Industrial Innovation Insights

Companies around the world are spending billions of dollars every year connecting operations and equipment to the Industrial Internet to make the devices and equipment smart.

The exponential growth of data from connected devices has the potential to create a society that is always on and always learning. Interconnectedness is also poised to transform entire industries, as companies harness the Industrial Internet to gain unprecedented efficiencies.

Worldwide spending on connecting devices to the Internet will could top $500 billion by 2020 — and create as much as $15 trillion in value by 2030.

Our insights into industrial innovation are listed below in the form of articles for your perusal.

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How Renewables Are Driving Energy Evolution

The renewables revolution is forcing the energy industry to evolve. Change brings opportunity, and bold players stand to make significant revenue gains by wading into this new world.

Our reliance on conventional forms of energy is rapidly evolving as countries and companies that have traditionally relied on a single source for revenue are diversifying into new types. Firmly rooted industry players expand their businesses into renewable energy while newcomers are also getting into the game. The changing landscape is clear: The market is evolving to meet end-consumers’ demand.

This shift is good for the established players who have the resources to create the marketplace and define the product offering. And it’s also beneficial for the new arrivals, which can innovate great technology and possibly get acquired by the conventional companies that have defined the market.

Increasing demand is generating great opportunities for bold actors to launch and incubate energy startups inside of their companies. These internal startups will benefit from the parent company’s balance sheet and brand recognition.

GE and Lockheed Martin are cases in point. They’re both leveraging their brand to get into the space with energy startups inside of their corporate structure. GE recently launched Current, which combines data from industrial applications with the Predix industrial internet analytics platform to optimize energy consumption.

Lockheed Martin is following a similar path to GE by combining their energy products and technologies into a single commercial line called Lockheed Martin Energy. The company’s effort will focus on clean, renewable energy sources that will help it meet the Department of Defense’s request for the addition of 3 gigawatts of renewable energy.

While these two major corporations are leading the transformation of the energy industry from a commercial perspective, the relationship with the end-user is also evolving.

Here are three ways how the end-user’s relationship with energy is changing:

1. Smart Grids

As society moves to an always-connected, always-on society, the smart grid will play a critical role in the adoption of energy innovations. Being connected to automated two-way secure network infrastructures, smart grids will save energy, reduce costs and increase the reliability of always-on electricity.

Automated network infrastructures can act as routers and derive energy from multiple renewable sources like solar, ocean and wind depending on the location and climate.

And when commercial or residential end-users are generating more power than they are using, they can sell the excess back to the grid or store it in a battery pack like Nissan’s xStorage system.

2. Renewable Energy

In 2015, 13 percent of electricity in the United States was generated from renewable energy sources. The Energy Information Administration expects total renewables used in the electric power sector to increase by 11.3 percent in 2016 and by 4.4 percent in 2017.

Renewables’ growth demonstrates a bullish sign for the electric-vehicle industry, which will account for 35 percent of global new car sales by 2040. The growth of electric car sales combined with the overall growth of renewable energy is a clear indicator that end-users’ energy consumption habits are changing.

3. Energy Storage

With the development of the smart grid and increasing reliance on renewable sources, energy storage will become a growth market for companies who develop battery technology. End-users will no longer have to rely on natural-gas backup generators to avoid power outages. Instead, they can now install a Tesla Powerpack or other similar storage products, which are infinitely scalable for large enterprise solutions, and connect them to alternative sources like solar panels.

With our energy consumption patterns changing and end-users diversifying into new sources of energy, the opportunities for growth in the energy industry are becoming truly endless.

How Renewables Are Driving Energy Evolution is an article written by Brulte & Company Co-Founder Grayson Brulte that was originally published on GE Reports.

These 3 Industries Are Getting Transformed By Advanced Manufacturing

From electric vehicles on the ground to rockets in space, a range of industries are already benefitting from advanced manufacturing — innovative technologies and processes that are set to transform nearly every sector.

Imagine a world of full of machines manufacturing anything we desire on-demand, where robots attend to workers’ every need. Welcome to the future of advanced manufacturing — a hybrid of technologies and processes that manufactures goods through the use of innovative technologies.

Today, advanced manufacturing accounts for 13 percent of jobs in the U.S. and contributes $3.1 trillion to the economy. As machines become smarter through adaptive sensor networks connected to the Industrial Internet, efficiencies will be created and the economic impact will only grow. Advanced manufacturing techniques combined with big data analytics will allow companies to make intelligent decisions based on real-time data. This actionable data will lead to faster turnaround times for manufacturing and lower costs.

Here are three industries that are among the biggest beneficiaries of advanced manufacturing:

1. Electric Vehicles

As society changes, consumer habits change. Last year, we saw an unprecedented demand for electric cars, as electric vehicle sales grew by 60 percent worldwide according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. As the race for the sub-$30,000 electric car heats up, Tesla is using advanced manufacturing robots at its Fremont plant to keep up with demand.

Tesla’s robots are relieving workers of the most labor-intensive operations in the factory and cutting installation times in half. By freeing up workers to focus on the most crucial aspects of assembling a vehicle, Tesla is creating a smarter, leaner workforce.

By 2040, 35 percent of all new cars sold worldwide are expected have a plug and long-range electric cars will start at less than $22,000. To keep up with the projected demand, electric vehicle manufacturers will have to openly embrace the marriage of software and hardware that is advanced manufacturing.

2. Robotics

Robots might not yet be part of everyone’s daily lives, but soon they will be part of the everyday workforce. Sales of industrial robots sold grew by 8 percent worldwide last year, according to the International Federation of Robotics, surpassing 240,000 units sold for the first time.

As industrial robot sales grow, The Boston Consulting Group predicts that a “robotic revolution” is poised to transform many industries — replacing manual labor with machines on a wide scale.

In the oil & gas industry, Sky Futures is using unmanned drones to transform how oil rigs both offshore and onshore are inspected. By using unmanned drones instead of manual labor, oil & gas companies will be able to improve the productivity and efficiency of the workforce.

The same is true for automating mundane tasks such as loading and unloading materials from trucks, empowering the workforce to become more productive.

For example, the OTTO is a self-driving vehicle that can transport goods and services throughout an industrial environment. By combining robotics such as the OTTO with a workforce that has advanced manufacturing skills, industrial companies can garner the benefits of improved efficiency.

3. Aerospace

The global aerospace and defense sector is poised to resume growth following several years of declines, according to Deloitte.

With the return of growth to the sector, aerospace companies will be more open to experimenting with emerging technologies such as nanotechnology.

Boeing used nanotechnology when the company developed the 787 Dreamliner to reduce the overall weight of the aircraft, resulting in longer possible flight times and decreased operating costs.

NASA is researching nanotechnology at NASA Ames Research Center, exploring the technology’s potential to “revolutionize many aspects of space exploration.”

Nanotechnology combined with advanced manufacturing would dramatically improve the process of designing, creating and operating an aircraft through improved efficiencies.

The above are just a few examples of industries that are already benefitting from advanced manufacturing. But nearly every industry around the world can benefit from advanced technologies and systems, which have the potential to make the global workforce smarter and more efficient.

These 3 Industries Are Getting Transformed By Advanced Manufacturing is an article written by Brulte & Company Co-Founder Grayson Brulte that was originally published on GE Reports.

(Top image: Courtesy of Rethink Robotics)

The Industrial Internet Is Always Learning

In an always on, always learning society, companies that embrace the Industrial Internet will be more intelligent and efficient.

The exponential growth of data from connected devices has the potential to create a society that is always on and always learning. Interconnectedness is also poised to transform entire industries, as companies harness the Industrial Internet to gain unprecedented efficiencies.

The connected device trend is only going to accelerate as the consumerization of software continues to redefine the connected device experience. Today there are over 10 billion devices connected to the Internet, a figure that Cisco estimates will surge five-fold by 2020. Worldwide spending on connecting devices to the Internet will could top $500 billion by 2020 — and create as much as $15 trillion in value by 2030.

This always on, always learning society will make us smarter and save capital for forward thinking industrial companies who understand the needs, wants and trends of their customers prior to deploying new products and services. In the coming years, every new product developed by industrial manufacturers will have sensors that will give off tremendous amounts of data that will make the product more efficient.

Companies around the world are expected to spend an estimated $120 billion dollars this year connecting operations and equipment to the industrial Internet, according to IDC, up 18 percent from 2014. The transportation sector is becoming a key beneficiary of Industrial Internet spending

Union Pacific Railroad is making their overall business and locomotives more efficient by placing infrared sensors on every 20 miles or so of track to look for signs of overheating. These sensors combined with Union Pacific Railroad’s bespoke $10 million software investment helped the company drive down derailments caused by bad bearings by 80 percent.

Complex software is needed to discover patterns and disseminate all of the data coming off the locomotive. For example, the new GE Evolution locomotive has about 250 sensors that send out 9 million data points every hour. This large amount of data is only going to continue to grow as sensors become more complex and data rich. As Jeff Immelt, chairman and CEO of GE, has noted, “Industrial data is not only big, it’s the most critical and complex type of big data.

In the airline industry, important data gathered from the sensors on the aircraft will create value by increasing the number of miles flown and improving fuel efficiency, flight times and passenger safety. The sensors onboard combined with Big Data analytics will enable the individuals who are monitoring the data to make better decisions.

Across industries, data collected from sensors and analyzed can help save lives, save time and improve the overall efficiency of the company. This is the Industrial Internet — a future in where everything is connected and always learning.

The Industrial Internet Is Always Learning is an article written by Brulte & Company Co-Founder Grayson Brulte that was originally published on General Electric Reports.

Industrial Wearables — A Fashion Statement on the Future of Work

Smart gloves and glasses, in tandem with the Industrial Internet, hold the potential to transform how workers interact with machines.

Industrial wearables have the ability to change the way a baggage handler loads luggage onto a plane, or how an engineer repairs a locomotive. The baggage handler will no longer have to remember how many bags were loaded onto the plane or estimate the weight of the luggage, while the engineer won’t have to be an expert on the many iterations of locomotives.

Welcome to the brave new world of the Industrial Internet, where machine sensors enable a higher level of efficiencies, productivity and even predictivity. This greater level of connectivity also empowers workers, as wearable industrials such as smart gloves and glasses gives skilled laborers real-time information to improve their effectiveness and safety.

Wearable technology such as ProGlove will be able to weigh each and every bag as it is loaded onto the plane. The data gathered by the gloves becomes actionable data that the crew chief can analyze in real time to ensure that the plane is not over weight and every bag is accounted for.

If an airline opted in to this technology, passengers on the plane could receive a push notification that their luggage was safely stored below in the cargo hold of the plane. This scenario becomes a reality when companies embrace the Industrial Internet by deploying sensors, building industrial-strength Wi-Fi networks and customizing wearables for their unique and demanding needs.

“Wearable electronics on the body can add a new level of information that benefits the worker and the company,” says Alexander Grots, founder of ProGlove.

Wearable technology holds the potential to not only improve working conditions, but also cut down on lost time due to uncertainty. The data gathered from the Industrial Internet, which is shared in real-time with the worker’s wearables, can improve the overall efficiency of each and every organization that embraces wearable technology.

When engineers are dispatched to fix a locomotive, they are no longer relying upon years of experience. Today, sensors on the locomotives can share data with wearable devices, which would then inform the engineer of the exact problem

While repairing the problem, an engineer wearing a pair of Osterhout Design Group’s R-6S Smart Glasses would also be able to see 3D diagrams of the part and how it resides in the locomotive. “ODG’s smart glasses are designed to deliver an unparalleled ability in head-worn computing, with innumerable applications for government and industry,” says ODG CEO Ralph Osterhout.

The ODG smart glasses combined with a ProGlove would allow the engineer to work more efficiently and remediate the problem faster, without jeopardizing the safety of the locomotive’s crew.

Wearables will make the worker smarter and the business more efficient. We have only begun to scratch the surface of wearable technology and the impact it will have on business and society. Today, only 20 percent of American adults own a wearable device, according to PwC’s recent The Wearable Future report. This adoption rate is on par with the growth rate of tablets in 2012.

As wearable technology matures and more startups turn their focus to the industrial space, we will start to see exponential growth of industrial wearables. As wearables help connect workers more closely with their machines through the Industrial Internet, that will create an opportunity for entrepreneurs to revolutionize the way the industrial sector integrates technology into its day-to-day businesses.

Industrial wearables represent just the beginning of a transformation in the industrial goods sector. The smarter, data-empowered workforce that evolves will create strategic advantages for the established companies and startups that embrace the future of work.

Industrial Wearables — A Fashion Statement on the Future of Work is an article written by Brulte & Company Co-Founder Grayson Brulte that was originally published on General Electric Reports.