TechHub: Industry 4.0 and the C-suite, AI and Big Data in 2018 & More

The Problems Industry 4.0 is Solving for the C-suite

Industry 4.0 generates a lot of hype — making it easy to forget the essential purpose of implementing the technology; running and growing the business.

C-suite executives rarely interact directly with this smart tech, but that doesn’t make it any less vital for businesses, according to Forbes.

It improves customer service, achieves operational efficiencies, innovates for the future, reduces risk, meets standards and regulations while improving company management. Let’s not forget the most important challenge — meeting the expanding demand for increased agility, speed, predictability and quality.

The demand never ends, creating an arms race to serve the customer the way they want while maintaining cost-effective production.

“What used to take generations is happening at a very rapid pace now,” says Erik Nistad, director of ITS for Mondelez International, in Forbes.

As a consumer products company, Mondelez must produce different products in different packages to serve different customers throughout the globe – all with the same high quality, he says.

In China, for example, customers want green tea-flavored Oreos. In developed countries, the company sells big packages of cookies; in developing countries, it sells smaller packages to customers with less discretionary income.

Meeting that variation drives the need to do localization and customizations. What was previously a “black box” to the C-suite, the factory is now the core in a demand-driven supply chain. Plants are more predictable, reliable and responsive in order to meet the needs of a changing market.

New approaches to product development are now possible thanks to digital transformation, creating an intelligent infrastructure that seamlessly connects design, manufacturing, automation and the supply chain.

Learn more about Industry 4.0 and starting your digital transformation.

Penn State’s Smart University Transformation: Webinar News

Large universities in the U.S. are faced with the increasingly emergent problem of updating their building’s aging infrastructure, with many campuses housing buildings built in the 1800’s.

Digital JourneyAs the 10th largest university in the U.S., Pennsylvania State University is a highly competitive institution. When it came time to upgrade their dated infrastructure across their expansive campus, the stakes were high.

Resources were right and the project couldn’t wait, forcing the Penn State IT and Plant Services departments to put a plan in action — fast.

Join GrayMatter and Tempered Networks on January 11, 2:00 PM EST for a webinar that will take attendees through the project details.

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5 Ways Big Data & AI Will Impact 2018

Companies dominating the life sciences world have begun to embrace the opportunities of Big Data & AI, with predictions to really make a difference in 2018.

Notable progress in drug development and the quality of insights produced at the research stage are a result, however opportunities to utilize the data for larger gains continues to grow, according to Forbes.

Here’s five major ways Big Data and AI will impact life sciences in 2018:

industry 4.0

One

The environment in the US will be increasingly hostile to high drug prices. This will make it essential for life science firms to defend their research budgets and profit margins by utilizing robust data and clearly demonstrate the value of their products.

industry 4.0

Two

Life science firms have had a hard time improving the speed and quality of bi-directional learning between patients and the drug discovery process due to poor data access and quality issues. As new best practices in data strategy are created, the industry continues to move towards the value unlocked by such translational medicine to accelerate.

industry 4.0

Three

Risk and inefficiencies continue to be life science supply chains’ biggest challenge. The employment of new technologies, such as blockchain, offers the potential to radically improve levels of control and quality measurements. Overall costs for infrastructure dramatically reduce as a result.

industry 4.0

Four

New branches of science are deepening our knowledge of genomics — the study of structure, function and mapping of DNA/ genes — creating opportunities for utilizing AI to gain previously impenetrable insights. Although still at the research stage, it’s predicted these techniques will impact fields such as oncology.

industry 4.0

Five

With all of the different fields of study opening up, at the end of the day the most important is the economical impact. Accessing and analyzing the right data to deliver sustainable business value remains the central purpose for life science firms.

Whatever the coming year holds, one thing is beyond doubt: Exciting new ways to create value and improve patient care await those firms willing to exploit the data tools and techniques that are now emerging.

TechHub: Smart Manufacturing, Pittsburgh Executives Strengthen Local Economy & More

GrayMatter CEO Jim Gillespie on the Industrial IoT Channel Opportunity

GE’s Minds + Machines was in San Francisco last week, where GrayMatter CEO Jim Gillespie spoke to CRN on the big opportunities the Industrial IoT presents to industrial companies of all industries for digital transformation.

Putting the ‘Smart’ in Manufacturing

A variety of terms are used to describe the growing use of connected technologies and data analytics to bring a greater efficiency across the manufacturing industry— smart factory, smart manufacturing, manufacturing 4.0, brilliant factories, industry 4.0 and more.

Consumers are driving the wave of the 4th industrial revolution with their rising expectations of product choice, variation and speed.

In order to thrive in this new environment, manufacturers must master the collection, analysis and communication of data throughout their operations and supply chains to adapt to the new market, according to Industry Week.

Many of the tools and technologies that will play a large role in shaping the new world of manufacturing are already in use, although not necessarily on a large scale yet.

Industry Week lays out some of the most influential examples necessary for digital transformation:

Digital Twin

A digital image that provides a virtual footprint of a physical object or process from design and development through the end of the life cycle. It can be used to anticipate operational problems and improve performance.

3D Printing

Additive manufacturing that uses computer-generated 3D blueprints to enable rapid prototyping, create complex and varied product designs and greatly reduce material wastage.

Augmented Reality Devices

Augmented reality is a live direct or indirect view of a physical environment supplemented by computer sensory data such as images, sound or GPS data. AR devices improve the safety and comfort of shop-floor workers.

Cyber-Physical Systems

Intelligent components with computing and storage capabilities that can monitor factory processes to enable predictive maintenance and minimize plant downtime.

IoT-Enabled Supply Chains

These provide manufacturers with real-time knowledge of product/customer demand signals, helping factories empower their operators by providing them with all of the information necessary to take control of their assets.

Challenges that come along with digital transformation can be significant. The mass amounts of big data that these technologies generate can be of little value if the correct analytic techniques aren’t in place to create informed intelligent decision-making across the enterprise.

Want to know more?

Browse our white papers, case studies and webinars for detailed case studies of how GrayMatter has helped companies of all sizes and industries undergo digital transformations.

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Top Executives Strengthen the Region, Contribute to its Economic Success in Pittsburgh

The Smart Business Network is hosting the 2017 Pittsburgh Smart 50 Awards on Thursday, Nov. 9 to honor people that are impacting the community with new ideas and contributing to city sustainability.

The oil and gas industry is rebounding, Harper’s Bazaar named Pittsburgh one of the Best Places to Travel in 2017 and researchers are leading the way with the development of autonomous vehicles, robotics and AI thanks to countless Pittsburgh innovators.

Jim Gillespie, CEO of GrayMatter

GrayMatter is proud to announce that CEO Jim Gillespie made the list for leading a company that is improving performance through technological innovation. GrayMatter helps serve critical industries — power, oil and gas, water and wastewater and manufacturing — that can’t afford to not be operational.

GrayMatter has created a smart sensor drinking fountain with DC Water, using real-time data analytics to monitor water quality and flow levels via the cloud, alerting DC Water when deterioration begins. Learn more about our smart fountains.

About more than just products and services, Smart 50 honors inclusive management styles, engaged corporate cultures and innovative approaches to leadership by savvy leaders who are writing exciting stories for their organizations’ futures.

Testing The IoT Waters: How GE Partner GrayMatter Created A Smart Drinking Fountain

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.

The smart sensor drinking fountain, a co-innovation product by GrayMatter and DC Water.

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 a “change filter” message alerts maintenance so they don’t have to estimate when lead filters should be changed.

“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,” said Gillespie. “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.”

The connected drinking fountains are also programmed to shut off at a set water quality level until maintenance staff make the necessary corrections.

Gillespie said in many IoT projects, the solution provider is beginning to look at its customers as not just an end-user, but co-innovators: “When we work with someone like Washington 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,” he said.

An essential part of the solution GrayMatter brought to the table was not only its knowledge of sensors, data analytics and cloud-based solutions – but its market expertise around digital utilities.

The knowledge of water and wastewater issues – like collection systems, regulations, water quality and utility management – helped the company better understand the outcomes that DC Water wanted and needed.

Interested in learning more?

Check out our white paper on water innovations and read more on IoT in water, game-changing technologies and more customer success stories:

Read More About Water

 

TechHub: Putting the Industrial Internet Hype to Work, Smart Service Energy & More

Putting the Industrial Internet Hype to Work

The Industrial Internet of Things dominates manufacturing hype. Beyond this, certain manufacturers are putting powerful technologies to work – General Electric employees, for example, with their brilliant factories.

GE’s remanufacturing plant in Grove City, Pa., is a shining example of one of those brilliant factories, according to Industry Week.

Once a food packaging plant decades ago, the factory has transformed into a high-tech home for the remanufacture of diesel engines for locomotives.

“We’re taking digital technologies that people are really comfortable with outside of work and bringing them into work — whether that’s iPads, or phones, or just visual data,” said Jamie Miller, the former GE senior vice president and CEO of GE Transportation who was just promoted to CFO. “It was something that people could readily see because they use it outside of work.”

By doing so, it created a condition-based manufacturing system that allowed the workers to tailor what they do to rebuild engines in a faster, more productive manner, according to Miller.

Its brilliant factories  —  Grove City is one of less than a dozen around the world  —  revolve around lean manufacturing principles, additive manufacturing, advanced manufacturing technologies and digital manufacturing. Its industrial cloud platform, Predix, allows customers to replicate that on a smaller level, extending industrial automation to the cloud.

John Deere Investing in AI for Autonomous Farming

John Deere is buying a California artificial intelligence startup that makes machine learning tools for agriculture as part of their quest to automate farming, according to the Verge.

The cutting-edge machine vision tools help farmers scan fields, assess crops and get rid of weeds — all at the same time.

Source: Blue River Technology

A set of cameras fixed onto crop sprayers use deep learning to identify plants, hitting weeds with pesticide and crops with fertilizer, all of which can be customized by the farmer.

This can save up to 90% of the volume of chemicals being sprayed, while also reducing labor costs.

John Deere has been working on autonomous tractors before Tesla and Google even existed, according to the Verge, but its current most advanced vehicles only assist navigation.

The new technology creates a more efficient crop spraying system, allowing farmers to do more with less.

Smart Service Strategy: GE Oil  & Gas Case Study

In 2014, GE Oil & Gas management wanted to improve the revenue capacity of its field service operation, which they were confident could be accomplished by streamlining operations and increasing the billable utilization of their 575+ field service engineers (FSEs).

They knew visibility could be created with a smart service platform, switching over from most engagements being handled using paper forms or whichever process was customary within a particular geographical region.

“No one likes to change,” said GE Oil & Gas Information Management Subsea Services Project Manager Lydie Victoire. “But to increase profitability, we needed our people to adopt this new way of doing field service.”

smart service strategy

The solution was going digital, but in a completely customized way that allowed a set of field service functions for the initial project rollout to look a lot like the old paper-based process.

Going digital allowed them to:

“To optimize field efficiency, GE Oil & Gas needed more real-time visibility into its field service operation,” says GE Oil & Gas Executive Service Director Leigh Martin.

“We needed better data on the work activities of our field service engineers. And for that, we needed a field service platform.”

Download the case study to learn more about how GrayMatter innovates with partners on smart service strategies.

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