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Two data liberation projects with potential to make a big change in our industry

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Some news to take your minds off viruses and oil prices - here's two exciting data "liberation" companies we spoke to over the past week with potential to make a big change in our industry - mýa and Cognite.

mýa is a project born in the digital department of company MAN Energy Solutions, to monitor and maintain the performance of its products such as large engines and turbines in operation in the field, whether it be marine, power plant or oil and gas applications. The mýa platform service was developed by MAN ES in parallel to their asset performance platform, MAN CEON which powers MAN PrimeServ Assist, a solution to optimize operational performance of their equipment in service.

The purpose of mýa is to act as a broker of data, a data collaboration platform, that facilitates the integration of data streams from different sources, regardless of the manufacture of the equipment. This opens up the possibility to look at ecosystem performances, equipment interrelationships, rather than individual isolated equipment performances.

MAN ES has formed a new company, mýa Connection GmbH, as the vehicle to move forward, with the intention to form a separate independent non profit making organisation and is inviting other manufacturers, including competitors, to take ownership and join the board, ultimately seeking to have 5 to 10 owners, and thousands of members from all types of industry, not just engine or turbine related.

mýa could be seen as a plumbing system for data from different systems and different partners. Right now, if an oil and gas company, or shipping company, want to work with sensor data from equipment, it is really difficult. This could be analogous to the hassle of having to go to a street stand pipe to collect your drinking water in the 1800s. mýa is the equivalent of making drinking water available to you on demand through a tap, together with gas, which can be combined to make hot water, also on demand.

mýa does not hold or process any data, it simply allows people authorised to see and use the data, easier access to multi equipment data streams, via a single view and making it much easier to integrate different data flows, which can form a basis for analytics and other insights and hopefully, standardisation in the use of data across and in industries.

Meanwhile Cognite, in Oslo, offers a range of services to "contextualise" data in oil and gas, power and utilities, and manufacturing. In oil and gas, it started with production data and now moving to exploration and drilling. The term "contextualising data" needs some explanation - one way to explain it is to imagine the ingredients for a meal. Tartar sauce together with deep fried fish and chips, at least for Brits, is a combination which makes much more sense than just tartar sauce, deep fried fish or chips by themselves.

It is the same for oil and gas data. Put seismic data together with well logs in the right way, or production flowrates together with downhole pressure, and technical experts can get insight into what is going on.

One thing I like about both these companies is that they are well funded, and by funders who are looking for something from the project other than direct financial returns. Public data for Cognite says that it is 62 per cent owned by engineering giant Aker (which also owns 49 per cent of Aker BP) - and Aker BP is making good use of Cognite for its own purposes. mýa was launched and initially funded by MAN ES, a subsidiary of Volkswagen, and grew out of a desire to serve not only its own customers better but helping to drive collaboration and knowledge sharing between the users as well as other OEMs.

This matters because building these data platforms takes a lot of engineering time and expertise. The tech industry can have an unhealthy fetish for small start-ups, which don't have the resources to take on big tasks like this, or if they do, would need to quickly give returns to their investors, which can imply a need to seek some control or monopoly power, the last thing any platform customer wants.

But the really great thing about these platforms, perhaps, is the opportunity they offer for small companies, to develop really useful services for clients, based on having sensor data available on tap and in context. A tiny company could develop services to do anything from examine subsurface data in a unique way, develop algorithms which give company employees better warnings about emerging problems, or give them situation awareness over their operations in a way they have never had before.

So more interesting jobs for start-ups and individuals, while organisations become safer, more efficient, more environmentally friendly and make better investment decisions. Not much to complain about there.

We'd like to plan events exploring these subjects this Autumn probably in Malaysia and London for oil and gas, and Hamburg, Athens, for tanker shipping. If you might be interested in getting involved please let me know.

Karl Jeffery



External Links
» mya
» Cognite

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