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June 13, 2019 Jeremy Boren

TechHub: Robot Co-Workers, Natural Gas Use Grows, Cyber Spending

Rethinking Digital Transformation

IndustryWeek highlights in “Meet Your New Robot Co-Worker” two Intel researchers, Irene Petrick and Faith McCreary, who conducted a survey of manufacturers’ challenges surrounding digital transformation and found a lot of enthusiasm and an equal about of trepidation about the right approach.

Intel’s Faith McCreary, left, and Irene Petrick.

“Workers want to be involved early, they think they should be involved early, and believe they have a lot to contribute from a knowledge perspective about the processes.”

Irene Petrick, Intel

Story includes a few tips for companies pursuing digital transformation:

  • Involve your people early
  • Stop thinking about jobs and “instead break down work into tasks”
  • Invest in training
  • Avoid missing opportunities by thinking big

From the story:

“Mike Mikula, chief engineer for Ford’s Advanced Manufacturing Center, says that when designing applied technology for the factory, his team will bring in both hourly and salaried people “very early in the process” so they can talk about their challenges, share their expertise of the process and contribute ideas for improvement. This not only improves the end result; it empowers team members who will be using the technology, giving them a voice and a stake in its success.”

Natural Gas Use is Growing Thanks to Industrial Applications

Axios notes natural gas is the fastest-growing energy source in the world, according to the International Energy Agency.

For those who follow the industry, that’s not much of a surprise.

What is interesting is what the IEA says is responsible for much of that growth: industrial uses.

Those include the production of chemicals and fertilizers, Axios reports.


Because renewable energy sources can’t replace natural gas in the industrial sector as easily as they can when it comes to electricity production.

What’s next: IEA sees more demand growth ahead, but not as fast as last year’s. It projects worldwide demand will rise more than 10% over the next 5 years, with China alone expected to account for 40% of the increase.


WSJ: CFOs Ponder How Much to Spend on Cybersecurity

Executives from FitBit, JetBlue and other companies talked to WSJ about how to calibrate spending on cybersecurity given the ceaseless carousel of cyber threats companies face.

Some of they key bits of advice included:

  • Make strong relationships with the CISO and other IT managers, said Steve Priest, CFO of JetBlue Airways Corp;
  • Encourage IT managers purchasing teams to work together;
  • Identify the company’s biggest threats and target spending to mitigate them, Judith Pinto, managing director at consulting firm Promontory Financial Group, told WSJ;
  • Build an internal group of cybersecurity experts who manage the company’s cybersecurity budget and objectives, said Ron Kisling, CFO of FitBit Inc.

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Jeremy Boren

Jeremy is GrayMatter's Brand Manager and the author of TechHub and the emPOWERUP Podcast. He writes about digital solutions, trends and culture in the world of operational technology. Jeremy's background is in daily journalism. He has a passion for storytelling and enjoys highlighting the technologies and professionals taking on complex challenges in manufacturing, energy, cybersecurity and infrastructure.