GE gets traction with the industrial internet which is incorporating sensors, big data and cloud to make industry more efficient

On Wednesday GE said that it has brought in $290 million so far this year from products built using this industrial internet philosophy and booked an anticipated $400 million in revenue. That may not seem like much for a company that had sales of $147.36 billion last year, but this is a two-year-old effort inside GE. GE also expanded the line of product offerings it has in its Predictivity line from 10 to 24, announced Intel, Cisco and AT&T as its latest partners and detailed its platform for building out the industrial internet, called Predix. Think of it as Amazon Web Services for the industrial internet.

* Predix is a platform for industrial applications. Applications can be built for any system or machine — from jet engines to MRI scanners — and be remotely managed while connected to the internet. So far there are four components to the platform, for the sensors themselves, analytics, management of the connected devices, and a vague one called Predix Experience.

* Next year GE plans to offer a developer program that lets third parties integrate Predix platform technologies into their own services.

* Of the new partners, AT&T will handle connectivity via cellular, wireline and perhaps even Wi-Fi management techniques courtesy of AT&T’s Wayport division.

* Cisco and GE will continue an existing business relationship to “include collaboration in industries that may include oil and gas, transportation, healthcare, and power generation.”

* GE says it will work with Intel to “embed virtualization and cloud-based, standardized interfaces within the GE Predix platform.”

The Predix platform and Predictivity products are simply a way for GE to get even better data while offering the real advantages of the internet of things to its clients.

In November, 2012, GE announced it would invest $1.5 billion in efforts to fine-tune its machines’ performance and capture big efficiency gains by connecting them to its enterprise software and to the wider Internet. GE thinks that cheaper computing power and sensors are now poised to usher in a new era of big data for industry. Jeff Immelt, GE’s CEO, has called the idea a revolution, and the company’s top economist has suggested it could help increase worker productivity by as much as 1.5 percent a year.

GE vision is that the industrial internet will add $10-15 trillion to the world economy.

The full 37 page report is here

Together these developments bring together three elements, which embody the essence of the Industrial Internet:

INTEllIGENT MACHINES: New ways of connecting the word’s myriad of machines, facilities, fleets and networks with advanced sensors, controls and software applications.

ADvANCED ANAlyTICS: Harnessing the power of physics-based analytics, predictive algorithms, automation and deep domain expertise in material science, electrical engineering and other key disciplines required to understand how machines and larger systems operate.

PEOPlE AT WORk: connecting people, whether they be at work in industrial facilities, offices, hospitals or on the move, at any time to support more intelligent design, operations, maintenance as well as higher quality service and safety

The benefits from this marriage of machines and analytics are multiple and significant. We estimate that the technical innovations of the Industrial Internet
could find direct application in sectors accounting for more than $32.3 trillion in economic activity. As the global economy grows, the potential application of the Industrial Internet will expand as well. By 2025 it could be applicable to $82 trillion of output or approximately one half of the global economy.

A conservative look at the benefit to specific industries is instructive. If the Industrial Internet achieves just a one percent efficiency improvement then the results are substantial. For example, in the commercial aviation industry alone, a one percent improvement in fuel savings would yield a savings of $30 billion over 15 years. likewise, a one percent efficiency improvement in the global gas-fired power plant fleet could yield a $66 billion savings in fuel consumption. The global health care industry will also benefit from the Industrial Internet, through a reduction in process inefficiencies: a one percent efficiency gain globally could yield more than $63 billion in health care savings. Freight moved across the world rail networks, if improved by one percent could yield another gain of $27 billion in fuel savings. Finally, a one percent improvement in capital utilization upstream oil and gas exploration and development could total $90 billion in avoided or deferred capital expenditures. These are but a few examples of what can be potentially achieved.

We believe that the second, most powerful and disruptive wave of the Internet Revolution is arriving now: it is the Industrial Internet. And the Industrial Internet is vested in productivity. Earlier in the paper we have argued that the Industrial Internet is poised to directly impact a very large portion of the global economy. And we have discussed some concrete and detailed examples of how the Industrial Internet will yield substantial efficiency gains and cost savings in a number of key sectors of the economy, from health care to aviation, from transportation to energy.

Nothing like this has been seen before. The Industrial Internet promises to optimize the speed of improvement of operation in a vast range of economic activities. The speed at which the Industrial Internet will spread will likely be boosted by a cost-deflation trend very similar to that which characterized the adoption of ICT equipment: cloud computing now allows us to analyze much larger amounts of data, and at lower cost, than was ever possible. The price of data processing is declining, helping to unlock the productivity gains.

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