TechHub: The Year of Cyber Disasters, Manufacturing Technology Orders Back on Track & More

Ending 2017 Strong: Manufacturing Technology Orders Back on Track

Manufacturing technology orders in September continued their upward trend, ending the third quarter on a strong note, according to Industry Week.

The rise in orders in September surprised some analysts, who had expected orders to remain weak until December.

“Manufacturers are concerned about Washington’s impact on economic growth and pace of technological change, as well as the general evolution in technology. It is necessary for companies to invest in current technologies to stay competitive, but they’re doing so at a moderate pace,” said Doug Woods, President of the Association for Manufacturing Technology.

Regionally, the North Central West, Southeast and Northeast regions as reported by USMTO benefited from strong activity in contract machining shops, forging and stamping, automotive, and consumer electronics. Notably, orders from the consumer electronics and computers sector were up 132% nationally.

The key leading indicators for manufacturing technology are positive, leading analysts to believe there will be an acceleration in orders at the close of 2017.

The Year of Cyber Security Disasters

2017 was the year of industrial cyber attacks.

Ransomware crippled hospitals in the U.K., hit U.S. pharmaceutical company Merck, infiltrated Russian oil giant Rosnoft, shut down Ukrainian power grids and more.

Special Agent Keith Mularski, Unit Chief of the FBI Cyber Initiative & Resource Fusion Unit, spoke at GrayMatter’s annual conference on industrial cyber security.

Operational technology is at a risk in the digital age now more than ever before.

According to Gartner, “the number one issue in vulnerability management is that organizations are not prioritizing their patching and mitigating controls, nor are they mitigating the exploitation of commonly targeted vulnerabilities.”

Companies are struggling to find the common ground between “what can I fix” and “what will make the biggest difference in the time and resources I have.”

The answer: a risk-based approach.

CyberX’s ICS Attack Vector Prediction technology combines a deep understanding of industrial protocols, devices and applications with:

  • ICS-specific asset discovery
  • Continuous real-time monitoring and incident forensics
  • Risk and vulnerability management
  • Threat intelligence

“It helps business leaders and OT personnel quickly understand the top threats to their most critical industrial assets, and how to most efficiently reduce their top risks.”

This unique approach reduces complexity by addressing all four requirements of Gartner’s Adaptive Security architecture — Prediction, Prevention, Detection and Response — in a single, holistic platform.

“Our customers are often concerned about what they don’t know. CyberX’s Attack Vector Prediction technology allows them to predict and visualize scenarios for real-time planning of operational cyber strategy,” said Jim Gillespie, CEO of GrayMatter.

Learn more about implementing a predictive cyber approach

About CyberX

CyberX provides the most widely-deployed industrial cybersecurity platform for continuously reducing ICS risk. Supporting all OT vendors and seamlessly integrating with existing IT security tools, CyberX’s platform combines a deep understanding of industrial protocols, devices, and applications with ICS-specific asset discovery, continuous real-time monitoring and incident forensics, risk and vulnerability management, and threat intelligence.

GrayMatter VP on OT Cyber Security at 2017 ARC Industry Forum

GrayMatter VP Kemell Kassim speaks to Sid Snitkin, VP of Enterprise Advisory Services of ARC Advisory Group, during the 2017 ARC Industry Forum in Orlando, FL.


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.

TechHub: Realizing the Digital Enterprise at ARC Forum, 3D Printing and More

Industry 4.0: Realizing the Digital Enterprise

This week, leaders in the industrial enterprise— such as Gray Matter VP, Kemell Kassim– met together at the 21st Annual ARC Advisory Forum in Orlando, Florida.

The industry forum featured the latest, most innovative technologies in the digitalization process and convergence of operational and informational technology within plants.

More companies are transitioning to Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) products and solutions, and reaping the benefits of real-time data analysis, critical asset management, optimizing performance, minimal downtime and cyber security that they wouldn’t have otherwise.

Cyber security is a hot topic at this year’s ARC Forum—specifically, security for industrial environments.

“There are a lot of great solutions out there, but we saw that customers could use help with their strategy and getting the most out of their cyber investments,” said Kemell. Find out more about our cyber offerings here.

Cyber Predictions for the Industrial Sector in 2017

Cyber threats have become a top priority in the industrial sector.

2017 is shaping up to be the year that legislation cracks down on cyber security as a global effort to secure networks, particularly industry and utility networks, and fight international cyber espionage and crime.

According to Forbes, national borders for data and cyber security regulation will be a hot item on the global political agenda.

With continued innovation from malware developers, it’s predicted to develop into multi-faceted functionality and focus on mobile devices.

That means two things: cybercriminals will be able to bypass two-factor authentication via text message and they will continue to try to develop infectious apps in an effort to monetize stolen credit card data.

Ransomware is expected to be a continued threat within the industrial and corporate worlds, as cyber security is mitigating the huge hits from 2016 with anti-ransomware and decryption tools being made readily available.

3D Printing Unlocks New Potential for Production

Much of the imminent future will be filled with artificial intelligence, big data and development in machine operation and production.

3D Printing

The finished product of a 3-D printed CATA gear. Image credit: GE Reports/Chris New

Included in that world is 3D printing, which plays a dominant role in the future of production, manufacturing and automation.

According to Forbes, 3D printing is the process of creating products of typically plastic or metal by laser technology from a template, building up the product in layers until it’s finished.

In the industry, the potential from this is huge.

It unlocks the ability to create lightweight products such as aircraft, cars and filtration devices, as well as build concrete structures more than 50% faster than conventional methods allow, according to Forbes.

GE Digital is currently exploring this new technology at their Center for Additive Technology Advancement (CATA), which opened in Pittsburgh in April, 2016.

Calling it the “latest twist on manufacturing,” GE is exploring the options it offers through printing parts for jet engines with GE Aviation, as well as valves for GE Oil & Gas.

3D Printing

PolyJet printers can print from as many as four polymers at once. Their combination can produce soft as well as hard parts and hundreds of different colors. Image credit: GE Reports/Chris New

Currently, a huge focus for the company lies within their “industrialization lab,” which allows for GE businesses to bring in their 3D designs and work to find a solution to speed up the process from lab to production, according to GE Reports.

“This is a huge breakthrough for rapid prototyping,” Dave Miller, an engineer at CATA says in GE Reports. “You’d normally spend many thousands of dollars and many weeks to achieve the same results. With this 3D printer you are cutting down costs and also your lead time.”

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