Ironically, people may be the key to digital transformation. That was the essential message delivered by leaders and presenters alike at OSIsoft's 29th annual PI World user conference on April 23-27 in San Francisco. The event was attended by about 2,800 visitors, who took in 51 exhibitors, 160 customer presentations and 119 OSIsoft sessions.
"We do what we do for several reasons, and the first is that pervasive data collection always means more revenue," said Dr. J. Patrick Kennedy, founder, chairman and CEO of OSIsoft. "I've never seen it fail that data monetizes."
To bring more useful data to more users, Kennedy stressed that OSIsoft's vision is to make information scalable for use by large and small applications, aggregate process data for critical operations, and provide it via its new OSIsoft Cloud Services (OCS) platform. "Users want innovation and mobile worker capabilities, and changing architectures are changing how they work with their systems, but their No. 1 desire is still data quality," Kennedy added.
Despite all the upheaval caused by digital transformations, Gregg Le Blanc, VP of products at OSIsoft, explained that it and its flagship OSI PI software are well-positioned because they've already spent many years bridging data gaps and pulling information together for users. "We're facing many challenges now, such as multiplying sensor networks and mobile workforces that can fill data lakes, but they should also feel familiar because OSIsoft can give the Internet of Things (IoT) and its users the scale, scope, dimension and infrastructure they need. People are key because their natural intelligence is essential to prioritizing and making digitalization useful and successful. There's a billion measurements and a trillion data values from the edge to onsite to the cloud, and OSIsoft focuses on making them more scalable and usable."
For example, Penny Gunterman, product marketing manager at OSIoft, reported that Duke Energy in Charlotte, N.C., is using acoustic sensors to identify boiler leaks and applying thermographic devices to spot rising temperatures, but wasn't able to coordinate the resulting data for better decisions until it integrated OSI Pi and even some artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities.
"Data is gold, but it's in the ground, and OSIsoft helps us mine and manage it in real time, make sense of it, and get it to our workers' fingertips to empower them," says Chris Heck, CIO and VP at Duke. "We've got 5 million PI tags making their way to 5,000 users at Duke, but now we've also got monitoring and reliability diagnostics centers that also deliver data to OSI PI and our asset framework, which applies algorithms to do predictive and preventive maintenance that have saved us about $130 million."
Gunterman added: "We're looking at places in plants that we've never seen before, and users know where this data could be used, but they also need AI to pick up where their awareness leaves off. New technologies like AI should complement people's intelligence, and light up otherwise dark data."