16 Apr

Is There Potential for Google Glasses in Process Industries?

This photo, “Glass Magic” is copyright (c) 2014 Erica Joy and made available under an Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license

For a short time this week, the public was offered the chance to purchase Google Glass. These glasses have the ability to display information, like GPS, emails and weather, right in front of you without blocking vision. The price of $1,500 might seem like a lot for fancy glasses, but they quickly sold out. The world is paying attention, including the worlds of manufacturing, automation and integration.

Perhaps the idea of having a display in the corner of your eye seems superfluous for everyday life, but Google Glass could provide a great addition to safety within process plants. Plant engineers often work with delicate and hazardous machinery. Safety is a top priority because it would often be far too easy for something to go horribly wrong. There has been a lot of talk about mobile devices, such as tablets and smart phones, being used in manufacturing environments, but they still demand the attention of our hands.

The technology that could evolve out of Google Glass removes the need for hands, allowing a person to work with both while still reading information transmitted by the glasses. In a temperature sensitive environment, workers could always have the temperature displays before them. While performing time sensitive work, a time display could sit just on the edge of their vision in the glasses.

Following the tablets and smart phones that came before, it’s only a matter of time before technologies like Google Glass make their way into manufacturing and process plants. While the current model is a bit limited, with the potential to display only one set of information at a time, it’s not that much of a stretch to consider the possibility of safety glasses with displays. Removing the need for engineers to have to leave a task and check a display could even take a step beyond safety and establish a new standard for optimizing personnel within plants and process systems.


25 Sep

Pros and Cons of Advanced Technology

With every passing year, it seems like technology is improving at ever increasing rates. Just look at popular phones like the iPhone. Didn’t we get a new one less than a year ago and already we have not one, but two, new phones complete with technology more advanced than the last.

While we can provide the latest and greatest technology available for boiler systems, process control and stack analysis, our overall goal is to help our clients achieve their business goals. With safety and optimization as a top priority, we want to improve the business of our clients. Just because something is new, does not mean it will be the best asset for business performance.

The benefits of improved technology can be seen in improved safety, efficiency and reliability of business assets and machinery. In addition, technological advances can allow businesses to identify and analyze measurements that may have been unattainable in the past. Fuel and energy use can be improved, with advanced technology that requires less energy to power.

All of these benefits are fantastic and have the ability to drastically improve any plant. Incorporating them correctly is often the key to their use. Sometimes the way in which a business is run, the goals a business has in mind and the type of people who will be using the technology make it difficult for a technology to be used in a way that makes it efficient.

Synergy makes a point to put client business goals first. If it won’t get you any closer to your goals, there is no reason to spend more resources in order to have the latest technology. We maintain an open discuss with our clients throughout a project to ensure all we do is not just for the sake of technology, but for the sake of their business goals and performance.

If you are curious about the type of services and solutions we can offer to help you achieve top business performance, contact a Synergy engineering expert.



17 Jul

Tablets in the Workplace


This photo, “Tablets stacked on the desk” is copyright (c) 2014 Intel Free Press and made available under an Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license

Tablets have turned into the latest tech tool, from the Samsung Galaxy note to the Microsoft Surface. Speculation has been around for a while about how these easily transportable devices may change the way we use technology in the workplace. We’ve all seen the commercials showing data, graphs and emails displayed on tablets. How accurate are those commercials, though? Synergy set out early this year to answer that question.

 Over the Christmas holiday season, we obtained an iPad, a Microsoft Surface and a Galaxy Note to see how our expert engineers were able to use these tablets in the workplace. While they all had their advantages and disadvantages, we recently decided to purchase Samsung ATIV Smart PCs for the rest of our engineers. This tablet runs Windows 8 on it and also has a detachable keyboard, much like the Microsoft Surface does.

The biggest benefit we have seen so far has been in our day to day note taking tasks. Whether it’s stepping into an office and jotting down a quick note or participating in project meetings, these tablets are great for note taking. Even more important to the engineers in the office, these tablets allow you to write just as you would on paper, meaning they can sketch their drawings and easily save them. No longer do we waste time flipping through a ton of notebooks trying to find that one special page. Instead, each set of notes can be saved and given a name, making them easy to find later.

While this certainly helps organization, it also has the fantastic benefit of reducing paper use. The result is similar to what we provide our clients through our solutions and services. Not only will we save money by needed fewer office materials, but we are also aiding the environment by using far less paper.

That is not the end for these tablets, which live up to the idea of mini computers in many ways. It’s extremely easy to access the internet or email through a tablet. While these are things you can do on many smart phones, the tablets allow larger views which can be important when view professional documents.

In the future, we intend to use the tablets for remote access to desktops in the office and on client sites. With this ability, we will be able to work on process control from wherever we are and without the need to have a laptop or desktop.

While we have found tablets to be a great asset to our work environment, with plenty of potential to grow in importance, the bigger question has yet to be answered. Can a tablet replace a computer? The answer really depends on the type of business you run. If you need something to type documents, check email and access the internet, a tablet may very well replace a computer. However, if you are doing heavy work with coding, drawings and large files, a computer is still necessary.

We look forward to the future of tablets. While they may not be at a point yet to replace computers, there is certainly great potential. Who knows what kind of powerful technology we’ll be carrying in our pockets 10 years from now.