Steve Sliwa is the CEO and founder of Seeq, a customer focused, lean start-up that is changing the way industry uses industrial process data. Prior to founding Seeq, Sliwa was CEO of Insitu, Inc. from 2002 through early 2011. During that time Insitu grew from 4 employees to 800+ employees and $450M in revenue. Insitu is a developer of miniature robotic airplanes or UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) for military and civilian applications.
Prior to Insitu, Sliwa had a varied career that included serving as research manager at NASA, founder of an educational software company, VP of Product Development for a public Silicon Valley engineering-software company, and President of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Many of the founding partners at Seeq were with him in previous roles. Dr. Sliwa has engineering degrees from Princeton, George Washington, and a business degree from Stanford.
1. Seeq is a leader in Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) advanced analytics software. Could you share with us Seeq’s background in advanced analytics for process manufacturing data?
Seeq Corporation was founded in 2013 and develops an advanced analytics application of the same name for process manufacturing companies – oil & gas, chemicals, pharma, power generation, food & beverage, etc. - to rapidly investigate and share insights from data in historians, IIoT platforms, and cloud data services. Seeq’s extensive support for time series data and its inherent challenges enables organizations to derive value from process telemetry for faster data-based decision making. The company has over 140 employees with offices in Malaysia, the US, and Europe, and has raised over $110M in funding from Saudi Aramco, Chevron, Siemens, Cisco Investors, and other investors
2. Could you briefly explain how Seeq has been helping companies to adopt the Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT)?
IIoT means even more data than customers already have in historians and other time-series data storage services. But most customers are DRIP: datarich, information-poor. Seeq addresses this issue of too much data and too few insights with a self- service solution that does not require users to have prior coding experience. Seeq’s structured selflearning and instructor-led foundation training courses enable new Seeq users to get started with using Seeq in a matter of hours. And new users will have engagement with Seeq Analytics Engineering for consultation sessions on use case development and tool-related questions. This means to time value for using Seeq is measured in hours or days and not months or years.
3. Seeq is the first software application that enables users to get more value out of their data. How does Seeq help companies and organizations in their data analytics?
Seeq is transformative software; it enables time to insight and data-based decision making in process manufacturing organizations the way spreadsheets changed the lives of finance professionals 30+ years ago. Benefits of using Seeq include improved product quality, optimized resource consumption, and higher asset availability which enabling continuous process improvements and increased profitability. When customers talk about Seeq impact they speak in terms of millions of dollars: millions in resource savings, millions in avoided plant downtime, millions in maintenance optimization, millions in employee efficiency.
Seeq enables these outcomes by tapping the big data and machine learning innovation known to us from consumer and IT experiences, for example, Google search or the Uber app. But where is that type of modern, software-driven experience for analytics in process manufacturing companies? It’s in Seeq. Seeq builds on software innovation to power its application experience: productive, interactive, visual, engaging, and collaborative. What the user doesn’t see (or have to worry about) is what’s making the experience possible.
The result is days or weeks of manual work in spreadsheets can be replaced with mere minutes in Seeq, an exponential change in required effort and time. Seeq enables engineers, managers, and executives to make decisions to improve outcomes so quickly they can impact near-term production outcomes. In addition, Seeq is always connected to the underlying data which means it supports advanced techniques such as exception based monitoring, predictions, and scheduling of analytics or reports.
Finally, Seeq supports analytics transparency so the work of users may be documented and shared for other users and departments, encouraging reuse and access across plants. Seeq is transforming analytics for process manufacturing companies with benefits for users, teams, IT/OT integration, and, most importantly, business success.
4. What are other partnerships that Seeq plans to venture into? Is there any new project or product underway?
Seeq’s rapid growth is being fueled by its partnerships and commitment to cloud based computing. Seeq is available in the AWS marketplace, is an AWS Industrial Competency Partner, and supports many data storage services, including Amazon Redshift, S3, plus machine learning in SageMaker, and other services. On Azure, Seeq has been available in the Azure Marketplace since 2018 and was recently recognized as a 2020 Microsoft Energy Partner of the Year Finalist.
Support for Azure services includes Azure Synapse, Azure Data Lake, Azure Data Explorer, Azure Time Series Insights, Azure Notebooks for machine learning integration, and Power Automate. In addition to cloud partnerships, Seeq connects to an extensive set of automation vendor data storage platforms for on premise engagements including OSIsoft, Siemens, GE, Honeywell, Emerson Automation Solutions, Inductive Automation, AVEVA, AspenTech, Yokogawa, and others.
In addition to Seeq’s direct sales organization with employees in Malaysia, North America and Europe, Seeq is available worldwide through a global partner network of system integrators, which provide local language training and resale support for Seeq.
5. Do share with us your opinion regarding the growth of IIOT in Malaysia. How has the pandemic stimulated adoption rates for IIOT?
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the awareness of IIOT among Malaysia homegrown corporate companies was still new. However, the Malaysian government’s initiative to introduce Industrial Revolution 4.0 in 2018 was the main driver that encourages the local corporate leaders to form a digital transformation team to adopt IIOT to increase efficiency in daily operation. The importance and relevance of the IIOT application became the focus in 2020 when lockdowns were imposed globally.
Remote monitoring capability became an in-demand and essential service for manufacturers to continue operation and continuously obtaining real-time data from the sites. Data from remote locations could provide many insights to companies’ stakeholders such as monthly production capacity vs demand and forecast of next maintenance plan to name a few. Seeq has supported oil and gas organization and other manufacturing leaders in Asia Pacific region since 2018 by equipping process engineers with data analytics skills using Seeq to quickly get insight from process data which enable timely decision to optimize production and avoid unplanned downtime.