AI’s potential is being developed and benefiting cybersecurity, sustainability applications

Artificial intelligence (AI) offers a lot of potential for manufacturers, but it needs the right context to be successful to improve cybersecurity and sustainability.

By Chris Vavra February 9, 2024
Courtesy: Chris Vavra, CFE Media and Technology

Artificial intelligence (AI) insights

  • Honeywell emphasized the importance of explainable artificial intelligence (AI) eiyh a pragmatic approach, and cybersecurity vigilance to optimize AI deployment, reduce security costs and enhance protection against evolving threats.
  • Highlighting AI’s role in sustainability, Honeywell discussed solutions for emissions management, emphasizing AI’s ability to synthesize and enhance data for carbon capture, energy storage and efficiency improvements.

Artificial intelligence (AI) was a major focus during the ARC Industry Leadership Forum in Orlando as companies, regardless of industry or focus, are looking to take advantage of the technology. It’s more than that, though. AI, like any other tool or concept, will only work if given the right context. During a panel discussion, “Empowering Tomorrow: A Perspective on AI, and Cyber Resiliance” experts from Honeywell talked about what AI can offer.

Joe Bastone, director of Experion Product Marketing at Honeywell Process Solutions, said, “It is critically important any AI application is explainable. Incorporate all the disparate elements into actionable intelligence. How can we make the system better?”

Bastone said developing a pragmatic approach to AI will offer value along with practical use cases that show tangible value to investors for years to come.

Shanita Woodard, product marketing leader for Honeywell Connected Enterprise, believes AI part of the landscape. “As we’re thinking about AI and manufacturing execution software (MES), we’re trying to normalize AI and make it unnoticed. We want to make software more effective and people more effective at their jobs.”

Gathering information is another key part of the process, as well, she said. Retaining the knowledge of the workers who have come before will be valuable for the engineers coming in. It’s also important companies parse and manage the large amounts of operational technology (OT) data coming in and contextualizing it.

Left to right: Shanita Woodard, product marketing leader for Honeywell Connected Enterprise; Joe Bastone, director of Experion Product Marketing at Honeywell Process Solutions; Dimple Shah, senior director, global technology and data policy at Honeywell; Rahul Negi, general manager - digital and autonomous operations for Honeywell; Ganesh Venimadhavan, senior director of offering management for Honeywell.

Left to right: Shanita Woodard, product marketing leader for Honeywell Connected Enterprise; Joe Bastone, director of Experion Product Marketing at Honeywell Process Solutions; Dimple Shah, senior director, global technology and data policy at Honeywell; Rahul Negi, general manager – digital and autonomous operations for Honeywell; Ganesh Venimadhavan, senior director of offering management for Honeywell. Courtesy: Chris Vavra, CFE Media and Technology

Cybersecurity’s role with AI

Cybersecurity has been a growing concern as more OT devices are connected to the internet. While AI makes it possible to analyze data at greater rates than before, bad actor are looking to take advantage of the situation.

Dimple Shah, senior director, global technology and data policy at Honeywell, said, “When you have individuals involved in the process, they’re only focusing on critical events. We’re improving with AI uses, scaling and productivity. If you’re able to pull the data together very quickly, the average cost of a security branch of $4 million. However, companies using AI cut it in half.”

Shah also warned there’s a misconception, particularly among those not closely involved, when it comes to cybersecurity, saying many seem to think the cybersecurity tools in the toolbox are adequate. The opposite, in fact, is true. Vigilance at the company and individual level is key because the attacks won’t stop.

“We have to enforce our own systems. You have to change your tactics and they’ll have to do the same, but they’re ahead of us,” she said.

To at least give a sense of security at the outset, Bastone said they work to ensure their systems are cyber secure coming out of the box.

“The other part of this journey is after installation, there needs to be a protective umbrella surrounding the product,” he said.

Ganesh Venimadhavan, senior director of offering management for Honeywell, agreed. “We make sure our products went through rigorous testing and we made sure the data goes one way.” He added the customer has to do the configuration on the back end, but the foundation is at least there for them to do their job safely.

AI augmenting sustainability, energy management

Sustainability also has been a major topic the last few years as companies are realizing its potential benefits from an environmental, social and governance (ESG) perspective as well as the bottom line. With the two aspects coming together, the incentives and benefits make sustainability and energy management appealing.

“It can be all the way from energy saving to aviation fuels,” Venimadhavan said. “We are able to design these units and advanced process controls (APCs) to design these process units much more efficiently.”

Bastone said of their process, “We have industrial controls, process know-how and expertise and we have our own manufacturing sites. When we’re going off to develop these solutions, we can test in-house first.”

During a demo at the Honeywell booth, Cesar Bravo, director of business development and industrial innovation, discussed their emissions management and leak detection solutions.

He said the goal is to measure, monitor and report and reduce emissions. On the measuring side, they use a combination of their Rebellion Gas Cloud Imaging, which looks at everything from up above, third-party systems such as drones and their Versatilis Signal Scout, which can monitor rogue emissions up close.

Bravo said these systems are combined to create a comprehensive picture of a facility’s emissions that can be monitored and reported on through their Forge Sustainability+ platform, which can help synthesize and enhance the data engineers are looking for to help improve carbon capture, energy storage and energy efficiency.

The emissions view also can be tailored and adjusted from scope down to specific systems so the engineer understands where the leaks are coming from and why. AI can help gather this information and help ensure the relevant data is provided and everything else is filtered out.

“We want to give users a single platform to monitor all data that can be configured,” Bravo said, adding the data is relevant to many stakeholders and requires an overview that everyone understands and can make sense of.

Honeywell's Forge Sustainability+ platform, is designed to help synthesize and enhance the data engineers are looking for to help improve carbon capture, energy storage and energy efficiency.

Honeywell’s Forge Sustainability+ platform, is designed to help synthesize and enhance the data engineers are looking for to help improve carbon capture, energy storage and energy efficiency. Courtesy: Chris Vavra, CFE Media and Technology

Optimism for the future

AI’s role, whether it’s cybersecurity, sustainability or improving general production, is still uncertain. While AI is not a new technology or concept, its rise in the public consciousness has helped many realize what it could do.

“This is an exciting journey,” Woodard said. “We’re providing solutions to operators and owners and we’re going to push industrial forward together.”

Bastone agreed. “We’ve made massive changes in how we deploy automation systems. We need to keep the base automation layer fresh and relevant and extensible in the future is something I’m extremely excited about.”

Chris Vavra, web content manager, CFE Media and Technology, cvavra@cfemedia.com.

ONLINE

See additional ARC Industry Leadership Forum coverage below.


Author Bio: Chris Vavra is web content manager for CFE Media and Technology.