Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Back at HUG19 talking energy cybersecurity

The Oilholic is back in The Hague, Netherlands for the 2019 installment of Honeywell Users Group EMEA; the annual European jamboree of the global software industrial company's automation and optimisation unit - Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS).

Everything from state-of-the-art plant processing systems to virtual reality kit for health and safety happen to be on display, and every year the event gets bigger, because the energy and petrochemical world's appetite for big data and cost optimisation is getting voracious by day.

Advanced analytics, digital optimisation of throughput, cloud solutions - you name it. To quote our old friend - Jason Urso, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of HPS, "It not the data that's big, it's what you do with it that matters."

In a mammoth two-hour long keynote and presentation to kick-off the event's first morning, Urso touched on how Honeywell's old workhorse of a plant control system - the TDC 3000 - can benefit from deployment of its digital twin his team have been aggressively promoting in recent years.

To the uninitiated on the plant control front, basically Urso and his team are saying, if you want a swanky new control system, by all means go for, but the existing infrastructure can indeed be "digitally optimised" and upgraded; reducing the need for everything from multiple clunky servers to a messy mass of cables. And no its not getting too cloudy in the age of Big Data, because the usage of cloud computing and off premise data storage (where permissible by law) is growing.

Of course, as digital techniques proliferate, so does the worry, and in HPS' case, the opportunity of cybersecurity. In sync with that sentiment, HPS is notching up its cybersecurity offering and there is form here. In 2018, the company launched its dedicated cybersecurity consulting outfit to help customers rightly spooked about the growing threat.

It seems 12 months on, that dedication has multiplied several times over via its - Honeywell Forge Cybersecurity platform, which "simplifies, strengthens and scales cybersecurity for asset-intensive businesses and critical infrastructure facing cyber threats."

According to Jeff Zindell, HPS' Vice Present of Cybersecurity, the offering can be scaled to match cyber-requirements and budgets, and the allied customer support that goes with it. With over 50% of HPS' client base being in the energy and petrochemicals sphere, it is easy to fathom where it sees the demand coming from.

Zindell describes the new unified suite of applications, services and products as a "natural step to take to address a range of end-user requirements from asset discovery and monitoring to fully managed services.

In what would be music to margin squeezed downstream and midstream players' ears, Zindell said the unified suite will also bring down costs alongside optimisation of cybersecurity mechanisms.

Plenty to chew on, and some images from the exhibition you to look at, but that's all from The Hague on this visit. Next stop Dubai and Fujairah via London Heathrow; keep reading, keep it 'crude'!

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© Gaurav Sharma 2019. Photo 1: Jason Urso, Vice President and CTO of HPS, discusses Honeywell TDC 3000's digital twin options. Photo 2,3 & 4: Honeywell virtual reality headsets, kits and flow management and monitoring equipment © Gaurav Sharma, Oct 24-25, 2019, The Hague, Netherlands.    

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