- January 16, 2018
By Bill Lydon, Editor, Automation.com With Seeq, users now have an application to perform analytics and optimize operations on their own, without having to engage data scientists and other IT experts
By Bill Lydon, Editor, Automation.com
Observing Seeq software in action was refreshing, especially after a constant stream of information and presentations regarding the need for companies to engage with data scientists to create analytics and optimize operations. One Seeq user I spoke to, James Li, a Core Systems Technology manager for Abbott Nutrition, explained it this way, “Seeq puts data science in the hands of our engineers, freeing up our data science team and providing faster time to insights” In my own observations, I found the Seeq software to be visual and intuitive, which is good, seeing as it is made to enable manufacturing personnel to use the vast amount of existing plant data to gain insight, optimize operations, and create predictive analytics.
In order to get a strategic view of the software, along with some insight on Seeq’s vision and philosophy, I had a discussion with Brian Parsonnet, Seeq CTO & Founder. Starting with early experience at Honeywell Process, Parsonnet has spent more than a decade working in process industries including oil & gas, refining, chemical, and other process industries. According to Parsonnet, his focus has been “intently studying the opportunities, challenges, and requirements for what would today be called analytics for production operations with Operations Technologies (OT).” This included working with the Honeywell ASM (Abnormal Situation Management) Consortium, as well as equipment health management, condition monitoring, reliability, and knowledge management.
“After leaving Honeywell, I led process engineering for on-site and IIoT solutions for another company, using the best tools in the industry at the time including Excel, Analytica, Tableau, and machine learning tools”, said Parsonnet. Yet, even with these tools, he described his analytics efforts as tremendously inefficient, resulting in labor- and time-intensive projects.
These were some of the challenges Seeq took on to solve the dilemma of bridging users and technology. “The biggest opportunity is making the existing workforce more productive. They know what to do but it's just too hard,” explained Parsonnet, “While the opportunity is very clear, the challenge is making new IT-oriented technologies work seamlessly and productively in an OT setting.” He realized from his experience that the time series data analysis traditionally used in manufacturing was a limiting approach stuck in the past.
To address these issues, Parsonnet and others formed Seeq, with the goal of a new approach to the entire analytics process, to make it easy for plant engineers to apply data cleansing, visualization, search, contextualization and modeling—as well as, collaboration, knowledge capture, and publishing—in a single application. The result is the right view gets to the right person at the right time, much more quickly as a result of the streamlined process. Data can now be correlated for analysis from a wide range of sources in addition to the traditional automation system including business systems and supply chain software—and sites providing information regarding weather, commodity prices, utility costs, etc.
Parsonnet described how recent advances in technology - big data, machine learning, cloud services, and open source - have enabled the creation of Seeq. He is enthusiastic about how this has created great opportunities for manufacturers, “There is so much innovation to tap! It’s what we wanted years ago, but computing, communications, user interfaces, and other technologies just weren’t up to the task.”
A core philosophy that drives Seeq’s efforts is the belief that companies have invested a great deal in their people, and that there is a gold mine of knowledge and know-how in their employees’ heads. Seeq automates the low-level procedural software tasks, empowering users with expertise in plants and processes to leverage that experience. In many ways, this is analogous to the pervasive spreadsheet that allowed subject matter experts in multiple fields to do analysis without programming.
“Our experience with Seeq customers is proving our hypothesis,” claimed Parsonnet, “Seeq users in various industries, utilizing many different data sources, are leveraging the complete range of Seeq experiences to improve their manufacturing outcomes.” Further, Parsonnet explained the benefits for its extensive partner network. “This is also the case with Seeq partners including Honeywell, Schneider Electric, Emerson, Siemens, OSIsoft, and Inductive Automation—which highlights the pervasive need in the industry for improved analytics offerings.”
Bill’s Thoughts and Observations
The growth of the technology industry over the years has been driven by continually finding ways for people closest to the problem to leverage the power computers. Spreadsheets are tremendous example that enabled a broad range of people to do analysis without being programmers. Now, plant personnel are performing all types of analytics with Seeq including root cause, monitoring, and predictive analytics—all from within a browser-based application. With Seeq, users now have an application to perform analytics and optimize operations on their own, without having to engage data scientists and other IT experts
Learn More About Seeq
Seeq Online University offers free training videos to learn more about the software and how to apply:
About Brian Parsonnet, Seeq CTO & Founder CTO & Founder
Brian has more than 30 years of expertise in engineering technology innovation. Prior positions include co-founder of Ice Energy and IE Technologies, as well as Vice President of Technology for Honeywell Loveland, and Honeywell Industrial Fellow for Product Strategy. Brian has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Princeton University, and a M.S. in the same from Columbia University. He has founded successful start-ups in software, hardware, and services in a diverse set of industries. Additionally, he holds patents in robotics, software, thermal storage and SmartGrid technologies, with particular expertise in the integration of control, monitoring, diagnostics and knowledge capture for large distributed systems.
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