March 24, 2016

3 Reasons why Industrial companies need an Industrial IOT alternative


The last couple of months have been interesting in the Industrial world as the pace of disruption accelerated on multiple converging dimensions with sensor fabrics, digital twins, augmented reality, drones and 3D printing which promises to change forever the way business is being conducted in the Industrial world.  As the power shifts from electro-mechanical to digital happens there are 2 important questions running thru the minds of Engineering CXOs
  1. Digital Business Models: What new revenue streams can be powered by the digital revolution of sensors and digital twins?
  2. Foundational Industrial Platforms: How do I build a strategic, future proof platform which powers the future of my business?
GE with its Predix platform has done a lot of visionary work in opening the worlds eyes to possibilities at the intersect of Industrial and Digital worlds. This has resulted in a lot of organizations getting inspired by GE and looking at their own roadmaps to intersect the digital world which is encompassing their engineering world.
Srikanth, Derick, Krish and I have been traversing the Industrial power centers of Bourbon drinking Houston, Saki drinking Tokyo and Napa Valley wine drinking NorCal talking to industrial customers who have embarked on a journey to intercept the new industrial-digital reality.  
Here are 3 insights that have surfaced.
 Industrial insight-1: Vendor Neutral Process/Asset repository
The reality of the Industrial Landscape is that it consists of a plethora of complicated assets many of which are non GE with proprietary message emission formats. For example in the Oil n Gas world there are a variety of Swivels, Submersible pumps, top drives etc. to be digitally stitched together. The mind-set prevalent within Industrial companies is to create a vendor neutral platform which can connect to a variety of asset from heterogeneous manufacturers.
Industrial insight-2: Flexibility to expand Digital Apps
The ability to compose new apps and extend the platform in a direction which is unique to their process, asset and business model needs. For example in the transmission and distribution side of digitized utility grid there are capacitor banks and distribution transformers.  With this there are always specific apps to be built at the intersect of these data pools and a vendor neutral platform like Flutura is best equipped to expand these apps.
Industrial insight-3: Edge is fragmented
The ability to decode edge intelligence and close action loop on GE owned assets is relatively good because they have intimate access to proprietary machine log data and digital mechanisms to sense and respond to edge conditions with less latency. The fact that the closed loop process is baked into hardware to trigger electro-mechanical actions based on sensor data signals makes it quite a compelling solution. This is where with the advent of fog computing vendor neutral platforms there will be a time not too far from now that will mature in achieving SLAs related to responding to edge events.
 In the world of business processes, SAP BW had trouble expanding to non-SAP Business processes because of its perceived bias towards SAP processes. Similarly in the industrial operational world, focus will be more on vendor neutral platforms which are flexible and open.
The future belongs to vendor neutral platforms like the Flutura Cerebra platform which is liberating  machines by giving them a voice to talk.

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