South Park illustrates Phases 1, 2, and 3

But what is Phase 2??

I've been spending more time talking to clients about data engineering. As I was discussing the creation of a data lake the question came up, 'how do I utilize this data in a way that will drive ROI for my business unit?'...hence the cheeky reference to Southpark's classic 'Gnomes' episode.

They have also completed Phase 1 in the "Gnomes business plan."

Data exploitation is happening right now. For years companies have been building out data repositories and throwing all first, second and sometimes, third party data into these lakes in hopes of finding value.

I believe that time has come. Phase 2 isn't a question. It's a solution. The solution in AWS is represented by machine learning and artificial intelligence and when combined with data that has been appropriately scrubbed and conformed, represents an incredibly powerful tool for modern businesses to harness in service to their operational processes.

Yes, but what are the details, Jonathan?

Only your organization can determine what questions to ask of your data (we can help). Right now data science is one of the hottest jobs in the market, but without the right strategic reasoning and without the right tools, data scientists are left isolated; solving problems that don't need solutions! Conversely data visualization tools like tableau are great, but are limited in the insights they can drive; they are visualization tools. Not machine learning.

What if there was more you could do? What if your data had new ways to connect with consumers? What if your data was hiding insights into business process optimization? What if your data could help ensure compliance with GDPR regulations?

Hint: all these things are possible. And more. In fact, it's one of my favorite work streams here at Metal Toad. Here's how it unfolded:

Wind Turbine

Offshore wind turbines are truly awe-inspiring machines—and they require a similarly awe-inspiring amount of maintenance. Keeping these behemoths functioning at peak performance requires complex operational planning, predictive maintenance, and precise scheduling.

As a leading supplier of wind power to customers all over the globe, Siemens Gamesa is responsible for a ten-year warranty on a large number of offshore wind turbines. Maintenance ships and crews account for the largest percentage of Siemens Gamesa’s turbine service expenditures, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars each day. Industry consolidation and new turbine blade technologies have made high performance and cost reduction crucial.

But with the existing technology, the activity of the ships performing maintenance was a black hole of data. 

  • Planning relied on human estimates, which were imprecise and error-prone
  • Hard data for actual onsite operations was sorely lacking
  • The accumulated errors and lack of precision led to costly decisions

For efficient, cost-effective operational planning, Siemens Gamesa needed accurate, directly observed data about every step of their maintenance procedures. Without a precise digital system, all that crucial information was just blowing in the wind—along with any opportunity to optimize operations and save money

(How did we from gnomes to global energy grids? Data!)

Metal Toad created a proof of concept for a solution that has the potential to revolutionize wind turbine maintenance operations. The heart of the solution is a new “smart platform” leveraging the Internet of Things (IoT)—a network of sensors and cameras that capture data about every step of a crew’s operation, including:

  • vessel travel time to and from the service location
  • time spent docking and ascending the turbine
  • performance of every step of service on the turbine
  • atmospheric conditions at the service site 

The smart platform captures critical data and timelapse video of every stage of the operation. A mesh network of offshore devices takes the data from the field to the cloud—replacing the old system of guesstimating with hard facts.

This information is the key to creating efficiencies and cost savings, but it’s only valuable if it’s actionable. So Metal Toad built a powerful web portal that uses statistical methods to analyze the raw data and provide clear visualizations, through which managers can easily:

  • model accurate time estimates of warranty operations
  • identify and capitalize on best practices from high-performing crews
  • pinpoint problem areas and solve them quickly
  • optimize travel routes and timing for service vessels
  • create performance benchmarks and train crews accordingly
  • execute optimizations quickly from shift to shift
  • quantify potential operational savings

From Cloudfront to Kinesis cloud based analytics tools are being implemented every day to help companies process their databases into actionable insights. We have case studies here at Metal Toad that showcase operational efficiencies that provided a $17 million per season in anticipated cost savings! (The gnomes weren't wrong)

The first step is to reach out and determine where you are on this journey and that's why Metal Toad exists! We're ready to help simplify your transition into the cloud and activate your data so you can stop collecting underpants and get into seeing profits.

 

Date posted: October 15, 2020

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About the Author

Jonathan Mills, Director of Accounts

While he was in born in South Carolina and educated in New York City, Jonathan considers himself a Westerner in both practice and spirit. Jonathan learned the value of hard work as a commercial salmon fisherman in Alaska and real-time crisis management as a content producer traveling the world with Paris Hilton.

Over the last fifteen years Jonathan has focused on growing revenue and clients for a number of Los Angeles based advertising and brand agencies with a focus on the automotive, entertainment and technology sectors. His clients have included some of the worlds most recognized brands. At Metal Toad, Jonathan's focus is creating and nurturing client relationships and is happiest when working in a values - driven organization.

When he's not at work you'll find Jonathan on the sidelines of his son's soccer game, driving his Fiat Abarth on a mountain road or working on his next screenplay.

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