IBM’s inaugural ‘Think’ conference

Maersk’s cognitive driller. Maximo extended for Diamond Offshore and KOC. Schneider’s ‘evil twin.’

IBM’s ‘Think’ Conference is ‘the flagship IBM conference to help you modernize and secure your enterprise.’ Think’s perimeter spans the cloud, blockchain, IoT, VR and AI. From the program we detected a distinct Maximo legacy along side a downplayed Watson/cognitive perfume.

Maersk Oil’s Joy Sunday Oyovwevotu presented a ‘Cognitive-driven drilling advisor.’ A model identifies the onset of borehole instability, predicts stuck pipe and gives a risk assessment prior to running casing and/or cementing operations. Given enough training and data, the model performs well, although early versions suffered from false positives. The ability of the model to self-learn and adapt to new situations needs to be tested. Maersk envisages a future hybrid physics/statistics drilling advisor that can adapt to changes in well design and rig specification. Users will ask Watson to ‘Show me the reference wells with similar anomalies’ as per an earlier Woodside mock-up.

Tim Osborne (Diamond Offshore) dissed today’s technology ‘enablers’ (Oracle, Excel, … ) as ‘non-standard, disconnected, silos that require manual processes and spreadsheets.’ Maintenance and inventory systems are not built on industry standards, have limited capabilities and run on outdated technology. Diamond is working with IBM to extended Maximo with IBM’s ‘cognitive’ Watson IoT, SoftLayer and Blue Mix.

Asim Hussain and Haya Al-Fulaij presented Kuwait Oil’s extensive Maximo-based solution for marine operations management. The solution was developed with help from UK-based SRO Solutions and has received a ‘statement of fact’ from Lloyds. The solution automates many previously manual maintenance processes and has streamlined operations and aligned KOC’s operations with classification society standards.

Paul Forney (Schneider Electric) presented a scare story of the ‘Evil Twin’ cyber attack on a Saudi chemical company’s control systems. The Triton vector hit the safety network but what raised the danger to critical was the ‘Evil twin’ that simultaneously hit the plant network.

The incident has been widely reported, but Security AffairsPhil Neray was scathing of Schneider’s account. ‘It is comical that Schneider Electric stated that the attack did not leverage any vulnerabilities in its product. OT environments are vulnerable by design and are a privileged target for hackers.’

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