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How GE will bring the Industrial IoT to life

Thor Olavsrud | March 17, 2016
The venerable General Electric is undergoing a profound change as the result of digital transformation and the Industrial Internet of Things. Its evolution is providing insight into what's coming for the industrial sector overall.

And that presents a critical opportunity for CIOs who can see beyond requirements and identify the desired business outcome.

CIOs need to take the lead

"They have to take ownership of their leadership position in the change effort," he says. "Forge relationships with all the other stakeholders in the business. Truly go into listening mode to go one step beyond the requirements they have to the actual outcomes they want."

That's not to say experiences can't be tailored to specific needs, he notes, but core values need to be built with a primary set of best practices.

"We have become incessant about the word 'why'," Bernardo adds. "'Explain to me why that particular requirement is needed.' Once you get to the root of that, you'll essentially come to the desired outcome."

And outcomes are what it's all about, he says. By instrumenting and connecting industrial equipment, the industrial internet promises the ability to rewrite business models themselves.

"Instead of selling a turbine, what if we sold guaranteed megawatt output?" Bernardo asks. "What if instead of selling a jet, we sold uptime or thrust? It really does create a shift from a product-based world to an outcome-based world."

That's not just science fiction. It's already starting to happen in some areas, where GE is guaranteeing the performance of its equipment. Derek Porter, general manager of Product Management at GE Digital, points to the company's engagement with RasGas a liquefied natural gas (LNG) provider in Qatar. RasGas operates seven LNG trains (an LNG plant's liquefaction and purification facility) in Ras Laffan Industrial City.

"The trains were identical but weren't performing identically," Porter explains. "By monitoring performance with sensors all along the train, we were able to diagnose that the difference came down to some valve settings. That saved them the equivalent of three days of energy production — around $8 million."

It is important that CIOs of industrial companies begin thinking about the industrial Internet now, if their companies are to thrive in the digital world, Bernardo says.

"Simplify the solve," he says. "IoT, cloud, analytics, mobility — everyone understands the value, but they feel complex. Get yourself connected. Find the most important assets and processes and prioritize getting the data off of that and delivering insights to the right people."

"Your business has to transform. Your behaviors have to transform. Your talent has to transform," he adds.


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