NextGen Cyber Talent Announces First Pilot Cohort and Governing Board

Training people with skills necessary for the success of our industry and especially introducing young people to the types of high tech work available is key to our survival as an industry. I just learned about this new non-profit educator who launched operations seeking to close the cyber talent and diversity gap by training traditionally underprivileged and underserved segments.

NextGen Cyber Talent Inc. (“NextGen”), a nonprofit organization training the next generation of cybersecurity professionals, announces its pilot cohort and its first Governing Board. NextGen seeks to provide an avenue into cybersecurity careers for women, minorities and other underprivileged segments through education and mentoring, while simultaneously attacking the skills shortage and lack of diversity in the cybersecurity industry today. The organization partnered with Bay Area community colleges to select its initial pilot cohort and selected a diverse group of 20 students that will begin its online curriculum starting January 19th.

The Herjavec Group estimates that the number of unfilled cybersecurity jobs is expected to grow by 350%, from one million positions in 2013 to 3.5 million in 2021. In addition, (ISC)2 estimates that women account for less than a quarter of the overall cybersecurity workforce.

NextGen has been working with veteran executives and industry leaders to attack these deficiencies via Chapter and Strategic Advisory Boards and has finalized members for its initial Governing Board.

“We are excited to introduce our board of distinguished executives who will bring diverse expertise and insight in support of our mission,” said Founder & Co-Chair Krishnan Chellakarai. “Our work will address the lack of awareness of cybersecurity in younger generations and encourage them to consider building a career in this highly fulfilling field. The organization benefits from its deep network to ensure that NextGen’s board and leadership represents a variety of experts from technology, banking, health care, life sciences, and nonprofit backgrounds.”

“I am thrilled to have Tony Blevins and Phil Cox join Krishnan and myself on the Board to help make the NextGen vision a reality. The program is seeded by the principle of connecting successful leaders from industry with tomorrow’s up and coming talent”, said Co-Chair and Board Member Gary Gauba. “We look forward to building a thriving network of alumni over the coming decade with the active participation and support of industry luminaries like Tony, Phil and our Chapter Board members.”

NextGen’s Governing Board members are:

● Krishnan Chellakarai , Chief Information Security Officer, Gilead Sciences

● Gary Gauba, Managing Director & Founder of The CXO Fund

● Tony Blevins, Vice President of Procurement, Apple

● Phil Cox, Chief Operating Officer, Silicon Valley Bank

About NextGen Cyber Talent

NextGen Cyber Talent Inc. is a non-profit providing a platform to increase diversity and inclusion in the cybersecurity industry. It brings together cybersecurity experts, solution providers and enterprises to make a difference in this community and address a mounting cyber skills shortage and talent gap. Our overall approach will focus on successfully attracting under-represented students and educating them in cybersecurity, privacy and compliance technology, as well as providing them mentorship and opportunities to jump start their careers in the industry. NextGen was founded by Krishnan Chellakarai (CISO, Gilead Sciences) and Gary Gauba (Founder & MD, The CXO Fund).

GE Digital Remote Operations for Oil & Gas and Chemical Industries

GE Digital presented to us during the ARC Industry Forum press and media conference this month. It introduced an enhanced remote operations solution for oil & gas and chemical industries.

GE Digital introduced Remote Operations for Oil & Gas and Chemical Industries, a software and appliance solution that provides remote / mobile employee access to essential equipment monitoring and control functions. GE Digital began offering Remote Operations earlier in 2020 in the Power Generation industry and already has many leading worldwide industrial customers using the solution.

With distant upstream facilities and harsh operating conditions, the Oil & Gas industry faces challenges in providing safe and cost-effective equipment monitoring, maintenance, and emergency response. At the refinery or plant, the global pandemic and economic pressures are triggering both Oil & Gas and Chemical companies to re-think their strategies regarding contingency operations, worker location flexibility, and on-site staffing. GE Digital Remote Operations solution, proven in power generation, addresses these, and other challenges faced by industrials.

Remote Operations provides remote and mobile workers with secure and managed access to equipment controls regardless of type. NERC-CIP and ISA 99/62443 compliant security, multi-factor authentication, and operational safeguards enable failsafe control flexibility and cooperation across all staff, on site and off site.

Typical use cases for Remote Operations in the Oil & Gas and Chemical industries include: 

  • Centralized monitoring of distant and dispersed equipment  
  • Lights-out operation of distant facilities 
  • Remote monitoring and controls over refinery or plant equipment 
  • Mobile controls and HQ collaboration for maintenance crew activities
  • Anytime/anywhere access to experts to aid in equipment maintenance 
  • Remote/mobile monitoring and controls for in-house power generation facilities 

“Our success in the Power Generation industry leads naturally to offering Remote Operations to Oil & Gas and Chemicals companies,” said Linda Rae, General Manager for GE Digital’s Power Generation and Oil & Gas business. “These and other industries are seeking the benefits of remote and centralized monitoring centers, worker location flexibility, and increased safety and productivity for mobile workers. We are here to serve that need with a proven product already road tested in the stringent environment of power generators.”

Remote Operations is available in three upwardly compatible packages, accommodating needs from urgent continuity to fault tolerant operations centers. All include the core end-to-end security and compliance features.

Remote Operations Response is a special packaged offer to rapidly enable remote monitoring and assistance. It is compatible with existing systems and requires only the addition of a preconfigured secure network appliance and firewall. Upon equipment arrival, installation can be done in a single working day with remote support from GE Digital. No operations shutdown is required. 

Remote Operations Standard (limited availability) delivers enhanced remote / mobile functions guarded by permitting and policy controls. Central operators can control remote / mobile worker access by time, equipment type and more. An interactive interface ensures that remote, mobile, and on-site staff can work independently or together in a secure and compliant environment.

Remote Operations Advanced (limited availability) provides full remote / mobile controls and additional optional operating capabilities in a high availability configuration with failover. Remote Operations Advanced is the best choice for industrials adopting remote and distributed controls as a standard, failsafe operating model across a fleet of plants or equipment. 

GE Digital’s Remote Operations for Oil & Gas and Chemical Industries is generally available.

Book Shows The Many Reasons Students Should Consider Smart Manufacturing Career

I’ve been acquainted with Mike Nager for many years through business. We ran into each other a few years ago when he had switched from product management to leading the education team for an automation supplier.

He sent a copy of a book he’s just published for Kindle, The Smart Student’s Guide To Smart Manufacturing and Industry 4.0. It’s a subject I’m deeply interested in, so I checked it out.

I rate this book highly because the author accomplishes what he set out to do–“This book will introduce you to exciting career opportunities that smart manufacturing provides today.”

He continues, “Manufacturing output, which is essentially the amount of goods made in America, rises every year. The U.S. now produces more products than at any other time in history. Smart Manufacturing, also referred to as Industry 4.0, is starting to shake up the previous worldwide business model of off-shoring manufacturing operations to areas with low labor rates by making labor rates less relevant. You have an opportunity to join the industry as it reinvents itself.”

It reminds me of books given to me to read when I was in high school to entice me into an engineering career. It is understandably basic, but it is also inclusive. There is so much more to manufacturing and engineering than when I was making that decision. And Nager covers all the facets from highly educated process engineers to skilled technicians. And how to get there.

Half of the book is devoted to persuading students about the importance of manufacturing–both to the country’s defense and to the economic health of the area and country. Becoming an important part of manufacturing is not only a great career for the student, it also enables the student to be a contributing member of society. The remaining part discusses the wide variety of engineering and technical areas a student could choose from according to their interests and talents.

Nager covers technologies involved including hardware products and software concluding with a review of the so-called “soft skills” such as leadership that are essential to success no matter what the career path.

Get this book, order many. Pass them along to every junior high and high school student you know who could even remotely be interested in a manufacturing career.

How Has Working From Home Affected You

People send a variety of releases speculating about the future of working from home. Will we return to offices? Will we split time? What will offices look like? However, here is information that is like an online survey of how actual people think about all this working from home when they have been used to an office.

On Blind, the largest anonymous professional community with 4M users from big tech, unicorns, and startups, a Microsoft employee asked, “If you’re tired of WFH, why do you want to be back in the office?” 

Here are the things professionals miss the most about the in person office 

  1. Social aspects- missing friends (34%)
  2. The food (19%)
  3. Career Growth (18%)
  4. Mentorship opportunities (13%)
  5. Spouse/ partners getting on nerves (9%)
  6. Dating prospects (7%)

More key learnings:

  • 26% of Twitter professionals miss the food
  • 46% of Cisco professionals miss the social aspects 
  • 29% of Visa professionals miss the career growth 
  • ¼ of Snap professionals miss mentorship opportunities
  • 17% of Oracle professionals’ spouses are getting on their nerves 
  • 15% of Lyft professionals miss the dating prospects 

You can see the raw data here.

An Intuit professional shared, “I miss my office because –

  1. I miss my team
  2. Whiteboard design sessions
  3. Happy hours
  4. Mentor/mentee side of things
  5. Optimism & excitement.

Feels like we are in a dark tunnel.On the plus side, I am enjoying great time with my family & especially kids. I am getting to know & appreciate them more” 

An engineer at Google shared “I hate WFH because I don’t like to do work at home. I miss being able to go to the office, put in a day’s work, and then leave. Separation of domains.” 

The office might look different when we all go back to work, but one thing is certain: It isn’t going away.

I shared some of these with my wife. She was amused by the spouse getting on their nerves comment. I’ve had a home office for 30 years, although I also had an office at “work” for 23 of those. When she retired as a teacher, we had to share the home part of the home office. The saving grace has been my travel schedule. However, my last trip for business was the second week of February. We’re still trying to be civil <smile/>.

Nymi Partners with ThinManager for End-User Authentication in Highly Regulated Plant Floor Environments

A few recent posts dealt with the “connected worker.” These are all workflow-oriented solutions. After talking with Chris Sullivan, CEO or Nymi, I learned about really connected workers. Previously I had seen Numi partner with Quupa for real-time location. Nymi has a raft of solutions. This partnership with Rockwell Automation through the ThinManager acquisition is a big deal for Rockwell Automation.

Nymi Inc. and ThinManager, a Rockwell Automation technology, have partnered to provide a full-feature, integrated, on-body solution that allows businesses to use ThinManager to deliver biometric-enabled touchless authentication with zero-trust security principles and access controls through the Nymi Band.

ThinManager offers numerous features that allow the modern factory to lower energy cost, implement sustainable technology, and increase operational efficiencies. They are a natural fit for Nymi and its workplace wearable wristband, designed to help businesses remain secure while improving productivity, compliance, and active worker health and safety. 

As the world’s only workplace wearable wristband that, once authenticated at login, continuously authenticates the user’s identity until it’s removed from the wrist, the Nymi Band gives ThinManager users a powerful, secure form of authentication used for specially configured access control, logins, and e-signatures with just a tap. Other Nymi Band applications include social distancing and contact tracing.

“We see our product working side by side with ThinManager to help companies be secure, safe, and efficient in their day-to-day operations,” said Andrew Foxcroft, Vice President of Nymi. “The enterprise-class, secure industrial wearable Nymi Band, combined with ThinManager’s knowledge of the modern factory, provides a solution to address pain points in Pharma and highly regulated manufacturing processes.”

“We are very excited to collaborate with Nymi to provide additional cutting-edge user authentication options for our customers,” stated Tom Jordan, Marketing Lead for ThinManager.

Connected Worker Technology Arrives At Suntory Smart Factory

Describing “connected worker” has changed much over the past 5-10 years. The evolution goes through WiFi to Cellular technology enabling tablet computers and then smart phones. I’ve noticed that the term almost always refers to finding work instructions and occasionally communication on said tablet or phone. 

Marketers may wax eloquently on digital transformation, innovation, employee satisfaction, Internet of Things and other descriptions that they hope convey the latest fad, but in the end what they mean is workflow. And workflow has been around for years.

That being said (and since I have a few more of these press releases, and it relates to one I just wrote about a “Teamwork” app), these are useful tools. I remember studying this concept some 40 years ago realizing the power for effective productivity and quality. We just get faster and better. I like this news, because it describes someone actually using the technology.

Parsable has announced its software solution is being deployed by Suntory Beverage & Food Ltd. at its forthcoming Smart Factory model site. The site is the first of its kind for the multinational beverage company and serves as the prototype for the development of other Suntory Smart Factory plants in Japan.

This inaugural Suntory Smart Factory site, located in Omachi, Nagano prefecture, Japan, will produce bottled mineral water and is scheduled to begin operations in summer 2021. Additional sites will consider following the innovation of their facilities throughout Japan. 

Suntory saw Parsable and its Connected Worker Platform as a critical partner for making the successful leap to a Smart Factory manufacturing environment. 

The Parsable Connected Worker Platform will be used to augment Suntory’s frontline worker experience, providing mobile-based, digital tools. The platform will be part of a broader ecosystem of advanced technologies that integrate the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, robotic automation, data lakes, and more into daily manufacturing and supply chain operations.

“Connected worker technology is now table stakes when industrial leaders consider how to improve the safety, productivity and efficiency of their workforce through digitalization,” said Lawrence Whittle, CEO, Parsable. “Suntory’s progressive Smart Factory initiative and investment in Parsable’s Connected Worker Platform show its dedication not only to digitally transforming CPG manufacturing, but also to creating the best working environment and opportunities for its frontline employees. This agreement also broadens Parsable’s footprint in Asia, which is a key market for us.”

With the integration of Parsable into Suntory’s operations systems, Suntory management can guide frontline personnel to perform tasks safely and accurately through multimedia, collaborative standardized work procedures on Parsable’s easy-to-use mobile app, eliminating the need for inefficient paper-based work instructions. Managers can access work execution data and trends via real-time dashboards that allow safety, quality and efficiency issues to be identified for immediate resolution and optimization. 

“We are excited to leverage all that the Parsable Connected Worker Platform has to offer. As we bring to life the concept of the Smart Factory and create the blueprint for highly advanced, environmentally friendly factories in the world, we must ensure that our personnel has the tools they need to more effectively execute their work on the production floor,” said Ryo Takayama, Senior General Manager, Engineering Department, Suntory Food & Beverage Ltd. “The concept of Industry 4.0 is not just reserved for processes and equipment; it needs to empower and connect workers as well.”