Exara, Inc.


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November 2, 2015 Issue

The Most Powerful Name In Corporate News and Information


Asset Optimization Solution providing Dynamic Access to the Highest Fidelity of Data from Machines in the Field



Brian Murphy



Exara, Inc.



Interview conducted by:

Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – November 2, 2015


CEOCFO: Mr. Murphy, what is the concept behind Exara?

Mr. Murphy: Exara provides dynamic access to the highest fidelity data generated from industrial machines. We capture, store and manage data at the asset – often in remote field-based locations - and then efficiently deliver specific data to applications or enterprise data experts on demand. We founded Exara to address the massive data gravity challenge inhibiting delivery of industrial IoT solutions. First, there is a fundamental shift of data management beyond the four walls of enterprise, out to assets in the field. This is driven by the proliferation of sensors on industrial machines along with the desire for high-value, data driven IT solutions. Second, it is extremely difficult to get access to meaningful machine data through the Industrial Control Systems (ICS) that are commonly used today. Third, the quality of data from these 30+ year old ICS systems is just not there. Exara is enabling equipment OEM’s and operators to solve these data capture and management issues without disrupting existing operational systems.


CEOCFO: What is physically happening?

Mr. Murphy: Industrial machines are generating mountains of time-series sensor data. They capture sensor readings for attributes like pressure, temperature, vibration and a myriad of others. Once that data is created there needs to be a mechanism to extract and prepare that data. Today, most of the data is dropped on the floor. We see 1 minute or more capture frequencies for a small subset of available sensor readings across a range of industrial assets. This gives a very poor view of the data from an advanced data analytics perspective. Advanced analytics based on machine data is supposed to be the vehicle to drive better usage, optimization, performance, cost savings and future planning. Ironically, data quality and access represents the biggest bottleneck for advanced analytical solutions.


CEOCFO: How important is the quality of the sensors?

Mr. Murphy: The quality and number of sensors are improving in smart machines across most industries. As data capture and retention improves we suspect there will be an evolution for how we think about actual sensor quality. The first thing we need is a consistent view of quality data and how that translates to value in the creation of new solutions. This in turn will put existing sensors under scrutiny and create a cyclical evolution toward better sensors.


CEOCFO: Would you walk us through a typical engagement?

Mr. Murphy: Exara is focused on enabling global system integrators and industry-specific integration partners who sell and support industrial machinery operating in the field with a data services model. We work collaboratively with partners, providing training and support that brings advanced data management functions – traditionally seen only in a data center and IT ecosystem - closer to the machine level in many industrial fleet and field scenarios. Our partners leverage high fidelity data sourced from the Exara data platform to build applications and services that provide enhanced operations and maintenance strategies for their customers (industrial operators). Exara software runs on a new class of industrial servers in the market from Intel and others and our partners will typically take the device sale and hardware integration services as well. We select and certify a range of devices that supports our software and allow our partners to choose.


CEOCFO: Are the end customers working with the integrators or the implementers?

Mr. Murphy: Actually, it is a combination of the two. We work with the end-user customer in conjunction with our field implementation partners. Our partners bring years of experience with their customers and we want to support both the end user and partners to insure the implementation experience and on-going use of our data services is efficient and productive.


CEOCFO: At the end of the day, are you providing raw data or is that where the implementation people come into play?

Mr. Murphy: We are providing the raw data for the implementation partners and/or for enterprise data experts. We capture and store all the raw data untouched right at the asset in the field. That is important for a couple reasons. A cloud-based application could be requesting specific information from the asset or an enterprise data expert sitting at a corporate location may be looking to build a new model to improve operating efficiency. Finally, a developer may be setting up a persistent feed between a remote Exara API connection (data stream) and a new web based application that shows real-time operating profitability for an asset. Exara provides the remote and local data store and connections for applications that drives value for enterprise – and we do this for any view of the data on-demand. By contrast, existing ICS infrastructure is purpose built for one view and one service level.


CEOCFO: Which industries are using your services today?

Mr. Murphy: In midterm, we are addressing high-value asset markets like oil and gas, utilities, chemicals and heavy industrial vehicles. All of these industries are forecasted to be $1 billion+ a year total market segments for Exara. We have validated the need and the spending priority in these industries. However, as volumes increase prices for storage and processing will come down and open more markets.


CEOCFO: Are people looking for a better solution actively or is it more that they are happy to find out that it exists?

Mr. Murphy: The biggest buzz in business these days in the Internet of Things (IoT) and the push toward smarter and more connected machines. The whole context of this buzz is by collecting accurate data from your equipment in the field you can better optimize the use of that equipment to drive operating costs down and new revenue streams and optimization up. The dirty little secret is that existing Industrial Control Systems (ICS) were not built to provide dynamic access to high fidelity data to serve these new IoT solution requirements. The Exara edge data platform running on industrial grade edge servers will provide a parallel path to legacy ICS that meets IoT solution requirements without interfering with existing Operational Technology (OT) systems.


CEOCFO: What has changed in your approach as people have started using your services and products?

Mr. Murphy: The biggest change for us was when we started we felt that there was going to be more resistance around the disruption that is going to happen with the existing ICS and telemetry systems that are in the market today. What we have found more recently is that the incumbents being more aggressive about getting in front of that disruption as opposed to getting affected negatively by that. There is genuine interest on how they can leverage our capabilities and what we can do to minimize this disruption for them.


CEOCFO: Would you tell us about the competitive landscape?

Mr. Murphy: We are starting to see some copycats of our approach and that is a good thing. This market will be so large that this validates that our platform and solutions are exactly where it should be. We remain surprised by the sheer number of cloud focused IoT platforms that do not have a story with depth for how machine data will actually get into the “cloud”.


CEOCFO: What were some of the bigger challenges in making it work?

Mr. Murphy: The ability to leverage our implementation partners has made it quite a bit easier for us to get our capabilities into the field for end customers. Had we not really attached ourselves to some of those industry experts at the front end, I think it would have been virtually impossible for us to be able to expand to where we are today. I think that they give us the feet in the field, the experience and the credibility of dealing with these customers for many years and are able to show them that this new technology coming into play is going to enhance capabilities in the marketplace.


CEOCFO: How is business these days?

Mr. Murphy: Business is good! I think we are delivering material business value to end customers and to our delivery partners around asset performance optimization and the people that support the machines in the current trials that we are doing. We have a fantastic team and continue to develop on our great partner ecosystem within the Internet of Things marketplace.


CEOCFO: Many companies and people start looking for a service through search. What keywords would people use to find Exara? You mentioned asset performance optimization.

Mr. Murphy: I think asset optimization would be a good phrase to search, as well as IOT and Industrial Internet of Things would be good search parameters. Edge Data Platforms would be a good way to search although there are not a lot of us in the marketplace as of yet but those would be the keywords to look for.


CEOCFO: What’s next for Exara?

Mr. Murphy: We are just moving into our first big round of funding to drive scale across multiple industries and large unit deployments. Our existing strategic go-to-market partners are all going to participate in this round to drive a very aggressive Industrial Internet of Things, go-to-market execution. These partners include the largest technology products and services companies in the world who are heavily focused on delivering industrial internet solutions to their clients.


CEOCFO: Why pay attention to Exara today?

Mr. Murphy: If you look closely to all the great promise made for The Internet of Things, you will notice that data is the fuel for every proposition. Data will feed the machine learning predictive actions, monitoring, and advanced applications and analytics that deliver on IOT value. Exara is simply about high quality machine data and we are among the first to take that focus to the edge beyond the four walls of enterprise, past cloud and data centers. You will see that a great many of IOT machines are nowhere near any cloud environments.



“Exara provides dynamic access to the highest fidelity data generated from industrial machines.”- Brian Murphy


Exara, Inc.




Brian Murphy









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