Modernizing OT Systems with Shaun Six

The Noble Campaign to Modernize OT Systems – Oil & Gas Tech Podcast with Guest Shaun Six

Modernizing OT Systems with Shaun Six

Why should we be concerned about securing critical infrastructure and modernizing OT systems? Find out in this Oil & Gas Tech podcast hosted by Michael O’Sullivan of the Oil and Gas Global Network.  Our very own Shaun Six lays out the case for his noble campaign for modernizing OT systems.

YouTube video link and digitally processed transcription follows below.

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An industry under pressure innovation in its finest hour this is the Oil & Gas Technology podcast, where sharp minds reveal the brilliance and sheer determination turning great ideas into new realities hear about how it happens in real life with your host Michael O’Sullivan.

The views of the hosts are expressly so it should not be construed as any other corporation consortium government or interplanetary federation.


Michael: All right folks we are back except something is a little bit different this time now um well perhaps perhaps something is a little bit different if you are if you’re listening to this uh in your usual whatever your usual manner of listening to podcasts uh then it might be that nothing’s different but uh but if you look in the show notes for this episode now this is assuming that we remember to put the put the link…

there should be a link in the show notes uh to a youtube video it’s a youtube that’s on our uh on our OGN uh YouTube channel uh there’s there’s now a playlist there for the oil and gas tech show which by the way welcome to the oil gas tech podcast right here on the oil and gas global network which is the largest and um what…

Is it how does it go the largest and most and most listened to network podcasts for the oil and energy

industry and today’s episode today’s exciting innovative episode i am happy to say is made possible by a brand new sponsor a brand new sponsor that we have and uh and the sponsor is so the name of the company is Hexagon Hexagon is a is a big is a big company.

i have here Shaun Six which by the way i haven’t said this uh yet but that’s a really cool

name like is that is that is that your real name or did you pick that because it sounds like it came out of speed racer or something

like that yeah it’s legit yeah yeah it’s really Shaun Six uh with a company called UTSI

uh UTSI international which uh some of our faithful listeners

probably heard uh Dan Nagala on the show i think he was on the show uh January or

February something like that yeah i think it’s like episode 334 or something yeah remember um episode

you threw me with that i’m like i’m only on a hundred and fifty yeah i don’t know i just made that up yeah

so uh so dan um and Dan is the founder of UTSI International for 37 years he’s been

doing it for 37 years yeah so interesting connection is dan your dan

is how i met this Dan Alford who founded our specialties apparently those guys

are like kayaking buddies or yeah go way back yeah and um uh they’ve known each

other for a long time so your dan introduced me to this dan and uh he and he was on the show a

couple times and uh then somehow we ended up with this very nice studio so this is nice this is where we the best

podcasting studio i’ve been in you’ve ever yeah how many have you been in two two all right so this one’s so this one’s better

it’s better than that um very few have a robot uh you know bolted to the

bolts it’s the only one i’ve been in with the robot it’s not um it’s a small one i mean this is a really small one although uh i did fall for the trick of

trying to move this table and uh it’s not like you know how you walk up to the table you go i’m gonna move this over a

little bit right yeah you gotta like put your you gotta put your shoulder that looks pretty heavy yeah it’s uh it’s

it’s heavy dan on the last episode dan uh he explained what this thing used to do i don’t remember what he said i think he said it was a material handler but if

you go into the factory over there they got things that look like this only they’re like as big as a house so uh so it’s fun stuff but we’re not

here to talk about that so what um so first a little about you

and i you and i actually just met today right that’s right so sometimes i have a guest on and like i’ve already known him

for a long time so i like like i have some dirt on them and i can make some jokes about things that have happened in

the past clean slate here and i don’t have anything on you so so start from the not the very beginning but uh like who

are you and how did you uh get here yeah um Shaun Six from UTSI i uh started out

in oil and gas in 2005 at Devon energy in Oklahoma City and i was actually going to school and a

friend of mine was a recruiter and he said would you want to hand files out and i’ll help pay for your college and

so uh and files out that’s what my first job was was a records basically records clerk and slinging files so like in one

of those secret rooms where somebody comes in and like you’re behind the desk and yeah they go i need the yeah a

little bit all your file yeah yeah it was uh so we had a we had some records that were kind of on right on a tight

leash and then at the time people don’t know this um there’s a thing called a scout have you heard of a scout

uh like the jeep thing no uh so oil and gas scouts they would uh they would maybe bribe you take you out they would

try to find out where you were drilling how much oh yeah what your depth was what your plan was and so uh Devon was

had been uh i guess uh attacked by these scouts and so that was part of the deal

was they had to pass a background check and they do uh everything short of a polygraph to make sure you’re not you know in debt and trying to sell their

records and uh they that was what my job was so like industrial espionage it was definitely yeah yeah that was the early

days of fracking yeah well right so it was what are you doing where are you doing it and how are

you doing um yeah i was uh so

in the early days of fracking i was working with a company we had like some

some software that is really useful for like subsurface analysis and things like

that and and which was primarily you know used you know in conventional

uh place and and so we were trying to figure out like okay all this all this stuff’s

going on in the permian unless it’s going on eagle ford like how do we make our software useful to those guys and so

i had this meeting there was two meetings that i remember uh that were really like

helped me understand how this works uh one was i was uh i was

it was some small operator or mid-size some small mid-sized operator out there in the permian and i was explaining like

well if you use our software you know you could have all this certainty about what’s under the ground blah blah blah blah and he goes

uh sounds like a science experiment [Laughter]

like and i could tell that he’s not in the habit of paying for science experiments right and then the other one was i asked the guy so how do you know

so how do you make decisions about like where you’re gonna drill and he goes and and how you’re gonna

drill and he goes well usually we just look over and see what that guy is doing over there and then we just do the same

thing over here so i could see how you could get uh so if you were

if you were a shady character and you were running around taking people to the bar in midland um

yeah which is called the bar um the bar like you could probably get like you get a few beers in

somebody you could probably get like you could get a pretty not just like uh not just like a top shelf yeah you could get

like real like real info yeah you could really operate with it yeah and that was happening yeah and so that was my first

gig really was i had no idea about oil and gas i asked some really stupid questions but i was real fortunate that

they were they were just happy to have somebody uh make next to nothing and walk seven miles a day i was going between five

five different buildings and handing out these records and i ended up getting into the mergers and acquisition yeah

team and then in the middle of that the the vp came down from Houston and asked if i’d be on the rotation program and i

actually turned it down and i i was finishing up my grad school the rotation program being well you go through each

team and you rotate so some teams are three days some teams might be three weeks yeah and you go through and you

just learn everything you learn what data they collect what data who uses it how they use it um how it’s aggregated

and that was my first step into SCADA and the OT side of the house as well but looking at exploration we had

midstream at the time so i got to see everything in between and operations and then everything from exploration to plug

and abandon so you know what records and then there’s a regulatory component on top of that yeah so it was a deep

learning i tell people i have a really a wide view of it and i’ve i’ve touched a

little bit of everything in oil and gas but i don’t have the depth as some people have i’ve kind of played around in different fields there yeah since

2005. it makes you a consultant that makes me a consultant yeah that’s good that’s good well but really it’s

valuable um in this industry that’s very valuable because um so something else that we do

OGN uh Mark Lacour and i we also have this other business uh modal point where

we help uh people who are trying to bring products and services into the industry um you know maybe they maybe they’re

already active in other industries and they’re trying to add this vertical or maybe they’re already in this industry but they’re trying to approach a different part of it or whatever and so

we kind of help them with go to market and like how do you understand the industry and bring the right because a lot of times people have things that are

valuable but they just don’t the problem is if you don’t understand the industry and you don’t ha and and a

lot of times people can understand like this one part and they think that that whole part i mean that one part is kind

of like the whole thing and it’s not even a it’s just a small slice and so having that broad

exposure is um actually really valuable it’s been a blessing to be honest

because um [Music] i think there’s a curse of specialization and there’s the benefit of

specialization which is you get the uh you know exponential growth right from it and then you get the economies of

scale but people don’t learn what’s happening i can’t tell you how many times so i got into my first innovation pro project

right because of this rotation program because of some ideas we came up with and they you know they thought well that’s

interesting let’s try this again so we kept coming up with new ideas and every time we go to a team we’d come up with they’re using this why don’t you use it

and yeah the tools used differently with this kind of use case but it could be broadened for for you as well and then

sharing the data a lot of times the data doesn’t actually pass along or it doesn’t pass to the right people and so

or you cut off a data feed i can’t tell you how many times i’ve seen that where somebody makes a decision and it stops the data feed to someone else and then

now the decisions they’re making are misinformed right and it’s just an interesting perspective yeah for sure

stitching all the parts together so when when the industry started becoming really serious about um

what we now refer to as digital transformation i know a lot of people like like dan for example dana gala will

say well that’s just the new word for the same thing we’ve been doing the whole time right but but

there is it but it’s it’s unquestionable that right around 2017

after the 2014-15 that little debacle that happened there and yeah yeah we uh

for 2015 we call that the year of drinking lunches because there was really nothing to do the industry was

completely dead and um and

and so you know most of the most of the operators did a great job of

like using what i would call all the traditional mechanical means of belt tightening and

streamlining you know you gotta lay some people off you do all the cost cutting right so they got to where like okay now

we can break even at least at 50 a barrel or something like that but of course investors weren’t happy with that right

and it’s not the and so so then they said okay well what else can we do and somewhere around 2017 it was like well

we better look at this digital transformation stuff right and people started getting serious about it at that

time um and i forget why why did i go into this whole thing i don’t remember what was

the point i was making i don’t know but you reminded last thing you said um i can’t remember either but uh you

reminded me of something that happened around that time so i left uh so i ended up going to bhp and at bhp i got by

somewhat accident got into an innovation group and then ended up becoming a business owner manager i knew somebody who was involved

in that over there anyway i can’t remember her name so it doesn’t matter oh we’ll keep going um so

so that led to us creating really cool things and doing a lot of fun stuff and that led to me going to Accenture

right around 2015 2016. oh yeah and then that’s a rough time to be because it was a rough time to come in new and uh we

were joking we had a term um so all the all the people being home and not being deployed on projects yeah we

had we called them bench babies everybody that was on the bench started having babies but um we actually wrote a

white paper at the time and i think it was called the rise of insourcing yeah and what happened at that time we

thought or a lot of a lot of people were betting on what every time this happens you find new ways to save money and innovation is the way to go right and

the opposite happened they actually cut their innovation projects they cut their innovation um to budget and they cut

their partners and they started insourcing and bringing people and then i remember for the first time uh because

at bhp we were really concerned around windshield time and windshield time is directly correlated to risk and so you

want to reduce that as much as possible but you also want to make smarter decisions so when you put somebody behind a will they’re doing something

that drives value right and uh they we saw the decree we saw the flip of that i thought that would be the

trend but the uh traditional operators they actually started hiring more people

because they were like i can hire somebody in the field for 15 bucks an hour to jump in a truck and go drive and find out what’s going on so they cut the

the telemetry projects they cut their mesh network projects right and they started just sending people back like

you know we did 20 years ago yeah yeah so that so that’s a so that comes around to the thing that yeah that was kind of

on my mind which is um um there so there’s all this uh

there’s been all this focus it’s in the limelight for the last i guess it’s five years 2017 digital transformation we’re seeing

all of these you know and we got and we went through the through the stages right we went from the from the

the stage of what is it and is it real and is it just a bunch of buzzwords

right uh you know Deloitte’s paper bits and barrel bites and bites and barrels bits bites and

barrels i think that was that was kind of a you know something that people were holding up a lot as kind of example so

we went through this cycle of like is this real should we do it too yeah there’s some great things here and now we’re and and i mean you know

there’s there’s so many places to look and so many people talking about all the great uh initiatives and the innovations and

what we’re doing with data here and what we’re doing with with uh you know connectivity over there and connected

worker and and we’re bringing drones in and like all robots um

but in the actual like in your and you guys at UTSI and i think your background

is focuses on that OT environment where well i like to say where all the action is um there’s been a lot of effort aimed

at modernizing those areas and doing all these fancy new things that we talk about like how’s it how’s it going are

we is it like if you go out there today um is it does it look like a like a

whole new world or is it still like people driving around doing things the old way because it’s really cheaper and

easier and we’ll just do it like this it’s a blend but shockingly um the stuff we were working

on 10 years ago yeah and the innovation we brought in a bunch of things like

flare cameras to do leak detection or loss of containment alerts right which was a really uh novel

idea we actually had a few of the things we worked on we had to go get approval through TCQ or the EPA to say this is

this is what you say we need to do with visual inspection on a flare for example we can do that through cameras is that okay and they will neither confirm nor

deny that it would never really give us the the vote of confidence but um once enough people started doing it but they might you make you wait like a year to

find out that they don’t have a this exact decision right oh yeah they wait forever and you’re

making hay the whole time so you just keep moving but um some of that stuff uh recently um i was at the api conference

and there’s a lot of great work being done in that space and there are moves in that direction but

um it’s not not where i thought it would be you know for being a decade later i thought we’d be i thought the adoption would be there

and i thought that the technology would be it is readily available but it’s not readily adopted and that’s the part

that’s been so for example like what without without without naming names the uh well like like what was an example of

something that you thought like we’d be past this by now yeah i think um using the use of drones

for um right-of-way inspection and for leak detection yeah so like the ELDAR

program like detection recognition um the adoption of some kind of you know maybe we actually talked about

at the time drones weren’t allowed you had to have it couldn’t be unmanned and you couldn’t be paying somebody for it

so we actually looked at uh aerostats which is basically a blimp with a tether

and you can go pretty high you know up to ten thousand feet and you just have to i guess call the faa

yeah because there’s other things at ten thousand feet right you can’t go above that but yeah so you could you could launch it um and so we were talking

about doing that at the time and of course that was when uh the the bubble got burst on that one right

so we cut those programs but uh i thought well once the money comes back in people are going to pick this back up

because it’s just the value proposition so high of you know reducing that windshield time increasing so that’s

another one these planes that you fly this is the one that kind of shocked me it’s around 10 grand at least it was at

the time i don’t know what the price is now but it was 10 grand a day to have a right-of-way inspection uh use a

certified pilot jump in in an aircraft fly your right away while looking take

notes of if there’s encroachment if there’s obvious loss of containment um

basically the right-of-way inspection and then they get back down and they send you that information and it may be a few days a few weeks um if you really

want to spend a little bit more money you can get a LIDAR attached to it and LIDAR costs more than the plane sometimes um and this is what we were

looking at well now you’ve got lighter on the iPhone so that probably will so yeah you can just stick your iPhone out simplify the geo tag it yeah

that’s actually probably right in yeah where we are yeah so uh yeah they’re they’re they’re spending money on the

aircraft and now they’re adding all this stuff to that instead of flying drones um so i think the the technology’s there

i think the appetite is still not there or the the adoption isn’t there yet yeah i got you yeah so um

um what about in areas uh all this uh

all this like like the SCADA like the automation and so one of the things that happened a couple years ago was uh as

part of this whole digital transformation wave is um

people so these OT systems SCADA systems the ics stuff has been sitting out there

there’s been computers out there for a long time doing things right it wasn’t like like we didn’t start putting computers out there in 2017 right and um

um but but historically always like the data that they produced was produced for the purpose of whatever the function was

that it supported right turn this thing on turn that thing off right whatever control something and then

and then in the digital transformation wave people said you know if we could get our hands on that data

on all of it we could do cool stuff with it right we could do we can do analytics

and we could do use ai machine learning and and then we could that would enable us to

predict all this stuff and you know predict failures and you know all the things that we want to do with that data right and uh so the it guys come like

running out there to i’m i’m sort of i’m this is a dramatization right but you

know coming out there like with their little wires that they want to hook up to everything and the OT guys are like whoa hold on hold on so um and then i

think we kind of worked through some of that and we saw a lot of that integration coming um and then we saw

some of the the dangers of that like the reasons why people didn’t want to do that in the first place but um

but it was all with the promise because now you got stuff that’s connected to networks and networks are connected to

the internet and right and all of that problem right um uh but the promise was there was all

this business value and the promise of why we want to work through all those challenges so

are you guys seeing like is that are we in spite of all the difficulties are we seeing the business value come through

from all of those efforts sometimes when it’s done right and i

think that’s the the problem is because everyone has their domain expertise right so they’re signing off on uh the

one piece of the value proposition but maybe not the whole picture and i i am seeing more

yesterday for example i was uh at a control room meeting here in Houston and one of the one of the

operators showed a project they’re working on and they’re bringing telemetry in from the vehicles

and this is something that you know we did and we um we put this together at Accenture we we had an app that we were

trying to push as a software as a service but no one was willing to share all this data up to a third party so they’re they’re doing it on premise now

um but but it is an idea that’s been around that you didn’t see anybody doing but it just

makes so much sense so you’ve you’ve got uh data in maybe an ERP system somewhere

and then you’ve got your real-time data and then you might have some oil and gas

metrics that’s sampled once a month and that’s sitting in another system and so bringing all that together is really

difficult and those data those systems don’t all talk so you have to be really you have to understand the whole process and then

you also have to be able to propagate that data up somewhere where you’re not not going to add risk to the operations

but you can also drive decisions to the operations so what you’re describing is all the things that we you know this

that people who are close to the problem know that okay

this is why that’s not so easy right um but but we’ve been working on it for a while

and um and people there’s been a lot of money spent a lot of initiatives and and

and you know the Accentures and everybody else has been working

um but so but you said when it’s done correctly you get the business value so

are we are we struggling with that still is it are we struggling with the doing it correctly

yeah i think so yeah well i think there’s a uh and there’s a reason for it but but i t

folks generally are uh risk adverse and no one wants to be the guy that

added a a component or a tool that was the reason why their pipeline went offline or they’re well you know yeah

yeah yeah got hacked so um so there’s a bit of that people are risk adverse but i think uh it takes the

business side to push back and say we accept the risk and right i’ve been fortunate to work

with people that say that yeah and again some of those folks are also they don’t want to be the one that’s that that

hacks on their watch either so well this this industry i mean that’s always been a challenge in the industry is um

uh we’re risk averse for good reasons because there’s huge amounts of capital

at stake and there’s people’s lives and safety at stake and you know um sometimes people don’t always appreciate

that uh it’s kind of my my soapbox in the show for the last year and a half is is

um you know we’re not old-fashioned and slow to adopt new ideas and innovate

it’s a whole this is a whole different ballgame over here right and um and it’s hard to appreciate that

if you’re not in the middle of it but um so it it’s it’s true

that uh well and as a result that’s created a culture where

um and you know this if you’ve ever tried if you’ve ever been like on the vendor side and you’ve tried to sell

anything into uh to oil and gas companies there’s never one person who makes the decision

right it’s always yeah it’s always kind of uh not so much by committee but sort

of by like everybody has to be bought in because nobody wants to be that person

that every once in a while you catch that one like like like wild person who just wants to

leave their mark on the world and it’s just they just say damn the torpedoes are going to do this and everyone has to

be believing in that person for that guy to actually as well otherwise otherwise they’re gone otherwise they’re yeah

they’re not gonna walk around so um um so that that’s a yeah and i think that continues

um to be a challenge but there are these complexities that um that you won’t really appreciate if

you’re not lately so so earlier we were talking and you mentioned um uh this whole thing with critical

infrastructure right so so this is a good example of why we can’t just come in here willy-nilly and start doing

stuff yeah right this is true and i i didn’t tell you that um i took a few years off and i went to the finance

world and i was a PMO portfolio manager project management office portfolio manager and we would do

risk assessments and this is after coming off innovation projects so yeah risk assessments for you know we have

drone for leak detection like it’s like the other side of the one-way window mirror right i always tell people it was

good i learned a lot and met a lot of great people um but i was really bored at the end of the day the coolest thing we did we worked on some blockchain

stuff which was kind of cool but um at the end of the day the risk assessment for oil and gas and for

critical infrastructure in general is is real i mean it’s real you don’t want

to lose money but at the end of the day you’re losing a lot of money you’re using your ability to sell or trade right but on this side someone could

lose their life or you could have multiple fatalities that’s the risk assessment you start with could we kill multiple people could we kill a person

right do we have a loss containment an environmental disaster right right so you’re you’re at level four before you

get to money yeah you’re not even worried about money yet right so the risk everything up until that point is completely off the table right not even

yes and so whenever you’re saying i’m going to put something in that’s going to make your business better you have to go through that profile here and that’s

something that i can appreciate and respect because yeah yeah because it’s a different perspective for sure but um

critical infrastructure is is not a subjective term and so that’s something that yeah that’s yeah that that little

sentence says a whole lot right i know exactly what you mean by that so you go to and you can look up the 16

areas of critical infrastructure and we’re oil and gas is in one of them energy is in one of them uh nuclear is

one of them waters in one of them and i think what we don’t appreciate and the thing

my biggest concern and one of the reasons why i got back into this is going through this um the united states

is not doing a great job when it comes to managing our critical infrastructure yeah we we might have noticed that a couple

times a few times and i think a good example is i had some meetings set up uh

with an energy producer here in Houston yeah and they uh the freeze happened so they

canceled the meeting of course and the CEO has to go to ERCOT for the hearings sure and he uh he’s talking and i listen

in you know i’m really tied to this i want to be able to talk to him about what he says and he said um

he had to do oh yeah because it was public right like it was public yeah you listen to the streaming yeah yeah so i i’m up and this went to 11 i think at

night they finally adjourned right so i’m up at 10 30 listen to him give his testimony he talks about a death loop

and the death loop and this is something again that we just don’t appreciate oil and gas has a dependency

on some of these items and these these other uh critical infrastructure areas have a dependency on on us yeah and

so here’s the example uh they had their gas provider had their gas freeze

so they couldn’t provide gas to the facility so the turbines go on to emergency reserves they go from you know

whatever they’re at like 80 90 um production down to 30 that’s as much as they can do but that production that

electric production uh actually is not enough for these pumps that have been put in 1955

these pumps going in 1955 they’re still in operation to this day they still work the SCADA system that runs these still

work and they were put in not much later and so kills the pumps the pumps kill the water

to cool the turbines so the turbines can either burn up or go to zero so they go to zero so we have an outage

so that’s something that we’re all we’re all stakeholders and we’re all stakeholders in critical infrastructure and that’s just one example of energy

to to them so gas supply to the power producer power producer to the water and water to back to the so that raw water

by the way those pumps send water to the gas to the the energy producer but also

send water to my general area where i live yeah so that’s our that’s our water for

potable water yeah um yeah wow that yeah there’s there’s uh

we could do we could do a whole episode on um on on keeping grids up but um

uh or a whole series or just sustainability but i think the general idea is that i would love to get the

message out that we all need to be serious about critical infrastructure and yeah we really need to look at how

we can increase uh the security of it and that’s i mean talk about a vector for so

that was just us messing up that wasn’t a bad actor now insert a bad doctor right exactly yeah that was

self-inflicted um sort of sort of self-inflicted so all right but you mentioned oil and gas

is part of the the officially designated critical infrastructure um

and um so we have sort of two con

converging or conflicting objectives here one is

we want to make you know we want to do a better job with our critical infrastructure

you know of which all our oil and gas operations are part of that right particularly when you talk

about like pipelines and i mean like like we have a little that’s a whole other thing right it’s like we have uh somebody

uh a friend of mine a professional friend that i worked with another company texted me the other day and he said

after after a certain uh a a particular government leader made a particular comment about refineries

need to produce more and uh and and he he texted me and he goes

aren’t the refineries already at 100 and i said well you know they’re not 100 but they’re certainly at like i think

like 94 um but we have a little transportation problem right like like we have a

transportation problem because you can’t get stuff where you know uh between like like projects being shut down and the

jones act not allowing things to go in different ports and stuff so um so the so the point is

so i that that’s a whole ‘nother episode but um we want to do a better job of being part

of the critical infrastructure um but we also are trying to do we’re trying to

uh modernize all this stuff for all these newfangled advantages that

we want to have and which which automatically like by definition means like you’re disrupting things um right

so like you’re introducing new variables you’re introducing new risks you’re introducing right so um

so when you got so i’m just curious when when when you guys at UTSI International are uh

when you when you’re out there working with um uh with clients on these kinds of problems

like how do you like how do you tackle those those sort of like uh conflicting

forces and try to move forward and get something done that’s gonna have value

and like be safe and secure and not destroy things right yeah i think uh it is important well we

we’ve got the you know 37 years and and the team themselves just trust us they just trust us they they they care and

they build long-term relationships and we have people calling us we our first client is still an existing client 37

years later so that’s because you get to know them both still in business we’re both still in business and we both look

out for each other and uh i think at the end of the day you care well we care about the infrastructure we we’re recipients of it

but we understand it as well and we understand there’s a reason why we have these uh

architecture constraints and I IOT has definitely punched holes

into those constraints right but but that’s to get the business value of hey this new technology i can pull it up

to the cloud and i can give you this you know genius ai ml that you didn’t get before so there is some truth to that

but you don’t want to introduce a new vector for somebody to be able to come in yeah and so we understand both sides

we understand the promise of technology and we’re all technology geeks as well so we like pushing the boundaries but we

also understand that you need the integrity there and so there are tools and i think a lot of the reason why we

we see what we see in critical infrastructure is the sunk cost and i’m

sure you’ve heard the term Modbus or the right yeah so 70 of the world’s infrastructure is

running on Modbu version of some Modbus right so explain that for maybe people who aren’t as old as me so it was an open protocol um and i

believe it was created in the 80s yeah and essentially back in the day we we you

know we weren’t thinking hey that this is uh this is going to be something that i i IOT was not a term so the idea of

like having a sensor that could speak to the internet right that was so there was no real there’s no encryption

um it’s just open and the idea is you want you want a lot of speed and you want good data quality so we want it

just highly available and as all raw unfiltered data because the idea is the whole thing is air

gapped from everything else right right so there’s no one else going to see it right so it’s only being seen by the people you want to see it theoretically

because it’s architected so that a control room operator is looking at the data they can see green amber red you

know this needs to be responded to this is at risk and everything’s good um and

and that was kind of that worked for a long time and the reality is it still works and still in operation and the

companies that we’re talking to on the water side they’re all using it too yeah because it works and because of that reason but we’ve introduced this new

risk and the new risk is that we’ve got all these other things that are talking and you can’t detect it’s not encrypted and

you can’t detect if somebody’s hacked in and this has happened um uh i’m trying to think if i’m allowed to talk about well i had a conversation

with the FBI a few years ago when i was at an operator and we had been hacked and it turned she called it uh

Sneakerware and she said well someone just walked up and clipped in and they were telling they were sending you green lights yep

while they were sniffing your data and they were shutting down things and causing some some incidents and luckily nothing was too bad but but it did

happen yeah and uh and that’s happened to other people we weren’t the only ones uh so that’s why the FBI was looking at it because they were saying hey this is

happening right but um at the end of the day that’s still a risk for anybody that’s running on this and there are tools out there now there are

off-the-shelf stuff that you can do that will give you that data but it will be encrypted

and so they’re they’re instead of rooting everything because that’s the sunk cost is you’ve got so much out there well that’s the and you know i

think uh when dan and i talked about this we talked it was i think or maybe it was

maybe it was something else well it also this also came up i moderated a panel at the the Rockwell Automation Fair last

year and this came up as well this same subject of um how do you

how do you these systems that have been out there for 30 40 years presumably stuff has to be replaced

someday right um yeah but how how do you do it because there’s already so much invested

it’s already like like it’s the whole like you know changing the wheels on the moving car and all that right um so

it’s uh so do you like is do you work toward that or do you just

say look it’s sitting there it’s working these pumps have been here since 1959 they still work and you do you modernize

by like bringing in these new tools to supplement or are you ultimately looking

to like eventually we got to change this stuff out and do something else no i think the the reality is it works and

it’s still it’s there for a reason um because it’s still working and it’s you know up times up time and and you want

to keep it as up as much as possible so it’s too expensive to go in and root everything but you can put things

um little exchanges in in the process that will help with giving you the ability to encrypt it um passing that

data through so that only somebody that’s allowed can right can decrypt it and see the alerts and see everything

else that’s going on but what we’re we’re actually working on a proposal for a request from the dod right now because

they’re all running on Modbus as well also one of the 12 or 16 critical infrastructure segments um the dod yeah

i would think so you think so so their their infrastructure is on Modbus they’re um their tripwire defenses for

forward operating bases is on Modbus nice so the same tools that we’re working with to help them get the

encryption pass the data up and then run analytics in the cloud so you can say

are there bad actors is there somebody that’s hacked it is the signature change is the data being injected from a false

actor or from a failed system because the systems do fail um and you’re not going to get that right now with the

current state if you don’t have something in between you in the in the actual device yeah got it got it so what

um i’m looking at so you know part of our studio is this new nice new studio is i have this little timer up there on

the wall that prevents me it prevents me from allowing us to carry on for too long right so um

in theory um so uh for the people out there who were

saying um look like don’t say this very loud but like we’re having all those same

problems we’re trying to figure this stuff out um you know apart from like call Shaun up tomorrow which would be

great but but like what um uh like advice like what where do where do

people start with um or maybe i think a lot of people are they’re not starting in these initiatives maybe they’ve been

working on them and they’re having trouble and they’re not making progress like what’s the

like what do you do what’s the what’s the what’s the words of wisdom right uh number one is

don’t reinvent the will yeah and that’s that’s our general proposal we’re we’re

not we’re device agnostic tool agnostic and we’re agnostic for a reason because we want to go out and find what’s

already there what what can solve this problem and serve the business case um so there’s a start

writing code don’t start writing code right and don’t start inventing you know a new encryption tool or whatever

there’s stuff out there there’s stuff you can buy off the shelf um and with a little bit of configuration a little bit

of skills uh your SCADA team your OT your your network guys and gals can put

it in and get it up relatively quick and it’s not going to cost an arm and a leg the other one is like the group i was

with yesterday um uh the ignition oil and gas collective there are groups and they’re sharing

information and this is what’s blown my mind back at 10 years ago we got paid by a company whenever i i

created this like killer app that propagates this data up and gives you business decision um routing in in real

time so you’re routing based on value proposition and that was a new idea and it hasn’t really been propagated out a

lot of people aren’t doing it still that’s catching on but a company actually paid us to take it off the shelf and not show their competitors so

we had a three year not compete i couldn’t show anybody or talk about it for three years right um that’s changing and i think the idea of a collective

where you get together uh invest in an innovation group partner with places like the canon

with the on uh look at what’s going on in the startup scene but with the other innovation centers yeah share that

information and and don’t recreate you know don’t reinvent the will yeah yeah it’s good um it’s funny because uh

another effect of uh just the how things have been in the industry for the last few years is um

and we talk about this a lot but there’s a lot more openness to collaborating and working across

companies and domains and things like that that you know it used to be um um

you know used to not be that way so there’s a lot more like people in the industry a different company like i’m

not talking about among the among the suppliers of products i mean among the operators and among the service

companies i mean they’re still very protective you still you still have to be very protective of your data and your

and and your proprietary ways of doing things but there’s at least an openness

to share ideas and information and work together on on certain projects that’s

been a huge change and i think that’s the way to do it is you know if you don’t have an innovation team partner with somebody else who does

look at what they’re doing but i was at a control room we did a control room tour yesterday back in the day you had

to sign a disclaimer no photos yesterday i said is it okay to post photos of this and they go yeah please do so we’re

looking at a real-time control room with with cameras up and their operators out

in the field and they were letting us share that information and they were showing it to their competitors yeah the reality there is

there’s very little that you could i mean you know

i think a lot of i’ve heard a lot of industry leaders who say who have said look

um uh you know like like Johan Crubbers who said this when he was starting up the whole OSDU thing was look folks

let’s face it eighty percent of everything we have is all the same it’s just the twenty percent that’s really the differentiator my my favorite story

about that i think i’ve said that this on the show before but um it’s new to me a friend a friend of mine uh who was a

came out of school as a geologist like in the early 70s um here in Houston and he was working

for i don’t it was it was texaco or one of the ones one of the you know uh that had a big office here in Houston i

forgot i forget which company but um so he’s a so he’s brand new out of school geologists right he’s getting a nice salary they give him a nice office um

you know because back then you’re the talent and and um and still and still and still they’re

the talent uh but um and they and they took him and his office was on like i don’t know like the

fifth floor the sixth floor or something like that and they’re showing him his office and they said the only thing is and this is back when you used to put

maps on the on the desk right like the seismic maps and everything and they said just one thing is

whenever you got maps out on your desk make sure you close the blinds because there might be somebody with a telescope

across the street like trying to look in and see what’s on your desk that’s true yeah yeah that was

so that’s the so that’s where we’ve come from that’s kind of full circle back to the Devon thing so Devon had people

actively looking to see where they were drilling what rigs they were sending out how much they were what they were

fracking with with the telescope prop it was still not a i mean we think it’s like a it’s like a science has been

around forever but at the time it was like what kind of problem are you right how much are you how much and right yeah

yeah yeah good good stuff all right well um Shaun thank you for uh coming by i know

uh this isn’t really your part of town right so no i try to be out here for the cannon though i come out with the way

you can go for the camera right now just a five minute drive um um now dan’s down in

Friendswood i think right yeah so uh our headquarters is in friends that’s where okay right so you’re down there as well

i’m down in friends wood a few days a week i’m downtown Houston i try to be plugged in with the ion and with the cannon downtown and then this area here

well if you ever want to come you know so you come by here go to the ark specialties facility over there find Dan

Alford and tell him that you want a tour and it’ll be like it’ll be like worth the 30 minutes just to to hear his uh

stories when he walks around oh i already do and i want to be part of his Friday Friday luncheons yeah yeah yeah

cool all right Shaun Six UTSI International thanks for uh making time and that’s gonna wrap it

up thanks Michael appreciate it check us out next week for another

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