Accenture unveiled their latest technology solutions at the grand opening of its first Innovation Center in Houston. This is the first of 10 innovation hubs Accenture plans to open across the country. The idea is to focus on the strengths, culture and experience of the people and the businesses in a geographic region to help create an ecosystem for driving Innovation into strategic industries that leverage the core competencies of the local environment. Digital Transformation (DX) is an important IT Initiative for all industries and companies are learning how to be competencies of the local environment.
Digital Transformation (DX) is an important IT Initiative for all industries and companies are learning how to best leverage and exploit Big Data and analytics, cloud and IoT in their respective organizations.
Then there are other industry-specific innovation opportunities such as cameras and drones flying overhead taking pictures for security reasons and even for real-estate purposes. Technology has made many advancements in just the last 10 years and there are numerous opportunities to be explored and it is encouraging that many organizations and individuals came to the opening to support a common theme of evolving the image of Houston into being one of the top epicenters for Innovation.
The Government was represented by City Council Member Amanda Edwards in the panel discussion and the meeting ended with demonstrations of several exciting and disruptive technology solutions. I was first-in-line to get dizzy with the new visualization tools that could be the ultimate in fashion ware with millennials, but the results that can be achieved with virtual reality, augmented reality, modeling simulation and analytics is mind boggling.
Some of the demonstrations include:
Drones and computer vision
Rather large models of drones, about 5 feet across, were equipped with typical cameras to take pictures from a distance, and a special camera was also installed that could take pictures of potential leaks, this is fascinating experience to be able to see and distinguish the leak in a pipe. Drones are going mainstream in oil and gas acceptance as the value of optical and testing capabilities from the air continues to grow.
What used to cost several million dollars, has been driven down for an open source virtual-reality application to somewhere around $350 for one license. Virtual-reality along with modeling and simulation are more disruptive technologies that will be used for training new engineers to be productive in two years instead of five. VR will also help workers better adhere to safety standards and practices as virtual reality will be used along with augmented reality for simulation and practice the handling of hazardous materials in dangerous environments. For example, imagine using a pair of gloves with sensors that feel like one is turning around and the experience of handling a pipe and feeling the sensation of it round-like features. The demo I saw simulated the workflows in a business organization to better understand the roels of people, what they did and how the business ran.
Connected mine demo
This demo showed how data can be tracked from multiple sources such as heavy equipment hardware software applications. The underlying technology was mobile tracking analysis cloud technology to efficiently improve industrial operations performance. It was easy to imagine the same image of an oil field operation in lieu of the mine as the basics are similar.
Advanced drilling visualization
This demo showed real-time data and visuals of the drill string and the bit. Additional technology solutions are valuable as a communications and collaboration tool. It will be interesting to see how far Accenture and its clients take this solution especially with the advent of artificial intelligence to recognize and predict potential failures and disastrous events. The future for modeling, visualization and analytics looks very bright as companies digitally transform their businesses to focus on making decisions based on reliable evidence and intelligence. The visual aspect is most complementary as graphs, charts and video are easier to comprehend than a bunch of numbers.
3-D scanning and printing
The last demo was showing how easy it is to scan and print a three-dimensional object just-in-time to fix something that’s inefficient or broken.
The Innovation Hub
The environment was equipped with leading edge collaboration tools such as; a telepresence system for videoconferencing, remote controlled robotics including the drones that are fortunately tied in place, interactive digital walls, voice tracking and areas for growth including artificial intelligence and other various digital and emerging technologies.
From an innovation standpoint, Accenture deserves accolades for their decision to kickstart their Innovation program here in Houston, Texas. All businesses and individuals stand to gain from a more innovative Houston, especially energy, healthcare, engineers, doctors and business professionals who inspire to be pioneers of innovation and some of my most interesting findings from this event are seen below:
The importance of analytics and advanced analytics and the need for a platform to manage the vast amounts of critical data that continues to be generated from new sensors, devices and more.
Artificial intelligence will be used to help manage a wide range of tasks
The use of drones and video analytics for surveillance purposes will help to reduce labor costs and increase rapid data-gathering and real-time monitoring of assets like the oil field itself and pipelines
Virtual-reality along with augmented reality, modeling, simulation and advanced analytics will help workers develop skills for optimizing performance and improving safety especially working in a virtual environment
In summary, it is inspiring to see other local professionals, businesses and the Government all come together with a common theme of making Houston known for “Innovation” in strategic industries common in the region. It will take time, but the outcomes are promising as the goal is for all concerned in the community to do their part to help people and businesses in the region advance to a higher level of expertise, competitiveness and prosperity.