Our team at Petuum is made up of incredibly talented people. This series features the engineers, managers, and creators that keep our company moving forward and make us proud of the work we do together.
He joined OSIsoft in 1999 as a senior member of the product development team. Later, as OSIsoft’s Worldwide Director of IoT Analytics, Prabal guided game-changing IoT startups in creating product alignment roadmaps and developing joint engagement strategies. Prabal was responsible for the creation of the Red Carpet Incubation Program (RCIP) with Microsoft, and drove OSIsoft’s strategic business initiatives and deep technology alignment with Microsoft and strategic IoT alliances.
Prior to working at OSIsoft, Prabal spent 10 years at BP, one of the world’s largest energy companies, where he led a team of system architects to define strategies for common operating systems, applications and platforms using Microsoft technologies.
Catch up with Prabal on Twitter @Prabal_Acharyya.
Why did you join Petuum?
My background is in IoT — I have a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur and a Masters in Artificial Intelligence from the Laboratory of AI Research at Ohio State University. Before joining Petuum, I worked with OSIsoft for 18 years, most recently as the WW Director of IoT Analytics, and developed the Red Carpet Incubation Program (RCIP) with Microsoft to help IoT startups operationalize AI analytics with the OSIsoft PI System. I worked with customers like Mitsubishi and Toyota to enhance their digital solutions and, through that work, I saw a real need for industrial AI solutions. At the same time, I realized that data science alone wasn’t enough — in order to build solid AI, you need talent and good core AI fundamentals.
When I was introduced to Petuum, it became immediately apparent that Petuum has the core AI infrastructure and building blocks that the IoT and industrial manufacturing industries need. I also believe that Petuum is in the best position to help these customers, so I couldn’t help but get involved.
What do you do at Petuum?
I’m Head of Manufacturing and Industrial IoT GTM at Petuum, which means I work closely with engineering, product management, and solutions teams to define paths to customer engagements in those verticals. I help with operationalizing the product and am also working on building our sales, business development, and marketing teams for manufacturing and IoT.
My goal is to bring Petuum’s best-in-class AI platform to industrial and IoT customers and I’m working on deploying our solutions to those customers in order to both refine our product and meet their needs. Over the next few months, I plan to work on an early-implementer incubation program with enterprise customers.
What’s the most exciting project you’ve worked on at Petuum?
I’m most excited about showing customers in IoT what our platform and solutions can do for them. Our next big showcase is at OSIsoft’s PI World — we’ve assembled a cross-functional team from Petuum’s solution, engineering, and design departments to get ready for it. We’ve created a demo of our AI platform using data from OSIsoft’s PI System to show how Petuum’s solutions apply to manufacturing and IoT on the edge, on-premise, and in the cloud. The predictions from our model will be sent back to the PI System to inform real-time decision making. Our team is incredibly vibrant and ready to engage, so I’m confident that it’ll be a great event for us.
What’s been most challenging in your work so far?
I’ve been experimenting with AI and IoT for years, and something that has made the work very challenging is the fact that the industrial manufacturing industry is full of fragmented and siloed solutions that are difficult to operationalize at enterprise scale, and produce just bits and pieces of value. Now that we are being introduced to new paradigms, there’s an opportunity to create a framework for a more unified and standardized system to provide holistic value. Instead of constantly coming up with one-off solutions, Petuum’s platform is structured so that you can implement high-quality AI across the board at any and every level. For example, businesses with AI-powered operational excellence can use machine learning to predict system failures or anomalies based on data collected from sensors. Our challenge now is to bring all of those fragmented solutions together and build them into our holistic solution for the industry.
Do you have any advice for people interested in pursuing similar work?
If you want to begin working at the intersection of AI, IoT, and manufacturing, it’s important to understand the fundamentals. Take a university class on data science and IoT and get familiar with the paradigms.
The time to jump into this field is now. There are so many opportunities with new products and capabilities coming to the market. Although industrial manufacturing might look slow from the outside, there is actually a lot of fast-paced innovation going on behind the scenes. This industry is a goldmine of data for predictive analytics, much more so than many other industries.
What do you love to do outside of work?
My time outside of work is mostly spent with my family and kids, and I’ve recently started taking flying lessons. I enjoy sci-fi and am deeply immersed in the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe). I can’t wait to see “Avengers — Infinity War” and all the others that are planned. I’m also a big basketball fan, specifically the Warriors — I never miss a game.
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