The KIT ─ Knowledge & Information Technology
No. 176 - 16 September 2016
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In This Issue
Oil & Gas Perspectives on Intelligent Energy
Standards for Cloud Security
Connectivity in Remote Areas
Conference Calendar
DELL, EMC, ECD, Documentum and OpenText
Seen Recently
Claude Baudoin

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Oil & Gas Perspectives on Intelligent Systems
The Society of Petroleum Engineers' Intelligent Energy 2016 conference in Aberdeen, Scotland, exhibited as usual the odd contrast between the large potential impact of automation (including the Industrial Internet) and the relative lagging position of the Oil & Gas industry in this respect. Here are some of the highlights from last week:
  • A BP speaker gave a clear definition of the distinction between SCADA and IIoT systems, which he said involve "big data in the cloud, analytics and machine learning, and enabling multiple proactive decisions across more than one business line."
  • Why can't we remotely monitor equipment performance and proactively call the operator within minutes of a malfunction, like the Tesla monitoring center does?
  • A Chevron speaker said that "improvements are the result of the aggregation of marginal gains," in a false analogy with the evolution of racing bicycles. But the car wasn't the result of incrementally evolving the horse! That lack of vision of step changes and technology disruptions was evident throughout the event.
  • The split between operational technology (OT) and corporate IT was much talked about, and the need for convergence or at least strong collaboration was highlighted. The SPE's Digital Energy Technical Session (DETS) has an "IT/OT Convergence Committee" that we found fairly unimpressive.
  • The Cybersecurity session had only two presentations -- is this subject still not taken seriously enough, or are people working on security not deemed worthy of a plane ticket to go and present?
  • In spite of these criticisms, there were "points of light" in presentations by and discussions with Intel, Cisco, Yokogawa, Computas, Frontender, Total and more.
Standards for Cloud Security
The Cloud Council is presenting its latest white paper, "Cloud Security Standards: What to Expect and What to Negotiate v2.0" in a free hour-long webinar on September 20 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern US time (8:00 a.m. Pacific, 16:00 UK time). The speakers will be Claude Baudoin (cébé), Mike Edwards (IBM) and Alexander Tumashov (Schlumberger). Click here for more information and to register.
Connectivity in Remote Area
In a development that could have enormous importance for certain industries as well as health care and security, the European Union's TUCAN3G project is demonstrating the ability to use "femtocells," which can be powered through solar panels, to build a 3G communication network in previously unconnected areas. While a traditional cellular station may typically cost $50,000 and needs to be connected to a power grid, a femtocell is targeted to cost about $500 and needs no external connection.
The first prototype was deployed in villages in the Amazon, but the potential impact in underserved regions of the world, as well as in remote industrial operations (mining, oil and gas, transportation, etc.) could be enormous.
On Our Calendar
This is a list of important meetings and conferences related to IT standards and the Industrial Internet. We're not present at all of them, and there are many other events of interest, but this is a selection of opportunities to learn and participate.
  • Week of Sep. 19: the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) and Germany's Industrie Plattform 4.0 group are hosting a joint summit for their members in Heidelberg
  • Oct. 24: IIC is hosting a public information half-day in Barcelona, capitalizing on the presence of attendees to the IoT SWC below
  • Oct. 25-27: Internet of Things Solutions World Congress, Barcelona
  • Dec. 5-8: a very busy week with simultaneous and co-located meetings of the Object Management Group (OMG) and the IIC in San Diego, Calif.
  • March 20-24, 2017: OMG technical meeting in Reston, Va.
  • June 5-9 and 12-16: back-to-back meetings of the OMG and the IIC in Brussels.
For OMG meetings, ask us for guest passes; IIC meetings are member-only except for specifically designated "information days.")
DELL + EMC - ECD = ?
After concluding its acquisition of EMC (focused on data storage and virtualization), Dell has sold EMC's Electronic Content Division (ECD), which offers the Documentum and Captiva products (and a few more), to ECD's competitor OpenText. This was followed by reorganizations and new brand names, such as "DellEMC".
What can Documentum users expect? The usual scenario in such cases consists of the following steps (but we have no special inside information about what OpenText will actually do) over a period of several years:
  • Assurances from the buyer that nothing will change.
  • A period when there is no change, simply because it takes a while to decide and act on the changes that, in spite of the assurances, are inevitable to streamline the product line and the support costs.
  • Integration by the buying company of some technology that they did not have and was present in the acquiree's product.
  • Announcement of an "end of life" program for the duplicative acquired product.
  • Discontinued support for that product.
Seen Recently...
"Artificial intelligence is no match for human stupidity."
-- Douglas Adams, author of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy,
quoted by Matthew Hause of PTC during yesterday's IIoT Information Day in Chicago