TechHub: GE CEO on Digital Partners, Using Data You’re Already Collecting & More

GE CEO John Flannery: ‘Partners Are The Key Pillar Of Our Digital Strategy’

Originally published in CRN

Minds + Machines 2017 took place this week in San Francisco, revealing a ton of new digital software solutions to the world.

GE CEO John Flannery, while speaking to a crowd of systems integrators, resellers and ISVs, said that the Boston-based company wants to help customers work through an IT skills gap as they connect their machines, said CRN.

“Partners are the key pillar of our digital strategy going forward,” he said. “We’ll prioritize the market in two areas, with resources to focus heavily in verticals … like oil and gas, transportation, and mining … and we’ll continue to work to address adjacent markets as well, largely through our partners.”

According to a GE survey released on Tuesday, only 13 percent of executives have a mature digital industrial transformation plan in place. The rest of the industrial market customers are facing a critical skills shortage as they struggle to figure out how to tap into IT tools and drive value from their operations.

data

GrayMatter CEO Jim Gillespie giving a media interview during Minds + Machines.

That’s where partners come in, said Flannery: “Bridging this gap starts with small steps, that can help you move in the right direction,” he said. “We are ready and willing to be your partner.”

GE is helping its partners help their customers navigate real-time data, predictive analytics, and IoT through an array of resources, including blueprints, real use cases, and specific technologies.

These technologies include an array of new products and solutions the company has recently released, said Flannery – including Predix Studio, a solution that helps companies build and scale their industrial applications and simplify the development process.

James Gillespie, CEO of GrayMatter, a Pittsburgh-based solution provider and GE partner, said that he is seeing that “digital gap” in industrial companies who want a better digital strategy but don’t know where to start.

“That digital gap mirrors what we see when we’re talking to clients and prospects,” he said. “The challenge for customers is their level of knowledge, skills and culture … it’s sort of a perfect storm. More people are prioritizing it as a strategy now as they look ahead.”

Pulling Needles Out of Your Data Haystack

Steps to Use Data You’re Already Collecting

By Jim Gillespie, CEO of GrayMatter

The Impossible is Now Possible. Industry 4.0 is moving fast and I’d like to let you in on a few very valuable developments about the data you’ve been collecting. It can now help you make better decisions. You can talk to your industrial data and it’s talking back to you, letting you know what’s working inside your operation and what’s not.

It’s exciting for me to see GrayMatter and our partners innovating by taking the data you’ve been collecting through sensors on industrial equipment and applying artificial intelligence and machine learning in the cloud so you can find insights on performance. Then you know exactly where to make improvements.

You need a system to sort through the haystack of data and pull needles out to focus your subject matter experts. That’s what we can do now.

It all starts by framing up the action strategy in three parts.

Step One: Set Your Goals

Start at the end and work backwards.

What return on investment do you want to see? You don’t need all the data you think you need. What information will help you solve the problems you want to solve? What’s the path to getting there? Having this road map first is critical, because otherwise a lot of time and money can be wasted.

Step Two: Start Creating Digital Twins

You hear the term digital twin, but what does it really mean?

Simply put, creating a digital twin is the process of merging physical and digital worlds.

The process takes a physical machine and uses technology to get all the information about past states, present states and predictions. That information creates a digital model that’s alive – taking in a stream of data – using that to adjust so the model is personalized to be a precise representation of the asset.

The software version is used for what used to be a physical inspection – requiring people to be right next to the machine. The virtual version can be done from anywhere and at any time, expanding the value of those inspections and allowing them to have more of a real-time impact. It creates a constant inspection that allows the operators to predict failures sooner.

pulling needles out of data haystack

Digital Twin Value

The digital model of a machine, built and run in a virtual environment used to be available only to the biggest companies with the largest budgets. But the Industrial Internet and an explosion in sensor technology have lowered the cost and broadened the access beyond the elite.

People are not only connected to people, they’re connected to every kind of device at home and now work.

Manufacturers stand to win big from this. Factory floors are outfitted with tremendous amounts of sensors to collect data, but because that data has been locked up it hasn’t provided value.

The digital twin allows us to unlock that data and not just for one asset at a time. We can now model machines in groups – for example, a machine builder with thousands of machines installed across hundreds of customers – will now be able to operate best in class using digital twins.

There’s potential to unleash productivity and efficiencies like we’ve never seen before.

Step Three: Get Behavioral Information from Digital Twins

In order to move to more advanced use cases, such as adaptive diagnostics, condition-based maintenance or predictive failure, Industrial IoT systems need to know more than simply the current device state.

They need to know why. Knowing current device state only helps from a monitoring standpoint. While important, it’s really just the beginning of what we can expect out of IIoT systems. If we know why an asset exhibits a certain state, we can determine what conditions lead to that state and take proactive steps to prevent future occurrences. 

This new layer of getting insight through behavioral information allows you to ask for more. You can search your data and get answers back right away. It’s like an instant messenger for operational technology.

Step Four – Get Digital Twins to Interact

Achieving this may mean digital twins built using multiple discrete machine learning algorithms potentially spread across multiple IoT platforms, not simply relying on one. Eventually, we should expect that digital twins will interact with one another in virtual space.

data

Leap Ahead

If you’re short on time, staffing or budget – GrayMatter can get you up and running to achieve value quickly. You know you need an IoT strategy in the near future, but may not know how to go about it. Rather than trying to design, source and build it yourself we can put the strategy in place in days or weeks.

You also don’t have to do everything at once, you can start with a limited selection of assets and scale up or down as you learn performance and asset behaviors.

Our strategy is a Salesforce version of a remote monitoring and diagnostics center that you can buy and implement incrementally.

GrayMatter’s Digital Twin Strategy

We use data, predictive capabilities and machine learning to identify your best and worst performers in each asset group. Your operators are automatically alerted to the worst performers, then they use an intuitive web interface, to turn the worst into the best.

Continuous improvement becomes expected, simplified, and routine.

As your team builds new improvements or optimized settings, they can be scaled out, automatically, to every instance of a specific machine or piece of equipment.

You Don’t Need a Data Scientist

The complex algorithms that can leverage your data are pre-built so anyone can start creating the models and analytics to generate insights. One person no longer holds the keys to data, with this unique platform everyone gets a better understanding of your businesses processes, so you’re not focusing on the math to bring the insight, you’re focusing on creating better outcomes for your customers.

Think Big, Start Fast

You need to think big to truly transform your organization, but you also have to start acting on your data today.

We’re anxious to spread the word about how easy this is and to un-complicate it for you. Let me know if you’d like to discuss further. The case study is also available to read here:

Read the Case Study

New Ransomware Attack on Russia, Ukraine

A new strain of ransomware nicknamed “Bad Rabbit” has affected systems at three Russian websites, an airport in Ukraine and a subway system in Kiev, according to BBC.

However, despite bearing similarities to the WannaCry and Petya outbreaks earlier this year, it’s unknown how far this new malware will spread.

“In some of the companies, the work has been completely paralysed – servers and workstations are encrypted,” head of Russian cyber-security firm Group-IB, Ilya Sachkov, told the TASS news agency.

The Russian Central Bank said in a statement that it had recorded a BadRabbit attack on Russian financial institutions, but none were compromised. BadRabbit had targeted several of the top 20 Russian banks but failed.

A majority of the victims of the attack are located in Russia, with attacks also in Ukraine, Turkey and Germany.

TechHub: Digital Transformation in Steel, the Industrial Technology Future & Pittsburgh Tech 50

Gerdau Saves Millions Annually, Accelerates Their Digital Transformation

$4.5 million in annual savings with a complete ROI in only 8 months.

Gerdau has enjoyed a long reputation as a process innovator in the steel industry for more than a century.

For a company with more than 35,000 people across 13 countries, the goal of a 20% reduction in maintenance cost was significant. It would not be easy to accomplish, but accomplishing the reduction was critical to the company’s profitability.

When an asset fails, the company loses an average of $12 thousand per hour in downtime.

The transformation Gerdau needed would take them into uncharted territory for many in the steel industry: the digital realm of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

Dreaming big pays off

Download the case study to view the roadmap for digital transformation in the steel industry:

Download the Case Study

The Industrial Technology Future

Open software platforms are an increasingly popular trend within the industrial technology sector that is highlighting the important relationship between operational technology (OT) and information technology (IT).

For GE Digital, Predix is the nexus where app engines, digital twins, machine learning and asset performance management meet, said AutomationWorld after a meeting at GE Digital headquarters in San Ramon, Calif.

“Platforms are where tech is going,” said Gytis Barzdukas, head of product management for Predix at GE Digital. “Like Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Alphabet have their platforms in the consumer space, we want to do the same thing in industrial space. That’s why Predix is an open platform with regulated participation. Predix has been developed as a common data layer into which third-party supplier products can plug into.”

Although the focus in the past on Predix has focused on its cloud-based operations, but Barzdukas was quick to point that Predix can run operate at the edge, in the cloud or in hybrid applications.

cloud platform

A diagram of the GE intelligent platform Predix. Image: AutomationWorld

Addressing cybersecurity concerns around the transmission and storage of such data in the cloud, Barzdukas said Predix currently uses public key encryption and is moving toward inclusion of private key capabilities for users who want it. Predix’s public key encryption security operates in addition to the security provided by Amazon Web Services on which Predix’s cloud functions run. Barzdukas added that Predix will also soon be running on Microsoft Azure.

Pittsburgh Tech 50

The Pittsburgh Technology Council’s Tech 50 finalists were announced, recognizing the most successful and innovative companies in the Pittsburgh area.

Companies range from health IT, life sciences, manufacturing, consumer products, consulting services and more, and are broken up into the following categories:

  • CEO of the Year
  • Solution Provider of the Year, Consulting and IT Services
  • Culture Leader of the Year
  • Innovator of the Year, Consumer Products
  • Solution Provider of the Year, Innovative Technology

GrayMatter is a finalist for Solution Provider of the Year, Innovative Technology, with CEO Jim Gillespie a finalist for CEO of the Year.

The award ceremony will be Thursday, October 12 at the Wyndham Grand Hotel.

TechHub: Industrial Hacks, Automated Cars and Smart Elevators

Top cyber security conference kicks off with water treatment plant hack

In case you couldn’t make it, we’ve got updates from one of the world’s largest security events happening this week in San Francisco, CA.

The RSA Conference gathers the industry’s top security and technology leaders and pioneers—including a Gray Matter cyber security consultant– promoting a forward-thinking global community to foster innovative ideas and new approaches to inspire and empower the industry.

FBI cyber division at industrial RSA 2017

The FBI Cyber Division recruitment booth at the RSA Conference 2017.

The event featured keynote speakers such as a defense intelligence officer for cyber at the Defense Intelligence Agency, senior cryptographer at Microsoft Research, director of information security at Google, a senior security engineer for Fitbit and more.

This year, it started off with a bang– kicking off with an intentional ransomware attack on a water treatment plant launched by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

According to Nextgov, a National Journal Group, the attack successfully shut down valves, adjusted chlorine levels and falsified readings.

This demonstration highlighted the increasing fear of malware attacks on utility companies, much like what’s been happening to power plants, banks and others.

Industrial control systems are becoming increasingly vulnerable, and are oftentimes connected to the Internet without intention.

To get ahead in cyber security, the first step is finding out what you don’t know.

Take our cyber challenge to test your knowledge and find out what you know — and don’t know — about your own system.

What’s Your Score?

Ford’s Billion-dollar self-driving car deal creating 200 high-tech jobs by end of 2017

This week Ford announced a partnership with Argo AI– investing in the company to create an engineer and test center for self-driving cars in Pittsburgh, PA.

Argo AI is run by alumni of the Carnegie Mellon National Robotics Engineering Center and specializes in development of artificial intelligence. They are looking to work with Ford to develop autonomous vehicles by 2021, according to Trib Live media group.

It’s estimated that the partnership will add 200 high-tech jobs in Pittsburgh, Michigan and California by the end of the year­– amounting to over 1,000 jobs within the next five years from the Ford deal, according to Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald in Trib Live.

Uber has already been testing self-driving cars in Pittsburgh since 2016, according to Wired, where pre-selected Uber users within a 12-square-mile radius of downtown have the option of riding in one of the autonomous vehicles — with a human engineer behind the wheel, naturally.

“Pittsburgh continues to make global headlines on this growing industry,” said Bryan Salesky, Argo AI CEO. “Which stems from the hard work and brainpower of our friends at Carnegie Mellon and the many industries they continue to seed and grow throughout our region.”

Partners in Global Alliance and Digital Enterprise

The GE Global Partner Summit hosted by GE Digital in Napa, CA, features premiere alliances in all committed to supporting the growing industrial data marketplace.

Starting on Tuesday, the summit showcased the newest technologies and innovations in the industry. Not an alliance partner? Don’t worry — Gray Matter was there to help bring you up to speed.

The buzz of the event was success stories in digital transformations.

“The world needs a system to take industrial data from the edge and move it to the cloud,” said Harel Kodesh, Vice President of Predix and Chief Technology Officer of GE Digital.

That system is Predix.

Predix is an operating system for the Industrial Internet that connects industrial equipment, analyzes data and delivers real-time insights as a result.

Four themes of Predix were outlined throughout the summit: scale the platform, support the digital twin, edge-to-cloud platform and advance developing experience.

Predix has been implemented for various issues, including elevator safety.

Imagine you’re stuck in an elevator, alone. Who will know you’re in there and come to save you?

The solution is connected elevators.

By using GE Digital’s Predix software, Huawei Technologies developed IoT enabled elevators — reducing operational and maintenance costs by detecting potential risk immediately and in turn improving passengers’ safety.

GE Digital’s partnership with Gray Matter Systems is a part of their growing industrial ecosystem. The goal is to help companies undergoing digital transformations in every industry.

In the two-minute video spotlight with Gray Matter CEO, Jim Gillespie, GE focuses on the journey of two Gray Matter customers, Procter & Gamble and Anadarko. Watch the video here:

The Internet of Things and All That Jazz

Hyperbole about the ‘Internet of Things’ — or IoT —  is omnipresent.

Claims of transformative powers are greatly overstated and hypotheticals about how these data will be used equally far-fetched.

There are some serious implications and real opportunities and the IoT trend has serious bottom-line impacts for businesses.

Still, the IoT trend  can have some serious implications, real opportunities, and honest bottom-line impacts on businesses.

To capture the potential value in IoT, industrial firms are carefully weighing the infrastructure requirements to justifying these investments.

Large numbers of early adopters are leveraging energy efficiency investments within warehouses to implement IoT strategies.

Other IoT applications maintain the quality and consistency of manufacturing processes by using networked sensors, cameras, lasers, and continual data processing; identifying the current condition of a machine part.

[su_pullquote align=”right”]Although it may seem a bit of science fiction, some imminent applications of IoT are already permeating the landscape. [/su_pullquote]

Smart parking via IoT is monitoring parking spaces available and the building’s structural health is evaluated by monitoring vibrations and material conditions in buildings, bridges, and historical monuments.

IoT is creating intelligent highways with warning messages and diversions based on climate conditions as well as accidents or traffic congestion.

On Gartner’s Radar

Patrick Thibodeau, recently reported in Computerworld that Gartner’s annual list of strategic technologies in 2015 includes IoT.

Gartner analyst David Cearley at the firm’s annual Symposium/ITxpo, focused on merging the real world with the virtual one, what that means for analytics and the type of IT that has to emerge to deal with it.

Cearley’s advice to IT managers is to experiment, get ideas going and empower individuals in IT organizations to develop uses for connected devices and sensors.

Cearley believes IoT has enormous potential to deliver value to businesses, and said even small sensors that can detect problems in equipment before failure occurs, can save a business thousands of dollars.

Similarly, Ben Rossi at Information Age stressed the important role that IT service management will play in the future of the Internet of Things, especially since a recent foundational technology for IoT is a good proxy to illustrate the enormity of the most significant market disruption since the dawn of the Internet – IPv6.

With IPv6, everything can have a unique number or IP address, making it easier and quicker for devices and data to find their way around the Internet.

[su_pullquote align=”right”]In comparison to IPv4’s 4.3 billion IP addresses, IPv6 can assign about 340 trillion addresses and corresponding devices. [/su_pullquote]

Gil Press, a Forbes contributor, shared that Gartner released its latest Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies.

Last year, Big Data reigned supreme, at what Gartner calls the “peak of inflated expectations.” Press said, “Big Data has moved down the ‘trough of disillusionment,’ replaced by the Internet of Things at the top of the hype cycle.

In 2012 and 2013, Gartner’s analysts thought that the Internet of Things had more than 10 years to reach the ‘plateau of productivity’ but this year they give it five to ten years to reach this final stage of maturity.”

All this velocity of data is driving big names in business to monetize the opportunity.

GE & The Predix Platform

General Electric just announced alliances with enterprise technology leaders using its Predix platform, designed to add intelligence to various Internet of things end points.

GE will deliver more than $1 billion in incremental revenue from a menu of more than forty industrial Internet services. GE currently monitors and analyzes 50 million data points from 10 million sensors on $1 trillion of managed assets daily.

From Oracle to Cisco to Intel to thousands of Industrial Software companies, everyone is working to capture a piece of the IoT pie.

Gartner reported that IoT-connected physical objects will grow to 26 billion units by 2020 (excluding smartphones, tablets, and laptops), and IoT products and service suppliers will generate incremental revenue of more than $300 billion in 2020.

With all the recent breeches in security — Target and Home Depot well-known credit card data appropriation — there is more caution needed in the technology infrastructure through which all these data are floating in the cloud.

Just because we can put sensors on a machine does not mean those data are useful, meaningful, or efficacious.

Undoubtedly the real value of IoT is several years away and must prove more helpful than parking space vacancies.

What does this mean to you? Are you trying to take advantage of what the Internet of Things has to offer? Let us know!

In the mean time, contact us to learn how we fix complex data problems in all industries.

[su_button url=”http://www.graymattersystems.com/CTA/blog/” target=”blank” background=”#990000″]Contact Us[/su_button]

Contact GrayMatter

Get in touch with us!