How Planes, Trains, and Trucks Can Make Wind Smarter

If you just focus on business value, the key drivers are the same across virtually all major, industrial, asset-intensive sectors.

A rotating machine is a rotating machine is a rotating machine. The sensors are different and the technology is often different but at their core there are principles, approaches, and methodologies that apply across all machines. So it’s no surprise that people in the aviation industry call planes “flying power plants” and people in the rain industry refer to trains as “power.”

One of the things we’ve learned over the last few years at Uptake is that these common patterns allow us to create machine learning models in engines that apply across various industries. So, what you see in a plane engine, a train engine, and a wind turbine has common patterns. And the better you get in one, the more value there is to others.

Of course the wind industry–like all industries–has infinite complexities that no outsider can truly understand and I don’t mean to oversimplify that. It is the case, however, that if you take a step back and just look at business value, the key drivers are the same across virtually all major, industrial, asset-intensive sectors: uptime, productivity, revenue, and cost efficiency. Those dynamics do not change whether you’re talking about a wind site in Iowa or a fleet of locomotives moving down the west coast of Australia.

When it comes to deriving value from data, a lot of companies we see either throw subject matter experts or data scientists at the problem. Obviously the subject matter expert’s insight cannot be replicated but the data analytic approaches, methods, technological engines, and even the platform used to develop and deploy those models can be replicated quickly and then augmented by input from the subject matter expert to provide an effective, top-down solution to the problem that focuses on driving business value instead of just poking around in a data haystack.

The second trick to getting value from data is to understand what to do with it once those key insights are discovered. Who can do their job better based on better insights and better data and how do you get that information to them at the time it is most effective? Something we’ve learned at Uptake that a lot of people don’t seem to be paying attention to is getting recommendations to the right person at the right time so that they can take an action that creates value.

At Uptake, we’re working with some of the largest manufacturers in the world in asset-intensive industries like construction, aviation, and rail in order to help them harness the power of their industry knowledge and subject matter expertise. When we add data to that mix, the result is actionable insights that make companies and their customers more productive, safe, and reliable.