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Follow Your Intuition, Downplay the Obstacles

Brett Brune
By Brett Brune
Societal Greats often succeed at efforts to propel humankind forward by following their intuition and underestimating obstacles. That’s what Nobel laureate Rita Levi-Montalcini told me in a discussion at her residence in Rome in 2004.
Levi-Montalcini, who improved our world by discovering nerve growth factor, gave herself as an example. And that interview stands out as one of the most memorable of my career, which has included covering the Internet of Things (IoT) since 1999 and writing and editing business news at the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post and The New York Times.
As industry executives, engineers and other entrepreneurs apply IoT and other technological gains to manufacturing, possessing keen and quick insight and underestimating the things that could get in the way of ideas will be critical. It’s how discovery happens and society advances.
I spent the last several years interviewing pioneers handling one of the first mass deployments of the IoT in the energy sector. Together, in Smart Grid Today, we introduced the world to such discoveries as transactive energy techniques—software application layers that use economic signals and data to coordinate the actions of power grid systems and devices.
It is an honor and a privilege to helm this new publication. Here, you will find the intelligence you need to learn and thrive. In that way, we strive to facilitate the efficient manufacturing of things that improve our world.
Manufacturing for the aerospace, defense, automotive, medical and energy industries are strong focus areas for us. We will add focus areas as we write about topics like advanced automation, additive manufacturing, smart data management and fog computing.
In this issue, smart manufacturing pioneers talk with us about what’s coming to machine shops and factories. GE’s Stephan Biller, for example, explains the communications concept of a “digital twin”—which he envisions impacting a product’s performance, service and redesign based on feedback from sensors connected to it.
Innovations like the “digital twin” have real consequences for real people. Smart manufacturing holds the potential to restore some of the millions of manufacturing jobs lost in the US in recent years, for starters.
I see Biller, like other explorers featured in this issue, going down in history as a Societal Great. 

Published Date : 4/27/2016

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