TechHub: New GE CEO Pushes for Digital Future, US Manufacturing Growing Fast & Cyber Security

Our Future is Digital

New General Electric CEO John Flannery put an end to the constant question, “where is the company headed?”

“I have a lot of decisions to make in my new role as CEO, but one decision is easy: GE is all in on digital,” said Flannery in a blog post on LinkedIn.

The digital age is bringing innovation and productivity for industries everywhere, allowing real, tangible outcomes for business.

Through scalability, installed base and industrial expertise, GE plans to be a major player in helping lead this transformation.

With a focus on their core verticals leveraging energy, oil and gas, aviation, healthcare, rail and mining, to help create a strong Predix ecosystem.

GE’s previous CEO Jeff Immelt at the 2016 Minds + Machines conference.

“The company I joined 30 years ago made machines that made the world work better,” said Flannery. “We are still that company, but the world has changed, and the industrial world is increasingly powered by digital applications.

We are part of this transformation, and we have a focused strategy that I believe is best for our customers and for GE.”

Join John Flannery and GrayMatter October 25 in San Francisco at Minds + Machines, an event that connects industrial thought leaders and showcases technology that helps solve the world’s biggest industrial IoT challenges.

Learn More About Minds + Machines

US Manufacturing Expands at Fastest Pace in 13 Years

American manufacturing expanded last month at the fastest pace in 13 years, according to Industry Week.

The strength of advances in the Institute for Supply Management’s gauges partly reflects impacts from hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which forced shutdowns of refineries, chemical plants, retail establishments and car dealerships which were flooded in the storms and had merchandise destroyed.

However, the nation’s producers had already been on firmer footing because of improving global demand and an increase in US capital spending, according to Industry Week.

Manufacturing

Students visiting a PPG paint and coatings plant for Manufacturing Day 2017 in Delaware.

Orders are projected to remain strong in coming months as Manufacturing Day approaches.

Manufacturing Day is a national celebration of modern manufacturing, meant to inspire the next generation of manufacturers. Manufacturing Day occurs on the first Friday in October — this year’s falls on Oct. 6, 2017.

Statistical analysis of key event reporting suggests Manufacturing Day 2016 affected 595,341 participants, including 257,607 students.

Manufacturing Day is about celebrating manufacturing by providing an opportunity to focus collective attention on manufacturing, aiming to:

  • Empower manufacturers
  • Change public perceptions of manufacturing
  • Introduce people to manufacturing careers
  • Draw attention to the roles manufacturers play in their communities
  • Underscore the economic and social significance of manufacturing

Since 2012, MFG Day events has grown over 1,000%, with manufacturers in all 50 United States and Puerto Rico consistently participating.

Source: MFGDay.com

According to survey results by Deloitte from students that attended events in 2016:


89% of students were more aware of manufacturing jobs in their communities.

84% of students were more convinced that manufacturing provides careers that are interesting and rewarding.

64% of students were more motivated to pursue careers in manufacturing.

71% of students were more likely to tell friends, family, parents or colleagues about manufacturing after attending an event.

Every Third Computer Attacked in 2017 From Manufacturing Sector

In the first half of the year the manufacturing industry was the most susceptible to cyberthreats, with the industrial control systems computers of manufacturing companies accounting for almost one third of all attacks, according to Security Magazine.

The majority of the cyber threats were in manufacturing companies that produced various materials, equipments and goods. Other highly affected areas include engineering, education and food & beverage. Energy companies accounted for almost 5% of all attacks.

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

The main source of threats was the internet. Attempts to download malware or access malicious phishing web sources were blocked on over 20% of the ICS computers.

The reason this is such a high number is because of:

  • Interfaces between corporate and industrial networks
  • Availability of limited internet access from industrial networks
  • Connection of computers on industrial networks to the internet from operators’ mobile phones

Ransomware attacks on industrial companies tripled by June this year, with various large crime campaigns.

The WannaCry epidemic was one of the most notable, affecting 13.4% of all computers in the industrial infrastructure. ExPetr was a notorious encryption that followed, with 50% of the computers attacked in the manufacturing and oil & gas industries.

“In the first half of the year we’ve seen how weakly protected industrial systems are – pretty much all of the affected industrial computers were infected accidentally and as the result of attacks targeted initially at home users and corporate networks,” said Evgeny Goncharov, head of critical infrastructure defense department at Kaspersky Lab.

cyber

US pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. was affected by the ExPetya attacks earlier this year.

“In this sense, the WannaCry and ExPetr destructive ransomware attacks proved indicative, leading to the disruption of enterprise production cycles around the world, as well as logistical failures, and forced downtime in the work of medical institutions. The results of such attacks can provoke intruders into further actions. Since we are already late with preventive measures, companies should think about proactive protective measures now to avoid ‘firefighting’ in future.”

Billions of sensors are being rolled out rapidly as the Industrial Internet expands. The devices for operational technology are very different than those found on information technology networks and they need specialized technology to protect them. 

Download the GrayMatter Cyber Security Guide for Operational Technology to get a comprehensive understanding of security in the OT world including top vulnerabilities. The guide walks you through the first steps in knowing what’s on your network and has specific advice about the assessment process from our top cyber security consultants.

Download the Cyber Guide

TechHub: GE Looks to Become IIoT Leader, Industrial Job Growth in US & Industrial Cyber Security

GE Relocates To Boston, Looks to Become an IIOT Leader Amid Transformation

General Electric, the largest US industrial company, is going through a transformation. The company has a new CEO at the helm, relocated headquarters to Boston and most importantly is trying to position itself as a manufacturing leader in the digital era, according to Industry Week.

“If we go back in time, say in 2011 to 2012, when as a business, we were facing challenges, Jeff (Immelt, former CEO) realized that unless we leverage software and analytics, true productivity would not be gained,” said Mark Bernardo, GE’s VP of Professional Services, at the company’s temporary new headquarters in Boston on August 30.

Since then, GE has made several strategic business moves to leverage its core competencies: spun off its financial services unit, GE Capital; acquired French company Alstom’s power and grid business; launched GE Digital to bring various software groups such as engineering, product development, and IT under one umbrella, and opened its cloud-based software platform for the Industrial Internet, Predix, to outside developers.

Despite GE’s goal to cut $2B by the end of 2018, “there is no change in long-term strategy as it relates to digital,” said Jeff Erhardt, GE’s VP of Intelligent Systems.

Erhardt said that machine learning, artificial intelligence along with domain expertise will help boost GE’s digital future. And Predix, its own IOT platform, will play a central role in managing complex data. The platform currently has 100 apps – from MRI machines to turbines to jet engines – created by developers, including many from outside, who mine complex industrial data to make the machines perform more safely and efficiently.

GE’s former CEO Jeff Immelt at Minds + Machines 2016 in San Francisco.

Join GrayMatter in October at Minds + Machines, GE’s premier Industrial Internet event dedicated to software, innovation, and the most powerful digital industrial outcomes.

Minds + Machines will bring together the best and the brightest of the technology world, including GE customers, developers, partners, industrial thought leaders and technology innovators.

Learn More

What’s Driving Job Growth in Industrial America?

Manufacturing and mining jobs are up this year after having fallen in 2016, in which 100,000 jobs were lost, according to the New York Times.

Rising commodity prices has resulted in a jump in hiring within the mining sector. After plunging in late 2014 and throughout 2015, energy prices have somewhat recovered. That has helped stabilize employment in the oil industry. Meanwhile, surging prices for metals like gold and copper are spurring activity in the mining industry.

The US dollar dropping throughout 2017 has also played a major role in manufacturing success. As major exporters who are dependent on overseas customers for a big part of their sales, manufacturers often find themselves at the mercy of the dollar.

When the dollar surged in 2016, American-made equipment was effectively more expensive for foreign buyers. This year’s drop, on the other hand, is a boon for manufacturers as well as for big American companies who draw a big portion of their sales from overseas, like Caterpillar and McDonald’s.

Software-defined Industrial Networks Deliver Cyber Security Breakthroughs

Finding a cost-effective cyber security plan for industrial control systems remains a pain point.

Cyber security is often cited as the leading barrier to growth of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

ARC Advisory Group published a report suggesting two solutions of promising software-defined networking (SDN) technologies, which can improve cyber security in both new and existing industrial control systems.

One: Network Management Through SDN Protocol OpenFlow

OpenFlow is a single protocol that replaces existing routing and access protocols embedded in Ethernet switches, allowing the entire network of switches to be managed from a central SDN controller.

This has typically been used in large enterprise networks, such as Google, and in large data centers to improve performance.

Ukraine power grid

Kiev, Ukraine, was one of the victims hurt the most in multiple malware attacks on the Ukrainian power grid at the end of 2016 and entering into 2017.

This is also applicable to a much smaller industrial network, or part of an industrial network.

Engineers report that the largest advantage of their SDN network is the ability to lock down the substation network and immediately become aware of any unexpected packets entering. This improves the overall security of networks within electric power substations, which have increasingly become high value targets for cyber warfare internationally.

Two: Host Identity Protocol

Host Identity Protocol (HIP) creates and manages a secure identity-based overlay network that serves the automation components while cloaking them from general visibility.

The fundamental idea is to decouple the IP address from packet forwarding rules, instead authorizing and delivering network services based on provable cryptographic identities.

It also delivers a new Host Identity Namespace that is compatible with existing IP and DNS Namespaces, enabling global IP mobility. It allows organizations to overcome IP addressing issues and move an IP resource within and between physical, virtual or cloud networks without having to change the IP or overlay network policies.

Using HIP in place of IP addresses as identity, it allows a secure identity to be established among sets of devices and the IP address continue to serve its purpose as a locator only.

ARC Recommendations

ARC ends the report with recommendations that manufacturers and utilities should develop use cases leading to broader plans for how SDN could improve cyber security, mobility support and remote access services for existing plants, familiarize themselves with the roadmaps of their network infrastructure suppliers to apply to their own use cases, as well as carefully evaluate the current and evolving technologies and their potential impact on cyber security and performance.

 

TechHub: Industrial Market Growth, Advancement in Smart Cities & Homeland Security Urges Cyber

The Industrial Market Opportunity

Manufacturing and industrial companies are the backbone of the U.S. economy. With the advancement of the digital age, more factories and utilities are looking to cut costs, decrease downtime and streamline operations.

This industry’s operations are extremely different from IT enterprises and rely on partner companies that specialize in operational technology in order to connect and protect their assts.

GrayMatter was highlighted in CRN, a news analysis online publication for technology companies.

“We help customers in these markets connect their factories, connect their big expensive assets,” said James Gillespie, CEO of GrayMatter, in CRN. “Those are things we’ve been working on, to digitize the information, and to help customers get better results.”

Jim Gillespie, CEO of GrayMatter

The article explores various aspects from the operational issues companies face, to a continuously growing partnership with GE and the possibilities the Industrial Internet has for companies.

Part of that partnership is collaborative engineering on cutting-edge ideas like Brilliant Manufacturing by GE Digital, a suite of software enabling predictive analytics on a scalable intelligent system powered by the cloud-based operating system Predix.

“It’s enabling digital transformations at a scale that would have been harder to do in the past,” said Gillespie. “Predix is like the iOS of the operating systems and now there’s people coming together to write apps — there’s a whole group of people emerging in a community of developers and solution providers.”

Cloud technology is now in an advanced place where it’s becoming universally affordable, dependable and reachable. The community around the operating system is pushing the industry forward, and everybody needs to jump on board.

View all of the technology services GrayMatter has to offer:

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Homeland Security Urges Industrial Cybersecurity

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT) issued an alert about a malicious BrickerBot permanent Denial-of-Service (DoS) attack.

BrickerBot exploits hard-coded passwords in Internet of Things (IoT) devices to cause a permanent denial of service, locking operators out of their systems.

The team encourages asset owners to know that their control systems are deployed securely and not exposed to threats through open internet connections by thoroughly auditing their networks.

Control systems often have devices accessible to the internet without operators knowing, leaving them at a greater risk for an attack. Completing a vulnerability assessment allows operators to know what devices are connected, how strong authentication methods are, vulnerable firewalls and use of unauthorized remote access.

To learn more about cyber security for the OT, download the GrayMatter cyber security guide for operational technology:

Download the Guide

The Advancement of Smart Cities

San Diego announced a new partnership with GE to deploy the world’s largest Internet of Things platform using smart streetlights. This will reduce energy costs by 60-percent and transform them into a single, connected digital network that can optimize parking and traffic, enhance public safety and track air quality.

Over 3,000 smart sensors will be deployed, with a potential to expand an additional 3,000 in the future, to upgrade over 14,000 city lights.

By reducing energy needs, greenhouse gas admissions will be reduced. Light pollution will also decrease with the implemented new technology enabling dimming and brightening features either automatically or remotely, depending on natural light conditions.

GE’s intelligent lighting in San Diego. Image: GE Lighting

The GE Current CityIQ sensor nodes will support a range of applications varying from gunshot detection, to smart parking and air quality control.

“This technology is powerful. Downtown visitors will be able to find parking easily and in real time using a smart phone, and the environmental and transportation data will help Downtown meet the goals of the Climate Action Plan. This is a huge win for San Diego,” said Kris Michell, the President & CEO of the Downtown San Diego Partnership.

Deployment of the platform will begin in July and is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.

It’s expected to save the city over $2.4 million annually in energy costs.

TechHub: Digital Disruption, IoT Expanding Digital Footprints and More

Digital Disruption Transcending Industry Borders

With the first quarter of 2017 coming to a close, it’s clear that the exponential growth within the technology industry is not slowing down.

25,000 new information-related jobs were created in February this year alone, according to Forbes.

As this tech push continues, we’re seeing more and more of the Digital Twin emerge as physical and digital worlds blend together.

The Digital Twin is the computerized companion of physical assets, using data sensors to show real-time data analytics.

The adoption of this trend is becoming increasingly popular as companies realize the countless benefits that the Industrial Internet of Things provides, and Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence become mainstream.

The biggest mistake companies are making right now is assuming these technologies won’t influence their business or impact their industry.

Industry 4.0 is real, and it’s here.

Smart technology is becoming integrated into every facet of life, resulting in customers having the ability to buy anything, anytime, anywhere.

“The convergence of cloud, mobile, social and data have ushered in a new wave of business models that will present unique challenges for various industries,” said Bob Weiler in Forbes.

With this new technology comes new challenges and questions emerging for industry leaders.

To stay ahead of the competition— and win— organizations will need partners who can provide a new level of knowledge and experience within the industry, according to Forbes.

Rethinking business models within critical industry operations is necessary to maximize performance.

The pace of change is accelerating fast. Organizations need to jump on board and embrace emerging digital technologies.

To learn the first three questions to ask in your digital transformation, join our webinar on Thursday, April 6, at 2:30 PM EST: Transform Your Operation: Vision Before Action.

Gray Matter Director of Professional Services John Benitz will demystify the beginning of the digital journey for you using his expertise on various transformations like the GE Brilliant Manufacturing process.

Reserve My Spot

Digital Transformation: Solving Big Manufacturing Problems

The top problems manufacturers are struggling with are visibility into operations, sharing information across one or multiple plants and allowing the right people to access the necessary data.

The solution? Digital transformation of plant operations.

“Digitizing production processes is more about running an efficient business than it is about jumping onto the next technology bandwagon,” said Industry Week.

Automating processes and storing big data on the cloud allows for a single connected platform with production visibility. It allows for a single-set of accurate data and increases the control plant operators need, according to Industry Week.

Instead of having information documented on manual paper processes like Excel spreadsheets, it can be accessed in real-time across one or multiple plants.

Access to product information, inventory, quality data and more increases the productivity and decreases downtime throughout the plant.

Automating the plant is also automating the communication, in turn freeing up people and resources. Instead of having to track down the necessary information and data, workers have instant access to it at a moment’s notice.

Going paperless and automating processes is a critical step within the industry, and lays the groundwork for future innovations.

Gray Matter has a new solution to help transform manual data entry processes into digital insights for manufacturers, utilities and energy companies.

Mobility@Work digitizes information that would have been buried in stacks of paper and puts data in a format that can be used for big picture analysis.

Hauling manifests, inspections, scheduling, incidents, inventory and time sheets are all transformed from piles on someone’s desk to an easy to read digital presentation.

“There are a lot of correlations you can make if you have the data working for you instead of in a stack of paper.” – Kemell Kassim, Gray Matter VP

Download the free white paper to learn how Gray Matter solved the manual data entry problem and helped save a leading energy company nearly $1 million in just the first year.

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IoT Devices Expanding Digital Footprints & Vulnerabilities

Security Week defines IoT devices as convenient.

They allow us to have access to data remotely and process it faster than ever.

However, with the convenience comes risk, and most people aren’t locking down their systems like they should be.

There are more avenues now than ever for cybercriminals to breach systems as more devices are connected and the digital footprint of plants are expanded.

The reality of IoT hacks is eminent. Recent research highlights how PLC controllers can be hacked and potentially taint water supply, according to Security Week. Not enough devices are accounted for, and too much personal and business data is intermingled.

The top recommendations to fix this are to get a clear policy in place, designate accountability and segment your network.

By having clear rules, placing risk and responsibility on people or teams and designating sections of your network help block the threat of cybercriminals. It makes finding an easy path into the network nonexistent.

IoT devices have a lot to offer in the world of operational technology and plant management, the risk just needs to be mitigated and vulnerabilities need to be tracked.

Gray Matter offers a vulnerability assessment for OT networks that creates a security baseline for each asset with an IP address.

In a recent interview with ARC Advisory Group, Gray Matter VP Kemell Kassim detailed recent cyber initiatives and ROI case studies.

Download the Q&A Here

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