Tag: Industrial Tech and Transformation

Mark Zuckerberg strikes again, collecting news headlines and global attention (and creating distractions), and ensuring that the word “metaverse” worms its way into our everyday vocabulary, whether we like it or not. While we’re grateful that this isn’t another story of a billionaire dreaming of space odysseys, it’s still all about conquering another kind of kingdom—a virtual one.

So, will Meta (formerly known as Facebook) be the master of the metaverse? Or will the practical utility of a 3D virtual world outweigh consumer entertainment for once? Asset-heavy industry is definitely a metaverse contender, having already shown its love for digital twins and computer vision to test, predict, inspect, and conduct a host of other tasks from the comfort of a leather-padded office chair.

Until May last year, health centers in Japan used fax machines to send handwritten reports of COVID-19 cases to the health ministry. Hanko seals (a carved stamp) and paper documents, in lieu of digital ones, are still part of the country’s work culture. Hard cash continues to circulate, due to widespread refusal to adopt digital payment systems.

Though highly diversified, Japan’s industrial sector has been slow to digitalize, driving production from stagnation into a steady decline. Despite Japan’s innovative image on the world stage, it ranks only 27th in a survey of how countries (and their industries) deploy digital technologies, according to the IMD Digital Competitiveness index. Other reports show that only 13% of Japanese organizations are actively working to digitalize.

What exactly is the holdup when it comes to digitalizing a country seemingly as advanced as Japan?

Answering this question has become a priority for Japanese leaders. It portends to be a long-term competitive catastrophe in the making, which is perhaps why former Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga prioritized digital reform when came into power in September 2020. The country has long struggled to deliver on administrative reforms, which has served as a barrier to admittance in the digital era.

This week, Japan elected a new prime minister to replace Suga: Fumio Kishida. Kishida is expected to follow through with Suga’s digital reforms, specifically the “digital garden city state” concept that seeks to boost regional economies through the use of advanced  technology.

Ignite News spoke with Junji Yamamoto, an executive advisor for Yokogawa Electric Corporation’s industrial automation and life innovation business, about what’s behind Japan’s societal reluctance to digitalize.

Although 2020 marked the largest decline in global CO2 emissions since the recession of 2007-09, the total amount of CO2 in the atmosphere still reached a record high. The social costs of emitting carbon are only set to increase. Carbon-intensive industries urgently need to invest to become carbon neutral and maintain their license to operate.

As the world’s leaders gather at the COP26 Climate Change Summit this week, carbon capture is expected to come up in conversations about practices to achieve “negative emissions.”

We sat down with Jim Stian Olsen, CTO of Aker Carbon Capture, to get his take on carbon capture and the road to net zero.

How will decarbonization happen? 

JSO: Decarbonization will come in three stages. We’ll begin with energy efficiency—the cheapest and lowest hanging fruit. Once we have exhausted that, we will move to renewable energy. Finally, since there are still emissions in the production of renewable energy, we will turn to carbon capture.

How are we progressing with carbon capture?

JSO: The International Energy Agency (IEA) said that to meet the climate goals, 9% of decarbonization needs to come from carbon capture. That is equivalent to 2,400 million metric tons of CO2. Let’s look at it in real terms: Aker Carbon Capture is part of a 1 billion Norwegian kroner project that will result in a reduction of about 400,000 tons of CO2. To meet the 9% IEA goal, you need 5,000 of these projects from now until 2030. That’s a couple of projects a day!

1-Minute Roundup: The Top Stories Shaping Your Industry - Ignite News

The most important stories on industrial digitalization from around the world in the past two weeks.

UK looks to low-carbon hydrogen: A new strategy released by the UK government defines an approach to developing a low-carbon hydrogen sector. The ambition is to reach 5GW of low-carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030.

European Commission proposes renewable energy directive revision: The revision would increase the overall binding target for renewable energy in the EU energy mix from the current 32% to 40%.

“Green Gold Rush” continues: Countries are investing in alternative energy and technologies to reach net-zero goals and examine geopolitical consequences of a decarbonizing world.

US Senate passes biggest infrastructure package in decades: The deal includes $1 trillion in spending on upgrading transportation, clean energy, power infrastructure, and broadband.

Extreme weather puts pressure on industries and governments to accelerate climate actions: Heatwaves, drought, and floods have hit three continents this summer. Energy resiliency is critical for cities and communities. Are our power grids prepared for these external threats? Also see the updated UN report on climate change that finds Earth is warming faster than previously thought.

Cognite co-founder and CTO Geir Engdahl

In a 2014 blog post, Information Week contributing editor Lenny Liebmann looked at the emergence of big data and saw a need for a set of best practices to ensure that data science happens efficiently and reliably.  Liebmann called this discipline “DataOps,” or “the set of best practices that improve coordination between data science and operations. Seven years later, DataOps is a “top trend,” according to VentureBeat, and the race is on to sharpen the definition and claim a piece of the market.

Partner ecosystems are typical in the consumer world, but they have not seen equivalent uptake in heavy-asset industries. One major reason: Industrial data today is trapped in siloed systems, slowing innovation and competition and inhibiting cost reduction.

What would a major turn toward data sharing and ecosystems in heavy-asset industry look like? Consider the financial industry.

For decades, conventional banks collected valuable information about their customers and their transaction patterns, but the data wasn’t harnessed to its full potential. Banks, like industrial companies, operated in siloed systems, which were mostly closed and strictly owned by banks.

Open banking is upending this landscape, and banks are responding by changing their business models for good. 

COVID-19 may well have been the kick in the pants needed to push remote operations into the industrial mainstream, and there’s no shortage of surveys and trends reports to back this up.

In a November 2020 McKinsey insights report, a majority of companies said that the potential for remote work is determined by tasks and activities rather than occupations. That sentiment jives well with a similarly timed AIRINC survey among oil and gas companies.

While an overwhelming 80% of oil and gas respondents said that more work will be done remotely, they acknowledge that this simply won’t work for all types of tasks in their industry.