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November 19, 2020 Jeremy Boren

New Pepsi 2-Liter, CRN Honors GrayMatter, COVID in Wastewater

PepsiCo Gives Two-Liter Bottle First Redesign in Decades

A comparison of the old bottles (left) and the new design (right).

A comparison of the old bottles (left) and the new design (right). Source: Pepsi

It’s been 30 years since PepsiCo modified its two-liter plastic bottle. 30. Years.

The global soft drink and snack producer is rolling out a new, slimmer design in late 2020 based on data it gathered about consumers’ hand sizes, along with an appreciation for consumer preferences to reduce the amount of plastic packaging that food and beverage companies use.

It’s an example of how innovation, customer preference and corporate responsibility can align under a company’s existing sales goals.

An enhanced “grip point” at the bottom of the new 2-liter bottles is 25 percent slimmer than the previous bottle design. Pepsi says it will be “modern, functional and easy-to-use,” meaning it will be easier to pour.

Pepsi researched customer hand size and found that the average hand is between 7 and 8.6 inches. The new bottles’ grip circumference is 10.4 inches, as opposed to 13.4 inches on the old bottle, so that should help people get a better grip. The bottle also uses 24 percent less material and the new bottle is part of Pepsi’s larger push to convert its packaging to be 100 percent recyclable or biodegradable within the next five years.

“This redesign makes it substantially easier for consumers to grab bottles off the shelf and to pour at home,” said Emily Silver, vice president of innovation and capabilities for PepsiCo North America. In a statement, she added that it took “an immense amount of work to create this at an operational level.”


CRN Recognizes GrayMatter’s deceptionGUARD as Top 25 IoT Innovator of 2020

CRN is honoring 25 companies that are “leading the charge in bringing unique and innovative Internet of Things solutions to enterprises, SMBs and government agencies.” GrayMatter is proud to be on that list this year for our work in Advanced Industrial Analytics, Industrial Cybersecurity and connected, Brilliant Operations.

Source: CRN

CRN singled out GrayMatter’s innovative deceptionGUARD solution for its contributions to helping companies strengthen their industrial cybersecurity during a time when threats like ransomware and phishing are rising.

GrayMatter’s “cybersecurity offerings include its deceptionGUARD service, which creates virtual decoys and sirens that mimic real devices and network traffic to deceive attackers, allowing security professionals to respond proactively to threats,” CRN wrote.

“GrayMatter provides deceptionGUARD as a managed service, and it’s offered alongside another cybersecurity solution, empowerGUARD, which provides threat detection and alerts as well as micro-segmentation, encryption and asset cloaking capabilities.”

Jim Gillespie, GrayMatter CEO and Co-Founder, recently spoke about introducing deceptionGUARD (see the video above), and the importance companies are placing on improving their cybersecurity as more employees are working from home throughout the pandemic.

To schedule a consultation about how deceptionGUARD can help, visit our cybersecurity resources page and hit the “schedule me” button.

MIT Researchers Develop Algorithm to Zero In on Wastewater COVID-19 Testing

Source: Ohio Department of Health

Wastewater facilities across the country are working with universities and government agencies to test their intake flows for the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The data can be a valuable early-warning system to communities about an increase or decrease in the infection rate of its residents.

Viral traces of the coronavirus can be detected in sewage roughly a week before physical symptoms of the infection manifest.

Researchers at MIT announced in mid-November that they’ve developed an algorithm to help fine-tune their testing methods. The so called tree-searching algorithms select locations within a sewage pipeline network for testing. The benefit is that instead of monitoring for increases in the virus across a system-wide population, researchers can narrow detection to the neighborhood level, or maybe even smaller.

“With hundreds of manholes, we could test about six to 10 and find a source area of 100 people or less,” said Richard Larson, professor of the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society at MIT. “The group to be tested is now the set of individuals resident in the source manhole’s immediate ‘catchment area.’”

One example of the testing that’s happening now is the Ohio Coronavirus Wastewater Monitoring Network.

It’s a collaboration between the Ohio Department of Health, Ohio EPA, Water Resource Center and many of the major wastewater systems serving Ohio including The Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati, City of Columbus, City of Cleveland and the City of Akron.

The network makes its testing data available online at the Ohio Department of Health. It cautions that the data should not be used to compare viral counts at different facilities. It also notes that the data is more valuable as an indicator of dramatic shifts, say a 10x increase in the amount of the virus detected, rather than marginal changes that might occur day-to-day.

For the full story on the MIT testing research, check out Waterworld. 

On the topic of water/wastewater systems, be sure to check out the American Water Works Association webinar on Dec. 15 from 11 a.m. to noon EST featuring the innovative work that Akron Water and GrayMatter have done together to make it easier for Akron’s utility operators to get the data they need at their fingertips.

You can learn more and sign up for free here. 


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.