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October 16, 2015 Marketing

Cybersecurity Fears Prompt the Navy to Navigate by the Stars Again

In a time where technologies such as smart fridges, self-driving cars, and 3D printing are the norm, The United States Naval Academy is beginning to teach celestial navigation once again, according to the Capital Gazette.

The practice fell out of use about 20 years ago, thanks to advances in radio wave and GPS navigation. But it’s not nostalgia that’s making the Annapolis school teach the outdated navigation once again.  It’s cybersecurity qualms.

The fear of cyber attacks has the Navy running back to the technique, using instruments to measure the angles between astronomical objects– stars, planets, asteroids.

For now, it’s just a three-hour course covering the basics. But it’s a start.

“We went away from celestial navigation because computers are great,” said Lt. Cmdr. Ryan Rogers, the deputy chairman of the academy’s Department of Seamanship and Navigation. “The problem is,” he added, “there’s no backup.”

In the 1990s, the Air Force launched two dozen satellites nearly 13,000 miles above Earth– changing the way the Navy navigated vessels forever. And while Rogers said that using this GPS is much more accurate, the risk of cyber vulnerabilities is becoming greater.

The Navy isn’t alone in their fear of cyber attacks. A survey of more than 1,100 business decision-makers revealed that 53% feared data risks, cyber attacks and viruses.

Plus, The Daily Beast published an article with a chilling headline that reads, “Cybersecurity expert: Be afraid, America, be very afraid.” The cybersecurity referenced there being Joseph Weiss, author of the book, Protecting Industrial Control Systems from Electronic Threats with more than 40 years in the energy sector.

Weiss warns that cyber threats, while ruinous when it comes to identity theft, are most destructive when it comes to industrial control systems.

“These ubiquitous hidden computers have gradually and quietly been put in charge of all manner of critical infrastructure—including nuclear power plants, the grid, water and gas pipelines, refineries, air traffic control, trains, factories, you name it,” said Weiss.  

Here’s a couple of other notable stories from this week:

IoT in Energy Sector Worth $22 Billion by 2020

Metering & Smart Energy reported that the Internet of Things (IoT) in the energy market is expected to reach about $22 billion by the year 2020– growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24.1%.

The report further segments the global IoT market into network technologies, services, applications and region.

When used for energy-related purposes, the IoT “is primarily aimed at achieving the integration of machines and intelligent data analysis to enhance the operational efficiency targets being set by energy companies,” according to the report.

SCADA Market to Benefit from Oil & Gas Demand

Speaking of reports of growth, a report from this year illustrated the supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) to expand at a CAGR of 5% by 2020.

The global SCADA market is divided into electrical power, water and wastewater, oil and gas, transportation, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and food and beverage.

According to this Transparency Market Research (TMR) report, this growth is due to an elevated demand for SCADA from the oil and gas industry. Factors like the accelerated demand for process automation and the threat of cyber attacks affect this demand.

A Multiskilling Approach to Oil & Gas

Schlumberger, the massive oilfield services company, released third quarter results on Thursday that continue to show challenges in the industry, leading them to take a “conservative view on 2016 E&P spending.”GE_DE_FFA-Resources

CEO Paal Kibsgaard warns that recovery now seems to be delayed. But in the process of announcing these challenges, Kibsgaard coined a new term called multi-skilling, according to an article by Joseph Treipke published on OilPro.

If you haven’t guessed already, the gist of the concept is that with a little investment in re-training, one skilled worker could do the job of two, even three skilled workers. While Schlumberger may be the first to vocalize this idea, they’re not necessarily the first in the oil and gas industry using this strategy amid low oil prices.

Still, Treipke argues that multiskilling “isn’t necessarily a euphemism for more work, less pay.” The hope is that multiskilled employees improve oilfield efficiency, but it could be dangerous when it comes to putting significant pressure on one engineer to do the job or two or three.

Media We Link To:

“Seeing stars, again: Naval Academy reinstates celestial navigation” – The Capital Gazette 

“America’s Businesses Vexed by Medical, Legal, Tech Risks: Survey” – Insurance Journal

“Cybersecurity Expert: Be Afraid, America. Be Very Afraid” – The Daily Beast

“Internet of Things in energy sector worth US$22bn by 2020” – Metering and Smart Energy

“Global Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) Market to Benefit from Elevated Demand from Oil and Gas Sector” – Automation.com

“Schlumberger Implements A “Multiskilling” Approach To Jobs As CEO Sees Downturn Continuing” – OilPro

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