GE’s ambitions to inject intelligence into the machine
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GE’s ambitions to inject intelligence into the machine

Kenny MacIver – January 2013

Industrial giant GE believes the combination of the Internet of Things, M2M technologies and big data analytics will fuel an industrial revolution.

GE’s CEO Jeff Immelt has long understood the pivotal role that information technology plays in shaping the fortunes of the $150 billion engineering company. But now he’s put a name to the combined digital forces that will underpin its future.

The Industrial Internet takes what he calls “big iron” (jet engines, locomotives, power generators and the like) and surrounds that with big data analytics, the Internet of Things and M2M technologies — all empowered by the kind of deep domain expertise and industrial ecosystem that is part of the DNA of companies like GE.


“The Industrial Internet will be another big evolution of productivity, as companies interface, access and develop the analytical layer that surrounds their products.”

The vision was launched at a specially convened conference, Mind + Machines in late 2012, in Silicon Valley, with Immelt predicting that the Industrial Internet will deliver a leap in productivity, as well as “massive monetization and value opportunities in the industrial space.”

As he illustrated in his conference keynote: “Today when a plane lands and GE has to overhaul the engine, the scope of work is not clear till its engine is opened up.”

That’s changing fast: “In the future that’s going to be a digital work-scope. By the time a plane lands we are going to know exactly what it needs. We’ll have timed it perfectly — we’ll know what needs to be replaced, what needs to be repaired. By taking the analytics that come from the engines themselves and the digital work-scope, we can take out maybe half the cycle time for our customers. So massive productivity for our customers and for GE.”

And his confidence in those benefits is being backed by some pretty big bets. GE has announced plans to invest $1 billion in start-ups focused on technologies that will enable the Industrial Internet.

GE’s white paper on the Industrial Internet
Video reports from Mind + Machines 2012

First published January 2013
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