July 20, 2016

What can Industrial IOT data products designers learn from Harper Lees "To kill a Mockingbird" ?

"You never really know a man until you understand things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walked around it" - Lee Harper To Kill a Mockingbird
One of the most impressionable book for me was Lee Harper's   'To kill a Mocking bird'. Scout had a tough  day at school and Atticus Finch is helping her deal with it (The actual quote is outlined above) .  His simple but effective point was powerful - by putting ourselves  in another's persons shoe and feeling their pain, we will better be able to deal with a difficult situation.
We at Flutura found this to be extremely true as we embarked on our journey to design Intelligent IOT data products for the industrial world. Lets understand how ... The Industrial world  consists of a variety of personas all of whom experience various pain points on a variety of dimensions
  1. Reliability engineers
  2. Field maintenance folks
  3. Command center monitorers
  4. Electro-mechanical product engineers
  5. New Digital business model group
  6. OEM customer service engineers
All of them have a specific mental model and  have formed a pretty intimate relationship with the electro-mechanical assets they interact with which are increasing getting digitized with rugged sensors . So how did 'extreme empathy' help ?Lets take one specific experience we encountered
In Houston we were talking to a number of Oil and Gas OEMs and they mentioned that ratio of maintenance engineers to reliability engineer is 1200:1. This puts an enormous pressure and keeps the reliability engineers awake at night. How can Cerebra ( our product) help ? Srikanth & Rick our "eyes" in Houston, dug deeper and spent days in the life of reliability engineers ...
  1. What do Reliability engineers need to KNOW ?
  2. How do Reliability engineers  FEEL ?
  3. What specifically does a Reliability engineer  DO ?
  4. What are their BELIEF systems ?
  5. What STORIES do Reliability engineers tell each other ? 
  6. Where specifically is  PAIN encountered while executing a reliability analysis task ?
  7. What sub optimal SOLVERS  do Reliability engineers use to solve for their current pain ?
  8. What MICRO INTERACTIONS occur in the current workflow between a field maintenance person interacting with the reliability engineer  ?
They empathized by mapping the Reliability engineers  journey as he/she went about doing tasks to get specific jobs done and the specific friction they encounter along that journey. In 8 weeks Srikanth & Rick  by "soaking" themselves in the reliability engineers context ,  mapped out  a phenomenal catalog of reliability micro insights based on direct immersion in the marketplace . These unique, powerful  industry factoids ( spanning technical and mental models )  were then decomposed into specific Cerebra features and methodically baked into the  product creating "ahas" at a rate we have never seen before. ( Rick is a happy camper as his pipeline looks juicy :)
The point is - Once we feel their pain thru direct experience we were able to generate deep micro insights which are "Non google able " (not in public domain). These "Non google able insights" can then power the product anddramatically increase the resonance with the target personas giving a tremendous advantage  to leap frog competition in a hyper competitive marketplace.
The last 3 months have been "orbit shifting" for all of us at Flutura. Our learning can be summarized in one line -  feeling the pain is a powerful source of competitive advantage . Thank you Harper Lee :)

So who's pain are you going to feel today ?

June 6, 2016

Making Conventional Industries Unconventional using Industrial IOT Solutions

 As IOT begins to re-instrument the world with smart sensors and other types of internet enabled devices we are going to start seeing a dramatic change in the way that conventional companies start driving new revenue streams in unconventional ways. 

When Zip Car began their car sharing program it changed the way people rent cars in urban areas.  No rental car agent.  No lines to stand in.  No problem!  Now GM has announced that they are going to challenge Zipcar's car-sharing services in Boston this summer. GM is a perfect example of a conventional automobile manufacture using IOT to drive new revenues for the companies in a very unconventional way as compared to years past.  With this new service GM will rent their cars for $6 to $9 per hour with no annual commitment from their subscribers. 
This program has already had thousands of residents of Boston sign up for the short term rental services.  This is a starkly unconventional way for a very old and very conventional company to use IOT to drive a new and different type of revenue stream. With this IOT solution of course GM will be able to keep track of where the vehicle is, how it is performing and understand when the vehicle needs an oil change, tune up or is going to have a mechanical failure using predictive analytics. (Source BBJ).
Our team recently met with a global steel rope manufacturing company that makes ropes for elevators, bridges, ships,etc.
  This company is looking to drive new revenues for their company by offering monitoring services for elevator companies.  This new system would monitor the motor, the car, the brakes, etc.  This very conventional company is now looking at using an Industrial IOT solution to drive new revenues in a very unconventional way leveraging their existing experience and relationships in the industry. 
Thyssen Krupp an elevator manufacturer began offering monitoring services using an Industrial IOT solution a couple of years back.  TEAMService is made up of 5,700 certified technicians in more than 200 locations across the country, all wired into an Industrial IOT system. They have access to the elevators and escalators leveraging the expertise of the engineering team.  They are tied into the spare parts inventory and other valuable resources so that ThyssenKrupp Elevator can deliver better service to their customers.  This Industrial IOT solution has proven to drive a new revenue stream for the company.
Another company our team met with recently is a global industrial construction company.  They traditionally build the structures and then they are onto the next job.  This company is now looking at providing remote monitoring for the structures they have built to predict and prevent failure. This could include monitoring the integrity of the structure itself (which is crucial in earthquake zones) as well as other vital services such as monitoring the HVAC systems and other types of automated applications.  This company is looking to leverage their long standing relationships to drive what would be a natural fit to a new division of the company to drive new revenue streams in a very unconventional way for them.
I have several other examples of how conventional companies our team has met with over the past months that are leveraging Industrial IOT solutions to drive new revenue streams or change the way they are doing business in very unconventional ways using Industrial IOT solutions.
Over the coming years the market will continue to see conventional companies to start implementing Industrial IOT solutions to change the way they do business in Unconventional Ways.  Can't wait to see what we come up with next!

June 1, 2016

The Human Nature of the Internet of Things

Rick Harlow

EVP & Head of Americas l OEM l Engineering l Energy l Aviation l Recognized Industrial IOT Visionary

IIOT how to get started - a link for an article on how to get started on the IIOT journey.
“All of us want to be better. Human nature is always seeking advancement.” Quote by Elizabeth Kapu’uwailani Lindsey.
It occurred to me today when I was talking with my six and eight year old boys about my profession that some of us never lose our sense of excitement when learning something new. This is especially true of children as we all know. When the boys were younger and they asked me what I did for “my job” I told them I worked with truck drivers, ship captains and airplane pilots and taxi cab drivers! They thought my “job” was so cool! 
I would tell them I help the trucks, ships, planes and taxi cabs to get where they need to go. They would ask “how?” I would say well dad works with truck drivers to help monitor their trucks to make sure they are running right and to help make sure things get delivered on time around the world. I work with ship captains and airplane pilots to monitor their ships and planes to make sure they are sailing and flying at the right speed and in the right direction of the wind to make sure people and important things are delivered on time around the world. I work with taxi cab drivers to make sure people get picked up on time and get to their destinations safe and on time.
They would ask “do you work with any other people?” I would say yes I work with all kinds of people. I work with people that make gas for cars, I work with people that build tractors, I work with people that make cities work, like with buses that carry people around and work with people that make energy for people to have lighting and electricity. 
As the past couple of years have went by and we have continued to discuss what my “job” is our conversations have become much deeper. Now the boys know about different types of sensors that are used in the oilfield and in energy energy applications, they know about different kinds of software, they know what data networks are, what engine diagnostics are and even what predictive analytic's are.  In fact they even know there are different types of analytic's like Hadoop and Azure. They think both of those names are cool and funny sounding! They know what IOT is and even the difference between IOT and IIOT. 
What is so fun for me is that I have similar conversations with many people on a daily basis and like my boys they are always eager to learn about new technologies as well.  They too are very interested in learning about different types of sensors, different types of software platforms, different types of analytic's platforms and how they can use these technologies in various ways.
Some want to understand how these technologies can help them reach their business objectives like reducing expenses, increasing efficiencies and driving more profits. Others want to understand how these technologies can help them improve the image of their company, open up new revenue streams and even monetize their data they have been collecting over the past years.
It is true that human nature is always seeking advancement. For me this has always been the case and even what I have thrived on in my career, especially when it comes to the IOT and IIOT space.  This is what I also see in most all of the people I work with.  Everyone knows their business and it excites me when they start tying all the IOT and IIOT dots together and see how it will help them meet their business objectives.  I hope they also get to tell their kids stories about cool things they get to do at work with technologies as well!  

May 27, 2016

How to get started on an Industrial IoT journey ?

Industrial Companies have heard about the Industrial IoT buzz and in many industries they have also seen their peers taste the greatness of early success.  As Industrial IoT enabled innovation diffuses across the industrial sector, it is very useful to find out where it is in the adoption curve.  Is Industrial IOT in the Early adopter stage (“Visionary”) or is it in Early Majority (“Pragmatists”) stage? We believe that Industrial IOT has crossed the chasm and is in the Early Majority stage where pragmatists have the technology.  They certainly have an industrial problem they are trying to solve and even a business case aligned with senior leadership teams objectives.
So the question is “How do companies in the “Pragmastist” stage get started on the Industrial IoT journey?” Flutura has experienced and validated a pattern where there are Three Distinct Milestones in the journey which I have outlined below.

Step-1 : Perform a two day Executive workshop on Industrial IoT

  1. Day-1 : Awareness building by focussing on case studies from similar industries and companies
  2. Day-2 : White boarding and deep diving of specifics
Example:  A leading shipping company asked Flutura to look at Industrial IOT data streamed from Digitized Ships into hull management systems and identify monetization opportunities in the data.  We conducted a two-day workshop with our engineers and with the clients cross functional executive team.  When this exercise was conducted the clouds parted for the executive team and then they were able to understand the new world of Industrial IoT and how new business models could be created out of it.  

This was a Light bulb moment! 

On day two both teams went narrow and deep on one fuel efficiency use case and the business case directly related to this use case. This turned out to be a block buster hit in terms of solving a long pending problem they had.  Today this use case is fully scaled.

Step-2: 90 day pilot

A leading OEM for the Shale gas industry wanted to expand its revenue pools by providing monitoring and spare parts augmentation for their customers. They had a lot of hypothesis which they segmented into Three broad buckets
  • Product feature hypothesis
  • Pricing hypothesis
  • Business model hypothesis.
They also identified Three forward looking customers and invited them to give feedback on their overall approach.  Once the hypothesis was iterated and refined across both the product and business model they were ready to scale out across Three industry segments and 20 countries.

Step-3: Industrialize and scale

This is stage at which the Industrial IoT solution gets baked into the operational process and is in union with the daily operational habits.  For example, a leading global manufacturer of Industrial Adhesives used in airplanes and other mission critical equipment did a 90-day pilot where sensor data was used to identify micro defect signals that had a massive impact on plant yield and associated efficiency dollars.
Having tasted Industrial IOT success this Flutura client is rolling the solution out to 30 countries where the impact on yield outcome will deliver 18 million dollars in savings per year.  That’s a significant squeeze out of inefficiencies only identified because of the Industrial IoT prognostics process they went through hand in hand with the Flutura team.


To summarize, Industrial IoT adoption is going to be a competitor weapon and it will discriminate the winners from the losers in the Industrial marketplace. It is clear that if manufactures, process industries and other OEM companies don’t start on their Industrial IOT journey, they risk being left behind.  Therefore, a Two-day heavily-focused Industrial IoT workshop & a 90-day pilot are crucial building blocks to power this success. 

May 24, 2016

Market Observations - From Sketch to Scale on Industrial Internet of Things - IIOT

Market Observations - From Sketch to Scale on Industrial Internet of Things - IIOT
Rick Harlow

EVP & Head of Americas l OEM l Engineering l Energy l Aviation l Recognized Industrial IOT Visionary   
  This past week I was out at the Offshore Technology Conference most of the week.  I spent time talking with customers and partners. There were many that I talked with that are in the sketch stage of their Industrial Machine Intelligence IOT strategy while others are in the scale phase.
As example I had a lengthy conversation with the President of a 220-year-old company that serves the energy, drilling and marine industries.  What I observed is thatthe company has plenty of resources and talent on their perspective teams but they are looking for partners to help enable their Industrial Machine Intelligence IOT journey that has experience in this arena. 
Their team is great at what they do but they are not a sensor manufacturing company, they are not a software platform company, they     do not employ data scientist and do not have the inclination to do so either.  What makes better sense is to partner up with key companies in the market that are specialist in the IIOT arena that have experience in sensors, software and large scale deployments.
I met with numerous other senior leadership folks at OTC as well.  What I observed was very similar as with the company I mentioned above.  They have been talking about Industrial Machine Intelligence but have not made any big moves yet.  One of the things I observed is that they have been approached by the GE’s and PTC’s of the world but have not done any projects with them.  Either they don’t want to expose their customer base to these mammoths or expose their internal processes and perhaps trade secrets but either way  these companies have not made a move into Industrial Machine Intelligence IOT.
Thoughts on Industrial IOT Strategy
I work with senior leaders on a daily basis that are hired to solve business problems.  Some are looking for a surgical solution while others are looking for ways to drive new revenue streams or unlock more revenue out of their existing operations. This is especially true right now with the sharp downturn in global markets for oil and gas players. Oil and Gas companies are looking for ways to get more out of their resources, people and investments. This includes reducing downtime or predicting failure so they can plan for scheduled maintenance versus unscheduled downtime.   
A Khorus survey says 57% of CEO’s say capturing and predicting company performance is their top priority in 2016-17. An Accenture report shows that only 27% of C level has put a single resource into a strategy to try to achieve better results. All of the industry analyst are telling the senior leadership teams they have to invest in IIOT or risk being left behind or even be at risk of losing their jobs. The question is where do they start?
The Conversation
It has been my experience that the best place to start is with a conversation with internal teams and market partners that have a track record of success in helping companies not only map out an IIOT strategy but ones that have actual experience doing real work in the field with use cases and proven results.  Pick a company that has received accolades and awards in the market.  Look for accolades from the likes of Bloomberg, TBB Siemens, Deloitte, Frost & Sullivan, etc. Make the time on the calendar to have these conversations either monthly or quarterly to ensure progress is being made.  
What I have observed is that the most successful industrial IOT deployments involve the CTO, CIO, VP of Engineering and their teams investing the time to collaborate with IIOT partners in workshop sessions.  An experienced Industrial IOT company will have a solid blueprint for a workshop session between their business analyst, data scientist and senior leadership teams.  By going through this exercise the internal team in the company begins to unlock and enable their people to start thinking about Industrial IOT.  The workshops will dive deep into the granularity of the machine data, what type of hardware is required to collect the data from the machines and other areas of the business, how the IIOT platform will collect and process and translate the data into meaningful insights so that actions can be taken in real time. Topics should also include machine learning, autonomous algorithmic signals, UI that is specific to your team and what the company objectives are short and long term.    
60 Day Proof of Concept
Once your teams have gone through the workshops they will have a much clearer path to an IIOT strategy but from there the methodology must be put to test.  Start with a specific piece of machinery or a specific production line.  Have the IIOT partner develop the application for these with a short time frame in place of 60 days or less.  Your team should carve out one hour each week during the 60 day PoC.  Each week the IIOT partner should be delivering on milestones clearly defined in the workshop. By the end of the 60 days your team should have a finished product to either take to market of use internally.
Closing Thoughts
Earlier this year I had a conversation with a global manufacturer of industrial equipment.  They mentioned that they had three different companies with brand recognition come in to talk to them about IIOT.  They said it was a total waste of their time.  Internally there was no vision and no strategy.  The globally recognized partners provided no ideas, no path to scale and therefore no value. 
About Flutura
Flutura is an Industrial IOT & Analytics Solutions Company based out of Houston with offices in Palo Alto, Bangalore and Tokyo.  Flutura has a vision to transform operational outcomes by monetizing machine data. It does so by triangulating economic impactful signals from fragmented data pools. With a team of award winning data scientist and pioneering leaders in the Industrial IOT space Flutura prides itself on making deep and meaningful impacts in our customer’s businesses with turn key solutions that are built specifically for you. 
Flutura Actions! Not just insights!