TechHub: Bell Revolutionizing Transportation, Exxon’s Future & Oil News

Bell Helicopter Revolutionizing Mass Transportation

Bell Helicopter is leading the innovation in mass transportation through a partnership with Uber, expecting to create the world’s first air-taxis by 2025, according to Bloomberg.

“Air taxi is the next way for our industry, and it’s very important for us to make sure we are among the disrupters to think about what should be transportation in the next 10-20 years,” said Patrick Moulay, executive vice president for commercial helicopter sales.

oil and gas

A commercial teasing the release of the air taxis shows a familiar Uber-like screen to order the taxi for pickup.

“We’re not going to see a taxi flying tomorrow, but it’s much closer than what people think.”

The initial testing is set to begin in 2020 in Dallas and Dubai, two car-clogged cities with notorious traffic problems.

ExxonMobil to Triple Production by 2025

ExxonMobil, the largest oil company in the U.S., announced plans to triple oil and gas production by 2025 — continuing the positive signs of a boom in national crude production, according to the NY Times.

The company has been investing heavily in the Permian Basin, an area between West Texas and New Mexico leading the way in a national recovery of oil production after a three-year fall in crude prices.

The Permian is roughly the size of South Dakota with multiple layers of thick shale, easing the costs of exploration, drilling and production.

oil and gas

An ExxonMobil drilling site in the Permian Basin.

Exxon said that tripling oil and natural gas production would bring its output in the Permian to 600,000 barrels a day. To support increase production, it will invest more than $2 billion to expand production infrastructure.

Energy companies are racing to build pipelines to move Permian oil and gas to Gulf of Mexico ports for export as well as pipelines to Mexico, where natural gas is replacing oil and coal in an effort to remake the country’s electricity system and clean up urban air.

ExxonMobil said it would spend $50 billion on U.S. operations over the next five years, highlighting the company’s shift to operations in the U.S. and Western Hemisphere.

The Amazing Tech Disrupting Oil & Gas

As each new age group goes “digitally native,” the overall workforce has demanded higher workplace technology standards — even in legacy industries, according to Entrepreneur.

The transition has resulted in massive opportunities for entrepreneurs, creating brand new technologies and updating antiquated processes. The biggest industry opting for digital efficiency and young, entrepreneurial leadership? Oil and gas.

With a booming market and an eagerness for innovation, the industry is ripe for disruption to existing business models and for real growth.

Here’s a snapshot of the top four innovations transforming the oil and gas sector:

Artificial Intelligence

“Artificial intelligence (AI) is set to have the biggest technological impact on the oil and gas industry over the coming years,” according to Omar Saleh, Microsoft’s oil and gas director for the Middle East and Africa.

ExxonMobile, for example, is spearheading AI exploration through a partnership with MIT to explore oceans using AI software.

Cloud Computing

The energy sector’s present adoption of cloud technology is low due to past wariness of security risks, however there’s still a strong future for it.

A forecast by the U.K,-based Oil & Gas Council predicts an increase in adoption due to commercial benefits and possibilities, with some of the most complex organizations embracing the computing power and agility of cloud.

“The oil and gas industry should be afforded exactly the same competitive edge, not confined by their own data centers,” said Shiva Rajagopalan, CEO and founder of Seven Lakes Technologies.

3D-scanning Tech

3D printing is coming in play for oil and gas, creating fast and cost-effective representations of assets for predictive maintenance and execution.

This tech changes the game by:

  • Allowing reverse-engineering to measure oil and gas tools in virtually every shape and size
  • Scanning data to confirm whether replacement parts will fit existing equipment
  • Providing clear documentation of tooling erosion to improve product design
  • Reproducing tooling components

The Internet of Things

We’re well into the fourth industrial revolution, or industry 4.0, at this point in 2018. The industry is aware of the value of IoT, becoming more apparent each day.

Companies are demonstrating new applications for information from these technologies. For oil and gas the value lies in creating a set of standards “to guide how devices are structured, and a common language can be understood,” according to Paul Turner, CMO of Cloudian.

Advanced Robotics

One of the most critical challenges in oil and gas is mitigating risk — which can be managed by deploying human-controlled robotics.

Earlier this year Chevron partnered with OC Robotics to inspect offshore oil and natural gas pressure vessels in the North Sea. The robotic snake arm, built to operate in confined spaces, allows humans to operate critical missions while staying out of harm’s way.

Innovative advances in AI, cloud computing, 3D printing, IoT and robotics are transforming the future of the oil and gas industry.

TechHub: MIT Makes Ink for 3D Printing, 4 IIoT Trends for Executives & More

MIT Makes Ink That Changes 3D Printed Objects’ Color

New research from MIT has created a method for recoloring 3D printed objects after they’ve been printed. The method, called ColorFab, combines software, hardware and special 3D ink, according to CNN.

The new tech aims to reduce waste in manufacturing — preventing the need to re-print something to change the color.


“Manufacturers and designers spend significant amounts of time, energy and money re-printing designs when they don’t come out exactly right the first time,” Stefanie Mueller, coauthor of the paper and professor at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, told CNN Tech. “This sort of technology could help minimize the amount of waste that is produced from updating products.”

By using special 3D printable ink, the color is changed when exposed to UV light. Currently, researchers can change the color of an object in 20 minutes, but believe the time will decrease in the future as methods improve. Efforts are focused on plastic 3D printed materials for now, but it will plans are underway for it to be used on a wide variety of other materials like metals in the future.

4 Trends That Will Help Executives Create A Better World

As we enter into the second month of 2018, everyone in the industry knows what industry 4.0, or the Fourth Industrial Revolution, is and what it means. More and more studies are showing that executives are jumping on board, believing artificial intelligence, machine learning and IoT are going to change the world for the better.

Forbes and Deloitte recently reported that of 1,600 executives surveyed, 87% said industry 4.0 would lead to more equality and stability.

Due to this, it’s predicted that in the future, executives will be expected to pay more attention to societal issues. While the need to achieve financial returns will never go away, four existing trends have been observed that can help companies drive social values:


Technology as a societal tool

Opportunities for using tech for problem-solving humanity’s greatest challenges exist across multiple industries. HSBC CEO John Flint points out that industry 4.0 has enabled the banking sector to create a better world, allowing it to serve previously undeserved communities, due to technology lowering operating costs.

Interested in learning more about smart banks?


Financial Returns From Doing Good

Studies show that companies who focus on doing good reap financial benefits. According to Deloitte, the average sales growth for brands with a commitment to sustainability outperform brands without it, operating at a higher performance. Studies also show that a majority of consumers are willing to pay more for products and services offered by socially responsible companies.


Millennials Adhere To A New Set of Values

It’s known by now that millenials have disrupted the market, often considering a company’s purpose when choosing what to buy or where to work. 64% of millenials won’t take a job from a company that doesn’t have strong corporate social responsibility practices, making it no longer an option.

Deloitte reported that six in ten millenials consider business leaders to be committed to helping improve society, and see business as a positive force that behaves in a responsible way.


The Dawn Of A New Era

The 1980’s brought material excesses, 1990’s the dotcom bubble and 2008 the financial crisis — meaning we’re due for a reset of the social mood. The director of MIT Media Lab predicts that a societal awakening is underway, creating a new sensibility and nonlinear change in consumer behavior through a cultural transformation. Executives will be pushing companies in a more socially minded direction to compensate.

U.S. Shale Breaks Records with Explosive Growth, Beating Saudi Arabia

U.S. oil production has now surged above 10 million barrels a day for the first time in four decades, marking a profound shift in global crude markets, according to Industry Week.

This comes just weeks after the International Energy Agency said the U.S. is poised for “explosive growth” in oil output that would rival Saudi Arabia and Russia this year.

New drilling and production techniques have opened up billions of barrels of recoverable U.S. oil in shale rock formations, reversing decades of declining output and turning the nation into a top exporter.

Nationwide output climbed to 10.038 million barrels a day in November, the Energy Information Administration reported Wednesday. That’s the highest level since November 1970 in monthly data collected by the U.S. agency since 1920.

Production from Texas contributed 3.89 million barrels a day to the November figure, the most of any state.

Forecasts predict U.S. production to have an average of 10.3 million barrels a day this year, and 10.9 million in 2019, beating Saudi Arabia’s production of just less than 10 million barrels.

TechHub: $5 Billion Investment in U.S. Manufacturing, IoT in Water & More

Goldman Sachs, China Team Up to Invest $5 Billion in U.S.Manufacturing

Goldman Sachs and China Investment Corporation (CIC) have announced the formation of a new partnership that will create a $5 billion fund named the China-US Industrial Cooperation Partnership, aimed at investing in U.S. manufacturing, according to the Business Review USA.

Tu Guangshao, Vice Chairman and President of CIC.

The fund will invest into businesses that have or can develop a connection with China, designed to promote market access for U.S. firms in China, in addition to improving the trade balance between the two countries.

“CIC has invested in the US for ten years and is committed to be both an investor and facilitator to develop a stronger China-US investment relationship,” said Tu Guangshao, Vice Chairman and President of CIC.

The fund will create a number of opportunities for American companies to export their products to the expansive Chinese market, with Goldman Sachs acting as the sponsor and investment manager of the fund.

Lloyd Blankfein, Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs said, “The Cooperation Fund will increase Chinese investment in the United States, creating more opportunities for American workers and contributing to China’s economic transition and growth.”

Testing the IoT Waters

Originally Published in CRN

Solution provider GrayMatter is navigating the turbulent IoT waters, using its technical expertise and operational technology background to successfully deploy connected drinking fountains in public places like schools.

“We did a connected smart water fountain [with DC Water] – people think of that as a [classic] IoT application,” GrayMatter CEO James Gillespie told CRN. “That’s a good example because it combines a whole bunch of innovation.”

The Pittsburgh-based GE partner worked with the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority to create drinking fountains that monitor water quality and flow in real-time, which gives users more confidence in the water they are drinking while saving money spent on maintenance and testing.

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The smart drinking fountains, which will initially be installed in hospitals, daycare centers and schools, are equipped with sensors that use real-time data and analytics to monitor water quality and flow levels. The sensors then send that data to the cloud and back with alerts if water quality measurements begin to deteriorate.

Gillespie said the flow and water quality sensors give an accurate indicator of when the lead filter should be changed compared to traditional filters — like refrigerator filters — that measure flow only.

If water quality begins to deteriorate, alerts are sent by text or email to water managers, while… (Read More).

Data Management Tool Saves Big

A control system that’s responsible for servicing over 150,000 people has multiple applications, each with its own data source, and requires a tedious, time-consuming process of manually sifting through paper logbooks and binder after binder of printed reports when gaps exist in data sets.

This wastes time, money and causes a major headache for plant employees.

The City of Barrie was determined to fix this, saving 60 to 70-percent of the time previously used as a result of digital transformation.

By implementing a new data management tool, e.RIS, it allowed for:

  • Data commenting
  • Workflow for report approvals
  • Tag merge
  • Lab data integration and electronic logbooks

Learn more about e.RIS and catch up on other success stories:

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Q&A: GrayMatter CEO Jim Gillespie on the Industrial IoT Opportunity

GrayMatter CEO Jim Gillespie sits down with CRN for a Q&A during GE’s Minds + Machines 2017 conference in San Francisco, detailing rapidly evolving interest in the Internet of Things over the past year and expected trends for 2018 among industrial customers.

Originally published in CRN

Q: Can you talk about GrayMatter, who you guys are?

GrayMatter’s goal is to transform operations and empower people. We work with some of the biggest companies in the world to transform their operations and help every operator be empowered to act like the best one.

We help them connect their critical assets and work smarter to make better decisions. We see them and think about helping them play Moneyball with their digital assets. A lot of our focus is on manufacturing, digital utilities, connected field services and with the industrial IoT.

Q: Talk about industrial IoT, what kind of services are you guys offering around that area?

The industrial IoT is a really big opportunity. We help people with assessments, we help people sort through what the strategies and opportunities can be and we look into putting a plan together, a strategy, quick proofs of concept and really start to generate information to make those assets better.

We help people identify assets that are breaking before they’re broke, alerting the field service team to get the right person with the right skill set with the right parts out to those assets at the right time.

Q: Looking forward to 2018, what kind of trends should we look out for around the industrial IoT space?

We’re really excited about it. At the main stage of Minds and Machines here today, they talked about how 85-percent of the clients know they need digital transformation, and only about 13-percent of the people are acting.

So there’s a huge opportunity to close the gap between aspirations and action. We get together with the clients, do a lot of co-innovation to solve through these issues and layout a road map, really helping them get to their aspirations around digital.

Another trend is this whole new world of connecting the products out there and closing the loop with the field service transformation. You could transform the service first and then connect the products, or vice versa – that wasn’t really possible five years ago, so the art of the possible is a trend.

Q: What kind of language do industrial customers use when they talk about IoT? Do they actually say ‘the Internet of Things?’

I think that lingo is interesting because we’ve done edge connectivity for 25 years but that term has only recently come into the OT space.

That was a networking term that is now used for OT connectivity.

We do see clients using industrial IoT and IoT lingo – some people in manufacturing think of the term ‘Industry 4.0’ as sort of a way to think about it.

In the utility space, people are thinking of digital utilities.

“We help them connect their critical assets and work smarter to make better decisions. We see them and think about helping them play Moneyball with their digital assets.”

Q: What’s causing the digital gap? What challenges are industrial customers facing?

I think the gap is made up of a lot of subparts – a skill gap, knowledge gap, people, culture, execution – it’s sort of a perfect storm of all those things.

We have a lot of manufacturing clients, so there’s a lot of legacy challenges that came before them – what’s legacy-installed, and getting it up into that digital world and integrating the supply chain. So an overall view of the supply chain is a big deal. And our second biggest client is digital utilities – we think a lot of wastewater and power are working through that as well.

Q: How are you first bringing up the discussion around IoT projects with industrial customers?

I think there’s two ways – when we work with someone like DC Water, we’re really a co-innovation partner with them, so if you asked them they’d say they come to us when they’re looking to solve a problem they couldn’t solve before, and they come to us to find out the art of the possible.

The other way is we think about what are the outcomes the customers are looking for, and what’s the best way to achieve those outcomes.

Q: What’s one use case where you’ve successfully deployed an IoT solution?

We did a connected smart water fountain [with DC Water in Washington, D.C.] – people think of that as an IoT application. That’s a good example because it combines a whole bunch of innovation. It’s IoT and the value of the network, so when you have multiple drops on the network you can now get like a Google map picture of the water quality instead of the traffic with blue, yellow and red signifying how the water quality is in different points of consumption.

At the same time, we’ve made the devices intelligent so they check their own quality, and they try to clean themselves and let someone know if they need help being cleaned. It’s kind of a confluence of all these things that weren’t possible coming together.

Q: What’s another use case where you’re working with GE to help a customer transform operations?

We’re working with GE Current – it’s energy savings combined with IoT, so the lights are intelligent.

The byproduct is the lights can tell you if your real estate is being used as efficiently as it could be, so it’s almost the practices we have in manufacturing of efficiency, but applied to conference rooms or gathering spaces at a university, or bank branches wondering about the pattern usages of customers – so we get new applications from IoT.

Energy savings pays for it but then you have the cool additional efficiencies

“85-percent of the clients know they need digital transformation, and only about 13-percent of the people are acting.”

Q: What kind of demand are you seeing around edge computing and analytics in the industrial market?

Edge is almost a continuum of possibilities, from server with tons of edge computing power and storage, down to a really simple not expensive lower intelligence to just bridge the data up to the cloud, so it depends on how much latency you can handle in an application, how much local intelligence needs to go on. For a manufacturing plant, it’s very important to close the loop locally, for other applications like lighting going up to the cloud, you don’t need as much at the edge.

It’s a conversation around the outcomes, so you really have to understand the right questions to ask and the right way to design a solution. We would weigh in with the client and design something that meets the outcomes they’re looking for. Almost everything has edge computing, and then it depends where the analytics need to happen, and there’s some sort of connectivity or either local buffering or on ramp to the cloud.

Q: What kind of security services do industrial customers want for their industrial control system and assets?

The two main areas of interest that clients are driving for us are an easier, better way to segment the networks, and protect the things that can’t be upgraded, so there’s a whole area around how do we harden, temper and better segment the industrial control systems.

And then number two is almost an ADT monitoring approach, how can I have something watch over those assets and keep a software watch on what’s going on, so segmentation and monitoring are two places where we’re seeing more interest than anywhere else. A third thing is customers might not know what they have or how vulnerable they are and want it assessed. We still find that here in 2017, it’s not surprising to us to find that.

Q: What kind of priority level are customers giving cyber security and IoT in their budgets?

There’s operational parameters, like downtime, there’s formulation theft possible, and it could be expensive to repair assets if they’re damaged by a bad actor.

I would say we’re starting to see a trend, more people are prioritizing it as strategy level now, and how do we go from where we are to where we’d like to be. We’re seeing more conversations at a strategic level, and that’s a high-level conversation we’re having much more frequently in 2017 than we did last year, and we’re super pleased with it.

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