GE to provide Enel with software for monitoring power plant assets

(Credit: Enel)

Predix deal between GE and Enel will initially focus on asset performance management in 14 power plants in Europe and Latin America.

Last week, General Electric (GE) announced that it has won a deal to supply its Predix software to the global thermal generation division of Enel, the Italian energy giant.

The software is to be implemented as a predictive diagnostic tool, monitoring the performance of assets in 14 thermal power plants located in Europe and Latin America. These include 13 gas-fired and 1 coal-fired power plants with an overall installed capacity of 7GW.

All the power plants involved in this project use equipment from GE or Alstom. The implementation of Predix is expected to begin this month and should be completed by the end of the year.

Read more: Energy: How ENEL is using IoT to embrace the ‘energy revolution’

Asset performance management  

Internet of Business spoke to Craig Jones, global vice president of commercial operations at GE Digital, about the deal. It involves GE’s Predix-based APM [asset performance management] software, fed by information coming from connected machines and sensors around these 14 power plants.

Once this data is collected in the cloud-based Predix platform, APM will be used to apply advance predictive analytics to detect and diagnose equipment problems before they become major issues.

“If you think about a traditional power plant, and all of the data that is produced by the equipment inside it on a daily basis, only around 2 percent of it gets analysed in order to improve that power plant’s performance,” says Jones.

“So our software is going to help Enel get much more organized around things like reducing equipment failure and getting real-time detectors in place that indicate when equipment should be looked at from a maintenance perspective. That will help with things like reducing break-fix costs, outages and overall revenue lost.”

There are four overall goals here, he said, which Enel shares with other owners and operators of power plants: increased performance, increased reliability, optimised output and reduced costs. “If you think about Enel, a massive organisation, these four areas become very difficult to manage,” Jones told us. To put that in perspective, Enel works in 37 countries on 5 continents, has a net installed capacity  of around 84 GW and some 64 million customers. Its electricity and gas distribution networks runs to some 2.1 million kilometres.

Read more: Benefits of digitized power plants threatened by glacial progress

Starting small, with potential to grow

For now, then, Enel is starting small – in relative terms – with Predix, as it seeks to increase the reliability and availability of assets in those 14 power stations. GE clearly hopes this will lead onto bigger things, though.

“Our learning over the last couple of years is that what customers of all sizes like to do is try before they really go ‘all in’,” says Jones. “So what we’re trying to do here with Enel is take the operating profile that we can best put our arms around in a very controlled manner. These 14 sites were chosen based on our ability to impact those and then share our success across a broader stakeholder map and ultimately extend the partnership.”

Other recent GE APM customer wins include Belgian biorefinery Alco Bio Fuel, Turkish power company GAMA Enerji and Pakistan-based Engro, which is using APM to monitor six power plants in Pakistan and Nigeria.

General Electric also uses APM itself, at its own Global Electricity Monitoring and Diagnostics Center in Atlanta, Georgia, from which it provides monitoring as a service to more than 500 power producers and utilities, collectively responsible for some 900 power plants worldwide.

Every day, this center receives more than 200 billion data tags from 1 million sensors attached to 5,000 assets in power plants across more than 60 countries, according to GE.

GE Digital CEO Bill Ruh has stated that the insights derived from analysing that data in Predix APM enables the company, on behalf of its customers, to reduce unplanned downtime by up to 5 percent, reduce false alarms by up to 75 percent, and to reduce operations and maintenance costs by up to 25 percent. Applied globally, Run has stated, “this technology has the potential to transform lives, businesses and economies.”


Coming soon: Our Internet of Energy event will be taking place in Berlin, Germany on 6 & 7 March 2018. Attendees will hear how companies in this sector are harnessing the power of IoT to transform distributed energy resources. 

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Internet of Business

The Long Journey to Understanding Intangible Assets

Gratton

Lynda Gratton is a professor of management practice at London Business School and director of the school’s Human Resource Strategy in Transforming Companies program. She is coauthor of The 100-Year Life: Living and Working in an Age of Longevity (Bloomsbury, 2016). She tweets @Lyndagratton.

Imagine that you are 30 years old and looking forward to a working life that could last well into your late 70s. You’ll be working at a time of extraordinary technological change. You’ll engage in jobs that might not yet exist.

Of course, earning money, saving money, and spending that money wisely will be important to you. Money gives you options and creates choices. It makes sense that much of the relationship you have with your employer is mediated by what you are paid to work. Bonus schemes, performance management practices, and performance rankings are all created to define basic salary and differentiate between high and low performers.

Money is a tangible asset. It comes in categories like salary and bonus that we understand, it’s easy to build, count and transfer, and its worth is readily acknowledged. We know when we are building, simply maintaining, or actually depleting our tangible assets.

But what if money wasn’t going to be the most important asset to you? What if the axiom “I work — to earn money — to buy stuff — that makes me happy” is a gross oversimplification of the life you want to lead?

What other assets developed at work could really count? How can we think about these less tangible assets?

This is a question I have been trying to answer for the last decade. I figured that understanding the opportunities and complexities of “intangible assets” could help people decide how best to build their intangible assets. And it would help corporations get a better handle on alternate ways of motivating and sustaining employees. Understanding the notion of intangible assets would help people think more concretely about how they allocate their time and energy. And if it were possible to measure investment in intangible assets at the level of the corporation, this would provide valuable information to prospective employees, managers, and investors that went beyond salary and the elaborate financial measures currently used.

What Kinds of Intangible Assets Should We Look At?

Here’s where I have gotten with this question.

The first challenge is naming and categorizing what intangible assets could be.

To approach this first challenge, my colleague Andrew Scott and I came up with three broad types of intangible assets (IA):

  1. Productive Assets. These include your capacity to continue to learn important skills; to build strong relationships with peers who can support your learning; and to build a reputation that others can use to verify your development.
  2. Vitality Assets. These include your capacity and motivation to stay healthy; to create strong, positive, and resilient relationships with others; and to positively manage the stress of work and home life.
  3. Transformational Assets. These include your capacity to understand yourself and be curious, and to create sufficiently diverse networks of friends and colleagues so that it is always possible to imagine other ways of living.

How Can We Measure Intangible Assets?

The second challenge is measuring these intangible assets.

I began the quest of understanding how this could be done by designing a simple self-report survey that people could use to measure their own intangible assets (IAs). Essentially, we would find out how people already were thinking about quantifying these assets. We posted the survey on www.100yearlife.com, and more than 10,000 people from around the world completed it. People told us whether they were actively building their IAs, simply maintaining them, or depleting them.

Analyzing that data gave us insights into differential individual investment. Across gender, for instance, there were no significant differences. By age, we saw variances: Older people believed they were more able to actively build vitality by managing stress at work; younger people believed they were more able to actively build their reputation.

I then developed a more elaborate survey and engaged executives from over 30 companies in my Future of Work Consortium. Here I considered both employees’ perceptions of their own IAs and their perception of the corporate practices and processes that enabled them to build their assets or created barriers from doing so. We now have data from around 1,500 employees and can begin to see that each company has its own unique pattern of investment in IAs.

How Can We Verify the Presence and Value of Intangible Assets?

The data we have about perception, however, does not address the third challenge, which is the issue of verification.

One of the reasons money has been so central in our thinking about value is that it is easily measured. It can be compared across individuals, groups, and corporations. The task would be to create a verifiable measure of IAs.

A measure would need to be consistent and reliable to allow all stakeholders to compare IAs across companies. My vision was that it would provide more information for prospective employees and shareholders about the full range of asset investment.

I thought machine learning could be the answer. Over a period of time, I worked with colleagues at the machine-learning group at Craft to see whether we could scrape verifiable data from large numbers of corporations. We found that we could for some data — we were able to measure work stress through policies on paternal and maternal leave and corporate spend on employee training — but not for other types of data, such as on the diversity of employee networks.

So where does all this leave us on the long journey to understand intangible assets?

We can now name them — and that’s useful to individuals as they think about how they manage their own lives and consider alternative perspectives to the accumulation of money as the sole measure of their work.

We can now measure them at the level of the organization — and that brings insights to a company about how they are building, or indeed depleting, the intangible assets of their employees.

But what we cannot do (yet) is verify the measurement of intangible assets. That will take more time and more focus. It took many decades to come up with a verifiable measure of the finances of a company. I wonder if this journey will be as long?


MIT Sloan Management Review

Connected Government – how IoT will help manage assets, resources and people

Spoiler alert: Big Brother actually is watching, but not in the way you think. These days every federal agency is connected through a wide array of devices and sensors that collect data on many aspects of their operations. With the help of IBM Watson Internet of Things (IoT), this data is helping customers lead healthier and safer lives, and helping businesses remain competitive and become more profitable.

How can we turn IoT data into opportunity?

The key question: How can we turn that IoT data into opportunity? That exact question and many others were discussed at the recent Connected Government event in Washington, D.C. IBM and FCW brought together thought leaders from government and industries to discuss current and emerging IoT trends, the growing role of IoT as a platform for government innovation, and key challenges and business drivers that agencies should consider.

The event helped show attendees that IoT is in every industry on the planet. From government to appliances to facilities, smart health, connected industrial equipment, vehicles, elevators, ships, planes and more. In fact, IDC predicts that 22 billion devices will be installed by 2018, and IBM is currently helping with that via the 7,000-plus clients using its IoT software.

Chris O’Connor, General Manager of IBM Watson IoT Offerings, outlined use cases of customers who are currently exploring opportunities of digital transformation with their IoT data. He explained that the three major outcomes of IoT are the ability to improve operations and lower costs, enhance customer experience, and transform and generate new revenue streams.

Being connected and gathering new data is the way of the future and is impacting every industry. But all that technology and data doesn’t mean anything if you aren’t deriving value from it. With the help of IBM, companies can now determine the health, well-being or functionality of a ‘thing’ to predict when something is going to break or stop working. As Chris stated, “being able to get ahead of the game is what helps keep the world running.”

He shared a few success stories of key customers who are already benefiting from connected devices.

Manufacturing

The U.S. Army’s Logistics Support Activity operation (LOGSA) is using IBM for Watson IoT, predictive analytics, and cognitive computing to create better visibility into performance. Leveraging Watson IoT for Manufacturing to discern optimal repair methods helps them take proactive maintenance measures, decreasing downtime by 20 percent. It also helps create new efficiencies that save about $ 15 million per year in operational costs.

Energy and Utilities

DTE Energy, which delivers electricity to more than 2 million customers in southeast Michigan, is leveraging an IoT for Energy solution to implement an analytics roadmap in support of asset health and reliability. The utility is now able to ensure that the power is always on with predictive analytics and maintenance from Watson IoT for Energy.

Buildings

Sodexo shifted to a SaaS Facilities Management solution to more efficiently manage more than 1.2 million assets in more than 24,000 buildings. Sodexo is seeing a 20 percent reduction in total cost of ownership, and the company is leveraging SaaS to decrease its fixed costs by 15 percent.

Retail

A key benefit of this connectivity is enabling businesses to talk to their clients, in some cases for the first time. For example, Whirlpool’s use of a distribution network meant that the company never really talked directly to its own customers. By adding a sensor chip to its machines, Whirlpool was able to see how they were working, which gave the company the ability to interact more effectively with end users. Not only could Whirlpool predict potential maintenance problems before they happened, but by better understanding how its customers were using their machines, the company could continue to tweak its functionality to better serve the end user. IoT made this possible, and for the first time ever company and consumer were connected.

Travel & Transport

IBM and Maersk have built a new global trade digitization solution using blockchain. The solution is designed to help reduce fraud and errors, reduce the time products spend in the transit and shipping process, improve inventory management and ultimately reduce waste and cost. IBM and Maersk worked with a number of trading partners, logistics companies and government authorities to manage and track the paper trail of tens of millions of shipping containers across the world by digitizing the supply chain process. Blockchain formed a digital signature that monitored the integrity of the containers. When adopted at scale, the solution has the potential to save the industry billions of dollars.

IoT is helping to change the culture of government in ways we never thought possible. And if Big Brother is watching, learning and growing, how is your organization planning to evolve? Are you prepared for IoT? And if you are, what will you do with the data once you have it?

Find out at: ibm.com/iot

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Internet of Things blog

Shell joins digital twin initiative for offshore oil and gas assets

Shell

Oil and gas company Royal Dutch Shell (Shell) has become the first operator to sign up as a participant in a two-year digital twin initiative. 

The Joint Industry Project (JIP) will be led by Swiss engineering modelling and simulation technology company Akselos and engineering research and development experts at LICengineering, a Danish consultancy firm specialising in the marine and offshore energy sectors.

The JIP focuses on advancing the structural integrity management (SIM) of offshore assets, such as oil rigs, by combining fully detailed structural simulation models – or ‘digital twins’ – with sensor data and big data analytics.

According to Akselos chief executive Thomas Leurent, the system has been in development for almost six years, building on technology previously patented in 2011 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Read more: IoT boosts healthy and safety in offshore environments

A ‘next step’ in digital twin tech

The project will begin with one of Shell’s assets in the Southern North Sea. The aim is that insights from the project will assist oil and gas operators in the management of their offshore assets,  improve worker safety and explore predictive maintenance, for example.

The breakdown of the project’s lifespan is as follows: In the first year of the project, Shell will receive a condition-based model of its selected assets, enabling the company to analyze structural integrity with more accuracy and detail than it has been able to previously, the JIP members claim.

In the second year, Akselos will supposedly combine this model with sensor data, to allow Shell to monitor the health of its asset in real time, meaning Shell operators can then predict its future condition.

This sensor-equipped digital twin might in future be replicated by other oil and gas operators, allowing them to interact with their own assets virtually and in real time, and giving round-the-clock visibility over assets. However, after the initial project with Shell, the companies say that the Eurostars funding will allow just two more operators to participate in the project at a significantly reduced price.

Read more: What data does a ‘digital twin’ run on?

Global challenges

Commenting on the importance of the deal to Shell, Lourens Post, Shell global manager, Fluid Flow & Reaction Engineering, said the company is “committed to overcoming technology challenges across our global energy portfolio by supporting innovation through research and development.

“As one of the largest oil and gas industry investors in R&D, the Akselos and LICengineering JIP is a great fit for our strategy. Collaborating with world-class companies and experts is crucial if we are to drive real innovation in the oil and gas sector and create a safer and more efficient industry. We have seen great results working with Akselos so far, and we look forward to seeing the outcome of the big data analysis in the second year of the JIP.”

The project is funded by Eurostars, a joint programme between EUREKA, an intergovernmental network that supports international collaboration on R&D, and the European Union through the Horizon 2020 fund, and is specifically aimed supporting the research work of small and medium-sized enterprises.

Read more: TIBCO: How to double efficiency with ‘digital twins’

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Internet of Business

EAM: manage assets and profitability

Organizations in the asset intensive industries are faced with a daunting question, “How do we maximize the value of assets through their lifecycle?” In fact, in a recent survey of asset managers worldwide, more than 75 percent of respondents cited system reliability as the fundamental reason to invest in enterprise asset management. Technology is one way to ensure that you can track, evaluate and manage physical, technological and human assets.

Organizations must deal with continually aging physical assets that require ongoing maintenance and repair, including power plants, railroad bridges, sewer systems, generators or electronic devices such as smart meters. The quality of the organization’s products and services are impacted by performance and reliability of the asset or equipment. As a result, the increased need for asset maintenance and its management can have a direct impact on customer satisfaction.

But each asset has its own unique challenges. Visibility into the assets is crucial as this ultimately affects customer satisfaction. It’s imperative to have insights into the right mix of assets in production and inventory. Without these insights, organizations tend to hoard on inventory to ensure products are always available but end up with increased storage costs and depreciation that ultimately eats into the company profits. An ideal Enterprise Asset Management solution would be able to help with these issues.

Choosing an Enterprise Asset Management solution

An ideal Enterprise Asset management solution is one that provides Visibility, Control and Automation. Most organizations have data systems that work in silos and this reduces efficiency. You need insights into the functioning of various assets to understand and deal with the performance of existing and aging assets. Gaining a better control of their assets can enable organizations to better manage their investments. Organizations can control their spending by taking action to increase the life of an asset and reducing inventory costs.

Automation helps organizations to shift from a reactive to a more proactive mode. It helps them to identify assets that require maintenance and take preventive measures and enhance operational capabilities by automating workflow thus making their operations agile.

Figure 1: A comprehensive enterprise assets management solution provides increased visibility, control and automation.

Figure 1: A comprehensive enterprise asset management solution provides increased visibility, control and automation.

Successful organizations build agility into their business model. The ability to adapt to change by improving operations can mean the difference between survival and extinction. Asset management, driven by valuable insights from IoT data, can have a significant impact. One way is to unify processes that manage wide-ranging functions across an organization’s multiple sites. Organizations can optimize production and service systems within each site. As a result, organizations can wield greater control of the complex asset environments necessary for bottom-line results.

End-to-end asset management with IBM Maximo

Available both on-premise or in a SaaS model, IBM Maximo Asset Management software provides industry-leading capabilities and functionalities that allow capital, asset-intensive industries to leverage the benefits of an integrated enterprise asset management system to manage critical assets and facilities within the organization.

Maximo helps to manage all kinds of assets across industries. With the following advance capabilities in Maximo, organizations can make the most of their investment.

  • Built-in mobile access – Using IBM Maximo anywhere, which is included in the core Maximo Asset Management solution you can access work and asset management capabilities using any browser on your device, be it a phone or tablet.
  • Built-in mapping and crew management – you can geographically track and assign work with greater flexibility. The application designer provides support for Google, Bing and Esri maps.
  • The cognitive power of Watson: With the cognitive element of Watson combined with Maximo Asset Management you can analyze past and present events and use insights to make proactive decisions to prevent the root causes for failure.
  • Analytical insights: Through the IBM Cognos® integration, reporting, analytics and numerous dashboards Maximo Asset Management helps monitor the health of the organization.

Learn how to manage your assets

To learn more on how IBM Maximo Enterprise Asset Management solution can provide insights to better plan and control your assets please read Understanding the impact and value of enterprise asset management or visit the IBM Maximo website.

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