Pumps & Systems staff spoke with John Crane's leaders about what the company expects in the new year.

What should end users know to be up to date on IoT/cyber security?

"Pump operators should be thinking about two areas ― the platform, and the killer applications that will sit on that platform, which will make a difference in the management of a plant and a fleet of equipment. We believe the platforms will continue to evolve over the next several years, but end users should start investigating the applications that can create real value for them while the platform market develops. Many applications can run on a platform or on a stand-alone basis. The winning platforms will need to be open to the 'killer applications' to gain significant traction. Plants in process industries should make sure the proposed applications are actually proven through field testing in real-world conditions and ensuring providers deeply understand process industries. It is imperative that providers are not just experts in artificial intelligence and machine learning, but also have expertise in the relevant real world environment. This is important because it ensures the algorithms drive meaningful prediction and can recommend actions to prevent adverse outcomes and optimize operations." - Robert Miller, Director of Prognostics, Reliability and Service, John Crane

Are changes in the workforce affecting your company?

"The success of John Crane is primarily based on the skill sets of our people. Every role requires technical competencies above and beyond those required in many related businesses. As part of our employee development and succession planning, our veteran experts teach theory, applications know-how and best practices with a focus on safety. Students in the hands-on training courses are comprised of both internal employees and customers. Many companies now use these classes to create a skills development plan for their early- and mid-career engineers and plant personnel." - Terry Lemm, U.S. East Region Director, Sales and Service, John Crane

What should we expect from the oil and gas industry in 2018?

"As oil and gas producers remain cautious around capital expenditures in the face of volatile commodity prices, we believe the oil and gas market will remain challenging in 2018. We have witnessed improving market sentiment in some areas and expect a slow recovery over the next few years. In particular, we believe aftermarket activities due to pent-up requirements for repairs, maintenance and upgrades will continue to increase, especially in midstream and downstream applications." - Frank Ma, Director of Global Strategy, John Crane

What keeps you up at night?

"We are continuously thinking about new solutions to technical challenges that will better help our customers achieve their business objectives. Our customers rely on innovative solutions to keep ahead of the curve in their respective industries and we fully appreciate the weight of this responsibility." - Doug Volden, Director Global Engineering Services, John Crane To read more Q&As from industry leaders, click here.