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Academic Users Group

7 Posts authored by: jorourke

I recently attended the annual National Instruments customer conference, commonly known as NI Week.  NI is a leading edge provider of control and instrumentation systems in the areas of test and measurement, wireless (5G), smart grid, satellites, and other areas.  During the NI Week conference, OSIsoft had a speaking slot explaining the benefits of linking product manufacturing test information with product performance once it is deployed into production.  This is
done with the recently released LabVIEW - PI Connectivity toolkit, which allows data to be placed into the PI System from LabVIEW and into LabVIEW from PI.


There were two (2) companies that presented their experience in this area, National Oilwell Varco (NOV), and RoviSys Corporation.  Unfortunately, the presentations were not recorded, but here are the key takeaways:

NOV builds a blowout preventer for offshore oil rigs.  During the manufacturing and test quality process, they capture test data through LabVIEW and subsequently send batches of the test data to the PI System, so that once the blowout
preventer is put into production, NOV personnel can compare its performance in the field to how it behaved during the test phase.  I suppose it could also identify potential problems ahead and notify when it appears to either malfunction or when pressure is abnormally high.


RoviSys gave a similar presentation in which it provided the LabVIEW and PI System integration expertise for LG Corporation, who is manufacturing a 1MW fuel cell to be used for datacenter power where these centers are located in remote locations, such as deserts.  RoviSys was similarly able to meld the LabVIEW manufacturing test phase data with the production data in a common repository, the PI System.


Perhaps there may be academic use cases using this approach.  Please comment.  I'd be interested.

Thank you.

For those of you that did not have a chance to attend the OSIsoft Academic Symposium on March 20th 2017, you can now view the sessions from the web site.  Some of the more noteworthy presentations were:


  • Panel Discussion: PI System for Data Science Research & Curricula.  Several panelists, including Don Paul of USC (ex-Chevron CTO), discussed how industry and academic are using the PI System for collaborative big data analytics and machine learning projects. Also, Lehigh University discussed their Data X program, where real-time data is being used as a component of big data analytics course at Lehigh University.  The link is here:


  • Pratt Rogers discussed how the University of Utah is including real-time data and the PI System into the metals and mining curriculum.  This enables the next generation of engineers to understand how industry leading companies handle their operations and maintenance data. The link is here: Big-Data-and-The-PI-System-–-Teaching-the-Next-Generation-of-Engineers



  • A presentation was jointly made by National Instruments (NI) and OSIsoft that described how both companies are working together to provide common solutions.  OSIsoft's Dan Lopez followed with a short demo showing how to write PI System data to NI's LabVIEW and how to write NI LabVIEW data into the PI System.  This solution is available to OSIsoft university customers at no cost.  For the academic community, it was also announced that OSIsoft is developing a hosted, cloud-based PI System that will be used in chemical engineering unit operations labs.  The PI System will read and store data from NI equipment, archive the data, and allow students and staff to visualize the real-time and historical data.  Students will also be able to download their experiment data for machine learning and analytics using tools such as R, Python, and Matlab.   Please contact for more specifics.



OSIsoft recently hosted 2 events here in the Houston area that provided how customers are using the PI System for enterprise-wide operational insight during the current energy industry downturn:

-- Houston Regional Seminar (October 11)

-- Big Data Forum (October 12)

Although both events were open to customers and partners from all industry segments, both days seem to focus on how oil & gas customers are mining PI System data and combining the information with other big data to continually increase production productivity and reduce unscheduled equipment downtime.  Various companies presented how advanced analytics are enabling them to further squeeze the cost of producing a barrel of energy.  Notable presentations were given by Devon Energy, Apache, National Oilwell Varco, and others.  Customers and partners explained how the PI System Integrators to Esri ArcGIS, SAP HANA, Microsoft Azure, Spotfire, and other big data analytic systems significantly reduced their data extraction efforts.

The links to all video presentations from both days are found here:

Houston Regional Seminar:
Houston Big Data Forum:,advancedanalytics,bigdataforum

I hope you find the presentations as informative as I did.

If you're in the greater Houston area the week of October 10th, please register to attend our no-cost Houston Regional Seminar to be held at the JW Marriott, located in the Galleria area.  


Here is the link to sign up:


Also, there is a no-cost big data and advanced analytics workshop the next day at the same venue.  The link to register is here:


See you there.

As universities continue to reduce energy consumption on their campus facilities, buildings are getting "smarter", due to the deployment of IoT (Internet of Things) power consumption sensors and improved analytics using meter and building automation system (BAS) data.  That's good for everyone. In the past few years, the PI System has also been used to monitor energy usage at Major League Baseball stadiums and ice quality at NHL hockey arenas.  Here's just a few of the use cases:


Recent article on smarter stadiums:  How the smart stadium will transform the smart city

Short video on MLB's San Diego Padres vision for monitoring Petco Park:  OSIsoft: San Diego Padres & SDG&E: A Community System Story - YouTube

Short video about the NHL's Minnesota Wild and their journey to improve playing ice quality: The Minnesota Wild on Better Data, Better Communication, Better Ice - YouTube


Why not save some of that wasted power at your stadium?

The University of Texas at San Antonio's Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Department hosted a PI workshop on May 12, 2016.  The one day workshop took place on the UTSA campus and was hosted by ECE Lutcher Brown Endowed Chair and Professor, Dr. Mo Jamshidi.  The workshop was well attended by numerous ECE department graduate students and faculty.


The purpose of the workshop was for the UTSA students and faculty to obtain a better understanding of how OSIsoft's PI System is used globally by industry leading companies across the value chain in the fields of oil & gas, power & utilities, and facilities optimization.  The discussions also focused on how other universities are currently deploying the PI System for research and classroom learning in the fields of big data, facilities optimization, and as a real-time data infrastructure for various Smart Grid research projects, including microgrid deployment and analysis of phasor measurement unit (PMU) data.


One of OSIsoft's field service engineers, Dan Lopez, presented key PI System functionality and demonstrated how real-time information can be extracted from the PI System in a variety of ways, including:

-- For KPI and trend analysis on web and mobile devices

-- Importing data into Microsoft Excel, for ad-hoc analysis and exposure to Matlab

-- Extracting cleansed data as input to various machine learning modeling platforms

-- Integrating real-time data onto Esri's ArcGIS maps and operations dashboards

In the afternoon session, the group discussed various internal research projects for the PI System, including analysis of their multi-campus PV solar panel data, use of PI System future data for renewable energy forecasting, and as a decision support system for advanced robotics projects.


The group achieved a more in-depth understanding of how the PI System works and how it can be applied to their individual and department research initiatives.  The workshop was concluded by a visit to the UTSA robotics labs.

I had an opportunity to attend and speak at one of the foremost academic workshops on the future of the smart grid.  The workshop was held at Texas A&M University (TAMU) on April 28, hosted by Dr. Mladen Kezunovic, a Eugene E. Webb Professor in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering and the Director of the TAMU Smart Grid Center.

The theme of this year’s Smart Grid Workshop was big data for the smart grid and on how all types of big data can be utilized in the smart grid of tomorrow.  There were very interesting presentations and panel discussions by distinguished members of the academic community, government agencies (DOE, NREL), the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), and various people representing industry.

Topics included the latest research on modeling and analytics, outage minimization, customer data privacy, geospatial visualization as an emerging tool for outage management, microgrids, and the role of phasor
measurement unit (PMU) data as decision support for wide area stability/microgrid effectiveness.


While the domain experts offered valuable insights on how the smart grid can be taken to a new level, Dr. Kezunovic’s goal for the workshop was to maximize audience participation, so that audience members could ask questions and foster discussions on particular challenges they are currently facing.  This workshop is held annually, with the specific focus changing every year. 


I am looking forward to attending next year.  A more detailed summary of the workshop is available from the Texas A&M web site: