My Take on Brad Keywell's Industry Disruptors Fireside Chat by: Bill Fienup, managing director and co-founder of mHUB
My Take on Brad Keywell's Industry Disruptors Fireside Chat by: Bill Fienup, managing director and co-founder of mHUB

Posted By: Jamie Gottlieb

On Wednesday night, mHUB premiered our Industry Disruptors talk series, a bi-monthly event featuring some of the best and brightest innovators of our time. The kickoff featured Brad Keywell, co-founder and CEO of Uptake, interviewed by his good friend Adam Waytz, a psychologist and associate professor at Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management.

Uptake harnesses the power of data to help people and machines work better, smarter and faster. “The moment you plug [data] in, you start saving money,” Keywell said. Uptake is proof that data analytics can impact dozens of industries including agriculture, aviation, energy, and oil/gas by reducing machine downtime, labor, costs, and risks, and in turn increase productivity, lifetime, and yield.

"Industry today is producing an incredible amount of data due to the explosion of sensor technology, low cost semiconductors, ubiquitous wireless and cloud computing capacity, Keywell added. “Businesses will almost certainly fall behind if they don’t take advantage of their data to optimize operations."

When asked about what inspired Uptake, Brad said that throughout his career, he’s noticed four consistent patterns in business and technology:

1. Sensor technology becoming more ubiquitous
 – “The world of chips has absolutely followed Moore’s law in terms of exponential processing power and reduced costs. Sensors look a lot like chips. They’re getting better and they’re getting cheaper,” he explained
2. A boom in cloud computing – creating “more capacity, less cost,” Brad said.
3. An expansion in wireless connectivity – Brad noted that with advancements in wireless connectivity, “your backyard is now as good as your house” for connecting to the Internet.
4. The source of deep insights coming from a system of patterns, not individuals – Brad called this “the survival of fittest of modeling.”


Brad’s observations come to life on a daily basis at mHUB.


As sensor technology becomes more ubiquitous, mHUB is on the front lines. Member company Amber Agriculture develops wireless sensors specifically for measuring grain quality parameters during storage. Prior to their production, similar wired systems cost upwards of $10,000, with a hefty installation time and large upfront monetary investment, and functioned unreliably. Amber’s system of sensors is offered at a fraction of the initial cost, is easy to install, and each sensor is disposable to ensure accurate data every storage period.


Our members engaging with data collection technology rely on the cloud to hold large volumes of data. Member company, Amper, produces a vertically integrated IoT solution where plant managers are provided with meaningful insight on machine performance, where the data is enabled by measuring and analyzing electrical data using sensors and cloud computing. Their clients include Fortune 500s, as well as small and medium manufacturers, since the system is agnostic to equipment-type and can be self-installed. Cloud technology allows the company to aggregate and analyze data from a network of factories of every size and type.


Our members have even taken the idea of wireless connectivity to a whole new level, significantly driving manufacturing innovation. mHUB member Hologram makes connectivity even more accessible to their customers. The company uses low-cost cellular options with their MVNO service (Mobile Virtual Network Operator). They provide affordable data rates and bolster their carrier networks to give their customers the best coverage in a sensor location using Hologram’s USB cellular modem NOVA.


They also have a development kit called DASH that makes it easy to develop connected IoT products.


Our members have realized the importance of data analytics and modeling in providing deep insights. mHUB member Joe Gambino is currently taking a class at a Data Science Bootcamp by Metis in Greektown. “It used to take a trained mechanic to look under the hood of a car and diagnose a problem with your car. Now, with a strain gauge integrated into a shaft, you can determine the forces and loads on a structure and either prevent the problem before it happens with closed loop control, or have the vehicle diagnose what went wrong without opening the hood,” he explains.


I really enjoyed our first Industry Disruptors event with Brad Keywell because mHUB companies are proof of the patterns that Brad noticed in creating Uptake. They represent the shift in importance of data analytics in manufacturing. I am proud to be part of an orgazniation that provides the physical and community resources to inspire manufacturers to continue to move the industry forward into the fourth industrial revolution.

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