Kelly Ireland, CB Technologies | CUBEConversation, September 2019

Kelly Ireland, CB Technologies | CUBEConversation, September 2019


(upbeat music)>>From our studios, in the heart of Silicon Valley, Palo Alto, California, this is a CUBE Conversation.>>Hi and welcome to theCUBE Studios for another CUBE Conversation, where we go in-depth with
thought leaders driving innovation across the technology industry. I’m your host Peter Burris. Digital business is
affecting every enterprise of every size, small and large, and the types of solutions
that are required, the types of outcomes
that are being pursued, are extremely complex
and require an enormous amount of work from some
of the best and brightest people on the business side as
well as the technology side. And that means not just
from a large company, it means from an entire ecosystem of potential sources
of genius and insight, and good hard work. So the consequence for every enterprise is how do they cobble
together that collection of experts and capabilities that are going to help them
transform their business more successfully, more completely, and more certainly, than
they would otherwise? And that’s what we’re
going to talk about today. Today we’re here with Kelly Ireland, who’s the founder and
CEO of CB Technologies. Kelly, welcome to theCUBE.>>Thank you Peter, happy to be here.>>So, let’s start by finding a little bit about CB Technologies,
tell us a little bit about what you do.>>I have a IT background, so
have been in it for 40 years, in 2001, I decided I had a better idea of how to both support clients
as well as my employees. So I opened CB Technologies. We’re a value-added reseller, and then say about five years ago, I decided to do some transforming of the company itself,
I saw what was going on in the industry, and I
thought this was the time for us to get going, turned
out we were a little early, but we wanted to transform
from what you would call the value-added reseller
to a systems integrator because that was the
only words they had for what that end result would be. Now I’ve heard it’s the
domain expert integrator, which we like a lot
better, and what we’ve done is gone from this value
add, which we’ve all seen over the last couple of decades into actually engineering solutions, and mostly with consortiums,
which we’ll talk about of the OT/IT convergence and
what’s going to be needed for that to make our customers successful.>>Well you just
described in many respects the vision that businesses have had, and how it’s changed over years, where at first the asset was the hardware, hence the bar, today the
asset really is the data, the application, and how
you’re going to apply that to change the way your business operates. The customer experiences you provide, the profitability that
you’re able to return back to your shareholders, so let’s dig into this, because that notion of data, that notion of digital transformation, is especially important in a
number of different domains, perhaps no more important
than in the whole industrial internet of things domain, of that intersection of
IT and OT as you said. Tell us a little bit about
what you’re experiencing with your customers as
they try to think about new ways of applying technology, technology-rich data to
their business challenges.>>Well, you used the
perfect word, you said dig, because this is all about layers. It’s all about, it was
technology and software, now it’s about technology,
software, and integration. In fact, the conversations
we’re having with our clients right now, we don’t even
talk about an OEM’s name, where before you would,
but we have in our head what we know would be best. What we look at now is
the first thing you do is go in and sit down with the client. And not only with the
client, the executives, or the CIO or the CTOs, et cetera, but the employees themselves. Because what we’ve seen with IIoT, OT/IT convergence, you have to take into account
what the worker needs, and the people that are
addressing it that way, this project that we started with Hewlett Packard Enterprise, they started up what we call
the refinery of the future, it could be x of the future,
it doesn’t really matter, but it was getting at
least up to five use cases with a consortium of partner companies that could go address
five different things within the refinery. And the reason that I think
it’s been so successful, is that the owner, the CEO, Doug Smith, and the VP of Ops, Linda Salinas, immediately wrapped their arms
around bringing employees. They’re a small company, they’re maybe 50, they brought half of them to the HPE lab to show them what a smart pump was for their chemical
plant, Texmark Chemicals in Galena Park, Texas. Starting from that, it
was like they put ’em on a party bus, took them down, put them in the lab, told them, showed them
what a smart pump was, and all of a sudden the lights
turned on for the workers. These are people that’ve
been manual valves and turning knobs and
looking at computer screens, they’d never seen what
a smart sensor pump was. All of a sudden on the
drive back to the company, ideas started churning, and then HPE took it from there, brought in partners, sat everybody in the room,
and we started figuring out okay, what’s needed? But let’s start with what
are the client needs, what are those different business users within the chemical plant need, and then build use cases from that. So we ended up building five use cases.>>Well, so let’s get
into the five use cases in a second, but you just described something very interesting, and I think it’s something
that partners have historically been able to do somewhat uniquely, and that is that the customer journey is not taken by just an
individual within the business, what really happens is
someone has an idea, they find someone, often a partner, that can help them develop that idea, and then they go off and they recruit others within their business, and a local partner that
has good domain expertise, has time and energy and
customer commitment, can be an absolutely essential feature of building a consensus
within the organization, to really accelerate
that customer journey. Have I got that right?>>Absolutely, absolutely. And what we saw with
refinery of the future was getting those partnerships, HPE started it, created the project, kind of threw information
out to many of their ecosystem partners,
trying to gain interest, because the thing was is,
this was kind of our bet, was a very educated bet, but it’s our bet to say, “Yeah, we think this makes sense.” So, like I said, I think
there’s about 14 partners that all joined in,
both on the IT OEM side, the OT OEM side, and then both
Deloitte and CB Technologies for the SI and domain expert integration, where you really get into how do you tie OT and IT together.>>Right, so we’ve got
this situation where, as you said, it’s not just in the refinery process manufacturing business,
it’s in a lot of business, but in this particular one, you
guys have actually fashioned what you call the refinery of the future, it’s got five clear use cases, just give us an example
of what those look like and how you’ve been, or
CB Technologies has been, participated in the process
of putting those together.>>The first one was wrapped
around predictive analytics, and that was led by Deloitte
and has a whole host of OT and IT integration on it.>>Again, not limited to
process manufacturing at all.>>At all, but, and a good group, you have National Instruments, Intel, Flowserve, OSIsoft, Schneider Electric, and PTC, RealWear, there’s
such a host in the consortium, and I think what was most important to start this whole thing, was HPE came in and said, “Here’s an MOU, “here’s a contract, you
all will be contracted “to the overall results,
not just your use case, “not just one or two use cases you’re in, “but all five,” because
they all can integrate in some sense.>>And all can help,
and each of you can help the others think problems through, so that’s the first one,
what about the second one?>>The second one is video as a sensor. That was Intel, CB Technologies, I think we have Azure in there as well, doing some of the analytics, some PTC, and what that was all
about was taking video, and take any use case
from Linda and saying, “Where do you need some
sort of video analytics?” Taking that, processing
it, and what we ended up doing with that one was
being able to identify animals or aggressive animals
within the train yard, a downed worker, transients
that shouldn’t be there because we can decipher between someone that’s in Texmark’s PPEs versus somebody that’s in street clothes. So taking all that,
analyzing the information in the pictures, training it to understand when it needs to throw an alert.>>Lot of data required for that, and that’s one of the major major drivers of some of the new storage
technologies out there, new fabrics that are out there, how did that play a role?>>As you can imagine, HPE is
the underlying infrastructure across the entire refinery of the future. From compute with the edge data center into the Aruba Network,
into Nimble Storage for storing on site, what we’re finding, no matter who we talk to in the industry, it is most of them still
want to keep it on prem, in some sense, security, they’re
still extremely cautious, so they want to keep it on prem, so having the Nimble
Storage right in the day, having the edge data
center, having everything in the middle of this chemical plant, was absolutely a necessity, and having all of that
setup, having my team, which was the CB Tech
team that actually did all the integration of setting
up the wireless network because guess what, when you’re in a different
kind of environment, not inside a building, you’re
out where there’s metal pumps, there’s restrictions because a flash could cause an explosion, so intrinsically safe. We had to set up all that and
determine how could we get the best coverage, especially,
we want that video signal to move quite fast over the Wi-Fi. How do we get all that set up so it takes the most advantage of the facility and the capabilities of the Aruba Network.>>So that’s one and two,
three four five quickly were?>>Three, worker safety,
which hasn’t started yet, we’re still waiting for
one of the manufacturers to get the certification they need. Four, we have is Connected Worker, which is on fire. Having a worker.>>Kind of Connected Worker on fire and worker safety don’t sound like.>>Yeah, they don’t sound, but just think of all the data, and having the worker have it right at his fingertips, and all, by the way, hands free. So they’re being able to take in all this data, and transmit data whether it’s by voice or
on a screen, back to the–>>From a worker-centric perspective, one that sustains the context
of where the worker is, what stress they’re under,
what else they’ve got to do, et cetera.>>And what are they trying to complete, and how quickly, and
that’s where right now we have ROI that’s in the 90%, which is off the charts. And what’s great about being at Texmark, is we actually can prove this, I can have somebody walk with me, a client that wants to look at it, they can go walk the process with me, and they will immediately see that we reduce the time by 90%.>>So I’ve given you four,
what’s the fifth one?>>Asset intelligence, which is all about 3D, point cloud, 3D visualization, actually being able to
pull up a smart pump, really any pump, you scan the facility, you convert it into 3D,
and then in the program that we’re using, you can
actually pull up a pump, you can rotate it 360 degrees, it’s got a database behind
it that has every single bit of asset information connected, videos, CAD/CAMs, PNIDs for
the oil and gas industry, everything’s in there,
emails can be attached to it, and then you can also
put compliance reports, so there you might need
to look at corrosion, one of those tests that
they do on a annual or every five year basis,
that’s point and click, you pull it up and it
tells you where it sits, and then it also shows
you green, yellow, red, anything in red is immediate attention, yellow is you need to address it, green’s everything’s 100% running.>>So the complexity
that we’re talking about, the kind of specificity
of these solutions, even though they can be generalized, and you talked about
analytics all the way out to asset optimization or asset intelligence. We can generalize and structure, but there’s always going
to be, it seems to us, there’s going to be a
degree of specificity that’s required, and that means
we’re not going to talk about package software that
does this kind of stuff, we’re talking about sitting
down with a customer with a team of experts from
a lot of different places, and working together, and applying that to achieve customer outcomes,
have I got that right?>>Absolutely, and what we did, with the consortium,
looking at everything, how they first addressed it
was right along that line, and if you look at software development, following Agile process, it’s exactly what we’re going
for IIoT or OT/IT convergence. Because if you don’t
include all of those people, it’s never going to be successful. I heard at a conference the other day that said POCs go to IoT to die, and it’s because a lot of
people aren’t addressing it the right way, we do something called innovation delivery as a
service, which is basically a four day, three to four day bootcamp, you get all the right people in the room, you pull in everything from them, you boot out the executive
team partway through, and you really get in
depth with the workers, and you have them say
what they wouldn’t say in front of their bosses. This happened with Doug
and Linda, and Linda said it was mindblowing, she goes “I didn’t realize we
had so many problems!” because she came back in the room and there was a million stickies, and then she said the more she read it and the more we refined it down, she said it was absolutely delivered, the use case that she would’ve
eventually ended up with, but loved having all the insights from all the workers.
>>Well, too often tech companies fail to recognize that there’s a difference
between inventing something and innovation, inventing
is that engineering act of taking what you know about physics or social circumstances,
creating hardware or software. Innovation is a set of social
acts that get the customer to adopt it, get a
marketplace to adopt it, change their behaviors,
and partners historically have been absolutely essential
to driving that innovation, to getting customers to actually change the way they do things and embed solutions into their operations, and increasingly because of that deep knowledge
of what the customers are trying to doing,
they’re participating more in the actual invention
process, especially on the software side, as you said.>>Yeah, I think what’s
really interesting in this, especially with IoT, when
I look back a few years, I look at cloud, and everything was cloud, and everybody ran to it,
and everybody jumped in with both feet and then they got burned. And what we’re seeing
with this whole thing with IIoT, you would think
we’re showing these ROIs, return on investments, we’re
showing all this greatness that can come out of it,
and they’re very slow at sticking their toe in. But what we’ve found is,
no one, or I should say the majority of corporations anymore don’t want to jump in and
say let’s do a two or five or 10 million dollar project. We see your PowerPoint,
no, let’s dip our toe in. With what we’re doing, it’s a
really small amount of money to go in and really direct our attention at exactly what their problem is. It’s not off the shelf,
but it’s off the shelf with customization, it’s
like we’ve already delivered on Connected Worker for oil and gas, but now we’re also starting to deliver multiple other industries
because they actually walk through Texmark, we
can do tours at Texmark, that was kind of the trade-off. All these partners brought technology and brought their intelligence and spent, we’re now on two years
of proving all this out. Well, they said “Fine, open the kimono, “we’ll let your customers
walk through and see it.”>>And it probably makes Texmark look like a better supplier as well.>>Well, it’s enhanced
their business greatly, I can tell you. They’re just starting a new
process in another week, and it was all based on
people going through, a client that went through and went “Wait a minute, I really like this.” They’re also being able
to recruit technologists within the use and industry, which you would think
Texmark’s 50 employees, it’s a small little plant,
it’s very specialized, it’s very small, they
pulled one of the top… Sorry, I lost my train of thought. I’m trying to think of what the name.>>They’re a small number of employees, but the process manufacturing
typically has huge assets and any way you look at
it, we’re talking about major investments, major
moneys that require deep expertise, and my
guess is that Texmark is able to use that to
bring in even smarter and better people to do–>>Smarter and better people
that are looking at it, going “They’re ahead of the curve.” They’re so far ahead of the curve that they want to be on board. They’re bringing in millennials. On their Connected Worker,
Carlos is their train load lead, and he dropped an
intrinsically safe camera, and it broke, and he
tried to glue it together. Tried to superglue it together, and then he ran back to Linda and he said, “I broke the case.” And this case is like 10
pounds, they call it the brick, they got to lug it up, they
got to climb up the train car, lug it up, take a picture that
they have sealed the valves on all the cars before they leave. Well, he had used the
RealWear head device, and he went in to Linda and he said “I know there’s a camera in there, “there’s camera capabilities, “can I use that until
we get another case?” And she’s like “Yeah, go ahead.” Well he went through, started
using that to lean over, so he’d take a photo, we
engineered that it could go directly back to the audit file, so that everybody knew the
minute that picture was taken, it went back into the audit file, this is where we found
the process was reduced by 90% of time, but he turned around and trained his entire team. He wasn’t asked to, but he thought “This is the greatest thing,” he went and trained ’em all. And now about every two weeks, Carlos walks in to my
team that sits at Texmark, and comes up with another use
case for Connected Worker. It’s amazing, it’s amazing
what we’re developing right out of the customer,
by using the workers, and them proactively coming to us, going “Hey, I got another
idea, let’s add this.” We’re I think at version
7.0 for Connected Worker, because of that feedback,
’cause of that live feedback in production.>>Great story, Kelly. So once again, Kelly Ireland
is the co-founder and CEO of CB Technologies, thanks
for being on theCUBE.>>Thank you for having me.>>And once again, I
want to thank all of you for joining us for
another CUBE Conversation. I’m Peter Burris, see you next time. (upbeat music)

Danny Hutson

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