New Media Equation

Predictive Notifications Improve Production

I have been writing on notifications in a personal sense. Here is an application of predictive notifications in manufacturing/production industry from ABB.

A new white paper that shows how predictive maintenance and notification technology can be combined to enable services that predict events that affect production, and then accelerate actions to avoid or exploit the events in order to produce higher equipment availability, more stable process performance and better product quality.

Predictive Notifications

The white paper, entitled, “Are You on Track? How Predictive Notification Keeps Production on Track,” notes that though notifications are all around us (think smart phones with notifications for appointments, social media, software updates, sports scores, stock prices etc.), they haven’t yet entered the realm of industrial production. The paper proposes that the reason is because most notifications tell what has already happened. But combining notification technology with predictive maintenance technology can create a solution in which notifications become part of the daily industrial plant work practice.

“We have long provided control technology that triggers alarms for certain scenarios,” said Dan Duncan, Vice President, Sales and Operations for ABB Process Automation Service. “And we also deliver services that can automatically identify, categorize and prioritize maintenance issues that should be addressed. Both of these technological developments have made a huge impact on global industrial production.

“But what has been missing from our toolset is a simple way to take what is identified, categorized and prioritized by these advanced services technologies, and quickly and efficiently put an action into the hands of someone who can actually do something about it now,” Duncan said. “This white paper represents our thinking on how this can be accomplished by industrial producers everywhere.

“We expect it to have a significant beneficial effect on improving production efficiencies,” he said.

The paper covers predictive maintenance technology, problems with historical predictive approach and how to resolve those problems. The paper further identifies the value that can be produced by predictive notification technologies, and outlines a path to implementing a predictive notification program, including step-by-step guidance on how to get there.

Media Landscape For Engineers

Media Landscape For Engineers

My new boss was chatting with me in his office. He turned to a shelf with notebooks and pulled one off the shelf. Opening it to a tab, he removed a section and told me to copy it and start my own notebook.

The contents were articles clipped and copied from trade press, B2B, magazines. He had given me a new position as program manager in product development. These were articles on project management and program management. This was my introduction to the trade press.

I subscribed and read a variety of publications over the course of the next 20 years collecting useful articles. Some of the magazines were quick reads. Articles were by people whose titles were “marketing manager” with the contents reflecting that point of view. Some were written by engineers or other practitioners with useful information.

When I became a trade press editor at Control Engineering in 1998, the media landscape was unchanged. It consisted of magazines delivered by the US Postal Service on a more or less regular basis.

Wow, but do we have so many ways of getting information these days. There remains the inevitable tension within the trade press of writing what advertisers want to see in print versus focusing on useful information for readers. Information availability moved rapidly from print to Web to email to Twitter to LInkedIn and Facebook.

Advantages and deficiencies

Web–I always had trouble “bookmarking” Websites to return to and read. Or to develop a regular system to go to my Websites to read what was new. It was usually impossible to see what was new, anyway. On the other hand, the Web is a great place to store large amounts of information whether for media companies or for technology suppliers. What I have always desired is a push notification telling me not only that something changed, but also directing me to what changed.

Pop-up ads and enticements, pop-overs, cluttered pages, proliferation of ads all serve to destroy my motivation to go to media Websites to read articles. The race to create as much ad revenue as possible has reached the point for me that I hate to visit to try to read an article.

You also have to beware the “listicle” article. Many devices are designed to get you to click–top 10, view three ways, here are 6 things you didn’t know about. Sometimes they even make you click each one individually. Know why? The publisher needs to improve page views and therefore ad impressions. I have mostly quit getting suckered in.

What I will do is go to an “advertiser” site for a good technical or business white paper or other such information. Today you are more likely to get the kind of information there that I used to copy into my notebook. Oh, and today, my notebook is Evernote.

Twitter–Initially a great conversation tool, now there is so much noise that I seldom look at the stream. The tools I used to sort through the flood often were killed by Twitter. This killed much of my enthusiasm. I still Tweet. Some people actually find them.

Email–Believe it or not, emails remain the best way of notifying people with reasons to visit a Website or otherwise send information. Maybe someday there will be a ubiquitous chat app (Messenger or Snapchat or Slack?) that would take the place of email–but wouldn’t it just be another form of email? In the meantime, it’s not email but the misuse of email that is annoying.

General media–I’m seeing many more articles in Forbes, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and other such general media publications that once would be seen only in trade press. Coverage of the Internet of Things, for instance, may be stronger there, as well as coverage of safety and security.

The Future

For the curious, check out the recent Notifications Summit put on by a couple of technology luminaries John Borthwick of Betaworks and Steve Gillmor who is a long-time reporter and analyst of technology. Many hours of video were recorded. They were great presentations and conversations about the developing technologies and uses of notifications.

Start with John Borthwick.

Or go to TechCrunch and search for Steve Gillmor.

Media Landscape For Engineers

Notifications Important New Internet Tech

I only visit Websites when I am doing research. I never browse Websites searching for new information. Most information flows to me through a carefully curated RSS feed into Feedly. Otherwise, notifications key me into new information that may be important guiding me to a Website for a deeper dive.

Steve Gillmor (The Gillmor Gang) has been a notifications advocate (after his brash “Microsoft is dead” and “RSS is dead” mantras got old). Early on he berated Twitter for dropping tracking and then for its inability to provide  a strategy for sorting through the firehose of tweets to cull out only what’s important.

Last month, he and John Borthwick of Betaworks teamed for a Notifications Summit last month. Videos of the presentations can be found at TechCrunch or on iTunes (searching for Gillmor Gang), or here at Betaworks.

Take a dive into these technologies especially if you are a software developer. The information also educates users into what is possible and into perhaps new ways of finding the important signal amongst all the noise.

Borthwick’s introduction can be found on Medium. (Note: I’m also beginning to post on Medium. Seems to be an interesting new media idea.)

Borthwick wrote, “A few months ago Steve Gillmor and I discussed bringing together key people we knew who were building, designing and innovating around mobile notifications for a half day meeting. The meeting or summit — as we ended up calling it — took place on October 1st. We had about 50 people in attendance here at betaworks, it ran half the day. ”

Conference organizers take note. A very important and substantive gathering was held in a half-day. Note the quick-paced panels that were at once informal and punctual.

Anyway, back to Borthwick, the conference led with an important observation, “Right now we are witnessing another round of unbundling as the notification screen becomes the primary interface for mobile computing.”

Then he added, “Adam Bosworth kicked off the day with a discussion of how the notification stream represents complete re-construction of internet and HTTP from pull to push. This shift was predicted for a while but now it’s driving our primary mobile compute experience.”

There is a sense we can say that we’ve had notifications for years in automation and control. They are called “alarms.” Let us begin to think more creatively about the value of notifications in our work. It’s the future–and it’s here.

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