A Closer Look at How GE Uses Industrial Internet to Create Value
and People with Savings in the Billions
The MENA region is opening doors to the next leap in growth and productivity by ushering in the new digital industrial economy, and it’s happening at the most opportune time. Faced by the twin challenges of oil price volatility and the increasing local demand for energy to drive infrastructure growth, policy makers and businesses are exploring opportunities for greater productivity and operational efficiency at work.
At the heart of the digital industry economy is the transformation of traditional industrial organizations into ‘digital industrial’ companies. This transformation has been brought with the introduction of the Industrial Internet. The Industrial Internet is the “internet of really big things”. We call it the power of one percent.
A mere one percent modernization in technology and operations, enabled by the meshing of heavy machinery with advanced analytics, could equate to more than $150 billion dollars saved annually for industries like energy, transportation, and healthcare.
To put it in simpler words: Industrial Internet achieves unprecedented levels of productivity by connecting machines, big data, analytics, and people. This meshing of advanced industrial technology with big data analytics allows companies to provide cutting edge solutions and advanced technical products more efficiently.
The Benefits of Industrial Internet
From aviation to energy to healthcare to transportation, Industrial Internet helps customers on a journey to: Get Connected by enabling smarter operators with visibility into operations anytime, anywhere to initiate immediate action and understand performance at every level; Get Insights by pre-empting empts issues through predictive maintenance to avoid problems before they happen; and Get Optimized by improving maintenance operations and asset utilization for less downtime, increased production and lower risk.
Today, the technologies that were leveraged to address the needs of people are becoming increasingly challenged. The demand for power, even in energyrich countries with vast reserves of oil
and gas, is rising exponentially. Power providers are struggling to bridge the demand-supply gap. The decrease in oil revenue led by the current volatilities further limits much-needed investments in mega-power projects.
Similarly in the healthcare sector, the need for better medical care at lower costs is increasing, especially led by the increase in medical costs. In aviation, there is a greater call for fuel efficiency and emission reduction, while in cities, ensuring seamless urban mobility continues to be a significant development challenge.
Industrial Internet steps in as a facilitator of transformational gains in productivity by drawing on the power of big data and advanced analytics to enhance the operational efficiency of heavy machinery.
A more digital hospital means better, faster, more efficient healthcare. By using the Industrial Internet to track and optimize treatment, patient flow, and equipment use in hospitals, a one percent efficiency gain globally could yield more than $63 billion in health care savings.
A more digital rail system means freight is delivered faster and at lower cost. If improved by one percent, this could yield another gain of $27 billion in fuel savings across the worldwide rail networks. A more digital oil field means better asset management and more productivity at every well. A one percent improvement in capital utilization upstream oil and gas exploration and development could total $90 billion in avoided or deferred capital expenditures.
Rooted in the success of all of these industrial use cases are high performing machines and equipment working seamlessly together to prevent unplanned downtime – what we refer to as Asset Performance Management (APM).
Implementing Industrial Internet in Companies: the Case of GE
The initial investment required to set up Industrial Internet in companies depends on many factors, one being the size of the company. For instance, GE has made a $1 billion investment in the Industrial Internet.
Today, an industrial company has to be a software company in order to thrive. GE has more than 14K+ software professionals around the world working to optimize industrial asset performance and industrial operations. There has been an unmet industry need for cloud service providers to deliver a platform that supports the scale and unique requirements of industrial data. GE’S Industrial Internet applications and solutions are powered by Predix, a cloudbased operating system built exclusively for industry. It tells companies what’s going on across a network of connected machines, whether something’s wrong, and what they can do about it before it affects operations.
Is the MENA Region Ready for Industrial Internet?
Actually, yes, it is. The GE Global Innovation Barometer Survey that evaluates the views of C-level executives on the innovation landscape, covering several key markets in the MENAT region, points to the reality that the business community does not see Industrial Internet or Big Data as buzz words.
For example, executives in the UAE recognize the value of collaboration with 75% reporting that the revenue generated by collaborative innovation activities has been growing over the last year, higher than the global average of 64%. Compared to a global average of only 52%, over 78% business executives in the UAE also observe that the nation is currently in a new Industrial Revolution era defined by the potential offered by big data integration.
Indeed, Industrial Internet is looking into the future today and realizing the unlocked potential of businesses and organizations. It is about ‘ being the change’ in today’s fast-changing world. It is a growth opportunity that must not be missed that enables businesses to secure their place in the digital industrial economy.
And for developers in the Arab world, this presents an ideal sounding board to focus their efforts on innovations for the industrial world, thus opening a new avenue for growth.
What It Means for Countries in the Region?
The impact of Industrial Internet is not confined to industries or manufacturing. It has a larger remit in meeting the socioeconomic goals of the region, particularly in promoting job creation, human capital development, and ushering in a culture of localized innovation. It is also a big driver of local entrepreneurship.
With the adoption of Industrial Internet, we are driving an innovation-led co-creation model that involves the people, talent, and resources of the local community. It provides opportunities for SMES to partner with infrastructure megaprojects.
By providing tools and solutions for individual workers, companies and governments, the manufacturing process, supply chains and distribution networks are being positively impacted. The creation of local supply chains lead to the democratization of manufacturing and boosting exports- and ultimately helping create training and career opportunities for youth.
“Industrial Internet is looking into the future today and realizing the unlocked potential of businesses and organizations.”
Rania Rostom is Chief Innovation Officer at GE in the Middle East, North Africa & Turkey and a coauthor of ‘Mapping the Future of Work in MENAT.’