The Industrial Internet Will Rewrite the Rules of Business

(Source: General Electric)

The world is on the threshold of the next frontier of innovation with the rise of the Industrial Internet. Brilliant machines are converging with the power of advanced analytics, low-cost sensing, and new levels of Internet connectivity. The next decade will bring a software and services-driven movement that will be nothing short of breathtaking: analytics that learn from experience and constantly improve machine intelligence that blends digital output and human insight to deliver better outcomes. It will help eliminate waste across every major industry.

In the U.S. alone, the Industrial Internet could raise average individual incomes by an impressive 25-40 percent over the next 20 years and lift growth back to 1990s levels. To capture this value, leaders will need to adapt to new rules of business in five critical areas:

·           Intelligent Devices, Systems and Decision-making

Increased intelligence in devices and systems is leading to distributed analysis and decision-making closer to the machine. Machines are brilliantly handling issues while also escalating as appropriate.

·           Machine-based Real-time Data Analysis

Real-time analysis of events and messages can be coupled and correlated with existing knowledge through advanced software.

This analysis is often done without human intervention.

·           Simple Presentation of Complex Data as Actionable Knowledge

To handle quick right-brained (creative) thinking, complex data needs to be summarized into actionable knowledge and presented using an innovative user experience. Access to the detailed data for left-brained (analytical) thinking needs to be easily available.

·           Closed-looped Data Sharing with the Right People and Machines

The right people and machines need to collaborate in a closed-loop manner to achieve greater productivity. Only through the synthesis of different data from normally isolated sources can truly breakthrough insights be uncovered and automated.

·           Accelerated Learning System through Network Effect

When the top four are accomplished correctly, we can create a distributed accelerated learning system using the network effect. The insights from this data can lead to action and make the entire system intelligent, driving a continuous process of knowledge accumulation and insight implementation. As more machines are connected within a system, the continuously expanding, self-learning system grows more intelligent over time.

By combining on-board control systems along with software and analytics, technology will be connecting machines to machines, machines to people, and machines to business operations. This will allow industries such as airlines, railroads, hospitals, manufacturing, and energy to operate more efficiently and reduce costs—potentially eliminating as much as $150 billion in waste across major industries. Airline flight delays costing $40 billion every year could be reduced by using proprietary algorithms to monitor data from aircraft equipment, diagnosing and predicting maintenance issues before they occur. Analytics and real-time access to critical information can enable railroads to move freight faster. Utilities can monitor, manage and control their energy grids more intelligently. Hospitals can integrate bed assignments, departmental workflow, patient flow, transport, and equipment management in order to reduce wait times, better manage available resources, and enable higher quality care. The Mt. Sinai Hospital in Manhattan, NY, is already deploying such a solution.

The promise of the Industrial Internet is that it can turn every interconnected object into a potential sensor for observing the world and its environment, and for sharing and assimilating the information it gleans.  The Industrial Internet will have a profound impact on business, unleashing a productivity revolution to build, power, move and cure the world.

Bill Ruh is Vice President and Global Technology Director at General Electric, responsible for leading the advanced services and solutions portfolio strategy, development, and operations at GE.

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