT guy’ are now over,” said an accounting firm executive during the Fortune interview. Cyber security has become a boardroom issue.  

Who are the rules for?

The companies who need to comply are banking, insurance, or brokerage firms that use licenses to operate in New York. Fortune also reports it’s important to note the rules will affect third-party vendors.

The regulations don’t affect operational technology companies at this time, but the same scenario is playing out in the OT space. Cyber is no longer a technology issue, it’s an enterprise issue. We’ll keep you posted as the regulations grow.

Governors declare cyber security a national emergency, state emergency

“Cyber security is critical to each and every governor.”

Those were the words of Terry McAuliffe, Chairman of the National Governors Association, at the four-day-long meeting in Washington D.C. as he urged fellow governors to take cyber threat precautions and increase their states’ defenses.

Noting that his own state faced 86 million cyber attacks in 2016, according to The Hill, the Virginia governor said that cybersecurity is both a national and state issue.

The association has made cyber security a recent priority, holding its first regional summit on cyber security in October and setting up a cyber center to aid states with securing infrastructure.

McAuliffe noted there is still a drastic need of a strategic plan on how to tackle cyber security within states, as well as improving critical infrastructure vulnerabilities.

Learn how to create faster time to OT security and how to multiply your cyber team in the free webinar: Accelerate Time to OT protection on March 16.

Register for the Webinar

New computing system made from blockchain is less vulnerable to cyber attacks

This week, several corporate giants announced joining forces to create a new computing system based on the virtual currency network Ethereum.

Similar to Bitcoin, the technology platform will run on a custom-built blockchain, a very powerful shared global infrastructure that can help developers create markets, store registries of debts, move funds and more.

One notable aspect of the platform is the ability to create a tradeable digital token used as online currency that can either be set to a fixed amount or fluctuate depending on the programming, according to Ethereum, the Swiss nonprofit organization. The virtual currency is known as Ether within the network.

It can run smart contracts. It enables applications to run exactly as programmed without the possibility of downtime, censorship, fraud or third party interference.

This is good news for cyber security experts.

According to the New York Times, the technology is reported as being harder to hack.

By adapting blockchain technology into their business models, large businesses are able to safely keep track of information such as stock and bond trading transactions.

The creation of the alliance shows the push forward among big companies to integrate technology into business plans and create streamlined databases with less back-office maintenance.

ICYMI: Automation News Roundup, Week Ending June 5

The Tech Age

Consumer Affairs asked the question others may have been thinking– “Are older adults at a disadvantage right now during a technological boom?”

Photo courtesy NEC Corporation of America, Creative Commons

Think about it.

If you need to interact with most businesses, services, and even government, you are likely encouraged and/or required to do so online.

For many of us, this is more convenient. But what about those who do not have access to a computer?

In 2011, AARP reported that 62% of those 75 and older didn’t even own a computer.

A new study with individuals ranging from age 19-99 began to study how they handled using a tablet.

“In addition to the traditional technologically savvy millennial who is constantly connected to his or her device, we also had the lower range of technology interaction, with almost 6% of the sample reporting that they do not understand what a tablet is, even after three-quarters page long description with photos,” the authors wrote, according to the Consumer Affairs report. 

The researchers found that, generally, as age increased, so did negative attitudes towards technology. It was also suggested that technology engineers could design devices with more senior-friendly features.

What do you think? Should there be easy-to-use features for tech devices so more can enjoy the benefits of this age, or should it stay the same?

IoT Inside Grain Operations

Photo by Nicholas A. Tonelli

Even in this age, when you think about grain operations, your first thought probably isn’t the Internet of Things or cloud-based systems. But according to a recent Automation World article, that’s the reality for Riceland Foods grain facility in Jonesboro, AK.

Their system “is designed to provide continuous monitoring and actionable information to help operators proactively prevent problems by managing both grain and equipment conditions,” and combines TempuTech system with GE’s Equipment Insight for data collection and analysis.

The data transmission and analysis tools allow information to be accessed online, on site, remotely and by operators or company managers at all times.

“With the system installed, the 2014 harvest marked the first time that Riceland reported not having to stop operations to dig out grain,” according to Automation World.

Want to  learn more about this grain facility? Read the rest of the article here. 

World’s Largest Photograph

The title for the world’s largest photograph has officially been named to a photo of Mont Blanc Mountain in Europe.

Photo by  Filippo Blengini

Photo by Filippo Blengini

The giant photo is 365 gigapixels and 46 terabytes big.

Photographer Filippo Blengini took an impressive 70,000 photos with a file size of 46 TB.

You can view the photo in a interactive, zoomable version that allows you to see every nook and cranny of the mountain.

Rumor has it you can even spot a flying eagle.

Same-Old, Same-Old

According to a recent post by GE Intelligent Platforms, results have shown that the two biggest challenges for manufacturers are still a “lack of collaboration and disparate systems and data sources.”

Even right now, in an era of growth.

The following is a chart depicting the top operational challenges experienced by these manufacturing professionals:

Source: LNS Research

Source: LNS Research

While IoT and the Industrial Internet are words constantly on the tip of our tongues, these two challenges remain.

However, their post reminds us that the key to overcoming these challenges is education — specifically in IIoT.

Of course, it’s often thought that the concept is barely clarified.

“For example, a common question I hear is, “Does a thing only include ‘physical devices’ or does it also refer to the broader ecosystem of people, processes and physical devices?” Different people and organizations have different takes, but we believe it’s useful to take as liberal a definition as possible when thinking about what “things” are, and subsequently what the IoT is,” said Matthew Littlefield of LNS Research.  

A Little Bit of History

Charles W. Bachman of GE won the 2012 National Medal of Technology and Innovation for fundamental inventions in database management, transaction processing, and software engineering.

Media We Link To:

“In a Technology Age Are Older Adults at a Disadvantage?” – Consumer Affairs

“World’s Largest Photograph” – GMA Network

“IIoT Defining Solutions Same-Old” – GE Intelligent Platforms

“Industrial Internet of Things Inside Grain Operations” – Automation World

Charles W. Bachman – 2012 National Medal of Technology & Innovation” – National Medals 

ICYMI: Automation News Roundup, Week Ending April 10

Can You Dig it?

A recent blog post on GE Report not only chronicled the history of the Panama Canal, but announced that it’s actually going through a growth spurt at the moment.

Photo courtesy Lyn Gateley, Creative Commons

The “48-mile-long waterway that cuts across the backbone of the Western Hemisphere is going through the final year of a massive expansion.”

The $5-billion project’s bigger locks will allow a “giant New Panamax”-increasing the canal’s capacity by half and energizing ports from Miami to Boston.

The Panama Canal actually celebrated their centennial anniversary last summer, reminding us that the feat is one of the largest, human-led engineering projects. Not to mention, GE’s first large, government contracts.

To experience even more of the rich history surrounding the Panama Canal, read here. 

Healthcare Fraud has Met its Match: Big Data

Photo courtesy of Healthcare Costs, Creative Commons

The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners said that 2015 is “the year that technology will give v fraudsters an edge,” according to a post by VentureBeat. 

And yet, technology may ironically be one thing that significantly stops cyber criminals and fraudsters in their tracks.

Current data analytics offer progress in health-care security, specifically in patient privacy and prescription fraud, according to VentureBeat. 

“For health care organizations tasked with the responsibility to protect patient details and medical information, data is their best friend. It can be used to not only address security, fraud prevention and compliance problems, but also to anticipate and proactively address these issues,” said VentureBeat. 

To read more about how big data analytics can impact the healthcare industry and protect against fraud, check out the post here. 

 3D-Printing Can Save Lives

The website, 3DPrint,com, speculated that the 3D-printing technology that’s on the rise is an unlikely hero.

Between the USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) and the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), developing countries are assisted with preparing with extreme weather- often through weather stations.

However, it’s often challenging for poorer countries to upkeep these stations.

Photo courtesy of Mirko Tobias Schäfer, Creative Commons

The solution to this challenge? The low-cost technology of 3D-printing.

“The Micro-Manufacturing and Assembly project overseen by Kelly Sponberg, a program manager at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) Joint Office of Science Support (JOSS), working in collaboration with NOAA, has begun developing afforable, 3D printed meteorological tools with which to equip weather stations,” reported

3D printers can be used to manufacture all necessary parts for the weather stations- making the offer of these life-saving stations even more reliable to more areas in need.

Chainless E-bike Making Strides for City Cycling

VentureBeat reported that an estimated 200,000 people cycle through New York alone, changing the face of commuting forever.

Photo courtesy of Tejvan Pettinger, Creative Commons

Enter, Jivr, a unique solution to the cycling world. It’s chainless, folding, electric/mechanical hybrid bike that was started with a $100,000 Kickstarter campaign.

“Jivr’s motor is located on the front wheel and promises around 20 miles per charge, depending on how many hills you climb; the charge takes around 90 minutes from empty. It will travel at up to 16 miles per hour (MPH), which keeps it at the lower end of the speed spectrum and means you don’t require a driver’s license or helmet (though you should wear a helmet anyway),” said VentureBeat. 

 Read more about Jivr, the chainless, electric bike here. 

Media we link to:

Dig This: The Panama Canal is About to Get Busy- GE Reports 

Big data analytics can prevent health care fraud. Here’s how- Venture Beat

3D Printed Weather Stations Will Save Lives in Developing Countries-

Meet Jivr, the chainless e-bike that wants to revolutionize city cycling- Venture Beat

Featured image by  Jake Stimpson, Creative Commons


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