Posted by Matt Register

Javvad Qasimi & Steven McNair with Windrock join us to talk about their new Spotlight Monitoring System.

Please excuse any typos in this hasty transcript.


Matt Register: Welcome back to the show. Texas Business Radio … texasbusinessradio.com is the website. We’re down here at the George R. Brown Convention Center at the 46th Turbo Machinery and 33rd Pump Symposia … That’s a mouthful … brought to you by Texas A&M Turbo Labs. This is all about rotating equipment, anything that goes round and round is exhibited here at this show. I’m your host, Matt Register. Jake Curry had something better to do this weekend. We’ll catch him next weekend. In the meantime, we are bringing you the best of the show. Get your calls in … 844-814-8144 is our 24-hour call-in line. Get your calls in. We’re gonna get those questions answered. We also monitor hashtag TBR on Twitter, or you can go to the website, texasbusinessradio.com and get your question in that way.

We have talked before about automation and monitoring and remote monitoring and ways of ensuring that you keep an eye on some very expensive equipment, even if you are not physically in the room. We have a very interesting new product that just got launched here at the show. Windrock Energy Automation … Windrock is here in the booth with us. We have Steve McNair, who is the Director, Product Management and Marketing, and Javvad Qasimi, who is the Director of Sales for Windrock. Tell me about your new product. Welcome to the show.

Javvad Qasimi: Thank you. Thank you, Matt. We’re really excited about this new product. It’s called the Spotlight, and this is, we believe, going to change the way asset monitoring is done moving forward. Until now, it was very, very expensive to monitor the asset and view the data and look at the intelligence that was provided by the data. It was very complicated. It takes a lot of time to get this done. With Spotlight, now, we’re gonna make it easy for the customers to install this thing up and running in a few hours.

Matt Register: We’re talking about very, very expensive equipment, right? So not only do they need to know if there’s a problem, but they need to know that it’s being operated in its most optimum way. The way to do that is sensors where you get streams of data out of that. How is this different than what’s out on the market today?

Steve McNair: The way that it’s different is that we’re able to actually take assets that before were too far away. Maybe it’s an upstream compressor that’s a 50 mile drive for an analyst to actually go out, collect data on a box.

Matt Register: Sure.

Steve McNair: What we’re doing now is we’re doing that with this system online, and then we can actually make the data independent and secure by uploading via a cell signal, satellite signal, whatever they’ve got out there, so they can see their health and performance right at their fingertips.

Matt Register: Then they know when they need to send out maintenance techs. They know when they need to send a human out. They don’t have to have the human out there full-time to be able to get that same stream of data, and it really doesn’t matter what kind of uplink you have to the cloud, right? It could be any connection you can get, right?

Steve McNair: That’s exactly right.

Javvad Qasimi: Yup.

Matt Register: The installation of this … We were talking during the break … is different than most, right? Because I know this is an expensive system to put in … has been an expensive system to put in. What kind of innovations in the actual installation side of it have you guys made and what kind of impact has that made on the end user?

Javvad Qasimi: The goal was, Matt, all the time we kept the customer in mind. How do we make this easy for our customers? How do we make it simple to install? How do we make it less complicated? With this system, you get rid of all the electrical packaging, the drawings, the decommissioning, the downtime. We made it so simple that the customer could open this off the box, look at the instructions, watch a YouTube video and install it himself in less than four hours. You could get the data- [crosstalk 00:04:19]

Matt Register: And they’re seeing data on their phone very quickly, right?

Javvad Qasimi: Yup.

Matt Register: So the analytic side of it … Streams of data is great, but very few people know how to make sense of those streams of data, right? Talk to me about the software end of this, because there’s some pretty complex analytics that go into this to be able to tell you, “Okay, what does that mean?” Right?

Steve McNair: Right. We have 30 years of expertise and monitoring these types of machines, so we’ve embedded that in the analytics and artificial intelligence of the analytics package that we have, and then the more these machines acquire data and the more they learn, the better the data is, the more that we can share that experience with our customers.

Matt Register: Having this across different companies and different operators, you end up with some unique insights into how to operate this equipment that I would be willing to bet is unique, because each individual company only knows how they operate, right?

Javvad Qasimi: Yup.

Matt Register: What is some of the lessons you can learn out of that macrodata that can help the entire industry?

Javvad Qasimi: That’s the exciting piece of this for the customers. They have access to a pool of information that they now have access to that they never had before.

Matt Register: Sure.

Javvad Qasimi: We build those insights. We make analytical programs out of that data that we have, and we give those insights back to the customer and say, “Hey, look. On a macroscale, here’s the things that we’re seeing that you potentially be aware of.” That’s the coolest thing about this, that it can-

Matt Register: It is. It’s the coolest thing about it and it’s somewhat the scary thing, too. I mean, every company has to be comfortable, at a blind level, that their data is something that’s gonna benefit … They’re gonna benefit out of everybody else’s data and other people are gonna benefit out of theirs, right?

Javvad Qasimi: Yeah.

Matt Register: It’s a little bit scary for … but it’s something that in all aspects of business that people are having to get comfortable with, right?

Javvad Qasimi: I agree. The key is also they own the data, right?

Matt Register: Sure.

Javvad Qasimi: We would make them comfortable that they own the data, they control the data. This is going through the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, which is the safest and the most secure and encrypted cloud-“based IIOT platform that’s out there today.

Matt Register: Talk to me really quick, ’cause I don’t think we covered it. What actual pieces of equipment is this being installed on right now?

Steve McNair: This is the first release of Spotlight, the first of what will be many. This is specifically targeted at reciprocating compressors.

Matt Register: Okay.

Steve McNair: The [inaudible 00:06:56] mounts directly on each throw of the machine and it goes through a controller and then from the controller to the cloud.

Matt Register: What other types of products is this a candidate for, because it looks like a very simple system that slight tweaks can apply to other equipment, correct?

Steve McNair: Certainly that’s correct. You will definitely see an engine offering from us in 2018, and you will see many other … You can probably use your imagination at what might come out-

Matt Register: Sure.

Steve McNair: … but it pretty much is applicable to anything that you wanna see the health and performance of a machine.

Matt Register: We have talked to all kinds of people in the internet of things arena. I’m not sure I’m real excited about my refrigerator being connected to the cloud, but the industrial side of it, indeed, is exciting, and there’s some opportunities for some world-shaking things to come out of that, right? This is the perfect example of that. What else besides engines on the road map of … What other types of equipment may be a candidate for this?

Javvad Qasimi: What we’re looking at is this is our niche, reciprocating … Start off with that, then go to engines, like Steve said. Marine is a good industry where’s a lot of applications and engines that-

Matt Register: Sure.

Javvad Qasimi: … there’s stranded data, honestly, and the [inaudible 00:08:13] wanna go unstranded, if you will. There’s power-gen that there’s a lot of data and intelligence that we can provide, so those are the exigencies that we have that we’re trying to go after.

Matt Register: Very interesting. We’re talking about Spotlight Monitoring Systems from Windrock. Steve McNair is the Director of Product Management and Marketing, and Javvad Qasimi is the Director of Sales. Wanna thank you guys for joining us.

Javvad Qasimi: Thank you for having us.

Steve McNair: Thank you very much.

Matt Register: This is exciting stuff. If somebody wants to learn more, what is the easiest way for them to contact you guys?

Steve McNair: www.windrock.com

Matt Register: Windrock.com. We’re gonna have that linked right from texasbusinessradio.com. If you are in a position to be able to take notes, we’ll have it linked right there from our website. Windrock.com. Thank you, guys, for joining us. Unfortunately, we’re out of time. We gotta go take a break. We gotta pay a couple of our own bills. We’re gonna be back right after this from the 46th Turbo Machinery and 33rd Pump Symposia at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston. Don’t go anywhere. We’ll be right back.

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About the Author
Matt Register

Matt Register

In addition to hosting "Texas Business Radio," Matt is an investment banker and serial entrepreneur from Montgomery, Texas. He is the owner of RREA Media and Register Real Estate Advisors and a Managing Director and Principal at Corporate Finance Associates. He has a BS from the United States Military Academy at West Point and an MBA from Rice University in Houston. You can read more about Matt HERE.

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